The Worst Dreadlock Mistakes (and What to do About Them)

Most Common Dreadlock Mistakes
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Being informed about the do’s and don’ts of locs is your responsibility. Your locked hair is not like loose hair. It needs to be treated and cared for differently.

Due to the combination of our own ignorance and the vast amount of bad advice we tend to receive, being misinformed may cause us to do more harm than good to our hair. 

Great dreads take a lot of time and patience. Doing the wrong thing now will be extremely disappointing in the future. You don’t want your locs to be ruined simply because you were stuck to a bad habit.

Common Dreadlock Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The 19 most common dreadlock mistakes

1. Misunderstanding the dreadlock process

Dreadlocks are like six-pack abs…they don’t happen overnight! What many people fail to understand prior to locking their hair, is that it’s a journey.

We go to fast food restaurants because we want food now. We text our friends expecting to get a response in seconds. We have Amazon Prime because we can’t wait a week for delivery.

Our culture is shaping us to forget what it’s like to wait. But no matter how fast-paced our world gets, dreads will always require us to wait! There’s no way around that.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Don’t get discouraged during the first two years of your dread journey.

It may look to you like your hair is getting worse by the day when in reality, it’s shifting, transforming, and knotting like its supposed to. Expect there to be looping, frizz, and loose hair in many places. It’s your hair’s way of adjusting to the new style, so let it do what it needs to do.

Need some encouragement? Here are 17 tips for staying patient during the beginning stages of your journey.

2. Expecting your locs to look like someone else’s

It’s so common to look at someone else and envy things about them. It has become a vicious cycle for many who are dreaming to look like their idols.

What we often take for granted is that we are a one-of-a-kind design in this world. There is no one like you. The same thing goes for your dreadlocks.

Each of your locs is unique and different- there are no two alike. Get it out of your head that you want your hair to look like so-and-sos. It probably won’t, but that’s okay!

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Love your hair and treat it right. In due time, your love, effort, and time will be manifested in the form of beautiful and perfect locs (for you!) Do your part, and your hair will do its part too.

3. Not moisturizing at all or doing it improperly

One of the lessons I learned late in my dreadlock journey was the importance of moisturizing your hair.

Back when I had loose natural hair, I would wash it almost every day so it was used to getting wet. When I got dreads, I switched up my washing routine to only once a week. My hair became super dehydrated. The best way I can describe it is that it felt crunchy.

Then I learned about the importance of misting my hair and scalp with water and essential oils. My hair improved almost overnight.

Many people believe that oil is THE moisturizing agent. Oil maintains moisture but doesn’t provide it in the same way that water does. In order to properly moisturize your scalp, you need to be using water and oil together.

Do not apply oil to the dreads themselves because it’s going to weigh them down, attract lint, and may cause buildup.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Ideally, you should first spritz your hair and scalp with water and essential oils. Then, while your scalp is somewhat damp, apply a few drops of your choice of any carrier oil to it. Massage your scalp gently and leave it to absorb.

The Best Natural Recipes for Dreadlock Health: Get the Book Here!

4. Using too many hair products

Too much product (even natural ones) can cause buildup, especially if your hair isn’t absorbing it well.

Wax, shea butter, and cream-based products are not recommended for two reasons.

1. Some ingredients are not water-soluble, such as anything that includes petroleum or beeswax.

2. They’re too thick. Once it gets inside your locs, it will be nearly impossible to remove completely.

Excessively moisturizing your locs can cause them to stay wet for too long.

Over oiling your scalp can cause major buildup in and around your roots. Clogged pores can hinder your hair growth as well as cause dandruff and other skin conditions.

A little goes a long way when it comes to products, especially because you don’t wash them off every day. Your scalp and locs can only take so much.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Quit using any of the products listed here and spray and oil your scalp as is necessary. Your hair may need a different amount of moisture than everyone else’s, so listen to your body and do what feels right.

Better yet- learn how to pamper your dreadlocks by using nature’s best ingredients. Need some recipes? I’ll give you 39!

5. Doing conditioning treatments on your locs

Once your hair is dreadlocked, you don’t need to condition your hair any longer. Conditioner softens and untangles hair. It sort of defeats the point of locking it in the first place. Plus, most conditioners will leave residue on your hair, which prevents proper knotting.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Keep your hair clean and don’t worry about the conditioning part. For softer locs, try a hot oil treatment once every month or so.

Drink more water and mist your hair once or twice a day.

Once every three or four washes, you can do an apple cider vinegar rinse. This will soften your locs and balance your scalp’s pH at the same time. It does loosen your knots a bit, so don’t abuse it.

6. Washing your hair too often, or not often enough

Washing your hair four or more times per week is too much. Leaving a day or less between washings will certainly not allow your locs to dry thoroughly, which puts you at a huge risk for the growth of bacteria and mildew.

