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There are many reasons why removing dreadlocks makes sense. It could be because you're looking for a temporary change, want to redo your locks or for any number of personal reasons.
For example, I went through the dreadlock removal process in 2004. Cutting dreadlocks off after 5 years worth of growth was tough, but I had promised myself years before that I'd "grow new dreadlocks" with the birth of each child.
Rapper Busta Rhymes did an entire video about removing dreadlocks a few years ago to promote an album release.
While cutting is the most common method of removing dreadlocks, you can try to save your hair by carefully picking apart each individual lock. This is commonly called a "take down."
If you want to cut your locks you should grow them out for a month or two first so that you have some hair to work with after the process is done. Refrain from twisting or otherwise manipulating the roots so that the new growth is as loose as possible.
Now you can cut off your locks at the point where the new growth ends. You're left with a short crop (it would have been shorter if you simply shaved), but have saved time since you didn't need to pick apart the locks.
Taking the time can be worth it...
If you want to remove your locs without cutting like the young lady above, then you can take down your locks with a dread removal kit. Some popular commercial ones are:
Take Down Remover and Detangler for Braids, Dreadlocks, Fusion Hair Extensions and Matted/Tangled Hair
Knotty Boy Dreadlock Removal Kit
These products may help reduce the amount of hair damage and loss that is typical with taking down a style so that you don't have to resort to cutting your dreads off.
Alternatively, you may want to create your own dread removal kit and take down cream instead of using a commercial option.
Generally, all that's needed is a few bottles of conditioner, a lot more gentleness and even more time. The process has been known to take several days!
When removing dreadlocks on your own in this fashion, be sure to snip off the oldest growth on each lock (the last inch or two should do it in most cases).
Many folks wonder if a salon will help you remove dreadlock hair styles. The average cost to start dreadlocks ranges between $200-$500 USD. The cost to take them down is generally about the same, if not more due to the delicate nature of the process and the time it takes.
Note that if your dreads were manicured then a take down may not be the best option. In my case, my loctician sheared individual locks every once in a while in order to make them look neater. Clipping the stray strands of hair from locks in this fashion means that you're likely to find an uneven mane once you're done removing dreadlocks with a take down.
With either method, you'll want to first shampoo and deep condition your hair.
Once that's out of the way, it's up to you whether you want to pull out the scissors and razor or a rat-tooth comb and your favorite DVD collection.
I proudly share my experiences with hair care related products and services so
that you can learn what has - and hasn't - worked for me and my dreadlocks
since 1999. When you click on a link to purchase something I recommend on
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