Dreadlocks FAQ

← Dreadlocks FAQ

Maintaining Dreadlocks

You or a friend can maintain your dreads for you if you use the backcombing, twisting, twist & rip, brush rubbing, dread braiding, twist & pin or industrial method. No maintenance is required for freeform or neglect dreads. And you should go to a salon to have dread made with the dread perm, silky dreads, or loomed dreads methods. You can go to the salon section on the links page to find some salons in your area that do dread maintenance. And if you know of a salon that does dread maintenance please let us know about them.

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You or a friend can maintain your dreads for you if you use the backcombing, twisting, twist & rip, brush rubbing, dread braiding, twist & pin or industrial method. No maintenance is required on neglect dreads. And you should go to a salon to have dread made with the dread perm, silky dreads, or loomed dreads methods. You can go to the salon section on the links page to find some salons in your area that do dread maintenance. And if you know of a salon that does dread maintenance please let us know about them.

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We recommend washing at least once a week, but your dreads will have the best results if you wash at least every three days.

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When your dreads are new you will probably wax twice each week for the first 3 weeks. And then until the dreads are about 4 months old you will wax once a week to a week and a half. After 4 months you will probably only wax about once or twice a month when the dreads have loose hairs or feel dry.

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Yes, you do have to renew dread perms. Maintenance can be required every month or every 3 months depending on who you go to and how they actually do the perm.

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There is a list of salons that do dread perms on the salons page in the links section, you can also find a list that do not have web addresses in the methods section.

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As of right now there is only one residue free shampoo sold on the Internet. You can find it on Dread Head residue free dreadlocks shampoo site.

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There is a list of salons in the methods section. There is also a list of salon sites in the links section. If you know of a salon that does extensions please let us know about them.

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The best way to tighten the middle of your dreads is to palm roll them.

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It’s not really a good idea, because the dread will start to unravel because the hair that was holding the knots together before is gone. You will have to wait for the tip to lock up again and it’s just a pain in the arse. But if you are going to do it the best way to cut it is like a flower, cut it at an angle and then put a rubber band around the tip and rub the tip against the palm of your hand everyday for about 2 days and then take the rubber band out.

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The best way to tighten roots is to use the clockwise rubbing technique. Just rub the root against your scalp in a clockwise motion. You can go here to see an animation on how to do it and get detailed instructions.

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The best way to tighten tips is to rub them against the palm of your hand in a circular motion. You can go to the tip rounding page in the Tips section to see an animation and get detailed instructions.

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There are a couple ways to get rid of loose hairs.
Loose hairs in the middle of your dreads
1. Palm roll them and then wax to hold the hairs to the dread.
2. Use a dental floss threader and thread the loose hair through the middle of the dread. Then palm roll the dread to knot the loose hairs up in the dread and wax the dread to hold the loose hairs in the dread while the lock up.
3. Use a lighter to singe them off. *****Make sure you do not have any wax or any other hair products in your hair when you do this!*****

Loose hairs at the root
1. Use a dental floss threader and thread the loose hair through the root of the dread. Then put a rubber band around the root, make sure the rubber band is just snug on the dread, if it is to tight the rubber band will not allow the hair to move. Then use the clockwise rubbing technique and a little bit of wax to help hold everything together.

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Palm rolling is rolling the dread back and forth between your palms. It is very similar to making snakes out of Play dough.

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You only need to backcomb the dreads when they are new, you should not be backcombing them after they are two months old. The only reason you might backcomb your dreads, after the initial backcombing you did to put them in, is if they became so loose, that you had all kinds of loose hair floating around, and parts of the dred were completely undreaded.

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Well that depends on what wax you are using, if you are using a pomade wax (like Murray’s beeswax, which I do not recommend, it is greasy and they will make your dreads fall apart) you will have to use a lot because it does not hold the dreads together.
If you use the Dread Head, or Knotty Boy you will be using a finger full of wax on each dred (depending on how thick the dreads are and how long they are).

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After your dreads are about 6 months old you will only need to use wax for little loose hairs, frizzes, and to condition them so they don’t get brittle. But it is best to use a product like Dread Butta that is specific for moisturizing dreadlocks. Moisturizing products are usually lighter weight.

