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How to care for your dreadlocks



Dreadlocks, also locs, dreads, are ropelike strands of hair formed by matting or braiding hair. Some of the earliest depictions of dreadlocks date back as far as 3600 years to the Minoan Civilization, one of Europe’s earliest civilizations, centered in Crete.

Members of various African ethnic groups wear locks, the styles and significance of which may differ from one group to another. In Nigeria, some children are born with naturally locked hair and are called by the Yoruba word Dada in Nigerian English. Yoruba priests of Olokun, the Orisha of the deep ocean, wear locks.


Traditionally, it was believed that in order to create dreadlocks in non afro-textured hair, an individual had to refrain from brushing, combing or cutting. This lack of hair grooming results in what is called “free form” or “neglect” dreads, where the hair matts together slowly of its own accord.

There is also the ability to adopt different types of fake dreadlocks that may make the hair look as real as possible. This process is called synthetic dreadlocks. There are two different types of synthetic dreadlocks. 

Dreadlocks are a popular hairstyle for people with thicker, curlier hair, but they can be worn by most hair types. Like any other hairstyle, you should wash dreadlocks regularly and use products like moisturizers and oils to keep your hair healthy.

It may be sometimes difficult finding product reviews for dreadlock shampoos for your hair type. Thus this article.

You can care for your dreadlocks with the following. 

Product 1: Baking Soda and Water

Dread head websites seemed to recommend it often and natural shampoo blogs also mentioned this recipe as an alternative to regular shampoo. This can be used to care for your dreadlocks.

How to use it: 

  1. Fill a water bottle with water. 
  2. Add 1-3 Tbsp of baking soda. 
  3. Shake well to mix, but open the container to release any pressure build up immediately and often.
  4. Leave the container open during use for the same reason. 
  5. Use it all and discard any you don’t use when finished.


Baking soda can be harsh on the skin, so start off with smaller amounts and increase gradually to gauge irritation. Baking soda is extremely drying. Using too much over time left my scalp feeling tight and itchy. It also started to dry out my dreads too much for my comfort.

Start with 1 Tbsp of baking soda to about 1/4 gallon (about 1L) water. Gradually increase the amount of baking soda you use (up to 3 Tbsps) until you get a good clean without irritation. 

Did it clean

Unlike regular shampoos you have to allow it time to clean, so massage into scalp and let sit a few minutes. Then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Product 2: Baby Shampoo

You could use any shampoo without parabens in.

How to use it: 

  1. Add the shampoo generously into your hair.
  2. Massage the scalp thoroughly.
  3. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear and no shampoo comes out of your dreads when you squeeze them.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat.

In overall, you learn to wash your dreadlocks once every 2-4 days. It’s important to keep your dreads clean and to remove buildup from your locks. Aim to wash your hair at least 1 time per week, but not every day. It’s best to wait at least 2 days between each wash to allow your scalp to produce natural oils. If you have very dry hair that’s prone to breakage, talk to your locktician about how often you should be washing your hair according to your hair type.

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