Maintaining Short Dreadlocks: What You Should Know

Learn how to rock and maintain those short locs.

We love dreadlocks for a lot of different reasons. Besides being historically significant, dreadlocks are a great way to wear your natural hair in a cool style like short dreadlocks. Whether you go for pixie-length short dreadlocks or shoulder-grazing locs, you’ll need to maintain and take precise care of this style. Loc care is essential to making sure they look and feel as great as possible.

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

maintaining short dreadlocks on gray hair
Breaking down the basics for short dreads.

1. Keep your dreadlocks clean.

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 Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Anti-Dandruff 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 dreads.

The key to having healthy-looking locs is to keep them moisturized. You can do this 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 Love Beauty and Planet Hope and Repair Coconut Oil & Ylang Ylang 3-in-1 Benefit Oil. This product can help condition your locs and add shine.

3. Dry them properly.

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 year, 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. Because this process can take a while, 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.

short dreadlocks: scalp health
Massage your scalp with your fingers and an oil like coconut oil to keep your scalp healthy.

5. Scalp care with 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.

6. Styling short 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.