Washing Dreadlocks: 4 Tips and Tricks for Clean and Healthy Hair

Washing Dreadlocks

If you’re new to the world of locs or “dreadlocks” or just looking to better care for your mature locs, you’ll want to read on. 

Many believe that washing dreadlocks too frequently can cause them to unravel, but this is a myth

In reality, neglecting regular washes can lead to fungal infections and other unpleasant issues.

Mastering the care of my dreadlocks has been a long-term commitment. It often takes around two years to fully lock the hair and achieve the look you’ve probably been aiming for. 

One of the most important aspects of this journey has been figuring out how to properly wash them. In this article, I’ll share tips and insights on how to keep your dreadlocks pristine. 

We’ll go over how to manage residue and moisture buildup, recommend the best shampoos, and discuss how often you should be washing your locs to maintain their health and beauty. 

Keep reading for essential guidance that will elevate your dreadlock care routine.

In This Article
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    How to Wash Dreadlocks? Step by Step

    Step 1: Select the Right Shampoo

    Choosing the right shampoo is crucial when it comes to washing your dreadlocks. It’s important to opt for a shampoo specifically formulated for dreadlocks and free of residues and harsh chemicals. 

    A great option is Dollylocks Nag Champa Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo. This pH-balanced shampoo is not only organic but also boasts essential oils and botanicals that ensure a deep yet gentle clean. 

    The Nag Champa scent adds a touch of luxury to your maintenance routine. 

    It’s an all-natural, residue-free option that’s great for all hair types and particularly effective for those with dandruff or dry scalp issues. 

    However, selecting a shampoo that is most suitable for your specific hair and scalp needs is always a good idea.

    Step 2: Dampen Your Locs

    Once you have selected the right shampoo, the next step is to dampen your dreadlocks. 

    Get into the shower and rinse your head with plain water to wet your scalp and locks thoroughly. 

    Make sure that every single strand of your head is wet and use plenty of water at this step.

    Step 3: Shampoo Your Locs

    Apply the shampoo directly to your head and start massaging it into your scalp. Use enough shampoo to form a lather in your dreadlocks. 

    Massage your scalp and work the shampoo down to the ends of your dreadlocks. Make sure that every single dreadlock has enough foam to remove all the residues. 

    Use your fingertips to massage in between the dreadlocks. This will help to deep clean your head and remove any buildup.

    Step 4: Wash Dreadlocks

    Rinse your head with plenty of water to remove all the shampoo. Squeeze out any excess water from your dreadlocks. 

    Make sure to rinse every single hair strand to remove any shampoo residue. 

    Once your head is rinsed well, wash your dreadlocks thoroughly to remove any shampoo that may have penetrated them.

    Step 5: Let Them Air Dry

    Squeeze out any excess water from your dreadlocks and avoid using a towel at this step. Let your dreadlocks air dry naturally. Do not use a hair dryer to dry your freshly washed dreadlocks. 

    After they have dried, you will notice that your dreadlocks feel lighter and softer than ever before. They will also smell great and look clean and healthy.

    In conclusion, washing your dreadlocks is not a difficult task if you follow the right steps. 

    Selecting the right shampoo, dampening your dreadlocks, shampooing them, washing them thoroughly, and letting them air dry are the key steps to washing your dreadlocks effectively. 

    By following these steps, you can keep your dreadlocks clean, healthy, and looking great.

    How Often Should You Wash Dreadlocks?

    If you have dreadlocks, you might be wondering how often you should wash them. The answer depends on the stage of your locs journey. Here is a guide on how often you can wash your dreadlocks.

    New dreads

    If you are new to dreadlocks and have just started your locs journey, it is recommended to wait for at least two to three before washing your hair. 

    In the beginning, your locs are immature and more prone to falling off easily with a little stress. 

    So, it is suggested to wash your scalp only once a week until your baby locs grow. However, if your scalp feels greasy or itchy, you can go for a gentle wash without adding extra tension to the locs.

    It is essential to note that new locs after washing may look messy, but that is a part of the process. You can tighten them at home with palm-rolling or other techniques. 

    Moreover, if you avoid washing the locs, they will accumulate dirt and debris, which can lead to unhealthy locs in the future. 

    Therefore, it is recommended to clean your locs from the very first day to enjoy healthy locs at the journey’s end.

    Mature dreads

    If you have mature locs, you can wash your hair once a week and use a shower cap to prevent the locs from extra moisture. 

    A detox treatment or deep cleaning method is also a good idea to keep your locs clean, healthy, and fresh.

