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Hello everyone,

I started my dreads about two months ago with backcombing. I used wax for the fist couple weeks and then managed to get it all out, **i promise i am 100% sure i got the wax out and it is not the cause of my problem**, when I realized what a mistake it was to use wax. I've got some fairly normal loose hair/baby dreads issues that i can figure out on my own but i really need help with this one and am really frustrated.

I have been switching between Knotty boy soap bar and Dr Bronners peppermint liquid soap.

Every time I shower, which is every 2 to 4 days depending, i am left with a layer of white gunk on my scalp. At first i thought it was the wax but once all the wax was gone the gunk remained. I believe it is soap scum and/or scalp skin bits. It got a bit worse when i went to my apartment and used what i think may be hard water compared to where i was staying for the summer. It actually left a red ring on my scalp at one point, not sure if it was a burn/irritation of some kind or maybe even ringworm. the ring went away after about a week. i decided to try the neutrogena anti residue shampoo and it seems to be the only thing that gets rid of it. I just not got the Dreadheadhq shampoo in the mail and tried it out and the gunk was still there, so i used more neutrogena after the DHHQ and it got rid of it. I don't know what to do!

Should i just use the NG anti residue shampoo every time i wash (it says to only use it once a week)? should i try bakingsoda and ACV? should i try t-gel. I dont know what to do and really dont want to cut my dreads off. Please help me!

Peace and Love

Tags: gunk

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umm im not concvinced its not wax related but id try the bs/acv

try distilled water just to verify

if its still there after dhhq whicxh is all chemicalk garbage then im betteing its wax


Thanks for the response soaring eagle, I will try the BS/ACV next.

It really cant be wax tho, I can tell there is none in my dreads or on my scalp. i only used a very small amount a couple of times almost two months ago and did not melt it into the dreads. My dreads aren't so thick or fully locked that I could not tell if wax were still there. And the gunk is not there if I use the neutrogena anti residue shampoo and then returns when i use another shampoo. The gunk also is not there or hard to see when the scalp is dry.


is it ok to just use the neutrogena anti residue wash every time I wash, at least until i get this figured out? I also have been considering t-gel. i really wanted to use Dr Bronners but it seems to be leaving too much soap scum on my scalp with the hard water. 

maybe the BS/ACV will do the trick...idk

i appreciate the help.  any more opinions or ideas would be appreciated. 


well bronners will def leave gunk in hard water  i wouldnt think dhhq wopuld since theres no real soap in it is all harsh detergents and chemival craap id think it would work in hard water but i dunno id never use it

u can add borax to bronners and hten it will work in hard water

the nutragena ive used only twice it made my dreads very fuzzy and very very light feeling

maybe u can alternate


it might even be worth experimenting and add a tiny bit to the brionners mixing it?

t gel id think would leave alotta residues its thicjk tarlikse stuff



i would really try distilled water 1st to verify if its the water causing it


As far as it being wax related, it may be, but I think not. After I got prego and moved out onto a mt into a travel trailer I was sweating more (summertime) and showering less, gross right? Well I was washing my hair about twice a week or so and tried using backing soda acv, and that worked well but didn't help my gunky scalp any. I tried using some dish soap too, that made it a million times worse and way before I had tried using Rasta Mango and Lime, which feels really nice but doesn't do much in the way of cleaning. Evenually I even tried T-Gel to get rid of it, no luck. So anyways! I'm sitting around one day picking at a dread, this must have been like 3 or 4 months after I back combed and I realized the whole top part of my dread next to the scalp looked like the pictures I see on here of people who have waxed. I mean completely SATURATED with old, nasty scalp goop, I dunno what the hell else to call it but it was NASTY. So after two or so hours of pulling my hair apart and being completely grossed out by all the nasty stuff collecting (without wax mind you) in my dreads, I was dread free. I miss them now but can't handle it while I'm so emotional and, well, insane, while prego. I figured I would try tnr after the baby is born. I just though of this too, maybe back combing has something to do with the build up?? Maybe combing it all to the scalp like that makes it so that nasty stuff can't be washed out? And as far as the Neutrogena, you're supposed to use it once a week? Call the company and ask if twice a week would be okay, I don't see why it wouldn't be unless your scalp gets unhappy. Keep me posted though cuz, as I've explained, had the same problem and took em out because of it :(

