Dreadlocks – Locks to Be Cared for Rather Than Dreaded

A time-consuming and high-maintenance hairstyle, dreadlocks can be created using any of the following methods: a) crochet method, b) twist method, c) roll method, d) wax method, and e) braid method. Dreadlocks are more attuned to natural hair but are also compatible with all other hair types.

Featured Image of How to Care for Dreadlocks

The first step in achieving dreadlocks is finding a competent loctician. A loctician is a hairstylist who knows the ins and outs of dreadlocks. Having a candid discussion with your loctician about your hair goals is vital. He/she can decide which method of dreadlocking is suitable for your hair type and can also advise you on how to care for them.

Dreadlocks are different from all other hairstyles in appearance, method, and maintenance. The right techniques and products are the key to maintaining dreadlocks. Often, people complain of itchiness, odor, and dandruff. These issues (and more) can be resolved by following the hair care guidelines given below for dreadlocks. Read on to know the details.

Molds and product buildup are common problems in dreadlocks. If neglected for a long time, they can develop into a scalp infection. To avoid this and other hair issues, it is important to follow a hair care routine that will ensure healthy dreadlocks.

1. Avoid Water for Up to 1 Month

For 2-4 weeks since getting your dreadlocks for the first time, do not wash your hair. Water causes the newly formed dreadlocks to lose their tightness and shape.

avoid water

2. Avoid Washing Your Hair Often

Once you have passed the initial “no-water” period, you must limit your hair washes to 4 times in a month. Frequent washing can cause the dreadlocks to open up.

avoid washing your hair
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3. Do a Pre-shampoo Hair Rinse

Since dreadlocks are prone to bacteria, a hair rinse is a good way to start the cleaning process. There are a few hair rinses you can prepare at homes such as a baking soda solution or an apple cider vinegar rinse. Dissolve a quarter cup of baking soda in half a liter of distilled water and pour this solution over your dreadlocks.

wash your hair with pre-shampoo

Alternately, you can mix the same amount of apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar) in half a liter of water and pour it over your hair. This pre-shampoo hair rinse helps to get rid of itchiness and odor which are common issues in dreadlocks.

4. Massage Your Scalp Before a Wash

Rosemary oil and tea tree oil are effective in fighting itchiness, mold, and dandruff which are usually found in dreadlocks. Massaging the scalp with a tablespoon of rosemary oil or tea tree oil for a few minutes before a wash can not only combat some of these hair issues but also stimulate healthy blood circulation, leading to hair growth.

a girl is massaging her hair

5. Use a Non-residue Shampoo

Since dreadlocks are already prone to product buildup, it is imperative to use a non-residue shampoo. This will not only get rid of existing buildup but also clean the scalp and hair thoroughly.

use a non-residue shampoo

6. Rinse-Off the Shampoo Thoroughly

When you have finished showering, wring out the excess water from each of your dreadlocks and make sure the water runs clear. If you still see soapy water, rinse the dreadlocks further until you no longer see soapy water.

rinse-off the shampoo thoroughly

7. Use a Microfiber Towel

Pat the dreadlocks with a microfiber towel and wrap them up like a turban for a couple of minutes. This will help to absorb much of the moisture out of your dreadlocks.

using microfiber towel

8. Sit Under a Bonnet Hairdryer

It is preferable to air-dry your hair in the sun. However, on days of inclement weather or when you are pressed for time, sitting under a bonnet hairdryer on the lowest temperature will get the job done faster and better. If you do not have a bonnet hairdryer, you can use a regular blow dryer on its cool setting.

sit under a bonnet hairdryer

9. Avoid Re-twisting Your Dreadlocks Frequently

Manipulating your hair too often can cause the dreadlocks to break and thin at the roots. This will undermine the ability of the dreadlocks to hold their shape. Regardless of which style you try, your hair will look untidy as a result of frequent re-twisting.

sit under a bonnet hairdryer

10. Use a Shower Cap on Non-wash Days

On days you do not wash your hair, wear a shower cap in the shower to prevent your dreadlocks from getting wet. Dreadlocks take much longer to dry and smell horrible when damp.

use a shower cap on non-wash days

11. Wear a Silk Scarf at Bedtime

Bedtime is when your dreadlocks can become unruly from all the tossing and turning. To prevent this, simply wrap your dreadlocks in a silk or satin scarf which will hold them in place throughout the night.

wear a silk scarf at bedtime

12. Protect Your Dreadlocks at Work

If your occupation involves plenty of dust and grime, you must prevent them from getting into your dreadlocks. One way of doing this is to take a clean stocking and cut it into rings large enough to cover all of your head. Wear these to work and you will not have to worry about your dreadlocks collecting grease and dirt.