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Use the clockwise rubbing method. Rub the dread against your scalp in a clockwise motion.

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Wash it out using hot/warm water, it will take a washing or two to get it all out.

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If your hair is a very light blonde then it’s really easy. If not, then you have to bleach them first. I have heard of people using regular household bleach, but I have never tried it and I don’t think it’s a smart idea so I do not recommend it. Go to Wal-Mart or Sally’s and get the cheapest hair bleach you can find. I have used Clairol and it worked great. Some bleach will make your hair turn orange, but this one turns you hair a very light blonde. Let the bleach sit in the hair for a while, because you want to make sure you get all the hair, and make sure you squeeze it into the dread when you do it, otherwise the dark hair will show through. Make sure you wash all the bleach out, and wait a day before coloring your hair, because your hair may be very delicate right after you do it. When applying the color, do it the same way you applied the bleach, squeeze it in the dred locks to make sure you get all the hair you can, and make sure you wash all of it out.

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You should use the crocheting method. Just thread the dread through the loop and pull it through, kind of like sewing.

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Dreads do get fatter with time, because the hair that would have fallen out, builds up inside the dread. This is what makes the dreads become hard after a while. But if you want really big dreads and you haven’t started them yet it’s easy to make them fat, just make bigger sections. And it’s pretty easy to make the bigger if the dreads are only about two months old or younger, just rubber band them together and palm roll them as much as you can. But once they are hard it’s really hard to connect them, you can still rubber band them together, but you take a chance of having folds or creases in your dreads.

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You can use a hair dryer to melt it into the dreads, or you can wash the dreads in hot/warm water to melt it out.

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There are a couple methods for tightening roots
1. Crocheting– this really shouldn’t be used for tightening roots, you should only use it to get rid of loose loops. But what you do is stick the dread through the loop and pull it through; it’s kind of like sewing.
2. Clockwise Rubbing– In my opinion this is the best way to tighten roots, what you do is, rub the dread against your scalp in a clockwise motion. It has done wonders for my dreads.

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The best thing to do is cover them with a nylon when you sleep, and when you wash. You can also use a tam or beanie hat.

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The best way to have thin dreads is to make the sections thin when you start them. If the dreads are new (meaning younger than a month old) you can usually rip them apart from the root to the tip and then put a one rubber band after every inch on the dread, wax them, and palm roll as much as you can. Leave the rubber band on the dread for about a week. There really isn’t a good way to thin them once you’ve had them over a month. You can tie string around the roots and make them grow in thinner sections, but if cut them or pull them apart it really tears up the dread.

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You can use the Dread Head,Knatty Dread cream, and Knotty Boy products on already dreaded hair. I do not recommend the Knotty Boy shampoo, though, because it has all kinds of added scents that leave incredible amounts of residue behind.

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The best thing to do is roll the tip of the dread in the palm of your hand. This will make nice little round tips. I rolled my tips for three months and now they are round and really nice.

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The dreads may have a crease just like your normal hair would after you take the ponytail out, but don’t worry, it will go away when you wash them, or palm roll them

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Elastics are really good for dreads, they help the dreads form the way you want them to and keep loose hairs in. And if you palm roll them while you have them in it will actually dread the hair.

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It really depends on what soap you are using. There are 3 types of soap

1. Regular Soap- you can get this at the grocery store or drug store, Wal-Mart, you name it. The problem with these soaps is that they leave residue behind on the hair. (Refer to what is residue for a complete description) residues are left behind from the scents, holders, and moisturizers of the soaps and they build on the hair up over time. Well it’s not a problem if you have normal hair, actually it helps the hair because it keeps it from getting into tangles, but it is very bad for dreads because it keeps them from tightening. The residue will also build up and suffocate the scalp, keeping it from breathing and will cause dandruff

2. Residue Free Soap – This shampoo is harder to come by. Soaps for sensitive skin are usually residue free. You can sometimes find them at drug stores, and they always advertise that they are residue free, so don’t worry you will know! I get mine from DreadHeadHQ, because you can get it for half price if you order 6, and its really hard for me to find residue free shampoo where I’m living.

