Dreadlock maintenance turns drab dreads into luscious locks in 5 easy steps

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It's true that dreadlock maintenance is a low-key affair...when it comes to styling at least. There are a few more components to consider in a good hair care plan for your dreads, though.

These basic hair care steps won't make your maintenance routine for your dreads any harder; just different. And the difference will definitely show in your locks as they grow healthier, shinier and bouncier than ever before. No matter your hair type or how long you've had dreads, there's typically one category of challenges.

Tress Distress

Improper dreadlock maintenance can lead to dreads that pop off at the root from the slightest sign of stress - as little as running your fingers through your hair.

Dreadlock breakage like this can lead to other problems including not knowing what to do about removing lint, needing to disguise hairline thinning or fixing bending dreadlocks.

Worse yet, an irregular hair care routine or following the wrong routine can result in dull-looking dreads or lead to scalp problems like having an itchy feeling that just won't go away and excessive dreadlock dandruff.

Which leads to another issue; not only is your hair in need of care, but your dreadlock scalp routine needs regular attention too.

Don't have one? No worries. Here's a dreadlocks hair and scalp routine that works for all hair types and lengths. If you started your dreadlocks a few days or decades ago, you'll want to use each of the steps below to your advantage.

Five Steps to Fab Hair

Now that we know how important the proper dreadlock maintenance routine is to your hair, let's look at the simple steps that you can take today to allow your locks to reach their full potential.
  • Wash: Use a residue-free product to clean your locks. The frequency with which you wash your locks will depend on your lifestyle. If you're more active than most, then you'll need to consider washing your hair more often to reduce the build-up that sweat can produce on your scalp. If you're less active, your dreadlock maintenance routine shouldn't have to include washing your hair more than weekly.
  • Tone: This is an often skipped part of everyone's hair care routine, whether we're talking about dreadlock maintenance or any another hair style. Unfortunate to say the least, because toning (or gently messaging your scalp) for a few minutes not only feels great but helps release natural oils from your sebaceous glands. It also helps reduce dry scalp issues.
  • Condition: Much debated in the dreadlocks community, conditioning your hair restores your locks from the root and can correct surface damage. If you are really worried about conditioner prolonging the locking process or undoing your locks, then only use it on tips.
  • Groom: There are a few ways to groom your locks in order to promote the locking process with the hair closest to the roots. You can latch-hook, palm roll or root rub. Or you can let nature take its course and use the freeform technique.
  • Style: This is the part that everyone loves about dreads. The hair style is so full of character that they look great even when you do nothing.

Can It Get Any Easier Than This?

There are several tips that will make dreadlock maintenance even easier.

First, use the right hair care supplies. These range from products like shampoos, conditioners, waxes (or wax alternatives) and accessories like latch-hooks, rat-tail combs, hair dryers, towels and hair accessories like beads. Having these supplies on hand will make all the difference.

Secondly, learn from professional dreadlock stylists. Also known as locticians, these specialized hair stylists know what they are talking about when it comes to taking good care of dreadlocks.

Once you've got the grooming part down pat, try not to go overboard. That leads to the last tip: stop playing with your hair so much. No matter what you do, new growth will show up at the roots and make your hair look less 'maintained'.

This is big concern for lock wearers in the corporate world and particular social circles, but know that constant grooming can retard the locking process or leave you with thin locks that are overly stressed out (which is what we're trying to avoid in the first place).


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At the end of the day, knowing the five simple dreadlock maintenance steps and following the easy tips above will get your locked look going from shabby to chic in no time at all.


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