How To Maintain Your Dreadlocks
We recommend you avoid shampooing your new dreads for about the first week. If your scalp is not particularly oily and can handle less frequent shampooing, then you can wait longer before your first shampoo. Oily build up however, can cause itch, irritation and dandruff and maintaining the health of your scalp and hair should be a priority so shampoo sooner if required. We recommend the rubber bands are left in until after the first shampoo.
With the extra bulk created by dreadlocks, you may find that your regular shower cap won't fit so we offer extra large shower caps and 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, particular after shampooing, as the maturing process is only just beginning. Wearing a Dread Sock to bed can help minimise this.
Shampooing: How often you need to shampoo depends on your hair and scalp type so for most people, shampooing once a week would be sufficient but you may wish to do more or less frequent shampooing if you have a particularly oily or a particularly dry scalp. Keep in mind that the cleaner the hair, the easier it will knot and lock up. It's very important to use a non residue shampoo designed for dreadlocks as regular shampoos will leave behind conditioning agents which could build up in your dreadlocks and inhibit the locking process. Any of the Dread Empire shampoo range are perfect for both new and mature dreadlocks. They will promote a clean, healthy scalp and squeaky clean hair to encourage locking and knotting.
Palm Rolling: Frequent palm rolling with downward pressure will ensure your dreadlocks remain separated, help keep them nice and rounded and help stretch out and minimise lumps, bumps and shrinkage. Do this after shampooing and as often as is convenient. Tightening Gel can also be used to help smooth down loose flyaway hair and can be applied when palm rolling.
Dreadlock Accelerator Tightening Spray: Our Dread Empire Accelerator is a Sea Salt based spray which can be applied after shampooing and every few days if desired. If you've ever swum in the ocean with your dreads, you'll know how beneficial salt water is to the locking and tightening process. Our Accelerator is also balanced with the conditioning properties of Pro Vitamin B and Aloe Vera to maintain the health of your hair.
Crocheting, teasing and dread balling: Occasional crocheting may be done when your dreads become quite messy. Just be mindful that sometimes over crocheting can inhibit your dreadlocks natural maturing and locking up process. We go into more detail about these techniques in the tab below but in a nutshell, crocheting, teasing and dread balling involves grabbing the loose hair and pulling it back into the dreadlock with a crochet hook.
Maintaining hair health and creating soft dreadlocks: Dry, brittle hair can result in prickly and irritating dreadlocks. Maintain the health and hydration of your hair by using Dread Empire's Conditioning Spray. It is a light, leave in spray with Aloe Vera, Pro Vitamin B and Mandarin Oil to improve the condition of your hair and soften your dreadlocks. Quench Conditioning Oils are another option and these came in three delicious essential oil blends. Whilst we recommend our conditioning products for more mature dreadlocks, providing your dreads are fairly tightly crocheted and not prone to slipping out, the conditioning products can be used at any stage of dreadlock development.
Avoiding an itchy, irritated scalp: A common complaint! This is particularly common as your scalp adjusts to newly installed or newly maintained dreadlocks. Our Conditioning Spray offer scalp soothing properties and will help keep the irritation at bay. If you scalp is particularly dry or you have dandruff, the Botanical Serum offers excellent hydration, scalp soothing and anti fungal properties. As mentioned under shampooing, more regular shampooing may also be your ticket to a nice calm scalp.
The occasional deep cleanse: Even the best shampoo regime do not always eliminate the oil and grime that can build up deep within the dreadlock. Doing a deep cleanse every 3-6 months in a bicarb solution will deeply penetrate, open up the cuticles along the hair strand and release the dirt and grime that can be rinsed away. Dread Empire offers a range of bicarb soaks.
Tackling the loose messy new growth at the base of your dreads: This is often the messiest part of your dreadlocks! Tackle it by working out what hair belongs to which dread so you can re tidy up the sections. Now pop a dread between to finger tips and rub in a circular motion. This will tease up the hair and thicken the base the of the dread. It's a great time to have a little Dread Dust on your finger tips because it makes forming knots so much easier! Now grab a crochet hook, push it through the base of the dread then pull some hair back into the dread, push it back and forth whilst in the dread before exiting. Repeat this will gently rotating the dreadlock so you're covering all sides. If you have long loose hairs around the base, tease these between your finger tips and then wrap them around the base of the dread before using the hook to pull them into the dreadlock.
Palm rolling ~ roll a dread back and forth between your palms whilst also applying 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 keep your dreadlocks nice and round, it helps separate dreadlocks from the base where they often start merging and the downward pressure will stretch them out to minimise shrinkage and help eliminate lumps and bumps.
Dread Balling and Teasing ~ This technique can be used to capture the loose hair down the length of the dread. Create little dread balls by teasing loose hair between your finger tips. This is a great time to have a little Dread Dust on your finger tips as it will make creating knots far quicker and easier, especially if you have straight stubborn hair. You can do this along the length of the dread and once you've made a little knotted dread ball, use your crochet hook to pull it into the dreadlock. If it's particularly long loose hair, tease it up then wrap it around the dreadlock before using the hook to pull it into the dread.
Root tightening with clockwise rubbing and crocheting ~ This is often the messiest part of your dreadlocks! Tackle it by working out what hair belongs to which dread so you can re tidy up the sections. Now pop a dread between to finger tips and rub in a circular motion. This will tease up the hair and thicken the base the of the dread. It's a great time to have a little Dread Dust on your finger tips because it makes forming knots so much easier! Now grab a crochet hook, push it through the base of the dread then pull some hair back into the dread, push it back and forth whilst in the dread before exiting. Repeat this will gently rotating the dreadlock so you're covering all sides. If you have long loose hairs around the base, tease these between your finger tips and then wrap them around the base of the dread before using the hook to pull them into the dreadlock.
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 fast track the maturing process. The technique used to perform crochet 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) to encouraging locking in the middle of the dread. As mentioned above, this can be used in conjunction with teasing and dread balling.