Image by Fenna van Casand

Dreadlock FAQ

If this is your first dreadlock journey, you probably have a ton of questions! Below are some of the most common questions and answers people have when they are considering locking their hair. If you've done this before, keep reading to learn more about my methods and recommended products. No such thing as a stupid question here. 

Can I wash my dreadlocks?

Yes! Please do! I recommend AG Balance ACV shampoo. It is a wonderful, non-fragrant, liquid shampoo that rinses easily out of locs and helps maintain scalp health. Making sure that your locs are thoroughly dry within 6-8 hours after a wash is paramount for keeping them mold and mildew-free. I highly recommend investing in some kind of bonnet dryer, especially for the winter months. In summer, spending some time in the sun is an efficient way to dry your locs. You can also use a regular blow dryer, but it can be frustrating and time-consuming. Locs dry from the outside in, so while they may feel dry on the outside, the moisture inside will seep through to the surface.

Do I have to shave my head if I don't want my dreadlocks anymore?

No, dreadlocks can be brushed out, though this takes a very long time! Of course, you can always shave your head too; it just depends on whether you want to have hair after the dreadlocks are removed.

Can you color dreadlocks?

Yes, but keep in mind that dreadlocks can be very damaged by frequent color changes and may even fall off in some cases. Lightening dreadlocks is something that must be done extremely carefully, and is best left to a professional. If you are a person who likes to change your color a lot, natural dreadlocks may not be for you. However, we can always add in temporary extensions or colored synthetic hair so you can still get your color fix.

How long does my hair need to be to start dreadlocks?

If you are wanting to dreadlocks with your hair only, no extensions, I require the hair to be at least 6 inches. The longer it is, the more it will be able to tangle and lock up. While it can be done on hair that is 3-4 inches, they will need a LOT of maintenance as they start to rub together and lock, as the lack of length means there will be a lot of loose hairs.

For temporary braid-in extensions or permanent extensions that are created at the same time as the dreadlocks, I can work with 2-3 inches. If your hair is very short or very straight, permanent extensions are prone to slippage or falling out. The more length you have, the more anchored the extension is.

What methods do you use?

I use a combination of backcomb and crochet. There are tons of different ways to start dreadlocks, and I don't judge anyone for how they started their journey. However, this method has gotten the most consistent, predictable results for me and my clients. It works on ANY hair type, and done correctly, it does not damage the hair. I do not use any type of gel, interlocking, twist and rip, or wax. If you started your dreadlocks with a different method, you can switch to a crochet style of maintenance easily.

 

What kind of products do I need?

My favorite shampoo of all time is AG Balance ACV shampoo. It's great for everything and I haven't found a hair texture that it doesn't work on! I also recommend the Dollylocks line for tightening sprays, cleansing sprays, refreshing sprays, and dreadlock detoxes. The line was created exclusively for use on dreadlocks, by people with years of experience working with them. I know you will love their line as much as I do! Their tightening spray is one of my favorite products for new dreadlocks, and their conditioning oil is great for adding some moisture to dry locks and soothing an itchy scalp.

 

What if I only want a few dreadlocks instead of a full head? Can I do that?

Yes, absolutely! If you want to try out having dreadlocks, you need to have neat hair for work, or you just want a few "secret dreadlocks", partials are a great way to dip your toes in the world of dreadlocks. It does take a little bit of a different approach than a full head when it comes to washing and separating. You will have to be sure your loose hair remains separate from the dreadlocks. I recommend washing the loose hair completely separate from the dreadlocks, because they love to eat any loose hair surrounding them! It's not any less or more work to maintain them overall though, simply a personal preference.

I want extensions to add length to my existing locks. Do you do that?

Yes, I can add human hair to your dreadlocks for added length. These are crocheted into the ends of your dreadlocks and are relatively permanent, lasting at least a year. This is also a way to change up your color scheme. Please note that the processing required for blonde hair before it can be packaged and sold makes it more fragile, and your blonde extensions may not last as long as a darker color.

I just got my dreadlocks installed. What products do I need?

I am a big proponent of the belief that you do not NEED products for dreadlocks. A good residue-free shampoo to keep them clean is all that is required. If you want to use products, be sure to use them sparingly and be sure they will not cause build-up. Avoid gels, waxes, heavy conditioners, or anything with microbeads meant to exfoliate the scalp. Dollylocks tightening spray is great for palmrolling after a wash, and the refreshing sprays make your locs smell amazing and are a great reset in between washes. Rosewater is a wonderful light moisturizer that can be used daily if you are prone to dry scalp and hair. For general scalp health and itchiness, I love the Noggin Oil products. I would use these 1-2 times a week. Oils can help for moisture, but some are very heavy and will cause buildup, so be careful with them.

 

Can you install temporary dreadlock extensions?

Yes, I can make and install temporary synthetic dreadlock extensions if you're not committed to the full journey. Wool dreadlocks are also an option, but I do not make these. If you would like wool dreadlocks, I can recommend you to some amazing makers. Temporary dreadlocks are braided into the natural hair and can be worn for 6-10 weeks before they need to be reinstalled or removed. There is no damage to the natural hair, and you will still have loose hair when they come out, though if they were left in too long, you may have some matting at the root. Gently brush this out, shampoo and condition as normal, and you'll be back to normal.

Wool and synthetic dreadlocks can also be looped or tied into natural dreadlocks to add density or a variety of colors. This can last up to 4-6 months depending on the quality of the extensions and how well they are cared for.