    It is important to note that over-washing can cause dryness and breakage, while under-washing can lead to buildup and unpleasant odors. 

    Therefore, finding the right balance is crucial for maintaining healthy dreadlocks.

    How to Choose the Right Shampoo to Wash Dreadlocks?

    Choosing the right shampoo is crucial to maintaining healthy and clean dreadlocks. Experts recommend using organic shampoos that are free from additives and chemicals. 

    Organic shampoos are clear and transparent, making them easy to rinse out of the locs. They don’t leave any residue, which can cause build-up and harm the locs.

    In contrast, inorganic shampoos are thick and creamy, making them difficult to remove from the dreadlocks. They often contain oils that stick to the locs and leave residues. 

    Using baking soda or apple cider vinegar once in a while can help keep the locs residue-free.

    When choosing a shampoo, look for one that is organic and free from additives and chemicals. 

    This will ensure that your locs remain healthy and clean. Use the shampoo as recommended by the manufacturer, whether that be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

    (Additional Tip) Conditioning Mature Dreadlocks

    Once your dreadlocks have matured and are less prone to unraveling, you may start considering the option of conditioning. 

    Conditioning can help to hydrate your locs, making them more flexible and less prone to breakage. However, it’s crucial to choose a conditioner that doesn’t leave residue, as buildup can be a significant issue for dreadlocks.

    You can either opt for a light, leave-in spray conditioner or a rinse-out conditioner specifically designed for dreadlocks. 

    A good rule of thumb is to condition every other wash to maintain moisture without causing buildup. 

    Before incorporating conditioning into your routine, always perform a patch test to ensure the product is suitable for your locs.

    Remember, conditioning is not recommended for new or immature dreadlocks as it can cause them to unravel. It’s best to wait until your locs have fully matured and locked into place.

    How to Maintain Dreadlocks

    If you want to keep your dreadlocks looking neat and clean, it’s important to maintain them properly. Here are some tips that can help you keep your locs healthy and beautiful.

    1: No Heat Exposure

    To keep your locs natural and soft, avoid using heating equipment and tools such as straighteners, blow dryers, and curling irons. 

    These tools can leave your hair brittle and rough, which does not look good. Instead, let your locs air dry naturally or use a hair dryer on the cool setting.

    2: Wash Dreadlocks with a Clarifying Shampoo

    Use an organic clarifying shampoo to clean your locs. A good clarifying shampoo cleans the locs and restores natural shine and hair structure. 

    Ensure your shampoo cleans all the residue and moisture buildup and leaves light locs that look and smell good. 

    You should wash your dreadlocks once every 4-6 weeks to keep them clean and remove any buildup from your locks. 

    3: No Hair Wax

    Avoid using hair wax on your locs to set them or avoid their unraveling. Hair wax leaves unwanted residues in the locs that become difficult to remove. 

    Instead, use natural oils and water based moisturizers for your locs.

    4: Cover Your Locs

    When going to bed, tie your locs to avoid lint buildup in the locs. Using cotton bedcovers can result in lint buildup in the locs. 

    So, use a satin or silk pillowcase or caps to avoid lint buildup in the locs.

    For more detailed guidance on how to protect your locs while you sleep, don’t miss my article: HOW TO SLEEP WITH LOCS: 6 TIPS AND TRICKS FOR A COMFORTABLE NIGHT’S REST.

    5: Prefer Oils

    If you feel that your locs are not soft enough for any reason, use essential hair oils to moisturize your locs before washing them. It will make your locs soft and shiny.

    To understand the full range of benefits that essential oils can offer for your locs, be sure to check out my article: 4 BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS FOR LOC MAINTENANCE AND GROWTH: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE.

    Final Thoughts on Washing Dreadlocks

    Dreadlock care is a journey, one that demands attention, commitment, and a willingness to adapt your routine as your locs mature. 

    From the initial stages to full maturity, each phase calls for a specific approach to washing and maintenance. 

    With the right shampoo, proper washing frequency, and optional conditioning for mature locks, you can make that journey smoother. 

    The end result is healthy, vibrant dreadlocks that not only look great but also feel wonderful. 

    Your Turn

    If you’ve found this guide useful, Share it with others on their own journey with locs.

    Do you have additional tips or questions about taking care of dreadlocks?

    Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with me—I’m eager to hear your thoughts! 

    My journey with dreadlocks has been an eye-opening experience, and I believe that sharing these experiences can offer invaluable insights to all of us in this community.

    Let’s keep learning and growing together, and of course, let’s keep those locs looking fabulous!

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