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Should my dreadlocks be soft or hard? That is often the question.
Well, that’s the mystery for many men and women who are considering having dreadlocks. However, everyone’s hair is different. Some people have naturally nice, soft hair, whereas others have thicker and more rough hair.
That said, you don’t have to follow a specific hairdo as no two people have the exact same hair. Embrace your uniqueness and quit worrying about making your dreadlocks look like the rest.
Dreadlocks that are formed with wax are more likely to feel firm and hard. Even when applied in small amounts, wax will cling to the hair. It will then harden to create a protective layer. This can help defend hair follicles from damage, but it can also cause them to feel stiff.
If you are concerned about your hair feeling hard, avoid applying wax or similar products when dreading it into locks. Instead, adhere to natural shampoos and conditioners, as this will guarantee your hair is happy and healthy.
If you’ve already dreaded your hair into locks applying beeswax or a similar product, you should clean it out by completely washing your hair in a mixture of distilled water and apple cider vinegar. The vinegar will work to remove the stubborn wax, pushing it away from your hair follicles. Just don’t forget to rinse your hair with clean water afterward, as vinegar may aggravate the scalp.
Why are My Dreadlocks Dry?
As your dreadlocks grow longer, you might notice that the ends are becoming dry and more brittle compared to the hair around your roots. Don’t fret, this is just normal.
The longer your dreads become, the older your hair is. Your dreads have probably been creating friction by rubbing against your clothes and your pillowcase. It is also exposed to the sun or the heat from your hairdryer.
Because the cuticles of your dreads are opened, it can be challenging to keep them moist. Thus, you’ll need something like vegetable oil to protect it.
Properties of Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oils are obtained through extraction or pressure from nuts or fatty fruits like avocado.
They are hydrophobic, so they don’t mix with water. They’re also water-proof so they form a film around your hair. They can soften your hair while reducing moisture loss.
Vegetable oils are mainly composed of fatty acids triglycerides, which is what provides them their softening qualities. It can be used to brittle dreadlocks after washing them, in between washes when they require softening, and as a hot oil treatment once a month.
The best vegetable oils to soften dreadlocks
Below is a list of the best vegetable oils to soften dry fragile dreadlocks:
- Almond oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Sunflower oil
- Jojoba oil
- Grapeseed oil
You can either use them pure or make an oil mixed with your favorite vegetable oils.
Coconut Oil and Dreadlocks
Coconut oil is also an excellent vegetable oil to use on damaged hair, whether it’s colored or bleached. This oil can penetrate the hair to the cortex and bind to the hair proteins to strengthen it.
However, coconut oil may create more drying and breakage of the hair when it’s applied frequently.
If you feel that your hair becomes extra dry and brittle after applying coconut oil, consider switching to sunflower oil or grapeseed oil.
Can Essential Oils Moisturize Dreadlocks?
Contrary to what the name implies, an essential oil does not carry fat, so it cannot soften or moisturize hair.
Because of their antiseptic qualities, though, they can fight against dandruff and ease itching. They are also recognized for their scent.
Just add a few drops of essential oils like Geranium, Tea Tree, Bay Laurel, Cade, Palmarosa, St. Thomas Bay, or Patchouli in your hot oil treatment procedure. Apply it straight to your scalp, give a little massage, then let sit for a while before washing.
Ways to Soften Dreadlocks
Of course, there are different things you can do to soften your dreadlocks.
For beginners, wear a cap that fully wraps your hair when you go to bed at night. Doing so will lock in the natural oils created by your scalp, keeping your dreads nice and moisturized.
You can also soften your dreadlocks by applying a natural, premium shampoo and conditioner. When picking shampoos and conditioners, however, you should avoid products that are filled with chemicals and other artificial components. Otherwise, they may further dry out and freeze your dreadlocks.
Search for natural products that are composed of vitamins and plant-based ingredients for maximum benefit.
Moisturizing Dreadlocks After Shampoo
For your hair to be healthy, it requires to be kept clean. A weekly wash is prescribed with a residue-free shampoo.
- After washing your dreadlocks, take out the excess water with an old t-shirt or a microfibre towel.
- On slightly damp dreads, apply some vegetable oils directing on the dry areas of your dreads such as the tips.
- Press your dreads using your hands to help penetrate the oil.