3. Dandruff Shampoo– Some people make the mistake of using this type of shampoo all the time. The reason it is bad to use this shampoo all the time is because, like regular shampoos, it leaves a residue behind. Not a scent residue but a medicated residue. This residue builds up just like the scented residue and keeps the dreads from tightening and the scalp from breathing so it causes the dandruff to form. So it’s actually working against you when it is supposed to be helping you. It is best to wash your dreadlocks in this shampoo when you have an itchy scalp, wash it once or twice to make the itches go away and the continue using your residue free shampoo.

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Absolutely not! Actually you should wash your hair and dry it before you dread it because it will dread faster, and easier.

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I recommend not using conditioner for about a week before you dread, because it can make the dreading process easier.

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You should make a habit of washing your dreadlocks every 3 days, but really, you can wash them as often as you like, but you should wash them at least once a week.

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I’ve heard that if you soak the dreads in rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes and cover the dreads in a plastic bag and then repeat in one week then it will kill the lice and their eggs. I haven’t had lice before so I haven’t tried this so I don’t know if it works for sure, but it’s worth a try, because dreads are part of you and you do not want to give them up easily.

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Some shampoos can be really bad for dreads because they leave residue behind on the hair, which can lubricate the hairs and cause the knots to fall apart. Residue is not a problem for normal hair because normal hair is straight and free flowing, whereas dreads and braids are a little harder to rinse well because they hold residues much easier because of the way it is tightly packed together. The residues can also cause itching and irritation on the scalp because they build up and the scalp cannot breath.

Conditioner will always lubricate the hairs and loosen the dreads, because that’s what it’s supposed to do.

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It’s a good idea to use a shampoo that doesn’t leave anything behind when you have dreads. It is more important to use a shampoo that doesn’t leave anything behind when you have dreads rather than when you just have normal hair because dreads hold a lot of stuff that usually falls out of normal hair when you brush it. The stuff will build up in the dreads and will cause the dreads to break down, loosen, and fall apart.

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Some shampoos are bad for dreads because they leave residues behind. Residues are worst for dreads than they are for normal hair because when you have dreads they hold a lot of stuff that usually falls out of normal hair when you brush it. The stuff will build up in the dreads and will cause the dreads to break down, loosen, and fall apart. You can usually tell a shampoo that has residue in it by the way it smells. If it smells like flowers, tea tree, or if it is advertised as smelling sweet than you know it’s packed with residues.

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Residues are anything that is left behind by a shampoo, conditioner, perfume, or scent. Residues built up and break down dreads.

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DreadHead makes a great residue free shampoo that removes other residues along with not leaving any residues of its own behind. At the moment it is the only residue free shampoo we know of that is sold on the internet.

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The main thing you should stay away from with shampoos is strong scents. Whenever there is a strong scent present there are loads of residues left behind. It a shampoo is advertised for its scent you know its bad.

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Washing helps tighten your dreads by removing dirt and other things that are left behind in dreads. When theses things are present the dreads are unable to tighten because these things are blocking them. As soon as you remove them the hair is able to knot up where the residue was.

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Backcombing

When the dreads are new you will wax them about twice in the first week and not wash the dreads. In the second week you will wash the dreads once and wax them twice. In the third week you should start to wash your dreads twice a week, you will still wax your dreads twice in this week. And you will do the same in the fourth week. Once the dreads are about a month old you will want to wax them after you have washed them, make sure your dreads are dry before you wax them, otherwise you might get a mildew smell. Once your dreads are about 3 months old you will only want to wax them about once every week or two, it is always best to wax your dreads when they are clean.

Twisting

While your dreads are new you will want to wax them about twice a week and not wash them. Once the dreads are about 2 weeks old you should wash them and once they are dry apply the wax. Once your dreads are locked up you will only want to wax them about once every two to three weeks to condition them and make them look healthy.

Twist and Rip

You should wash your hair about once every 2 days. You can rub your hair in the shower to make the knots or you can wait until the hair is dry. You will not want to pull the knots apart when they are wet, because it will damage your hair root beds. Once you have finished pulling the knots apart you should wax each dread section and palm roll or twist them, depending on the length of your hair.

