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Basic Dreadlock Care

Start Dreadlocks  Basic methods used in starting dreadlocks

Are Dreadlocks for you?  Help with deciding if dreadlocks are for you

While dreadlocks are easier to maintain than other hairstyles, they do require some basic maintenance.

Washing (after hair is locked)

Thereís an awful myth that wearers of dreadlocks don't wash their hair.  Everybody washes their hair, we hope.  We know some people with dreadlocks who wash their hair every day!  I opt for once a week, as dreadlocks take a long time to dry.

Regular washing is necessary.  Sweat build-up causes bacteria to grow and the scalp to itch.  Excessive scratching causes hair breakage and scalp irritation.

A residue-free shampoo is best. Its important that your shampoo does not add to the residue you are trying to get rid of.  Residue clogs the pores and attracts dirt.  If youíve applied gels or oils to your hair it is good to give it a good soak in soapy water first. 

There are many shampoos made specifically for dreadlocks on the market that you can try.  Check your local health food store for the most natural productsMost commercial shampoos contain additives.  Sometimes the simplest this is the best.  Our model has been using plain Dettol bar soap to clean her locs and scalp for years.

Lather twice.  Once, focusing only on the scalp and roots. Next, focusing on the rest of the hair.  Be generous with the soap and rinse extra well.  To dry, wring hair out and wrap with a towel to draw out extra moisture.

Immediately apply some type of moisturizer to the scalp and locs. Apply it while the hair is still wet-damp.  Again, there are many different hair and scalp oils designed for use with dreadlocks that you can try, just remember, not too much!  Too much grease will attract dirt and lint.  If your scalp isnít clean, grease contributes to dandruff which is very tough to get out of loc'd hair.

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In Between Washing

Anyone with dreadlocks knows that they take a long time to dry after being fully saturated with water.  Because of this, frequent washing isn't always possible.  Sometimes a quick refresher for the scalp is sufficient.  You may blot the scalp with a mild astringent like Sea Breeze or any witch hazel.  It will help to remove trapped oil and dirt and keep your head smelling fresh and clean, without over-drying the scalp.

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Twisting shouldn't be done more than every 1-3 weeks and it is okay to do it while the hair is damp, but the hair shouldn't be dripping wet.  Dreadlocks can be twisted in either direction. Start at the base of the loc'd portion of the hair (NOT at the root near the scalp) and twist downward to the scalp.  Sometimes twisting upward from the scalp causes the root sections to thin over time.

Use small portions of whatever product you use. (Please note that beeswax use should be minimized after your hair has actually

locked).   Clamp a few newly twisted dreadlocks with a clip in the spot where the loc'd hair ends and the new growth begins to hold the newly twisted section (if you clamp one loc at a time it will just unwind...its best to clamp in small groups).

Try ourto hold freshly twisted hair in place while sleeping. Cotton bandanas can be very drying to the hair and they rarely provide full coverage or stay on correctly all night.

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Dreadlocks are akin to the strands of a mop....they hold alot of water.  Thorough drying is necessary, otherwise hair will smell damp and musty.  Air drying can take as little as an hour (hair loose while standing in blazing sunshine) or up to 24 hours (indoors or hair braided or curled tightly for styling).   You can sit under a hood or bonnet dryer to speed up the process.   Hood and bonnet hair dryers are relatively inexpensive.  We purchased a new hood hair dryer online for under $50.

Rubberbands or not?

Rubberbands DO NOT break off your hair when used properly.  The trick to using rubberbands is to use them for short intervals (less than 24 hours).  Actually, ANY band that you keep your locs tightly bound in for more than 24 hours will begin to whittle away your hair in that particular section.  You can even see the difference after you've taken out a band that you've worn for more than a day.  Banding the hair in the same spot day after day (even with a nightly break) is just as detrimental to your hair. Our model usually uses small rubberbands only when securing the end of a braid.

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Remember, it takes TIME, PATIENCE AND DEDICATION to reach the point where you'll have a natural, long, flowing mane of dreadlocks...several years actually.  All the more reason to start NOW!!







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