Going to the other extreme and washing your hair once every couple of weeks or months is not enough. Your hair collects dirt, debris, and whatever else is floating in the environment.

If you’re oiling your scalp and misting your locs with moisturizing sprays, it will build up over time if you’re not washing them off weekly. This will cause dandruff and hinder the locking process. Your hair needs to be clean to knot.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Wash your hair once every 7 to 10 days. Having a consistent routine helps to stabilize the sebum production in your scalp.

7. Believing dreads need to be sticky

Ew, no. This should never be.

Whoever made you believe this myth is so wrong. Even though dread-heads are stereotyped to be dirty (and surely some are), the vast majority of us are not. I have never paid more attention to my hair than since the moment I got dreads.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: If your locs are foul, sticky, excessively dirty, etc, do a deep cleanse treatment with baking soda and essential oils. Soak your dreads for a minimum of 30 minutes and scrub them until they’re clean again.

Wash your dreads with a clarifying shampoo and rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar.

8. Letting your locs get ‘too close’

Locs love to mingle and they will marry each other without your permission. Some people think that once they get locs, they can neglect them altogether.

What’s gonna happen if you do this, is that you will have major knots occurring in all the wrong places. If you want to separate them later on, it will be nearly impossible (or extremely painful) to do so.

Been there, done that! Learn from my mistakes. 😉

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Even if you’re free-forming your locs, you should be separating them at the root every other day. Use brushlike motions with your fingers to “brush” your locs and gently pull apart any hairs that are growing into the wrong dread.

9. Styling the locs too tight

Constantly putting your locs in a ponytail or bun puts too much stress on your scalp. If your scalp is sore after wearing your hair up all day, it’s a clear indication that it was under too much tension.

If you do this too often, your hairline will start to recede over time. Your locs will start to thin out in the areas that have been stressed by the crease of the ponytail.

In extreme cases, you could get alopecia- a condition where you start balding because the tension on the scalp was severe enough to disrupt the hair follicle.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Don’t style your hair at all. I understand the first few months are going to look funky, but you need strong roots to grow strong locs. If you have to keep them neat for work or formal events, wear a headwrap, headband, or loose ponytail instead.

10. Using rubber bands for weeks at a time

Many people, including professional locticians, use rubber bands to separate the roots while during the installation and maintenance session. It’s okay for a few hours but not for much longer.

I have friends who kept their rubber bands for more than a month to keep their original roots intact. This is a mistake for two reasons.

1. Rubber bands are not made from durable elastic. If one breaks, the dread can literally absorb it. Over time, it can collect bacteria and moisture which may lead to dread rot or mildew.

2. Rubber leaves an impression on your hair. Just like a hair tie, rubber bands will leave a crease on your locs. If used for too long, your loc will retain that crease and adjust properly.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Remove rubber bands as soon as all your locs have been installed. To keep the roots intact, separate your hair with your fingers ever other day.

11. Wearing loc accessories for too long

I love beads, loc pieces, and cuffs. They look super fashionable and chic! Using them is not bad but over-using them can be.

There are three main problems you can encounter if you use tight loc accessories.

1. Like rubber bands, leaving a bead in the same spot for too long will leave a chokehold that may never go away. It’s going to look weird if you ever want to take that bead off.

2. Wearing loc jewelry too early in the dreading process can cause your hair to stay loose in the spots where the accessory is present because it doesn’t have room to move around.

3. Some accessories are sealed all the way around, so they can hinder some spots from receiving air flow and drying properly. If it doesn’t dry fully, you risk mildew.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Move your accessories around. Keep them in one spot for a maximum of two weeks and move them up or down a few inches for the next week or two, so on and so forth.

I recommend moving them on the days your hair is wet because it’s more flexible then, and you can assure yourself that you’re drying your loc all the way through.

12. Sleeping without protecting your hair

For the first year or more of your loc journey, your hair is going to feel like velcro. And just like velcro, your dreads are going to be more prone to attracting lint.

When we sleep, we move a lot and there’s a lot of friction between the pillow and our heads. If you don’t protect your hair, you could wake up with a bunch of lint all over, not to mention really frizzy hair.

Learn the benefits of covering your locs at night here.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Satin and silk protect your hair from frizz and breakage. I like to sleep with a satin bonnet. If that’s uncomfortable for you, use a satin pillowcase instead. It really is worth the investment.

13. Going to sleep with wet hair

One of the worst mistakes you could possibly make is going to bed while your hair is still wet. Unlike in loose natural hair, your dreads take a long time to dry when there’s a breeze. They will take even longer to dry with stagnant air.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Wash your hair early in the day, preferably first thing in the morning. This will allow your hair more than 12 hours to dry.