Dread Perm

You should not wash your hair for at least 48 hours and longer if you stylist says to wait longer. Once the perm setting time is over you can wash your dreads about once a week while they are new, because they will be delicate. You should wax your dreads after each washing, but wait until the hair is dry before waxing because you will have a mildew smell if you don’t.

Brush rubbing

You can wash your dreads as often as you like and you should wax about once every 3 days while the dreads are new. And once the dreads are about two weeks old wax once every week or two.

Neglect

Your choice…. Everyone has their own ideas of how they want it done.

Dread Braiding

You can wash as often as you like. Actually I recommend washing everyday, because the more you wash the more loose hairs will come out of the braid and turn into knots. You should palm roll and wax after every washing but make sure your hair is dry before waxing because if you don’t you will get a mildew smell.

Silky Dreads

I recommend only washing about once a week because the more you wash the more delicate the dreads will become. You will probably wax once every day or two to hold loose hairs down.

Industrial Dreads

It depends on which method you choose when you make the dreads. Check out the sections above for your method.

Loomed Dreads

You can take these out and wash as often as you want. You will probably want to wax them once every 2 or 3 days to hold the loose hairs down.

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You can use spritzers’ and spays to make them smell better. But whenever you add anything to your dreads that leaves a scent behind you are adding residues to your dreads. You can get rid of the residues when you wash if you use a shampoo that removes residues. It is best never to use scented oils on your dreads because they will loosen then a lot.

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The reason the smell is there is because your hair is not clean, it could be that you haven’t washed for a while or you may have some residues that have built up and are now molding. It could also be mildew from letting the water sit in your dreads to long. If you feel the reason may be a cleanliness problem that one is easy to solve, just make sure you wash your hair at least once a week. If you feel it may be a mold problem the first thing to do is try and wash it with a residue removes shampoo, it might take 3 washings to determine if the problem is severe. If the problem is severe you should dilute some bleach and rinse your dreads with it. The measurement is 1-gallon water to a teaspoon of bleach. If it is a mildew problem wash your dreads in a residue removing shampoo and make sure you squeeze all of the water out of your dreads when you are finished washing them.

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The best way to get rid of bacteria is to wash the dreads in a residue removing shampoo. If the problem is severe you should dilute some bleach and rinse your dreads with it. The measurement is 1-gallon water to a teaspoon of bleach.

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The first thing you should try is to wash the dreads in a residue removing shampoo. If the problem is severe you should dilute some bleach and rinse your dreads with it. The measurement is 1-gallon water to a teaspoon of bleach.

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Of course you can wash them, they’re just hair.

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The best way to get round tips is use the tip rounding technique. This is where you rub the tip of the dread in the palm of your hand in a circular motion.

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The best way to get round tips is use the tip rounding technique. This is where you rub the tip of the dread in the palm of your hand in a circular motion.

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I tried it once, and I didn’t like the way my hair looked afterward, it looked really unhealthy and singed, a lot of the hair broke off, and it smelled so bad. The tips didn’t have the blunt look I was looking for either they just looked fried. If you are going to do it make sure you don’t have any wax or products in your hair, most hair products are very flammable. But I got the best results just rolling the tips in my palms.

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There are a couple methods for tightening roots

1. Crocheting- this really shouldn’t be used for tightening roots, you should only use it to get rid of loose loops. But what you do is stick the dread through the loop and pull it through; it’s kind of like sewing.

2. Clockwise Rubbing- In my opinion this is the best way to tighten roots, what you do is, rub the dread against your scalp in a clockwise motion. It has done wonders for my dreads.

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Use the clockwise rubbing method. Rub the dread against your scalp in a clockwise motion.

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You should pull them apart and then put a rubber band around the loose hairs, wax them and palm roll. And keep an eye on them, because if it happened once it can happen again.

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You should use elastics on the tips of your dreadlocks when they are new. It will help hold them together during their delicate time while they are locking up. You will really appreciate that you used elastics when your dreads are about 6 months old and they look better than everyone else’s dreads, who didn’t use elastics and their knots fell out.

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Elastics are great to use on roots when your dreadlocks are new. They are also great to use when you are Dreadball Z-ing and clockwise rubbing.

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Elastics can help your roots when you are trying to tighten your dreads. They can also help when you are trying to hold in loose hairs and dread balls.

