Welcome to a new world of dreadlocks!
Welcome to a whole new world of dreadlocks!
Now that you have had your hair made into dreadlocks, you may feel a little sore, and tight on parts of the scalp, this is nothing to worry about, it will go away with time. You may even get some tension headaches and have a bit of a sore neck. But you will get used to this new feeling on your head and this will ease in a few days.
It may feel strange having your hair in this new way, you will get used to it and you can take it as a challenge to try to find new hairstyles, putting your hair in new beautiful styles or just wearing your hair loose and free flowing. Do not be afraid to start experimenting and playing with dreadlocks to find a way where you can feel comfortable to find something that feels like you.
Today I've either used a pomade, or a tightening spray on your dreadlocks and they can feel extremely sticky at first but within a few days or so, the dreadlock pomade has dried into your dreadlocks and you will feel unmoved by it all. If you feel that there are little lumps left, you can massage them into your dreadlocks and you can even use a hairdryer if you want to blend in the dreadlock pomade further.
I recommend that you wrap your dreadlocks up with a scarf when you are sleeping for the first few days so that you do not get dreadlocks stickiness in the face. But it is good if you can have them loose after a while. You will also notice that it’s a little hard to sleep on dreadlocks the first few nights, they may itch, and be a little awkward but soon enough you'll just believe that your dreads work as an extra pillow. For the first few night’s you could use an extra pillowcase on the pillow as the dreadlocks pomade can cause grease stains, but it is something that is easily washed away.
Some people experience an itching of the scalp in the beginning. If you experience irritation of the scalp, I recommend using a spray by Knotty Boy called Knotty Boys peppermint cooling moisture spray. Used directly on the scalp, it cools the entire scalp and calms it down. You should also keep it in the fridge! The spray also has a wonderfully fresh scent of peppermint that removes odours out of your hair, and I can really recommend this spray as an alternative during the time that you should not wash your dreads. Dollylocks Refreshing spray is also good for an itchy scalp. Their peppermint spray works in the same way. I sell these in my studio but information about where you can buy them online is available here
Palm rolling your dreadlocks (dry hair):
If you find that any parts of your dreads feel a little soft, or they start to fluff, before you’ve washed them for the first time, you can take a small pea size amount of dreadlock pomade and massage right into the section to get them in the best possible shape. After you have washed your dreads for the first time you will be able to palm roll all of your dreads with a greater amount of pomade. Remember to rub the pomade in a rolling shape between thumb and forefinger. The pomade to use is Dollylocks bee free pomade. I sell these in my studio but information about where you can buy them online is available here Never use any wax as it can leave a residue build up over time.
During the first month, it's good if you take the time every day to palm roll your dreads. The easiest way is if you start at the root of dreadlock and roll outwards. This forces the dreadlocks to remain round and prevents dreadlock ‘bubbles’, roughness, and can also prevent the risk that they become flat. Dreadlocks that you have in your neck are more likely to become flat where you are leaning against them while sleeping.
How do you palm roll your dreads?
You roll your dreadlocks between your palms but be sure to have an even pressure against the palms of your hands. This is done from the root outward to the ends. You can also roll a dread between your thumb and middle finger if there is a specific place that you want an extra touch.
I have put a small root tie at your scalp root because it does not cause as much pain when making your dreadlocks and you get a good consistent sectioning that holds in place the first time to counteract the dreadlocks growing together. The root tie is part of the Seienstyle method that I do https://www.seienstyle.com/ The root tie also helps to get the hair to tangle/mature faster when it grows out. I recommend that you let the root ties remain on your dreadlocks for them to work best. If you must, you can remove them after 4-6months by taking sharp scissors, scratching them up to remove them but they are also very hard to see. If your own hair has grown around the tie, I recommend that you leave it there because you can damage your dread if you cut too deeply into dreadlock. The root ties do no harm to your dreadlocks. The root tie is removed by me, and a new one is placed at your root during your routine maintenance sessions.
Many people ask me if they should start putting in rubber bands and if they work the same way? This is not something that I recommend as the rubber breaks off small hairs on the scalp and it will make you get very spiky hair at the scalp. If you want to tie your roots with anything, it's Dollylocks synthetic weaving thread which I recommend you to use.
It is only after your first wash that you should use the pomade or tightening spray on all your dry dreadlocks. Your hair must be dry when you apply the pomade otherwise you can trap moisture in dreadlocks and it may cause mould. It is important to make sure that you do not drown them in dreadlock pomade so that they become like candles, if they get tough, you have used too much. If you have used to much, then just wash it off with warm water and a dreadlock shampoo. You can use Dollylocks bee free pomade or Dollylocks tightening spray to do this. Both work in the same way.