If you must wash your hair in the evening, blow dry it until you’re sure that it’s 90% (or more) dry. Don’t cover your hair the night you wash it. Sleep on a satin pillowcase and spread your locs out so it doesn’t hold moisture overnight.

14. Re-twisting your locs wrong

Re-twisting is an important part of maintenance, however, it can cause long-term damage if it’s done wrong. There are three common mistakes people make when re-twisting their locs.

1. Re-twisting your hair dry. Palm rolling, maintenance, and re-twisting should all be done on damp hair. Dry hair is a lot less flexible so it’s more prone to breakage.

2. Re-twisting in the wrong direction. Hair whorls, meaning that it grows in a clockwise or counterclockwise pattern on the scalp. In most people, the hair will grow clockwise. If you twist your locs in the wrong direction, you can cause damage to the hair follicle. Friction in the opposite direction causes breakage and thinning.

3. Interchanging locking methods during maintenance. Changing up the locking method can alter the pattern of your hair. Be consistent by using the same method that you started with.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Always moisturize your hair before doing any maintenance to it. Always re-twist your hair in the same direction to prevent damaging your hair follicle at the root. During maintenance, stick to the same dreadlocking method you always use.

15. Over-maintaining your locs

I know we all want to keep our locs as neat as possible, especially during the first year or two when they’re unbelievably unruly. Twisting your locs too frequently (even if you’re not doing it professionally) will cause a lot of damage in the long-term. In serious cases, it can cause alopecia (balding) due to the constant tension on the scalp.

The process and time it takes for dreads to mature is not a comfortable one for most, but you can’t do much about it if you are aiming for healthy locs in the long run.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Re-twist your hair once every 6 to 8 weeks. In the meantime, suck it up, buttercup. Put on a beanie or head wrap if you have to make them look professional, but otherwise, let them be. They’ll be beautiful before you know it!

The Best Natural Recipes for Dreadlock Health: Get the Book Here!

16. Repairing your own thinning locs

I’m speaking to those who don’t have much experience in dread maintenance. Thinning can occur on any part of your loc for various reasons– I highlight the most common reasons here.

Fixing them is usually possible if you do it the right way. Fixing them wrong, however, can mess up your locs even more. Use your best judgment.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Go to a professional who knows how to fix it. If that’s not an option, read this article for suggestions (and video tutorials) on how to fix it yourself.

17. Cutting the frizz off the locs

Just thinking about this makes me cringe. Not that cutting hair is a painful process, but it’s absolutely detrimental to your locs!

Recently I saw a YouTube tutorial where, during maintenance, a woman cut the frizz off of her client’s dreads with scissors. It still shocks me and makes me feel awful for the client who trusted her.

Why is this a horrible mistake? Your hair is constantly adjusting and moving throughout the loc. At times, it gets loopy, other times some strands will stick out of nowhere, aka frizz.

Cutting those hairs off will weaken the dread dramatically in the long run because it lost its cohesiveness and movement. You might have thinner sections or in worst cases, you could lose entire parts of your loc.

I’ll illustrate it this way: Little pieces of rope that have been glued together won’t hold the same as one long piece of rope that has never been cut.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: To tame some of the frizz, mist your locs with a moisturizing spray and palm roll them.

If you’ve cut the frizz off your locs, never do it again. I don’t know if there’s a remedy. Only time will tell how bad the damage was to the dreads. At that point, a professional loctician who understands your situation may be the best place to go for advice as to how you should proceed.

18. Touching your scalp too much

The pH in your head is different than the pH of your scalp. If you mess around with your roots you will disrupt the pH balance. Also if you scratch your head too often, you can cause minor lesions on your scalp that can become infected if you have any bacteria under your fingernails.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: Use a head massaging brush to soothe an itchy scalp. It not only feels great, but it works well to remove dead skin cells while you’re shampooing.

19. Dying your dreads

I know I’m touching on a very controversial issue here. That’s why I saved this one for last.

A lot of people color their locs and it appears to be successful. The truth is that just because someone’s hair looks okay doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

Hair dye is very harsh and doesn’t wash off the same in locs as it does in loose natural hair. When you color your hair, the inner part of your locs absorbs all the components and chemicals of the dye. Removing the dye from your hair is the hard part and keeping it in your locs for too long will literally burn your hair off.

Bleaching is the absolute worst- it literally strips the color (and everything else) from your hair strands. Adding color after you’ve bleached it doesn’t make it any better.

If you dye your hair, you risk damaging your hair texture, stripping away vital moisture and luster, and losing entire locs completely. Even dying your roots alone can be a dangerous task and produce harmful effects.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: If you must dye your hair, I only recommend the pure powdered henna because it strengthens and conditions your hair. All other types of henna, natural dyes, chemical dyes are strongly discouraged.

