Basic Tips for Healthy Dreadlocks

So you’re now rocking your new set of dreads but what’s next? Dreadlocks take time to tighten and mature but a good maintenance routine with get them there faster.
If your dreads are brand new you won’t need to wash them for around a week. With the extra bulk the dreadlocks give, you may find that your regular shower cap won’t fit but we offer extra large shower caps and for that matter, swim caps big enough to accommodate dreadlocks. Dreads are usually nice and tight immediately after installation but it is normal for them to then become a little messy and untidy as the maturing process is only just beginning. Wearing a Dread Sock to bed can help minimise this. Palm Rolling as often as possible is also a good idea to help shape the dreads in the first week.
Ok, so they are a week old and probably right about now you are ready to give them a good ol’ shampoo.  Ideally, keep the rubber bands in place at the base and tips of your dreadlocks which will help keep them in tact whilst they are so new. It’s really important you use a residue free dreadlock shampoo.  Normal shampoos leave behind conditioning residues – great if you want soft, silky, knot free hair but not so much if you have dreadlocks! Any one of our Dread Empire liquid shampoos or shampoo bar are perfect for newborn dreads.
Washing your hair is pretty straight forward. Soak your dreads well with water in the shower, squirt a little Dread Empire shampoo and gently work them into the dreads. Be sure to rinse out the shampoo really, really well.
Ok, time to dry. Lean over letting your dreads hang down in front of you and squeeze as much water out as you can. When there’s no water coming out spray them down with Dread Empire’s Dreadlock Accelerator and squeeze any excess off. Now throw a towel round your head to soak up any left over moisture and after 15 minutes or so whip it off and let them air dry or use a hair dryer.
Palm Rolling ~ Palm Rolling is when you roll the dread back and forth between your palms, applying a little downward pressure and working your way from the top to the bottom of the dread. Palm roll after each wash and for that matter, any time you think of it. It is a great way to shape and separate dreadlocks and it is also the technique used to apply Wax or Tightening Gel.
Dread Balling ~ If you find that you have a lot of loose hairs, sprinkle a little Dread Dust on your finger tips, grab a few hairs and rub your finger tips together in order to form a little dread ball. Now use the Dreading Crochet Hook to pull the dread ball inside the dread.
Clockwise Rubbing ~ This technique is performed at the roots and it encourages new growth to lock up. With a little Dread Dust on your finger tips, hold the base of your dread between two fingers and rub them against the scalp in a clockwise direction.
Crocheting ~ If your dreads have become particularly messy, you may also want to consider crocheting. It’s a good idea to not over crochet as the dreads will naturally lock and knot up in time and you don’t want to interfere with that process to much. That said though, once every few weeks early on will help start the maturing process. The technique used to performance maintenance is similar to the technique used to create dreads. Push the hook in, grab a few loose hairs and then release them inside the dread. The hook can also be pushed into the centre of the dread and rigorously pushed back and forth (without coming outside of the dreadlock).
For more information about the technqiues described above, please scroll further down this page.
From here on in, you are welcome to wash your dreads as frequently as you want because clean hair locks and tightens better than hair with oily build up. Just follow the steps above and ensure you allow your dreads to dry thoroughly.
The rubber bands can stay in for the first week or two but after that, remove them so the dreads can start doing their thing.
If you wish to continue waxing, we recommend that only the smallest amount is applied and it is done so approximately every 6-12 weeks. If your hair tends to be dry and course, then you can increase the frequency of waxing. When your dreadlocks reach their desired tightness you can pull right back on the wax and only apply it when you feel the dreadlocks have become a little loose or if you find them particularly dry. Wax does inject your hair follicle with necessary vitamins so it is a good way to condition mature dreadlocks but if you’re after a lighter, wash out formula then go for the Dread Balm or Conditioning Spray.
Tightening Gel can be used in addition to wax or as an alternative. It is a great way to tame loose hairs and with its lighter, wash out formula it can be applied as frequently as you wish.
If you ever feel like you are experiencing waxy build up then de wax by heating each dread with a hair dryer. Press a paper towel into the dreadlock to mop up as much excess wax as you can and then soak them in hot water (taking care of course not to burn yourself). The follow this with a good wash using a Dread Shampoo and if necessary, repeat this process.Top

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