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 A woman with green dreadlocks sitting on a chair outside.

Will DreadLocks Damage My Hair?

The state of your hair, its cleanliness, its style, and how you accessorize a clothing aesthetic to match it tells the story of who you are and what you believe in. (On a generalized first-glance level anyway.)

Your hairstyle talks for you. And it talks for you just as much as your wardrobe style, if not a lot more. The status of your hair will betray your basic personality. The state of your hair tells others how stylish, organized, and patient you are without you having to say anything.

About 19% of people spend ten to 25 minutes styling their hair daily. And another 25% spend less than five minutes a day styling and prepping their hair.

In a recent study by American Salon magazine, over 80% of the participants said that the aesthetics and health of their hair heavily influenced their personality and outlook on life. Most people want their hair styled to make them feel attractive, happy, and look presentable to the world.

The point here is that if you take care of your hair, then it will always take care of you. And if you truly want to take care of your hair, we suggest that you start growing and grooming dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks are probably the world's most ancient and natural way to grow hair. Dreadlocks are a protective hairstyle, relatively speaking when it comes to protecting hair follicles. And you never need to use expensive and non-natural hair chemicals and grooming products when growing dreadlocks.

However, you must take care of dreadlocks for them to take care of you. Dreadlocks are maintenance intensive. And they take anywhere between eight months to two years to develop, depending on your hair length when you start the dreadlock process.

Dreadlocks and Hair Damage?

 A smiling woman with dreadlocks looking into the distance.

Will growing dreadlocks damage your hair? As previously mentioned, dreadlocks are a very natural and protective hairstyle. As your hair mats and locks together and becomes dreadlocks, your locs will protect hair follicles.

Dreadlocks can damage your hair, it's true. But about 99% of such damage is mainly caused by people who don't know how to properly groom, style, or even grow dreadlocks.

So, before we discuss how dreadlocks can damage your hair (mostly via grooming mismanagement, let's briefly discuss how you grow dreadlocks. Because if you don't grow and groom dreadlocks properly initially, all you will do is damage them.

Only use all-natural and organic hair products to maintain your dreadlocks. Get all of your organic dreadlock grooming products from Lion Locs.

Related: The Best Ways To Detangle Dreadlocks

Dreadlock Development 101

A dreadlock is a rope-like growth of hair that grows naturally via a matting and follicle locking process. Each dreadlock has an interior follicle matrix; the interior of each dreadlock is a spiral-like scaffolding structure of interlocked and fused hair follicles.

The exterior of the dreadlock will have a matted, fuzzy, and textured feel. And the interior is a mass of locked and intertwined hair follicles.

To start the dreadlock process, you should have at least three inches of hair or more. Divide sections of hair at the scalp into small or large squares. At this stage, the thickness of your dreadlock strands is determined.

You can then start twisting each strand length between your fingers and thumb. Or you can roll your hair between your palms. Or you can backcomb, hold your hair by the end and come back towards the scalp. You could even braid your hair and just let the follicles lock up that way.

It will take eight months to 24 months to grow dreadlocks, depending on the length of your hair. People of African descent with curly and kinky hair can twist their hair into dreadlocks relatively easier than those with straight hair.

Ways Dreadlocks Can Damage Your Hair

There are many ways that dreadlocks can damage your hair, and almost all of them are self-inflicted problems.

Here are some of the most basic ways to damage them if you are not careful.


  A close-up on the face of a model sporting thin dreadlocks.

In the beginning, you need to apply an organic dreadlock gel to each dread and twist. Twist each dreadlock strand so that they assume that beginning spiral shape. You should twist as much as needed, but not so much that you feel scalp tension.

Once your dreadlocks start matting, you don't need to twist them every day. You could twist them once a week or once a month. Hair grows one-fourth of an inch monthly – the follicles at the scalp never fully lock up, just the length under it.

Overtwisting your hair will break follicles or cause bald spots.

Dread Rot

Your hair washing frequency is a personal preference, but you do not need to wash your dreadlocks daily. You could wash them once or twice a week. If you wash them often, dry them completely after each wash or rinse.

What's important is to dry your dreadlocks entirely after washing. Your dreadlocks are a sponge for moisture and any non-organic grooming products you use. Moisture logged dreadlocks can grow a scalp mold called dread rot that can penetrate deep into the interior of the dread.

Long and Thick Dreadlocks

Extremely long and thick dreadlocks can become a heavy strain on your roots, causing broken root follicles or hair loss. You may need to trim your heavy and thick dreadlocks from time to time to mitigate this problem.


Hair bleaching usually involves the use of chemicals that damage, breaks, and dries out hair follicles. Consider using henna and all-natural hair dyes instead of chemical dyes on your dreadlocks.


Deciding to grow your hair into dreadlocks is a monumental decision. It frees you from using chemical products and wearing your hair naturally. 

If you become indecisive and change your mind, then you will only succeed in severely damaging your hair.

Many hairstylists who specialize in dreadlocks now offer detangling services. It will take many hours, but your dreadlocks can be untangled and reversed so that you have individual follicles again.

But not without a price.

After a few years, the base of your dreadlocks becomes an irretrievably fused mass of matted hair follicles. Your dreads will have to be cut from the tip by inches, a foot, or more, depending on the length.

Your detangled hair will have a lot of split ends and broken follicles, so even more lengths of hair will have to be cut.

Be 100% sure before you start developing dreadlocks. Or you will end up causing more hair damage than if you hadn't started.

Lion Locs offers the best in all-natural and organics dreadlock grooming products. Contact us today.

Related: Starter Locs Do's And Don'ts

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