the nutran=gena is not suposed to use as a standard shampoo but to remove the resuidues left behind by standard shampoos its probly safe oto use all the tuime but its meant more to be used as a weekly residue cleanse


i wonder if thats true not so much cauuse u comb the hair back to the scalop but because the cuticles no longer function

part of the purpose of cuticles opening and closing is to allow moisture penetration then seal it in

if the curticles cant close and seal in the moisture it theoreticly could trigger excess production of sebum to compensate

u might want to ask panterrra about that bu it seems possible to me

Yeah, cuz wax or no wax I had the same problem and it literally looked exactly like the wax pictures, but just at the roots. Gunk, oily gross gunk. Does that sound like what you had?

I noticed something like that in a couple of my backcombed dreads while I was untangling them. It was sticky, oily, ucky. I have a very strong feeling it was sebum. I have a tendency to play with [massage] my scalp when I get bored, and I think that triggers a compensation production. I am still trying to break my habit, and so I use an anti-residue shampoo like 2x a week. [Suave for men bc I couldn't find any at the store for women, but then I rinse with ACV/water/EOs and so I don't smell like a boy haha] I am willing to bet it could be residue issue caused by hard water, or sebum. :) Good luck with it though.

thanks for the replies everybody, i am gonna try the acv/bs mix in the next day or two and then post the results. Its not in the dreads at all just the scalp. I will keep you all posted and any more comments or suggestions are still welcome. 

ok, here is an update

tried a BS wash - was not any better, still plenty of I...

...broke down and used some of my roommates kirkland brand regular shampoo - totally removed it, better than the neutrogena anti residue shampoo, but it really dried my scalp...which was fine...obviously dont want to keep using it though 

then a couple days later
tried the dreadhead headquarters shampoo again, not as much gunk as usual, but still there might be a combo of sebum, scalp flakes, and (depending on the shampoo) some soap scum. I still really dont know what it is but this is my best guess so far. I have decided that what i need is something that cleanses and acts like a commercial shampoo with as little residue as possible, since the commercial stuff seems to be solving the porblem better than anything else I've tried. I am going to try the Suave clarifying shampoo next and see how that does.

**i am still very open to suggestions and advice, please let me know if you think i am wrong about something or if u think you have any helpful suggestions.

Thank You   

never tried it but worth a try ytrader joes teeatree tingle maybe or burts bees


i use bs/avc and some various oils to wash my hair.. iv also noticed the gunk on my scalp.. when the weather was colder i never had that problem so sweat might factor into it. i have noticed that i dont have any gunk right after i wash but a few days later i will.. here is my theory.. when ur hair is all dreaded up its not moving freely anymore and your body is constantly gettin rid of dead skin as well as producing oils. this stuff isnt able to go anywhere so it just builds up on the scalp. just an idea. also try rinsing your hair with just very warm water inbetween washes to see if that helps.. that way your not over drying your scalp causing your body over produce the natural oils that might make your head gunky :)

so, here is an update

 I have been using the suave daily clarifying shampoo and it seems to be working great. I have been putting whatever I use in a very large cup and then letting the shower head fill and mix it up and then pouring it over my head and scrubbing. This seems to be the current solution as i havent been having the gunk problem. I tried the DHHQ shampoo once more and it still left gunk, im done with it. so i am gonna do the suave most days and the nutrogena anti-residue every once in a while. I still want to find something a bit more natural and less commercial, so i will see what i can find, but for now this seems to be working. Any continued suggestions/comments/questions are still welcome. Thank you so much everyone for the help!


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