How to Untangle a Dreadlock

Untangle those natty dreadlocks with deep conditioner and a fine-tooth comb.

Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Although a long flowing mane of dreadlocks can be crazy sexy, there comes a time when you need a change. Whether you want to take down a whole head of locks or remove hair that has accidentally matted after a weave, extensions or neglect, deep conditioner is your best friend. All it takes is a trip to the beauty supply store to realize that the conditioner world is your oyster. Look for a formula packed with panthenol and essential oils.


Soak your dreaded hair in a tub full of the hottest water you can stand, and mix in a little moisturizing shampoo like you would bubble bath. Lie back and dream of sexy movie stars or winning the lottery for 15 minutes, then suds up your hair with even more shampoo. Really squeeze the suds through the dreadlock, then rinse like crazy with more hot water.


Massage the deepest conditioner you can find through that locked-up hair of yours. Look for one that contains panthenol and all the oils they can pack into the thing. A little aloe in the mix is good, too. Let the whole mess sit on your head, while you mix up a bottle of conditioner spray for the journey.


Fill a spray bottle half-full with conditioner, then fill it the rest of the way up with hot water to dilute it and keep the nozzle from clogging. Wet hair is easier to undread than dry. You want your head to be so slippery you're like a walking banana peel. Spritzing your hair with the conditioner mixture as you work will make it easier to manage.


Here comes the fun part: start the slow, potentially painful process of picking apart those locks of yours. You can handle it. After all, suffering for beauty is sometimes an unfortunate necessity. Start at the ends and work your way up an inch at a time, using the pick end of the comb to loosen the hair and the teeth to get out all the dead hairs. If you're untangling a whole head of dreads, you'll feel like you're losing so much hair you'll look like an angry, bald '90s folk-rocker at the end, but have faith. There will still be hair left when you're done.


When you get to the roots, rinse out the avalanche of conditioner and dead hair. Be careful in the shower. The last thing you need is to slip on all those essential oils and dislocate a knee! Tragic dreadlock removal accidents are rare, but that's not to say they can't happen.

Things You'll Need


1.Moisturizing shampoo

3.Fine-tooth metal comb with pick end

5.Hot water

2.Deep conditioner

4.Spray bottle


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