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How to Maintain Dreadlocks

How to Maintain Dreadlocks

Dreadlock maintenance is vital for keeping a polished and modern look. Rather long or short, but keeping the dreadlocks tight and groomed is a must. Dreadlocks can be beautiful and striking, but a regular maintenance routine is essential for keeping up with the look. 

Hair that has been dreaded, if left unmanaged, can become matted and coarse. This makes dreadlocks unmanageable and can be a hassle. If left unchecked, hair breakage and hair loss can occur. Not only can the style become unattractive, but the hair can also develop an embarrassing smell. 

How to Maintain Your Dreadlocks

The first step to maintaining dreadlocks is to keep the hair free and clean of excess dirt and oil. Using a good quality shampoo and conditioner not only makes the hair smell great, but it also helps prevent build-up. Preventing hair damage is vital with any style, and proper upkeep starts with deep cleansing. 

There is a lot of information available, however, common sense works best. Wash your hair as often as needed based on the condition of the hair and hair type. 

It is recommended to wash hair every four to six weeks, but if your very active, you may need to wash more often. Inbetween washes, it's suggested to freshen your hair up with a rose water spray or other types of nicely scented oils. After the hair has been washed, it is time to twist. Some hairdressers let the hair air dry before twisting to allow the hair to revert to its natural state, while other stylists will use a blow dryer. Keep in mind that blow-drying your hair can make it dry and brittle. 

To avoid the possibility of damage, the hair can be air-dried, but it will just take longer. There are several types of hair dryers available, and they come in a variety of styles and prices. 

Hair should be completely dry before dread locking. This ensures faster drying time and prevents the hair from getting tangled.

As dreadlocks grow, re-twisting is essential to maintaining the look. While hair should be washed regularly, re-twisting the dreadlocks should be done every four to six weeks or more for faster-growing results. 

Because hair reacts differently, a stylist should be consulted to determine how often locks should be re-twisted.  Tightening dreadlocks sounds complicated but can be done by almost anyone. 

Start twisting dreadlocks at the scalp. Grasp a firm, not tight, grip on the hair. Apply a small amount of twist and locking hair butter, gel, or beeswax to the new growth. Begin to twist the hair in a downward spiral. Make sure to smooth the hair while twisting, so the dreadlocks appear fresh and tight. 

When twisting the new growth, the dreadlock size can be altered. If the dreadlocks are too small, grab the desired amount of dreadlocks, pinch them together, and twist at the scalp. If the dreadlocks are too large, separate the lock into smaller sections and twist the sections individually. Remember to always start at the scalp when twisting to ensure the dreadlocks are snug against the scalp. Secure the newly twisted dreadlocks into place with a hair clip and sit under the dryer. 

Related: Dreadlocks Locking Gel

Other Methods for Tightening The Locs

Another method for tightening dreadlocks is the rubber band method. Start at the scalp and twist the new growth. Instead of securing the dreadlock in place with a clip, a rubber band is tied around the hair. This method is handy when hair is puffy, thick, and not that long. The rubber band helps to squeeze and flatten the dreadlock in place. 

Use with caution when using the rubber band method. Pulling the hair too tight can cause breakage and may leave the client in a lot of pain. One thing to remember when maintaining dreadlocks is to use a good locking gel, hair butter, or wax. There are many types of locking gels on the market, but try to stay organic with the ingredients and away from added chemicals.

Using Oil to Moisturize Your Hair

Oil sheens and sprays can be used on hair to maintain a healthy gloss in-between washing and re-twists. However, some stylists caution against using oils because of buildup. Regular washing and maintenance will help alleviate this issue, but oil is necessary to keep your hair from drying out. It is recommended to oil and moisturize the hair two to three times per week to maintain luster.

If the hair has been colored, then a regular moisturizing routine will help to prevent the hair from becoming dry and brittle. 

Dry scalp can be a significant issue with dreadlocks without proper maintenance, like adding quality oil to the hair. Dandruff can occur, which makes the hair appear dirty and unkempt.

How to Maintain Your Locs at Night?

Tying the hair up at night with a silk or satin scarf is essential when maintaining healthy locks. A silk or satin pillowcase can also be used in place of a cotton pillowcase. Whatever the method, using a barrier will help to reduce breakage. 

How to Trim Your Dreadlocks?

Trimming the ends is necessary when caring for dreads. Even natural hair can get split ends. Use high-quality shears and clip just the tips of the dreads. Dreads can also be cut into a style. If that is the desired look, keeping it trim will ensure the look does not grow out. 

Trimming the ends also ensures the style does not develop a tattered appearance. 

Cut the Dreadlocks, so the result is at least one inch longer than the desired look. This allows for extra hair when twisting the new tips. Remember, once the hair is gone, be careful about taking off the ends.

When trimming ends, some clients like to go over the parts with a small hair edger. This separates the dreads and makes the pieces stand out more.  Be careful when using this technique, one slip-up, and the dreadlock can become damaged. 


Following these healthy hair tips for dreadlocks will keep the look fresh and new. Regular hair care will leave dreads strong and healthy, while proper maintenance helps the dreadlocks last. 

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