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It's a myth that dreadlocks don't need moisture -- they do, or they become brittle and frizzy. The right conditioning agents respect dreads' texture, preserving their look and feel so you don't lose your style. Condition daily, if dry dreads need it, or once a week in the shower. Dreads will feel soft, sleek and totally touchable.
Essential oils moisturize and scent dreadlocks, doing double duty. Make a conditioning spray for dreadlocks by mixing 10 drops of the oil with water in a small spray bottle. Mist your dreads and your scalp up to once a day using the essential oil spray. This gets dreads enough moisture to ward off dryness, but won't turn them over-oily. Since essential oils do not go rancid, you can keep them forever. Try tea tree, mint or lavender for dreadlocks.
A regular conditioner will over condition locks, making them slippery. Specially formulated dreadlock conditioners moisturize the dreads without loosening them. Find these products at beauty supply stores, or purchase them at dreadlock shops. Typical ingredients include glycerin, a natural skin and scalp moisturizer, cetyl alcohol, an emulsifying wax, butylene glycol, a conditioning agent that does not leave buildup and hemp-seed oil, which promotes shine.
Hot Oil Treatment
If your dreads are in need of some serious moisture, try a hot-oil treatment. Use a natural oil, such as olive oil. Heat the oil until it feels warm to the touch. Pour the oil over your scalp, lightly massaging oil into the dreads. Cover long locks with a shower cap so the oil does not drip. Let the oil sit on your scalp for 20 minutes. To rinse out, lather shampoo into the dreads then stand under the shower. Press the shampoo through your locks to remove the oil.
Young locks don't need conditioning -- and conditioning dreads at this time will cause them to become slippery. Wait until your dread are "mature," which means the hair is locked up tightly. Generally this takes at least six months. Avoid using traditional conditioners on your dreads, because fragrances and other ingredients will leave buildup in your hair.