The most important thing is that they get a little pomade on the surface to help to speed up the dread process. Repeat this process when your hair has dried every time you have washed your dreads for the first two months. You will yourself notice the ‘feel’ and you can then go over them again every other wash. After the first two months have passed you can tell when and if it may be necessary to use a little pomade in the hair. Some people use a tiny little bit of pomade to smooth the loose hairs so they are neat and in place and you will find your own way with what you feel comfortable with.
Some people ask me if it is necessary to use products on dreadlocks as there is a ‘product-free’ movement in the dreadlock community. My opinion is that using a wax free product on Caucasian hair, helps and encourages the hair to stay tangled and mature faster during the first year of installation. As there are now fantastic organic products without harmful chemicals, made specifically for dreadlocks, I feel a little assistance can help with the maturing process, itchiness, loose hairs, odour and add shine! Fine Caucasian hair can need a little extra help when dreadlocks are young and in contrast, Afro-Caribbean hair will lock a lot easier due to the hairs texture.
Washing your hair:
I recommend that you do not wet and wash your new dreadlocks for between 2-3 weeks; the longer you wait the better they will be. Many people feel that they will have an incredibly dry and flaky scalp during this time and also fear that they will get dandruff. This is not always the case but if you get a flaky scalp during this time, this usually goes away as soon as you start to wash your dreadlocks.
When it's been a month, it's time to wash your dreads for the first time:-)
I usually recommend using a dreadlock shampoo bar for the first year to learn how to most easily direct the bar to the scalp and around dreadlocks to get them properly clean. The Dollylocks dreadlock shampoo bar also has ingredients (salt) which help the dreadlock maturing process.
There are also liquid dreadlock shampoo’s too which I would recommend after the first year. These lather more than the shampoo bars. You can find a dreadlock liquid shampoo that suits you and there are many on the market.
Is it ok to wash your dreadlocks with a regular shampoo?
Dreadlock shampoos will help your dreadlocks to tangle and mature and speed up the dreadlock process, and they do not leave any residue. Regular shampoos can contain a lot of silicones and other emollient funds that makes hair incredibly smooth and this would certainly not be good when you have new dreadlocks. You do not want to use anything that includes softeners or conditioner. I sell these in my studio but information about where you can buy them online is available here
How do you wash your dreadlocks?
Start by taking your time on a day when you are not in a hurry as the first time can be a little awkward at first. It will be time consuming so make sure that you are not too stressed out when you wash your dreads for the first time. Soak your dreadlocks with water until they're soaking wet, take the dreadlock shampoo bar, wet it and rub it on your scalp to make sure that you get shampoo everywhere from the scalp down to the tips of dreadlocks. If you use a liquid dreadlock shampoo, take a small amount in your palm and distribute the shampoo to your scalp, then towards the ends of your dreads so that it lathers really well. Carefully massage the scalp and all over the dreadlocks so that they are cleaned thoroughly.
There is not much difference from washing your usual hair, you should just not rub as hard on the scalp to get your dreadlocks clean. When you are finished with the shampooing you can rinse your hair with water until they are thoroughly clean. When you are finished, you need to wring out all water from your dreadlocks when you are still in the shower. Squeeze and wring them like you would wring the water out of a floor cloth. You can also squeeze with a towel to soak up all the water. When they have stopped dripping with water, you could roll your dreadlocks into a towel into a turban on your head to help the dreadlocks dry faster. It is sometimes surprising how much water is collected in dreadlocks.
When you feel that they have dried somewhat and they do not drip anymore, you can either dry them with a hair dryer or let the dreadlocks dry naturally. Do not go to bed with wet dreadlocks. You will find yourself a routine of what works for you, and what you feel is ok. When your dreadlocks are matured, and the older the dreadlocks are, it will take longer for your dreads to dry.
After the first month, I recommend that you get into the habit of washing your dreadlocks every couple of weeks and have a routine so you will have a healthy scalp and get a regularity in the dread shape of your dreadlocks. It is also fine to go longer in between washes, you will be able to tell what your scalp needs over time.
Taking care of your dreadlocks:
In connection with the washing it is good to also drag your fingers through your scalp to see if there are some small loose hairs that stick the dreadlocks together. If there is, just spread your dreadlocks to separate them to ensure that they do not grow together. You should do this after every wash so you prevent the dreadlocks growing together into a cake on your head. Dollylocks also make a tightening gel which can be used on damp hair. This works in the same way as their tightening spray but this gel can be used on damp hair. You smooth the gel down each dreadlock to help with tightening loose hairs, frizz and fluff. I recommend this as an alternative to their spray or pomade for lazy people! Or people who just don’t have the time to palm roll each time when the hair has dried. I sell these in my studio but information about where you can buy them online is available here
Make sure that your dreadlocks are fully dry before you put them in a style or put them up so they do not get weak spots and can dry fully. Vary how you put your hair up so that they will not get pits or bumps with a band that sits in the same place all the time.
