As someone who dreams of having long, healthy-looking locks, it’s natural to experiment in order to find what works for you, but you may not always be making the right choices to achieve the results you’re after. With vast opinions circulating the internet regarding whether you should be using wax for your dreadlocks and why you should stay away, you can easily become confused and choose the most popular option.
However, we’re here to tell you why you should not be using wax on your dreadlocks, what to do if you’ve already made that mistake, and how to maintain your dreadlocks without having to resort to nasty wax options.
What is wax?
Firstly, it’s important to explain what exactly wax is and the types of wax options that are available. As a compound that repels water, wax is easy to work with at normal room temperatures and one of the main ingredients in dreads wax products. However, it’s not the best option for using on dreadlocks for various reasons.
1. Plant Wax:
Produced to control evaporation and hydration, plants secrete wax from their cuticles. The most popular plant wax is Carnauba wax extracted from the Palm tree.
2. Animal Wax:
Most commonly known as beeswax, it’s formed by honeybees when constructing honeycombs. Another animal wax is known as lanolin and derives from sheep wool.
3. Petroleum-Derived Waxes:
Petroleum-derived waxes such as paraffin and microcrystalline waxes are most commonly used in cosmetic products.
Why you shouldn’t use wax on dreadlocks
1. Attracts dirt
Wax of any kind will attract lint and dirt over time. It’s not easy to get rid of once it sticks.
2. Difficult to get rid of:
Wax, naturally, is easy to work with, but it can also be a nightmare to get rid of.
Regardless of whether you use minimal amounts of wax on your dreadlocks, you will gradually end up with build-up from having to reapply for maintenance reasons. On the outside, your locks may seem healthy, but once you open them up to examine what’s going on underneath the surface, you may find wax build-up mixed with lint and dirt.
There is a potential risk that your dreads will start smelling over time. This is mainly due to the fact that your dreads are tacky, waxy, and dirty. When you’re unable to properly clean your locs, you’re left with a smelly dreads.
How to remove wax from dreadlocks
1. Removing wax from your dreadlocks using your fingers:
- Wash your hair twice with a clarifying shampoo, such as Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo. DO NOT apply conditioner.
- With an individual dread in between your index finger and thumb, gently press the residue out of your hair.
- Re-wash your dreadlocks with a clarifying shampoo.
2. Removing wax from your dreadlocks using heat:
- Apply paper towels around an individual dread.
- Using a blow dryer, apply heat on the entire dread in order to get rid of surface wax build-up.
- Re-apply a clean paper towel around the same dread.
- Using a flat iron, heat the entire dread whilst twisting the dread in order to ensure that heat is evenly distributed.
- Finish up with a warm rinse and two clarifying shampoo washes.
How to maintain dreadlocks without wax
1. Interlocking dreadlocks maintenance
- Ensure that your hair grows out approximately an inch,
- Divide the outgrown hair into two parts,
- Loop the lock through the hole using a latch hook,
- Repeat the process using a different hole/direction each time.
It’s important to ensure that you leave a little bit of wiggle room between the scalp and the lock in order to avoid breakage. Repeat this method for each dreadlock. Your locs will remain neat for eight weeks.
This method works best on afro hair.
2. Crochet dreadlocks maintenance
The crochet hook will grab loose hair and release them in the dread. The crochet method also enables the crochet hook to enter the dread in order to be pushed forward and backward rigorously within the centre without exiting the dread. This encourages locking within the centre of the dread.
Maintain your dreads 3 times a year with this method. Additionally, this method is suitable for any hair type.
3. Palm Rolling Dreadlocks Maintenance
- Start off by washing your locks followed by towel drying.
- Separate your dreads in order to expose the outgrown hair.
- Apply a light gel of your choice to the new hair and roll each loc in your palm.
- Secure each newly rolled loc with a pin, avoiding rolling the hair too tightly against your scalp which will result in unnecessary breakage.
You can keep your hair tidier longer with this method by styling them in cornrows or a simple ponytail. Remember, this method doesn’t last as long as the previously mentioned crochet or interlocking dreadlocks methods, but it will be a real lifesaver if you’re on a budget.
This method works best on afro hair.
4. Re-twist Dreadlocks Maintenance.
For best use on afro hair, the re-twist dreadlocks method consist of rolling loose hair around the existing loc.
- Start off by washing your dreadlocks
- Apply a light gel on the loose wet hair from the regrowth,
- Twist the loose hair around the existing lock,
- Pin each loc in place with a clip.
- Once dry, you can style your hair neatly in order to maintain the look for longer.
Regardless of your reasons for wanting dreadlocks, it’s important to take care of your lock properly in order to ensure longevity. You may even find the above-mentioned dreadlocks care and maintenance methods easier and more cost-effective, not to mention healthier than using wax.
• (1) Wax: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wax
• (2) Jojoba Oil Wax Esters and Derived Fatty Acids and Alcohols: Gas Chromatographic Analyses. THOMAS K. MIWA, Northern Regional Research Laboratory Peoria, Illinois 61604.
• Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998