Caring for your dreadlocks - Part 1

By . - Tuesday, September 04, 2012

What are dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks or locks as I prefer to call them, are twisted and matted ropes of hair. They can form naturally through the matting process that happens when hair is not brushed or combed, or they can be intentionally formed with combs and locking products.

Cleansing your locks

Matured locks should be washed at least once week just like any other type of hair. Healthy hair needs a clean scalp to grow from. I would recommend using a moisturizing shampoo weekly focusing all your attention on the scalp. Please don't rub and scrub the length of your locks with shampoo. Be sure to rinse the shampoo out thoroughly each and every time.

Hot Oil Treatments

Hot oil treatments after each wash is essential for preventing dry and brittle locks. It also prevents drying and flaking of the scalp which results in scratching the scalp. When we scratch our scalp we essentially damage it. Healthy hair can not grow from a damaged scalp. Treat your scalp and the length of your locks to a hot extra virgin coconut oil treatment. It not only smells absolutely divine, but coconut oil happens to penetrate the layers of the hair shaft making the hair stronger and shinier. Try any natural oil and I guarantee you will love the feel and look of your locks.

Drying your locks

This has to be one of the most important parts of caring for your locks. Matted and twisted hair has the ability to hold a lot of water. If the locks do not dry properly bacteria and mold could begin to grow. This will yield an unpleasant smell and may result in overall hair loss. Be sure to squeeze your locks with a dry clean towel after washing. Get as much water out as you can and either air dry or sit under a hooded dryer. Allow your locks to hang loose and don't tie them up during the drying process. If you do develop a smell and suspect their might be mold in your dreads, try some of the following remedies:

  • Rinse your locks with original Listerine. The smell will not disappear immediately, but with repeated use the Listerine will kill the bacteria and the smell along with it.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (my favorite choice) rinse can also be used at a 2:1 ratio with water. This rinse will also combat shedding and dandruff!
  • Witch hazel and water (2:1 ratio) will also get rid of the smell over time.
"Blessing your locks" (Touch-ups)

Some people prefer to allow their locks to grow and move as it pleases, and others like to get roots touched up every so often. It's up the individual and their preferences. Be sure to use products that are especially made for locked hair. I do not recommend using gels since they flake and end up look unsightly for the most part. It is best to use products with ingredients that will naturally melt into the hair and wash away easily. I'm a fan of JO'M Beeswax with Shea Butter that has a light smell and melts away nicely with medium hold. I try to always use this product when dealing with clients.

Always be sure that your locks are not re-twisted to tight or styled too tightly. This can lead to traction alopecia and general hair loss. Be gentle with your hair!

Have a Good Hair Day!!!

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