7 Easy Tips for Maintaining Short Dreadlocks

Learn how to rock and maintain those short locs.

Maintaining short dreadlocks is incredibly important if you want to maintain their definition and full-bodied appearance. Whether you go for pixie-length short dreadlocks or shoulder-grazing locs, you’ll need to take precise care of this style. Loc care is essential to making sure they look and feel as great as possible.

While there may be a lot of maintenance steps for this style, everything is easy to do and you will notice the difference once you implement these steps.

Read on to learn the first steps to maintaining short dreadlocks:

Once your hair is styled in dreadlocks, it’s so important to care for your locs properly. If you do, your style will be able to last a very long time while maintaining a healthy scalp and strands. Keep scrolling to find out our top tips for short dreadlock maintenance.

1. Keep Your Dreadlocks Clean

maintaining short dreadlocks keep them clean
Keeping your dreads clean is crucial to maintaining their shape and body Photo credit: Shaquille Dunbar

One of the most important steps in maintaining short dreadlocks is to keep them clean. When washing your dreads, you’ll want to use a shampoo that has a low residue and can take care of your scalp at the same time.

We recommend SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner.

The key to washing dreadlocks is rinsing thoroughly after using shampoo and conditioner. You want to be totally sure that you’ve rinsed out all of your wash and care products, and there is no residue left behind.

2. Moisturize Your Short Dreads

The key to having healthy-looking locs is to keep them moisturized. You can do this in so many ways! One good option is to use hair oil that can penetrate your strands to hydrate and seal in moisture.

You can also boost moisture with an oil, like Suave Professionals Castor Oil & Mango Butter for Natural Hair and Scalp Oil. This product can help condition your locs and add shine.

3. Dry Them Properly

maintaining short dreadlocks trim
Eventually, you’ll have to get a trim.

Drying your dreadlocks is super-important for keeping them in good shape. When you’re done washing and rinsing, squeeze out as much water as possible. Your goal is to have as little water left as you can. Then, while your locs are still damp, pat them dry and allow them to air-dry.

4. To Trim or Not to Trim

Here’s the rub with short dreadlocks: To keep them as short as you want, they’ll eventually need to be trimmed. The important thing to remember here is to wait a little bit before trimming your dreadlocks. When you first loc your hair, over the next few months or even years, your dreads will shorten as they get tighter. It’s also not the best idea to trim locs that aren’t mature, i.e. tight and grown out a bit.

This process can take a while, so we don’t recommend trimming your hair for the first six months to a year, depending on your hair type and how quickly your locs mature. If you trim too early, you can risk your style fraying at the ends.

5. Scalp Care With Short Dreadlocks

Not all scalps love locs. But, lucky for you, short dreadlocks tend to make for a happier scalp due to the fact that they aren’t as heavy as long ones. The heavier your hair, the more stress you’ll put on your scalp. Keeping your scalp happy and healthy is key! So, pamper your scalp with weekly scalp massages, and make sure when you’re washing your locs to wash your scalp, too.

When you give yourself scalp massages, use a serum like Love Beauty and Planet Hemp Seed Oil and Nana Lead Soothe & Nourish Scalp Serum, to make for a smoother and more hydrating massage.

6. Maintain Shape by Palm Rolling

Part of maintaining short dreadlocks is making sure their shape stays intact and looking good. Luckily, this process, called palm rolling is easy, although it is a little lengthy. Try to palm roll after every shower and whenever you’ve got some time to kill.

Simply roll each dread between your palm from root to tip to help shape and separate your dreads. Make sure you do this one loc at a time so that they don’t start to roll into each other.

7. Styling Short Dreadlocks

girl with short dreadlocks
Try out a deep side-part with your dreadlocks.

We love how versatile short dreadlocks can be! You can wear them down in a cool pixie cut, or, if your locs are a little longer, you can create buns, ponytails, and even style in some waves. Wavy dreadlocks are fun, and they’re great for an overnight style.

Starting with very lightly damp dreadlocks, create several three-strand braids. Secure the braids and let your locs dry as you sleep. When you wake up, take out the hair ties and rock those wavy locs.

From the best techniques to adding the right scalp and hair care to your weekly routine to keep your short dreadlocks healthy and on-point.

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