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How to maintain dread locks

Willow smith's dread locks

Maintaining dread locks is easy-breezy. Dread locks are a hairstyle that have been worn by everyone in the word. Be it Africans, or Vikings, dreadlocks have been here for years. Although ten years ago, dread locks were frowned upon in the work space, things have shifted lately and people can now comfortably opt for this hairstyle. We’re here to tell you how to maintain dreadlocks, if you’ve chosen the lock’d life.

Benefits of locking hair

  • Less is more

Maintaining dread locks, less is more. The less you manipulate and retwist, the better and thicker it grows.

  • Thicker and fuller hair

Locking hair into a thick strand gives it more resistance. For people who have thin hair this can give you the volume you’ve hoped for, without causing any traction on your hairline, as braids would. Less damage can be done because they require minimal manipulation.

  • Fashionable

If you want to go for a cool and hype hairstyle, dread locks are your go- to. You won’t ever have to think about what to do with your hair before an event, because your hair alone is a statement.

  • It’s easy and economical

There’s no need to worry about your braids being old or your hair needing relaxer, or your natural breaking from protective hairstyles. Dread locks can save you time and money. Apart from the lock process that takes longer, everything else can be done at home with a few essential products (will get into them later).

Washing

The first step in maintaining dread locks is shampoo. Afro-textured hair is naturally dry. Having dreadlocks on afro hair, you should keep this in mind for washing day. You should wash your dreadlocks every two weeks with a sulfate-free shampoo. Since they are thick and get caught on anything, dread locks can easily get dirty so it’s good to clean them twice a month. After shampoo, you can condition them with a regular conditioner, in order not to leave them dry before moisturizing. Conditioner restores pH balance in your hair after shampoo, and this goes for every hairstyle you have on your head even dread locks. And voilà! Those are the two essential steps in keeping your dreadlocks clean.

Drying and moisturizing

Drying might the most difficult part in dread locks maintenance. As they get longer, dread locks get more and more difficult to dry. Put a towel or a t-shirt on your dreadlocks to soak all the excess water. Proceed to hydrate with an oil of your choice, it could be coconut oil or castor oil, anything that works on your hair really. After oiling, you proceed to dry it. However, we do not advise air drying for dread locks. Locked hair being a thick strand, it takes longer to dry and can develop dread rot which comes with an unpleasant smell. Dread rot is caused by soap residue and the humidity that stays in your locks. It’s also why people associate dread locks to uncleanliness. In a nutshell, avoid air drying if you can.

 You can dry them with a blow-dryer (your arm work-out will be done for the week) or you can purchase a portable drying cap.

Portable drying cap.

ACV rinses

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been a very popular ingredient in the hair industry lately. Using Apple cider vinegar is great at getting rid of the build-ups on your hair. Apple cider vinegar is acidic so it will lower your hair’s pH balance. This means it will break those build-up products and dirt that was in your hair, making your scalp healthy and your hair clean.

You can mix 5 parts of water, 1-part ACV, and carefully apply it on your hair before shampoo. Let it sit for 5 mins and rinse it out, then apply your regular shampoo.

You shouldn’t do the ACV rinses every time you wash hair. As we have mentioned before, afro hair is naturally dry. ACV being acidic, it can dry your hair out. Only use it every 2-3 months to avoid drying out your hair.

Woman cleaning her dread locks.

Retwisting

As we said earlier, maintaining dread locks requires low manipulation. Retwisting them shouldn’t be done every month because your hair will get thinner by doing so. You can retwist every eight weeks so you have significant amount of growth to retwist. You might also think about combining two strands on the long term. As dread locks get longer, they also get thinner, so combining them will give you those thicker strands.

Trimming

Trimming dread locks is actually necessary. You will start seeing one-inch pieces detaching from the rest of your hair as it grows longer, that should be an indication you need a trim. If you want to do it at home, get someone to help you so you trim them at a good length. Just choose a length, preferably right above the pieces that are detaching, where your hair starts getting thicker and trim. You will need heavy salon scissors to do so. Trimming doesn’t have specific timing; you can do it according to your hair or once a year if you want consistency.

See maintaining dread locks is relatively easy, follow this process and you’re assured to be showered with compliments daily.


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