Everything You Need to Know About Dreading Your Hair

Written by Kelsi Zimmerman

If you’re considering dreading your hair then you’re probably already well aware that dreadlocks are a commitment: the process itself requires a lot of patience, there are specific products that you have to use to maintain, you have to be gentle with your scalp and the dreads themselves and not to mention you are voluntarily locking up your natural hair. So if you’re looking to take the plunge a la Willow Smith keep reading to find out everything you need to know about dreadlocks and how to dread your hair.

There Are Different Types of Dreadlocks

Freeform, twists, rip & twists and interlocking dreads are all different types of methods used to create dreadlocks. Freeform or “natural” dreadlocks are created when you simply let the hair lock up on it’s own. Twists are typically better for coarser, kinkier hair and are created by twisting strands around each other. Rip & twists are created by twisting the hair to be dreaded, separating the twists and then re-twisting in the opposite direction, creating knots and ultimately dreads. Finally, interlocking dreads are created when the end of the lock is pulled through the root to tighten the new growth to the scalp.

Use Light Products

Light gels, oils and shampoos are key to supporting the growth process when dreading your hair. For shampooing, opt for a light clarifying shampoo like Taliah Waajid’s Stimulating Herbal Cleanser or an apple cider vinegar rinse. For daily gels and oils to moisturize and keep your dreads looking neat without white residue and buildup, reach for light oils like almond or olive oils and light gels like aloe vera gel.

Wash Your Hair Every 2-3 Weeks

A common misconception about the dreading process is that you don’t wash your hair. That is false. Even when you are beginning to lock your hair it is important to wash your hair using a clarifying shampoo every 2-3 weeks. The water helps to kink and curl your hair and shampooing helps to keep your scalp clean and clear of buildup.

You’ll Still Need to Wrap Your Hair

There will be times where you will still need to wrap your hair to prevent damage. Whether you are working out, sleeping or working outside, try to keep your hair wrapped to avoid getting the hair sweaty or dirty with debris, dirt and lint.

Avoid Re-Twisting Too Frequently

You should go about a month or a little bit longer without re-twisting your hair as you want to give sensitive areas like your roots, edges and nape of your neck some time to breathe. Constantly pulling the hair in the more sensitive areas puts you at risk for hair loss.

Your Dreads Don’t Have to be Permanent

When you are ready to remove your dreads, you don’t necessarily have to shave your head. While you will probably have to cut a some of the length off, you won’t have to completely chop off all of your hair – in some cases, you may be able to cut the dreads and then pick them apart with a comb over a period of time.

Patience Is Key

Patience is a major requirement when dreading your hair – especially when you have fine, straight hair. Like any process, dreading your hair, maintaining the dreads and waiting for them to grow calls for a lot of patience. But all of the time, effort and maintenance will be worth it once you see your locks flourish.