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FAQ Maintenance

How to maintain the perfect Dreadlocks


1. What is a good maintenance routine?


2. How do I get rid of lumps and bends in my dreads?


3. How do I make my dreadlocks thicker?


4. How do I tighten my dreads?


5. How do I tighten my roots?


6. How do you get rid of those loose hairs?


7. How long will I need to use the wax?


8. What is the best way to wax your dreadlocks?


9. How will I know when my new dreads are tight?


10. How often should I backcomb my dreadlocks?

1. What is a good maintenance routine?

Ok here we go step by step style. You have your dreads in, they look cool but you can't wait for them to get tight and smooth. Here's the fastest way to get them there:


1. Assuming the dreads were just done you won't need to wash them for around a week. They are newly waxed and probably hurt a bit cause they are so tight. You have some nylons (pantyhose) to wear when you sleep to keep frizz away from your dreads. If your dreads get a little bit itchy towards the end of this week it's ok, that's natural. If the itch drives you mad, get your hands on Knotty Boys Soothing Scalp Spray. It's has a Peppermint Oil base and relieves an itchy scalp.


2. Ok, it's been about a week and you are ready to wash your dreadies. It's a really good idea to have rubberbands on the roots and tips of your dreads when you wash them, at least for the first few times. Wearing rubberbands makes the maintenance a lot easier. You won't have to always wear them but in the beginning they are pretty important. You will also loosen a lot less hair if you wash your dreads through a nylon. Use the same kind you sleep in but you will want to use a different one cause you can't sleep in a wet nylon. Washing your dreads through a nylon is pretty straight forward. Soak your dreads with water in the shower, squirt or rub in some Dread Empire Shampoo through the nylon, work it into the dreads, especially at the roots, and then rinse them really really well. You don't want to leave any soap in the dreads or on your scalp. If you want to slip of the nylon and check to make sure you rinsed all the soap that's perfectly fine, you won't loosen much hair by rinsing, especially if you have rubber bands. I'm not going to tell you that you have to use the Dread Empires Shampoo but I will tell you that if you do use it your dreads will get tighter, stronger and you hair will grow thicker...no kidding.


Now you have to dry them. The best way to get them dry is to lean over, letting them all hang down in front of you and squeeze as much water out of them as you can. As your dreads get really tight, and they will get really tight, getting them dry will be really important. Tight dreads can hold water and mildew can grow inside them. This is the second most common reason why some dreads get stinky. The first is not washing!! After you squeeze as much water out of them as you can squeeze some more...it just keeps coming. When it stops, or you just get sick of milking your dreads, spray them down with some Dread Empire Locking Accelerator. Squeeze the excess off so they can dry. Now throw a towel around them and wrap them up in it. Let the towel suck the extra water out of them for like 15 min. Now you can let them air dry, put them in a tam, or put the up in a dread band.


3. Now they are completely dry, all clean, and full of Accelerator this is the very best time to dread ball loose hairs, palm roll your dreads (Palm rolling is when you roll the dread back and forth between your palm like you are playing with Play-Doh®), and to use the clockwise rubbing method. Your dreads will knot and tighten easily now because their is a lot of friction between the hair strands. They may get a little frizzy while you work on them but that's totally cool, just dread ball the frizzys and work them into the nearest dread. You can leave your dreads fizzy like this for a day or two while you palm roll and rub them as often as you can. After you are all rubbed out treat your dreads to a small coat of Dread Wax. Work it in real good and smooth out any frizz. You can use a Hair Dryer to heat the dreads and melt the wax in really good, although be careful not to overdo it as it can dry your dreads out. If you prefer, the Knotty Boy Tightening Gel can be used as an alternative to Dread Wax or if you need extra help in smoothing down loose hairs, use in addition to wax. Your dreads will look and feel supa nice. They should be fine for up to a week.


4. About a week later you'll want to wash them again, same as before. You can continue this pattern or something similar for the duration but every 5th washing or so you can use nice hot water and melt all the old wax out of the dreads. Using this routine your dreads should get nice and tight in just a few months. After they have matured you won't need the rubberbands on the roots or the tips. It's a good idea to continue to wax them a little at least every two or three weeks or whenever you notice them getting really dry. Bleached hair especially has a tendency to dry out too much and that can lead to breakage. The wax has hempseed oil and vitamin's which give the hair nutrients and help it stay strong and flexible so you don't have to worry about them snapping off or anything. Other than that you should be good to go. Just don't sleep with your dog and get ticks or fleas and make sure you get them dry every time you get them wet. If you put wet dreads up in a tam and leave them there, there is a really good chance you will be growing some mildew.....eeewww....so always squeez'em dry.Top


2. How do I get rid of lumps and bends in my dreads?

Most small lumps will work themselves out as the dreads tighten and smooth out. Bends appear if the dreads tighten really fast. Some hairs lock and tighten at different speeds, since the dreads shrink as the tighten. If one side of the dread tightens faster than the other side it will be smaller and tighter and the dread will bend. Fortunately the other side will eventually tighten and as it does the dread will straighten itself out.