As your hair grows your new growth will be ‘un-dreaded’. You will also get new hairs growing in between your dreadlocks. A dreadlocks wearer's best friend is a crochet hook. Using a crochet hook can overcome most of the problems that you can get when it comes to dreads. e.g. loose hairs, new hair growing out, bumps and bubbles. With a crochet hook you can repair, tuck and tighten your dreadlocks. Some people learn to use a crochet hook so they can take action and maintain their dreadlocks themselves.
So how do you use a crochet hook?
Use an ordinary crochet hook that is about 1 mm so you can begin to learn how to use it and bring the hair easily into the actual dreadlock. Take a grip of dreadlock that you want to fix, and with the loose hair on the side dread, insert the hook from the opposite side and pull through your hair to the other side. You turn the dreadlock and repeat, inserting the hook on the opposite side and pulling the loose hair through dreadlock. You repeat this until all of the loose hair strands have become woven into the very dreadlock.
You also begin to get new growth of hair so you can do the following to help this along the way to become the dreadlock: Take a comb and backcomb hair into the root. If you think you have a very smooth and shiny hair you can use a product called Dread Empire's Dread Dust. It is a powder that you powder into the scalp which absorbs grease and helps to get the hair to tangle more easily. If you want to test this, try dusting down a bit of Dread Dust in the scalp at the dreadlock that you want to fix, and then backcomb on it, so you will feel it is dryer and will freeze more easily. If you have any loose hairs on the side, you can take and weave these loose hairs back in and forth in the dreadlock which it belongs. Take care with your sections. You do not want to pull hair tight into the wrong section as it will pull on your scalp, irritate you and feel very uncomfortable.
A more sophisticated description of this is that you pull out the loose hairs using the hook right through dreadlock and these loose hairs when turned on the opposite side are then pulled back through. You continue to turn the dreadlocks and weave the loose hair in through the dreadlocks. You can even do a little rubbing movement of the hook when it is in the middle of dreadlock to pull through the loose hair getting caught even better.
When you do this, the dreadlocks will be much tighter at the root and will seem much prettier. If you want them to become even tighter, you can roll the piece that you have just fixed by rolling this part in between your thumb and forefinger to pack the hair really well. If you feel that dreadlock is really loose, you can apply a little pomade on the dreadlock and then blow dry into it to get a good effect.
It may sound like a lot to do initially to sit and fix dreadlocks but once you have got into a routine it usually goes well. Your dreadlocks are a continuous project that you will get used to over time. Remember getting your dreads completely perfect can be a little difficult, if not impossible. There will always be some flaws and irregularities and this will also evolve over time, this is the nature of dreadlocks!.
When dreadlocks mature, they look different and when you have had them for about 6 months you will see what form your dreadlocks will take. It is also after about six months that dreadlocks really settle down and are not as brittle anymore.
You might feel uncomfortable or nervous looking after your dreadlocks. You will begin to learn and feel more confident as you get on and start to understand the process more.
Dreadlocks with extensions:
Now that you have got considerably longer and more hair than before, your hair can feel incredibly heavy and you can get some tension headaches, a pulling feeling on your scalp and sometimes a sore neck. You can also get tension spots if your hair is so much longer, pulling your scalp, or you are tying it up to frequently. But you will also get used to the weight of the hair and hair is very strong. It is a strange feeling to carry so much more hair to begin with so it will take a while to get used to this new feeling. You will need to experiment how to wear your hair as the increased weight can in particular pull on your hairline if you tie your hair up. I recommend that you wear your hair down as much as you can to begin with so your scalp can get used to the new weight distribution more evenly.
One thing you should consider when you have dreads with extensions is that the joins can sometimes feel a little fragile between your own hair and the hair extensions. This could be because the hair extensions usually dread faster than your own hair. This is because the extension hair is much more dry and worn than your own hair and will matt quicker. The extension hair has been felted together and your own hair will catch up and before you know it, you will not notice that you have hair extensions in your dreadlocks. I always recommend that people who have had extensions return for maintenance and a check up 3 months after the installation. Because the extension hair is not growing from your scalp, it does not have the natural sebum moisturisers from your body so the extensions can feel very dry over time. In the first 6 months it is important to just make sure the seal with your own hair is secure so do not add any conditioner, moisturiser or conditioner to your dreadlocks. They need to matt, mature and stay in shape without fluffing out and becoming too soft. After 6 months, if they need it you can start using Dollylocks conditioning oil to human hair extensions and apply this directly to the ends of your dreadlocks.