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If it is just a regular rubber band then you should just leave it there until it falls off, but if it is one of those super Scunci elastics then it will never fall off, you should take it off after three months.

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It’s not really a good idea, because the dread will start to unravel because the hair that was holding the knots together before is gone. You will have to wait for the tip to lock up again and it’s just a pain in the arse. But if you are going to do it the best way to cut it is like a flower, cut it at an angle and then put a rubber band around the tip and rub the tip against the palm of your hand everyday for about 2 days and then take the rubber band out.

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There are two types of loose hairs:
Root loose hairs
You should twist them into a ball and thread them through the root of your dread. Put a rubber band around the roots, do not make the rubber band to tight, just snug, if it is to tight the hairs will not be able to move to knot into the dread. Then use the clockwise rubbing technique and rub the dread against your scalp. Put a little bit of wax on the dread and work it into the root to help hold things together.

Mid-dread loose hairs
The best thing to do is get a dental floss threader and thread the hair through the middle of the dread. Then add a little wax to the dread and start palm rolling.

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Palm rolling is rolling the dread back and forth between your palms. It is very similar to making snakes out of Play dough.

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Palm rolling is rolling the dread back and forth between your palms. It is very similar to making snakes out of Play dough

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Twisting is basically just rolling the dreads in between your fingers. Twisting is used with shorter dreads. Longer dreads usually use palm rolling.

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Twisting helps tighten your dreads, it can also help push in loose hairs, and make flat dreads round.

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Crocheting is threading the dread through a loop of hair to tighten the dread and get rid of the loop.

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Crocheting helps tighten dreads and get rid of loops.

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You can use crocheting to get rid of loops.

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You can use palm rolling or twisting to get rid of new lumps. You can also wrap hemp around the lump for about two months and the lump should be gone when you take the hemp off. You can also cover the lump up with a bead. If you use a tight fitting bead it will help the lump go away.

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Normal hair usually grows about a half inch a month. You can take herbs like horsetail, salmon oil, vitamin E.

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Well that all depends on how much work you want to put into your dread locks, if you start your dreads with 2 inches of hair, then you will be putting a lot of work into them but they won’t really look like dreads. If you start your dreads with 5 or 6 inches of hair then you will have a much easier and rewarding experience with making dread locks.

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You don’t have to shave your head. There are a couple ways to get dredlocks out, if you haven’t used a dread perm
1. The Easiest way: cut your dreads off a little below root and have about 2 inches of hair. You won’t have to spend hardly anytime with this, and if you are not partial to your hair then this is a good way for you to do it.

2. Cut the first half of your dread off, from the tip of the dread to the middle. Then soak the rest of the dread in conditioner and comb the dread out. This will take some time, but you will have cut the strongest part of the dread off, so it will be a lot easier to comb the rest out.

3. You just love your long hair and don’t want short hair: I can completely understand this, this is probably the way I would choose if I were ever thinking about cutting my dreads off, but I’m not so I don’t have to think about it :) Soak the whole dread in conditioner, and comb the dread out. Let me warn you that this will take a lot of time, probably 4 or 5 times longer than it took you to put them in, but if you love your hair, it’s completely worth it. Some people will say that you can’t do this, but you can, I know a person who did this, and I helped them take some of them out. I didn’t stay the whole time, but I know when I came back the next day, they were still working on taking them out.

4. And if you have chosen the silky dread method all you have to do is take out the extensions.

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It depends on which method you use.
Backcombing
You will loose about 20%-30% of your length when you dread your hair, you will loose more if you make the dreads really big or if you backcomb large amounts of hair at a time and you will loose less length if you make smaller dreds and backcomb a little bit of hair at a time.

Twist and Rip
You could loose, 50% of your length or 30%, it could go either way, your hair chooses, how it wants to knot

Neglect
You could loose, 50% of your length or 30%, it could go either way, your hair chooses, how it wants to knot

Dread Perm
You shouldn’t loose much length at all, but you could loose a lot, because a lot of your hair could break off.

Twisting
You will barely loose any length, maybe 20% at most.

Comb rubbing
Well you don’t have much length to start with; you won’t loose enough to notice.

