Natural Ways to Wash Dreadlocks

Washing dreadlocks with natural products keeps your scalp healthy.

Photo: Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

Your dreadlocks are gorgeous and you want to keep them that way, but you've heard through the grapevine that you shouldn't wash your hair. Turns out, this is a fallacy and you're relieved -- cleanliness is huge on your list of priorities. Natural ways to wash dreadlocks mean choosing the right products to get the job done without messing up your hair.

Products

Natural shampoos and soaps that are low-residue or residue-free are the name of the game when it comes to washing your dreadlocks effectively. Residue is the almost imperceptible coating of product that stays on your hair after a shampoo. The problem with residue and dreads is that because your hair is so matted and twisted, the particles left in your hair don't wash off very easily. Instead, they decide to take up residence inside each dread and can grow mold -- not such an attractive characteristic. Soaps made with natural ingredients such as essential oils, as well as those that do not contain waxy ingredients, are more clarifying and may be less likely to stick around on your hair. Look for shampoos that do not contain PEGs. PEG followed by a number generally refers to chemicals that leave residue, according to The Dread Queen.

Technique

Natural ways to wash dreadlocks include regular shampooing with a couple of adjustments, or using a dry shampoo that won't disturb your 'do. Cut the foot off an old pair of pantyhose and cover your head with it before you step into the shower. Place a small amount of residue-free shampoo on top of your stocking cap and gently massage the soap into your scalp. Rinse thoroughly to be sure all of the soap is out of your hair. If you aren't confident about your ability to wash your dreads without experiencing shedding, choose a dry shampoo that comes with a handy brush applicator. Gently brush the cleanser on your scalp where it needs the most attention. Several dry shampoos on the market are "green" and don't contain silicon or paraben chemicals, making them a natural choice for girls on the go.

Timing

You don't need to wash your hair every day when you've got dreadlocks in place; after all, one of the perks of the style is its low maintenance. Think about the odor and health of your scalp, especially if you tend toward the oily side. Wash your hair every week for the first few months after locking your hair, to help the coils "set" without dropping a lot of hair. A natural washing every three to four days is plenty once your dreads have been established.

Drying

Dry your dreadlocks with a towel by squeezing your hair gently. Rubbing can cause hair to loosen from the individual dreads, giving you a frizzy, fuzzy look. On the other hand, not drying at all after a washing can lead to a drippy mess.

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