Dreadlock decoration, beads and wraps:
Dreadlock beads look beautiful put on the dreadlock directly. Keep track of your dreadlock beads however when you wash your dreads as there is a tendency for dreads to shrink when you wash them and then the beads can easily slip off. I would not recommend dreadlock wraps for the first 6 months so the dread can mature, and the shape cannot be altered. After this time you can book a dreadlock decoration session with me at Heblocks
Some people prefer to only maintain the ‘length’ sections themselves and avoid the roots as the roots are more difficult to do on your own head. If you feel there is too much work to manage and crochet your dreadlocks yourself, I offer a dreadlock maintenance service.
I recommend that you come for maintenance 2/3 months after your dreadlocks have been installed. Then again every 3 months until they are 1 year old. (If you have very short, or fine hair you may prefer every two months in the first year). After your dreadlocks are a year old, every six months is usual. You can expect to spend between 3-6 hrs having maintenance depending on the condition of your dreadlocks.
Having maintenance done by a loctician is personal preference, some people like a more natural ‘look’, are happy with loose hairs or happy to maintain their own. Some people like all their sections clean and tidy with all hairs tucked in and some people prefer a very natural free look. During a maintenance session I install a new root-tie and also crochet all the loose hairs back into your dreadlocks. It can be a little uncomfortable during the service but a liberating feeling afterwards having all your dreadlocks nicely separated again.
If it feels like you have lost control over your dreads, or that you need more care instruction, just get in touch and I will advise. Please ask questions as it is better to ask one time too many than one too few. And it does not matter if you have questions now, in a few years, your dreadlocks are old, or new.
There are many products for dreadlocks on the market. I recommend the ones below because I have either used them myself, know they are effective or use them in the salon.
New dreadlocks (up to a year old):
Dollylocks Shampoo Bar
Knotty Boy dreadlock shampoo bar
Dollylocks liquid shampoo
Knotty Boy liquid shampoo
Avoid using regular shampoos and do not use conditioner as they can contain a lot of silicones and other emollient funds that makes hair incredibly smooth and can leave a residue.
For palm rolling to prevent loose hairs:
Dollylocks bee free pomade
Dollylocks tightening spray
Raw Roots Texture spray
Knotty Boy LockSteady Tropical Tightening Gel
Dollylocks Tightening gel
(You do not need all five. Choose one for dry hair and one for damp hair)
Do not use beeswax on your dreadlocks as wax leaves a sticky residue that can build up over time.
There is a newer range of products by Raw Roots https://rawroots.eu/ . Although I have not tried them myself yet, they are also vegan, and residue free and organic and do not contain harmful silicones. If the other products above are hard to source, Raw Roots could be an alternative to try.
The good news is that you can treat them almost just like your normal hair — you can wear them up, wear them down, and you can wash them. You do not need to wash the dreadlocks themselves when you shower/wash your hair, but rather simply focus on the scalp with a dreadlock shampoo. You can use Dollylocks Cleansing Spray in between washes to keep your synthetic dreadlocks clean and this product does not leave any residue.
If you do need to wash your synthetic dreadlocks, much of the Dollylocks range can be used on synthetic hair. You may need to experiment to see what brand and type of shampoo works easiest for you.
You should not plan to wash your synthetic dreadlocks anymore than every couple of weeks. Less frequent washing will keep them looking tidier longer. It may be best to invest in a shower cap to wear on non-washing days when you shower.
What you should never do with your synthetic dreadlocks is use a flat iron, curling iron, or hair dryer on them. Synthetic hair (Kanekalon) is a kind of plastic, and wool dreadlocks could melt or burn if you apply heat. Air drying naturally is the best way to dry your synthetic hair. A great 'how to wash your synthetic dreadlocks' video can be found here.
Products for other common issues associated with dreadlocks:
A deep cleansing detox kit will remove odour, cleanse and remove all residues (waxes, regular shampoos, dirt, grease) built up over time. Dollylocks & Raw Roots both produce detox kits. If you work in an industry with a lot of environmental toxins or have done a lot of dirty outdoor work or sport, detoxing your dreadlocks once a year can really help. Dollylocks cleansing spray can also be used to clean your dreadlocks in between washes. I also offer this as a service in my studio
Headlice: Raw roots also make a Creeps Tincture for head lice (although I do not know how effective it is). You may want to research remedies online as you will not be able to use a nit comb on your dreadlocks.
Itchy dry, flaky, irritated scalp: As well as the spray products mentioned above, you could try Dollylocks Dreadlock Conditioning Oil or RAW ROOTs Scalp Rescue Tonic. Some people also find Rose Water effective.
Smelly dreadlocks? You could try Knotty Boys Natural MISTic Deodorizer & Fragrance Spray. Make sure you always allow your dreadlocks to dry fully to prevent mould and odours occurring.
Please get in touch if you have any further questions
I stock some of the above products in my studio so feel free to ask me what I have in for sale.
Otherwise you can often purchase online from:
You may have just had your dreadlocks installed, or you may be researching how you would look after your dreadlocks.... Here you will find some useful information.