Maintaining dreadlocks is an everyday task. This is the first bit of important information you need to know. There are a lot of things that can damage your locs if they are not cared for properly, such as product buildup, tight styling, bleaching, and more. Whether you’re a beginner who needs to know what to do or a veteran in need of new ideas, I have some tips and tricks for you on things not to do with your dreadlocks.
1. Avoid Build Up at All Cost
One of the main things not to do with your dreadlocks is use creamy hair products such as conditioners and shampoos that are not suitable for your type of hair or locs. They will leave unwanted residue or build up in your hair that can cause a lot more damage than you think.
Build up means layers and layers of such products that gather over months if and when you do not wash your locs. Therefore, it’s highly important that wash your hair on a regular basis to make sure you keep your locs clean and maintain normal hygiene of your hair and scalp.
The residue on your locs slowly builds up, attracts lint and can event discolor them. That’s right. When you see people with locs that seem slightly discolored, that’s just caked up moisturizing products that have not been washed.
Tip – Use vegetable oils to soften and moisturize your locs. You can try almond, olive or avocado oil, as they have been proved to work best for this purpose. Here’s a great article on moisturizing dry dreadlocks the correct way for further reading.
2. Do Not Use Wax on Your Dreadlocks
It’s very tempting to use a bit of hair wax to style your dreadlocks or get them to stay in place but that’s a very big mistake. Wax attracts dirt, is very difficult to remove from your locs, and causes a lot of buildup. Plus, since you probably won’t be able to get it out of your hair completely, it will cake up and start to smell over time.
Instead, use a very light gel if you want to palm roll or retwist your locs. After that it will be easier to style your hair in cornrows and maintenance will be a lot neater. You can also maintain your locs by using a crochet hook or by interlocking them. Which brings me to this.
3. Never Retwist Dry Locs
Lack of moisture is a huge criteria on our list of things not to do with your dreadlocks. If your locs are dry and your try to retwist them, you will damage them. Instead, make sure you spray them with water and that you oil your scalp. In this way, they won’t get crispy and you will avoid breakage at all cost. Moisturizing shampoo is a good idea as well. This is compulsory especially if you have colored hair. Make sure you spray or oil your locs every single day so they don’t dry out.
4. Over Maintenance Is Damaging
Another thing you might be tempted to do is perform maintenance on your locs far more than you need to. However, this might cause your locs to thin or severely damage them. Of course, maintenance depends on the type of hair and locs you have, how fast your hair grows and just how good you’ve been at moisturizing and servicing your locs on a daily basis. Even so, on average, one should never go for maintenance more than four times a year.
5. Avoid Tight Styling
If you can, try to avoid tight updos that involve your locs. By this I mean braids, buns, ponytails, and every hairstyle in between that involves you pinching your hair up in a tight grip and securing with dozens of bobby pins. Save it for special occasions, such as a wedding or your prom but try not to do it every day. Tight styling might thin out your locs.
6. Things Not to Do With Your Dreadlocks – Homemade Treatments
DIY solutions and homemade recipes are a huge trend on Instagram and Facebook. We all love watching them. Frankly, they look so good and easy to make that you end up asking yourself – why not?
Because they may be harmful for both your hair and your scalp and because you may not be able to wash them out of your hair. These are the two main reasons. More often than not, homemade hair treatments include ingredients such as whole eggs or just yolks, honey, avocado, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, beer, gelatin, yogurt, and the list could go on forever.
However, a little in-depth research will show you that it might prove extremely difficult to rinse out mayonnaise and yogurt out of your locs, not to mention things such as gelatin. Apart from that, beer might leave a very nasty smell in your hair while apple cider vinegar, if not diluted properly, is acidic enough to burn your scalp.
7. Bleaching will damaged your dreads
There is a reason why there are so many bleaching fail videos on YouTube. People have tried over and over again to bleach their hair at home and failed. It’s a very bad idea that should be left in the hands of professionals, if that.
This is one of the most damaging things you can do to your hair, especially if you already have locs or if you are planning to get some after you have bleached your hair. The process involves very harsh chemicals that strip your hair of its color but also of all the moisture it ever had. That’s the reason it literally burns and falls out during the bleaching process.
Remember bleaching is a permanent thing you’re doing to your hair. Even if you apply another shade of dye on top, what’s underneath is still bleached and damaged. If you still want to go for it, though, absolutely no bleaching should be done at home. It’s best that you see a professional.
As fun, creative, and versatile as they can be, dreadlocks require a lot of care and dedication. I created this list of seven things not to do with your dreadlocks as a little help guide you can always come back to. Follow these steps and you can be sure your locs will be happy and healthy!