When I consult with a new client, there are a few "red flags" I look out for, in terms of misinformation or misunderstanding. There are some HUGE myths out there about dreadlock care, and I want to make sure that everyone who's contemplating dreads in my chair is well informed about what's to come. The biggest misconceptions are always involving aftercare - yes, there's homework! I recently updated the information sheet that we give our clients at Knotty Boy, and I thought I'd post it up here for everyone who's asked.
Weekly Dreadlock Maintenance
Step 1 – Wash your locks
Washing your dreads is a key part of growing a healthy head of locks! Contrary to popular belief, shampooing your hair will actually help them develop faster and tighter – with the added bonus of smelling great!
When you wash, you only need to be concerned with your scalp – don’t worry about soaping up your locks. Give it a good scrub with the Knotty Boy Dread Shampoo Bar or Liquid Shampoo. The water and shampoo rinsing from your scalp will be enough to cleanse the dreads themselves.
Step 2 – Palmroll your dreads one at a time while they are still damp.
Palmrolling is the most basic and important tool of maintenance. Most lumps, bumps, and general disarray can be prevented and cured with regular palmrolling. Doing this when your hair is damp will help you to keep a cylindrical shape, as well as encourage loose hairs to reintegrate back into the lock. It will also help you to keep the new dreads separate from each other. This is the step to incorporate Locksteady Tightening Gel, if you choose.
To palmroll, start at the root and briskly roll your dread between your palms to the end.
Step 3 – Dry your locks, all the way through.
Most horror stories about smelly dreads have a common root cause, and that cause is trapped moisture! Making sure your dreads are 100% dry, all the way through, will prevent musty odors from developing. If you wash your hair more than once a week, or otherwise wet your hair often, you’ll want to make sure you use a blowdryer to accelerate the drying process. Otherwise, air drying is fine. Simply wait a day or two before proceeding with your maintenance routine.
Step 4 – Reapply wax, as needed.
Now that your hair is dry, you can apply a little more Knotty Boy Dread Wax to your dreads if necessary. Section out a dreadlock from the root, and give it a feel. If there is loose hair coming out, or it feels like it’s coming apart a little, then go ahead and add some more. If you have a jar, dig into the surface of the wax a little, so that you can easily take a pea-sized amount. Work that wax in your fingers to soften it and ease out any clumps. Next, massage it in to your dreadlock, starting at the roots and working down to the ends. Remember – less is more with this wax! You only need enough to bind the hair together.
*If you are using the Knotty Boy Wax Stick, you can just lightly run it down the body of the dread.*
When you’ve applied your wax, it’s time to palmroll again! Didn’t we mention it’s the most important tool in your hands? It’s the best way to get that wax where it’s going to do it’s work.
Some other helpful tips:
• Immediately after receiving dreadlocks or maintenance your hair will feel tight, and slight irritation to the scalp may occur. Redness around the hair line is normal and will go away shortly - don’t panic! Give it a spritz with Knotty Boy Peppermint Cooling Spray to ease itchiness and irritation.
• Don’t tie up your wet dreads or pile them in a hat – you’ll need the air to circulate freely!
• Don’t apply wax to wet hair – you’ll trap the moisture inside, creating a stinky mess.
• Use a shower cap when you aren’t washing your hair.
• For tight, blunt dreadlock tips, place the tip of your dread in your palm and rub in a circular motion. Backcomb the remaining tip-hair, moving the knots back up into the lock, then palm-roll. Repeat process until ends have achieved desired look.
• Cutting locks apart or snipping ends is not recommended, as this often causes more problems in the long run. Rip dreads apart to keep them separated, and run your fingers around the sections keeping loose hairs in the dread they belong to.
• Flipping dreads through themselves is not recommended as it may cause kinking, holes and serious weakness in the locks if not done correctly.
• When using Knotty Boy LockSteady Tropical Tightening Gel, coat palms of hands with gel, then drag through wet locks. Do not use on dry locks as it may leave build-up and flakes. Palmroll gel into each lock and let dreads dry thoroughly before tying up.
• Dreadlock maintenance is strongly recommended every 3-4 months for uniform, well-groomed, healthy locks. Re-sectioning, grooming and tightening by weaving loose hair back into locks helps prevent thinning at the root and breakage.
For more questions and answers check out Knotty Boy's FAQ!