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frequently asked questions
- what should i do about loose roots?
- what should i do about loose tips?
- what should i do about loose hairs?
- what should i do about loops and zigzags?
- my new dreads are messy/loose/unravelling! help!
- how often should i wash my dreads?
- how much should I dilute Dr Bronners to use as shampoo?
- should i use wax?
- what's the best method for my hair type?
- what maintenance is recommended?
- how many dreads should I have?
- what dread products should i use?
- where can i get non residue shampoos?
- where can i get tams and dread hats?
- where can i get dread beads and peyote stitches?
- can't i just make my own?
- can dreads be taken out or will i have to cut?
what should i do about loose roots?
nothing. roots require room to move to dread, so loose roots are not a problem that need fixing. typically, young dreads have up to 3 inches of undreaded hair at the roots; as they mature this usually gets reduced to about 1/2 inch. this undreaded space is healthy, and efforts to dread the hair too close to the scalp are counterproductive and damaging! methods like interlocking, over-twisting and root rubbing can weaken dreads and even cause them to break. roots never need maintenance or "tightening".
nothing. loose tips are actually better then blunted tips. why? because water runs right out the ends, so drying time is drastically reduced. a dread with a blunt tip takes longer to dry then a loose tip, the difference can be as drastic as 6-36 hours, blunt tips just hold more water inside longer. but, if you insist on blunt tips, they can form naturally, or by rubbing the tip against your palm, by crocheting the tips, or by pushing the loose hairs up inside themselves and binding there with thread for weeks. there are other ways as well.
nothing. loose hairs are healthy! they protect the scalp from the elements (sun, wind etc) and you can create new baby dreads when you have enough loose hairs close together to form a section. for special occasions, you can temporarily smooth them out with a bit of aloe, but in general they should be left alone. if they become excessive, wrapping them around the roots of the closest dread will encourage them to get sucked in.
nothing. loops and zigzags and bumps are a normal part of the process. they're a sign that your hair is dreading! think about how hair dreads... it needs to move around so it can form tangles and knots. loops are just knots that are in the process of forming. don't mess with them! they will tighten up and sort themselves out as the dreads mature.
relax, breathe, and repeat this mantra: "what my hair is doing is normal and i accept that it's all part of the process." your hair has spent its entire life being combed, brushed, conditioned and undreaded... so it's going to take time for it to learn how to dread up and stay that way, right? if you keep your hair clean and your sections separated, dreads WILL happen, but you need to give them time to get there. remember, only time makes dreads. it's normal for baby dreads to knot, unknot, shift around, loop, knot up again, loosen up, and so on. your dreads are in the process of being born, so don't mess with them. just honour the process, stop micro-managing them, and have faith that they'll turn out great. they will! for more motivation and inspiration, read the post "dreading the first weeks of dreading".
there is no right answer. you want your scalp and hair to be clean, while still allowing enough time between for complete drying. (moisture stuck inside dreads leads to mildew and rot!) also, oily hair will become less oily over time if you wash less often! once, twice or three times a week is optimal for most people, but if you're just starting out, wash 1 day after you start to feel like you need to. this will get you used to washing little less then usual. but there's never any reason to not wash your dreads... clean hair dreads best. just make sure they have enough time to dry out completely between washings.
Dilute it heavily! At least 12-1. Dr Bronners is very concentrated soap. For some people, especially if you have hard water in your area, it leaves a sticky filmy residue after washing, so use the baking soda wash instead. See our washing guide under Dread Maintenance for more information.
absolutely not! dread wax does nothing good for dreads, any advantage is purely illusion, it makes hair get glued together to look like dreads, but slows the real dreading drastically in fact, without a ton of work, palm rolling and rubbing for hours, the hair cannot move and therefore cannot dread. wax is hydrophobic and will not wash out, it builds up making dreads stiff and sticky and will eventually cause them to rot. wax is the number 1 cause of dreads being cut.
in nearly all cases and all hair types the answer is natural, aka neglect. why? they are the healthiest, most unique last the longest, have the most individual personality, and the experience is the most rewarding. but, if you have to dread another way, twist & rip or backcombing works great on most hair types; twists are best for african/kinky hair types. methods to avoid include crocheting, felting, dread perms, interlocking, and anything with wax.
washing, conditioning as needed (especially once mature) and separating (unless you want large crazy congos) are all the maintenance you need. nothing else is required or recommended. however, if you must do more for a corporate image, choose the least damaging methods you can get away with... or better yet, just tie back your dreads or use a wrap or band.
there is no correct number. in fact, the number you start with will probably not be the same number you end with. dreads combine and new dreads are born, so the number changes year after year. typically 20-80 is normal, but that does not imply that 160 or 6 are abnormal. you have as many dreads as happen to form on your head.
none. clean hair dreads best when it's free from residues and sticky "dread product" gunk. you can make your own natural helpers for just pennies: for "locking accelerator", use sea salt in water. for moisturizing or temporarily smoothing down frizzies, use aloe vera (from the plant). for washing, use baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV) and add herbs or essential oils to treat dandruff or just to smell nice! most commercial "dread products" are useless and highly-overpriced versions of stuff you already have in your house or garden; in some cases they can even be harmful to your dreads and your overall health.
in our members shops
in our members shops
yes, in fact joining the new crafty crafters group can help you learn how.
dreads can be combed out!
step 1 -- soak in conditioner or olive oil. use a lot and make it very slippery.
step 2 -- comb out very carefully and gently from the tips upward. but only comb the last 1/8 inch of dreaded hair. it will take many hours or days keep re-soaking in conditioner or oil. if you reach a hard spot to remove soak overnight while you move on to a different dread.
dreads can be successfully removed even after many years!