Dread Braiding
You will probably only loose about 10% of your length, because braids do not take much length once they are in and the hair won’t have much room to move and shorten.

Silky Dreads
You won’t loose any length; these are just temporary dreads. When you are tired of them just take the extensions out.

Industrial Dreads
It depends on what method you use first to make your dreads. Industrial dreads are just dreads with wire in them so they are flexible

Loomed Dreads
You will not loose any length with loomed dreads because they are temporary. Loomed dreads are dreaded hair extensions added to your hair.

Twist & Pin

You will loose 10%-20% of your length.

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Use the clockwise rubbing method. Rub the dread against your scalp in a clockwise motion.

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Yes, actually your hair will dread easier because the hair has been damaged, so it will hold knots a lot easier. You can use any method and the dreads will lock up.

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Backcombing
Well there are three things you can do
1. Dread them in with the other dreads
2. Make little dreads out of them. I saw one girl with little dreaded bangs, and she looked so cute!
3. Leave them just like they are, have dreads and straight bangs, I’ve seen it once before and it was neat.

Twist and Rip
Your dreads will really decide if the bangs are in or out.

Neglect
They should dread in with the other hair.

Dread Perm
1. Dread perm them in with the other dreads.
2. Make little dreads out of them. I saw one girl with little dreaded bangs, and she looked so cute!
3. Leave them just like they are, have dreads and straight bangs, I’ve seen it once before and it was neat.

Twisting
1. Dread them in with the other dreads.
2. Make little dreads out of them. I saw one girl with little dreaded bangs, and she looked so cute!

Comb rubbing
I doubt you have bangs, but if you do, and they are longer and you can’t dread them in with the other hair
1. Cut them
2. Backcomb or twist them

Dread Braiding
You can braid them in with the braids.

Silky Dreads
1. You can braid them in when you are forming the dreads.
2. You can leave them out and just have dreads and bangs, I have seen it before and it looks really cute.

Industrial Dreads
Check out the methods above

Loomed Dreads
Your stylist will most likely leave them out and you will have braids and dreads.
Twist & Pin
You should twist them and make little dreads out of them.

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There are two types of thick hair
1. Thick strands- usually Asian people have this kind of hair, it is harder for this kind of hair to actually lock up, but if you use the backcombing method with a good wax, you won’t have many problems. Neglect, and twist and rip will not work well with this hair type.
2. Lots of hair- people who have curly have usually have lots of it. The stands are usually thin or normal size, and the dread great. A person with this hair will have no problems getting dreads, with any method.

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Extensions are hair that is braided or dreaded into your hair to make your dreads fatter, or longer. Most salons can put them in your hair, but you should check around and see how they put them in. It is better if they dread it into the hair, because if they braid it in the braided part never dreads and it looks really funny, but if they dread it in it looks like your real dreads.

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Of course, dreads are not picky. Actually thin hair is easier to make dreads in than a lot of other hair type, but it’s practically impossible to get the dreads out of thin hair if you ever did want to take them out.

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These are the two things you should make your decision by

If the dreads get really long they can pull on the scalp if they get really long which can make you loose more hair.

Another way to look at it is that you will get to keep the hair longer, because the dreads will hold the hairs together.

It’s really a give take situation, but I have never heard of anyone’s hair follicles being damaged because of have dreads, it’s just a warning that needs to thrown out there just in case anything did happen.

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Yep, dreads do grow; they grow at the same speed your normal hair grows. Even though it seems like they are growing slower because the hair has to spiral and twist and knot. So it seems like dreads are growing ¼ the amount that normal hair grows. The hair does not grow into the dread unless the roots of the dread are locked up. So it is very important to lock the hair at the root, you can use the clockwise rubbing method to do this.

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It’s not really a good idea, because the dread will start to unravel because the hair that was holding the knots together before is gone. You will have to wait for the tip to lock up again and it’s just a pain in the arse. But if you are going to do it the best way to cut it is like a flower, cut it at an angle, and put a rubber band at the tip.

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You can, and you can keep the sides short if you want, or let the sides grow out and dread them later.

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There are a couple herbs you can take to make your hair grow fast
1. Horsetail- the is the most effective one
2. Salmon oil
3. Vitamin E

Scalp massages also help hair grow fast

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