How To Maintain Your Dreadlocks

Brand new dreadlings! Your first week

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. 

Ongoing Maintenance

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 balanced with the locking and conditioning properties of Aloe Vera. It is a fantastic product to use as your dreadlocks mature and will really help them tighten and lock. Spray after shampooing and every few days as desired.

Maintenance Techniques: It is a great time to perform maintenance when your dreadlocks are freshly washed and dried and in the next tab down, we go into more detail describing how to palm roll, dread ball, crochet and clockwise rub. How much time you spend on maintenance is completely personal preference and may be driven by your hair type and how easily it knots and locks. If you want super neat dreads, then more maintenance would be required, but if you're happy for them to organically grow, change and mature and are open to them going through messy periods, then you could get away with much less maintenance.

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 and 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.

Maintenance Techniques

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 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.