- Avoid applying oils that can be responsible for dandruff build-up.
Moisturizing Dreadlocks in Between Shampoos
Make yourself a spray bottle and use it as often as required. Mix:
- 2/3 of water or flower water like patchouli, orange blossom, or lavender water.
- 1/3 of vegetable oils of your choice suggested above.
- A few drops of essential oil like peppermint or lavender for the scent.
Shake it well before use. Spray it directly on your dreads, especially the length and tips. Press your dreads with your hands to help with penetration.
Store your spray bottle in the fridge. To soften your dreads, you can also apply some vegetable oils to it.
Hot Oil Treatments
Hot oils treatments are excellent for really dry dreads:
- Combine into a bowl the oils of your choice. The more hair you have the more oil you should combine.
- If you suffer from dandruff or itchy scalp, just add a few drops of essential oils like Tea Tree, Geranium, Bay Laurel, Palmarosa, Cade, St Thomas Bay, or Patchouli.
- Warm up your oil mix inside the bain-marie.
- When your oils are warm enough but not piping hot, take it off your from the bain-marie.
- Make sure that your dreads are fully dry then apply the treatment starting from your scalp to the tips. Keep in mind that the oil must penetrate every strand so don’t hesitate to press on your dreads to guarantee even oil application.
- Give your scalp a massage.
- Wrap your head with a plastic bag followed by a hair wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes to a night.
- Finally, wash your hair with a residue-free shampoo.
Should You Apply Conditioner or Moisturizing Creams?
When applied on dreadlocks, conditioners and moisturizing creams that you use can leave residues on the hair, even after a thorough wash. Build-ups are very hard to get rid of and can cause foul odor.
This is why it’s better to apply homemade oils in a spray bottle.
To produce beautiful healthy dreadlocks is very easy. Just simply wash them weekly with a residue-free shampoo and apply some vegetable oils on the length to soften your dreads. Once a month, perform a hot oil treatment to add extra softness.
Simple Steps for a Healthy, Thriving Locs
Locs are a majestic and versatile way to rock your natural hair. You can have fancy updos, inspirational colors and styles, and remarkable length.
But contrary to popular belief, maintaining your dreads can be tricky. To maintain the health of your locks while it is thriving, you need to loc down a steady regimen that keeps them happy.
Not sure where to begin? Follow these 15 tips to reach your dreadlock goals:
Moisturize your locks correctly
You may find that your locks don’t need as much moisture as your loose hair did. But don’t experiment with your luck. You should still moisturize regularly.
Dry hair breaks quickly, and the last thing you want is fragile locks! Apply a light leave-in moisturizer that will satisfy your locks’ thirst, or water-sealed in with lightweight oil.
Condition your locks with care
There is some debate in the dreadlock community about whether you should apply a daily conditioner on your locks. There is a risk, particularly on new locks, that such products can loosen or damage your locks.
While few individuals go ahead with conditioner, we suggest applying apple cider vinegar as an alternative. This rinse will leave your locks soft, conditioned, and will filter product buildup out from your scalp as well.
Deep Condition your locks
NOTE: This procedure is not suitable for young dreadlocks.
Once your locks are mature, we advise that you deep condition them every 1-2 weeks. This is to keep your locks healthy, strong, and moisturized. NaturAll’s Avocado Ice Cream Treatment Deep Conditioners not only retain your locs moisturized, but regular use will also keep your locks strong, healthy, and vibrant.
While your locks are in the starter stage, deep conditioning drives the risk of detangling your young locks! So if you just started your locks recently, consult with your loctician and ask when it’s safe to deep condition your locks.
Don’t over-wash your locks
While locks are more likely to produce bad odors and residue buildup than loose hair, over-washing can dry out your scalp. This can lead to flaking, itchiness, breakage, and thinning locks. We suggest doing it once every 1-2 weeks and don’t wash young locks until they require some time to mature.
Dry locks thoroughly after washing
More often than not, the mildew odor from your dreads is due to incorrect drying. It’s the same as how you let your damp laundry in a hamper without air drying it.
Use a blow dryer on low heat or let your locks air dry. Don’t tie your locks up, bunch them together, or cover them with anything until they are completely dry.