13. Apply a Hot Oil Treatment Regularly

This is highly recommended for people with dry and frizzy hair. Whether you have dreadlocks or simply use hot rollers to get amazing curls, a trip to the hair salon is in order. Your loctician will have a hot oil preparation that is tailored for dreadlocks. He/she will also advise you to get a hot oil treatment every 2-3 months. A hot oil massage will help to replenish moisture levels in the scalp and hair without causing the dreadlocks to open up.

apply a hot oil treatment regularly


Although dreadlocks are a high-maintenance hairstyle, they can be looked after well by following the guidelines detailed above. When you first get them, keep them away from anything that can make them wet for at least a couple of weeks. After that, wash them only once in a week and make sure to use a non-residue shampoo to prevent further buildup. A short massage with rosemary or tea tree oil before a wash will help to get rid of odor and bacteria. A homemade hair rinse will accomplish the same.

Pat the dreadlocks dry with a microfiber towel and air-dry as often as possible. Alternately, you can take the help of a hairdryer on its cool setting. Remember, the point is to get them completely dry. If you leave them damp for too long, they will smell horrible and can develop mold. To avoid getting them wet in the shower on non-wash days, wear a shower cap.

Re-twist your dreadlocks only if you must. If you do it too often, you will ruin their shape. Wear a silk scarf when you sleep to maintain the shape and tightness of your dreadlocks. Protect them in places where they could attract dirt. Last but not least, visit your loctician every 2 months for a moisturizing hot oil massage.



  1. Hello dear,

    I am a huge fan of your blog. Your articles have saved my hair on more than few occasions. And this piece of writing is no different. It has also appeared as a hair-save for me.

    Ok, praises aside, let me get to the point. Recently I have had adorned my long tresses with dreadlocks. As gorgeous as they look, I am worried about a few things.

    If I avoid water for 2-4 weeks, how am I going to clean my scalp? In this period, my scalp is going to accumulate dirt, dust, and buildups, and I would feel very uncomfortable.

    Looking forward to your answer!

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Dear Yi,

      First of all, thank you very much for following us regularly. We appreciate our readers’ response.

      Secondly, during the “no water” period for your dreadlocks, it’s natural that your scalp will gather dirt and dust. However, you can clean it up by using an appropriate dry shampoo. A little bit of dry shampoo can soak up the excess oil and dirt buildups easily allowing you to avoid water for the required time.

      We hope that this would help you understand better.

      For any other questions, feel free to knock us.

  2. Wonderful! Amazing!

    This article is extremely helpful for girls who are planning to get dreadlocks and who already have them in their manes. Not only this piece of writing has some amazing ways to protect this hairstyle but these ways are also well-explained so that readers can understand and implement easily.

    However, I have found a very minor glitch in this article. And that is in the “hot oil treatment” section. I feel that this section should have been a little longer and you should have explained a bit more. This particular section lacks information.

    1. Dear Lupe,

      Thank you very much for your praising words. We are overwhelmed with your response.

      We would also like to thank you for the suggestion. We would keep it in mind and try to add more information here.

      Please keep coming back for more articles in the future.

  3. Great article! Excellent writing!! I have enjoyed reading it thoroughly. Loved it.

    However, I do have some issues. In one part of your article, you have mentioned protecting the hair with stockings. I strongly Forbid It. The stocking fabric has the potential to soak excess oils from the dreadlocks as well as your scalp and make them even drier, and more prone to breakage. You should have never put it here.

    I am disappointed to see such a point in such a wonderful piece of writing.

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