For really severe lumps that you have to do something about you'll need to comb them out. Just start at the tip and comb the hair out with the dread comb working your way towards the bump. Comb it out and then redread it. Work your way back to the tip. Use a rubber band and some wax to hold the tip tight while it re-dreads. Some loops and lumps add character or at least I think so, dreads are not supposed to be absolutely perfect and symmetrical. Top


3. How do I make my dreadlocks thicker?

The amount of hair in the dread determines how thick they are so you need to put more hair in them to make them thicker. Assuming you are using all your own hair, which I highly recommend, the only way to accomplish this it to increase the size of your sections. Combining dreads is the easiest way to do this. How mature your dreads are determines how you might go about combining them. If your dreads are real new (less than 4 weeks or so)you can probably just comb out two dreads, starting at the tips working towards the roots, and then redread them together as one larger dread. You may also be able to just rubber band two dreads together and leave them alone for a few months and they will merge but that only works if the dreads are pretty new, and if they are new you might as will comb them out and dread them together.

If you dreads are more mature combing them out will take too long and you will loose a lot of thickness from each dread when you comb it out. The best thing to do here would probably be to rubberband the dreads together at the root as they grow out. The tips and body of the dreads will probably never merge together but you can always trim that part off later if you let them grow out. You might also use a peyote stitch to hold the ends together to make it less obvious there is a split or "Y" in the dreadlocks.Top


4. How do I tighten my dreads?

Use the clockwise rubbing method and palm rolling (rolling the dread back and forth between your palms) to help the body of the dreads and the roots tighten. Tighten the tips by tip rubbing. Keeping them clean and free of residues helps them tighten tremendously. Of coarse spraying them with Locking Accelerator or using a light sprinkle of Dread Dust helps too. The Accelerator increases friction between the hair strands by separating the tiny shingles that make up each strand. This increased friction tightens them super fast. Sun helps the process too, spray the Accelerator in your hair and allow it to dry in the sun. Lightly sprinkle Dread Dust onto dry hair. Top
Palm Rolling Video


5. How can I tighten my roots?

The fastest way to tighten roots is to use the clockwise rubbing method. Keep in mind that having an inch or so of straight hair at the roots is natural. When dreads are new you may have more loose hair at the roots but as the body of the dread tightens the roots will tighten much easier. The roots are always the last part of the dreadlock to dread and actually never fully dread because the hair continues to grow. Besides the clockwise rubbing method you can also palm roll your dreads to help hair at the roots tangle and dread. Palm rolling is when you roll the dread back and forth between your palm like you are playing with Play-Doh®. Rubber bands also help the roots by holding the hairs very close together. Top
Clockwise Rubbing Video


6. How do you get rid of those loose hairs?

What you want to do is dread the loose hairs together into their own little dread ball and then join the little dread ball with the big dread it's closest to. If you get the loose hairs really clean with the dread soap you can roll them in your fingers and they will form a little dreaded ball. Having the loose hairs clean and dry is important and the use of Dread Dust will make this so much easier. Get the ball nice and tight and then try to tie it in or get it stuck really well inside the larger dread. This is a little fiddly and it's a good idea to use the Loose Hair Tool rig now. After its stuck inside add a little wax. the larger dread tightens the ball will be dreaded inside. No more loose hairs! Top
Dread Balling Video


7. How long will I need to use the wax?

While your dreads are maturing you will want to use the wax after you wash and use the accelerator. The wax is also handy for smoothing down loose hairs or frizzy hair when you don't have time to dread ball it and fix it. After your dreads are mature you will probably use a lot less wax, just a bit here and there to smooth stuff down or help a tip come together. It's important to use it once in a while to give the hair nutrients so the dreads don't dry out and get damaged. Top


8. What is the best way to wax your dreadlocks?

The most common problem with waxing dreads is overwaxing. You only need enough to hold loose hairs down and keep everything together as it dreads. The best way to wax dreads is to start at the roots and work it in as completely as possible. Then work your way up the dread adding just a small amount at a time and working it in completely. After you finish you can use a blow dryer to heat the dreads and allow the wax to soak in. This also eliminates whiteness caused by the wax sitting on top of the hair which is sometimes visible in darker hair. Top


9. How will I know when my new dreads are tight?

You will know....trust me. They feel like cotton ropes. You can bend them and flex them but you can't squish them flat no matter how hard you try. It's also harder to see the knots they are all packed together and form a surface of hair. Top


10. How often should I backcomb my dreadlocks?

Never backcomb mature dreads unless you want to undread them. Backcombing is used first to start the dreadlocks and just after to push towards the roots. Keeping the hair at the roots knotted helps it dread as it grows but backcombing hair that has started to lock up will undread it. It's a good idea not to backcomb any more after the 2nd week or so. Rubberbands will hold it tight. It's natural to have an inch of hair at the root even 2 inches when the dreads are new. This is where the new growth decides to knot and lock up. If you want to help this tighten use the clockwise rubbing method. You can also alternate wearing and not wearing rubberbands right at the root. Both will help the roots lock. Top

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