Use natural oils
Apply natural oils to keep your locks and scalp moisturized and healthy.
Oils like coconut and olive will prevent your locks from getting too dry, and diluted tea tree oil will help clean hair with its antifungal attributes.
Jamaican black castor oil (or NaturAll’s Strengthening Jamaican Black Castor Oil Products) will keep your scalp moisturized and healthy while it grows longer and stronger.
Don’t overdo it with oils or products
Locs are composed of matted hair. Thus, apply less product than you think you require and avoid styling products that leave a lot of residues. Stick with lightweight products and oils, and apply them sparingly.
Wrap your locks at night with a satin scarf or bonnet
Your locks may be strong, but they are still prone to breakage and damage from friction. Wrapping your locks in silk or satin will shield and prevent breakage while you lay your head at night.
Don’t over-twist your locks
Absent-minded, constant twisting pulls your hair follicles and can make the loc fall out over time. Only twist your dreads when you are retwisting, and be sure to give your hair lots of time (we recommend several months) in-between retwisting or interlocking. Don’t retwist or interlock too tight, either.
Don’t apply too many products
When it gets down to it, locks don’t require that many products. It’s easy at the start of the loc journey to explore with loads of different products. But all you need is a good shampoo and natural oils or moisturizers.
Locs are fragile and absorb things very quickly. Hence, removing residue build up can be challenging. So, don’t hoard on the products. Avoid dense, thick, and sticky leave-ins. Plus, refine your locks routinely to keep them clear and clean.
No heat for styling
Heat will absorb all the moisture out of your hair and create damage in the long run. Natural hair is also very delicate by nature so it’s not a good mix! If you do use heat to style or dry your locks, avoid this for a while and see if this produces a difference.
Get rid of silicones, sulfates, and mineral oil
If you are applying products, check the labels first and avoid anything that may be striping moisture, over-drying for hair, coating it away from real moisture, and weighing it down.
Have a health diet
Our hair is an extension of our well-being. If you have a poor diet, not getting much exercise, or drinking water, how can your outer body (skin, hair, etc) be healthy and moisturized!
Each day you should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Your body requires that much water to thoroughly lubricate your organs, muscles, and hair. That’s because you’re made of 60% water!
Use aloe vera
An aloe vera plant is composed of over 80% water, making it one of the most efficient ways to hydrate your hair naturally. Few loc’d individuals only apply all-natural aloe vera locking gel on their locs. That’s because of its amazing features to help the hair lock while nourishing the scalp.
Do your research
We know this blog post doesn’t answer all your inquiries about locks. If you want to dye them, obtain a distinct style, trim them, or use a different product, you should do your research first. The same thing goes if your locs aren’t mature yet.
Take some time to read on how to care for starter locs before you begin and make sure to work with a trustworthy loctician.
Softening Synthetic Dreads
The method of making dreads is tiring and time-consuming. It can usually take 6 months to 2 years to produce fully matured and locked dreadlocks. If your hair is short, it would literally take forever to grow it long enough to start the dreads.
On the contrary, dreadlock extensions can provide you the style of your dreams in a jiffy. When you get tired of them, all you have to do is take them off.
Synthetic dreads come in an array of lengths and colors to suit your personality. You can place them on your real dreads to achieve the added length you are looking for.
Another excellent thing about synthetic loc extensions is that they are reusable and quite affordable. They could last for up to 6 months if you take good care of them.
Brand new synthetic dreads are usually stiff at first and may have an unnatural shine. To make new dreads softer, soak them first in boiling water for 30 seconds. This will also take some of the shine out, making them seem more realistic.
Be careful not to boil your locs for longer as hot water can certainly lighten the color and create damage to synthetic fibers. Make sure to read the directions on the packaging to find out what temperature level your dreads can withstand.
Also, some varieties of dreads are already softer than others and there is no need to put them in boiling water. Instead, rolling the ends is all you should do to make them pleasingly soft. They will also look more natural while you wear them.
Real dreadlocks are soft, bouncy, and look lively. They move when you move.
Backcombed and crocheted hair will never be as lively or bouncy as they are stiff, become full of loose hair, debris, and tangled knots.
Crocheted hair demands weekly upkeep at the very least. Natural Dreadlocks grow on their own, and all you need to do is keep them clean and have a healthy diet.