how to wash dreadlocks

Everything You Need to Know About Washing Your Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks deserve all the TLC!

Learning how to wash dreadlocks is probably a lot easier than you might think. While many love the idea of going for a dreadlock style, how to care for them can be kind of confusing. How do you wash dreadlocks? How often should you wash them? Which products won’t do any damage?

How to Wash Your Dreadlocks

We’ll walk you through this commonly asked question and give you tips on the best ways to care for your dreads.

Step 1: Choose your products.

When it comes to washing dreadlocks, many think that you might need special products to get into the braids to remove excess oil and dirt. You do not need any kind of particular duo designed for dreads; you just need a duo that won’t over-strip your hair with natural oils and hydration. The best shampoo for dreads will not have silicone as it causes buildup in the dreads and make them heavier and harder to care for.

Step 2: Apply Shampoo to Scalp

Start cleansing with your shampoo. Focus your product on your scalp, in between your braids. Massage the product in to make sure you’re getting all the buildup that’s caught in your dreads. We highly recommend a scalp-focused shampoo, like SheaMoisture Sugarcane Extract & Meadowfoam Seed Miracle Multi-Benefit Shampoo.

Step 3: Moisturize with Conditioner

Follow up your cleanse with a boost on moisture to those dreads! Use some SheaMoisture Sugarcane Extract & Meadowfoam Seed Miracle Multi-Benefit Conditioner on your braids, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse with warm water. Make sure not to leave the product on for too long or you’ll run the risk of fluffing your strands.

Additional Dreadlock Hair Care

Care for your dreadlocks, day and night.

When you’re new to dreadlocks, it can be tricky to know exactly how often you should wash them and what specific care you should do in the morning and night. Below, we’re breaking everything down so you can ensure you have the healthiest dreadlocks possible.

How Often Should You Wash Them?

The frequency of your washes depends on a lot of different factors. If your dreads are new (the first month), you might want to wash your dreads every three to four days. When you wash, you should expect a lot of loose hairs getting loose, so be prepared to ball them back into your dreads after your wash.

As your dreads mature, you don’t have to worry about lots of fluffing and re-dreading, so feel free to wash your dreads as frequently as you wish. No matter the age of your dreads, it’s important not to go longer than about a week without washing.

Between Washes

Let’s face it, washing days with dreadlocks aren’t difficult, but it can feel like a process before you get your routine down. It’s helpful to have a way to refresh your strands between washes so you don’t need to do a full wash routine every day.

When caring for your dreadlocks between wash days, using SheaMoisture Moringa & Avocado Green Tea Rinse is a great option. We love this product because it lightly cleanses your strands, making them softer and easy to manage. When using this product, apply it directly to your scalp. Next, gently massage to a low-lather, and then there’s no need to rinse!

How To Wash Starter Locs

Starter locs, or baby locs, are the first stage of the loc process. They will last around 3 to 6 months and vary according to your hair type, hair health, and genetics (how fast your hair grows). Starter locs will determine how your final locs will look, so it’s essential to take care of them probably. When it comes to washing, overcaring, and overwashing can cause the locs to unravel, so it’s vital you keep a space of 1-2 weeks before the first wash.

Make sure you use a light or diluted shampoo and put the focus on your scalp rather than your loc, gently massaging the product in. You can also use a stocking cap to prevent your locs from unraveling.

Morning Care for Dreadlocks

In the morning, revitalizing and nourishing your dreads can be key. Try a cocktail of essential oil like eucalyptus, lavender, lime, mint, etc., and add it to distilled water to give your dreads a fresh feel. If you need to smooth your dreads out a little bit for a more stylized look, feel free to add some wax or cream, like Dove Defrizz & Define Frizz Control Leave-In Cream for hydration and smoothness.

Nighttime Care for Dreadlocks

When you’re ready for bed, treat your dreads with care! Try sleeping in a silk scarf or head wrap to help maintain your braids and prevent breakage.

That’s all there is to it! Treat your dreads with care, and don’t neglect washing them. They may be delicate the first month, but by month two, you will be able to treat them like any other hair type, ready to be washed on the reg.

Sign up to our newsletter and get exclusive hair care tips and tricks from the experts at All Things Hair.


All Things Hair on Instagram