To lighten your hair, you can try chamomile tea. Even though it’s not as effective as bleach but it’s a much healthier option.

If you’ve dyed your locs in the past and are dealing with damage, try a hot oil treatment. You should also moisturize your locs and scalp daily to add nutrients back to your hair and nurse it back to health.

There you have it– the 19 most common dreadful mistakes that people commit. Have you ever made one of them? If so, were you able to resolve it without causing further damage to your hair?

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!

Do your locs need a boost? Check out these 39 DIY all-natural recipes to revitalize your dreads!

Frequently asked questions

Why are my dreadlocks not locking?

Natural dreads can take time to “lock” due to a variety of factors, such as the texture and thickness of the hair, the method used to create the dreads, and how they’re maintained.

It can take several months to several years for dreadlocks to fully mature and lock. If your feel that your dreadlocks are not forming as desired, it may be helpful to consult a professional loctician for advice.

Why won’t my locs stay twisted?

There are several reasons why baby locs won’t stay twisted:

1. Your hair may not be long enough: The longer your hair, the more work it will take for it to unravel. If you started your locs with short hair, you may need to retwist them more often during the first several months until they stay in place.

2. Lack of maintenance: Regular maintenance can help to keep the locs tight and compact. Twisting, interlocking, or crochet maintenance should be done roughly every 6 to 8 weeks. I don’t recommend doing it sooner because it can cause too much stress on your scalp and cause long-term hair loss in the future. Palm rolling, on the other hand, is a lot more gentle on your scalp and can be done as needed. Learn what palm rolling is here.

3. You’re using an improper technique: The method of twisting or locking the hair may not be suitable for your hair type or texture. Every hair type knots differently. For instance, caucasian hair types will not support two-strand twists, sister locs, interlocking, or comb coils, whereas these methods will work great for Afro hair types.

On the other hand, the crochet method is ideal for someone with straight hair (like me). Unfortunately, you can’t rely on a hair stylist to know which technique will work best for your hair type (speaking from experience!) But no worries… I have done the research for you! Click here to discover the different ways dreads can be started and select the best method that will work for you.

4. You’re using incorrect hair products: Using the wrong types of hair products, such as those that contain mineral oil, petrolatum, or wax, can cause the hair to become greasy and slippery, making it difficult to hold the twists.

Before committing to a new product, read the ingredients on the label. Sadly, there are a lot of so-called “dreadlock-friendly” products out there that are actually harmful for locs. 

5. Dryness: If your hair is dry, it can also make it harder to keep the locks twisted. Moisturize your locs as needed to prevent them from becoming dry. In case you’re wondering, these are my top 6 DIY loc moisturizer recipes!

What NOT to do when you first get dreads

Here are a few things to avoid when you get dreadlocks:

1. Do not use wax or other heavy styling products: Not only will these cause build-up and make it difficult for your locs to mature properly, but more importantly, once these products make their way to the inner part of your locs, there’s no way to get them out. Over time, they’re likely to become sticky, heavy, and attract lint and dirt from the environment. I DO NOT recommend it. If this brief description didn’t convince you, maybe this article will.

2. Do not wash the dreadlocks too frequently: While washing your locs is important, over-washing them is a no-no for a couple of reasons. Number one, it can cause the dreadlocks to become too loose and may cause the hair to unravel. Number two, locs that remain wet for too long are prone to mildew, and nobody wants that. I recommend washing your hair once a week, however, if you’re very active and feel the need to wash them more often, then stick to two days a week maximum. If you swim a lot, cover your locs with a swimming cap. Tip: Wash your hair early in the morning so that it has all day to air dry. Never go to sleep with wet dreads. 

3. Do not wash your locs with the wrong shampoo: Traditional shampoos have a lot of chemicals that do not belong in hair, much less dreads because they’re prone to get stuck inside them and cause buildup. I recommend using residue-free shampoo only. My favorite natural shampoo can be found here.

4. Do not use conditioner in your locs: Your hair-washing routine is not the same with dreadlocks as it is with loose hairstyles. Say goodbye to your conditioner, because using it will be counterproductive to the locking process. Here are some conditioner alternatives that’ll help retain your hair’s shine and moisture.

5. Avoid tight hairstyles: Tight hairstyles such as ponytails or braids can create constant pulling and tension on the roots. Over the long term, this can result in hair loss due to traction alopecia. This can also cause the dreadlocks to form unevenly. 

6. Avoid using chemical treatments: Avoid using chemical treatments such as hair dye. All dyes, specifically bleach, are extremely damaging to hair. When your hair is loose, you can wash it off easily, however when it’s in locs, it’ll be difficult to get all the chemicals out, therefore damaging your hair even more and possibly causing scalp irritation. I’ve seen it happen several times where entire dreads have fallen off because a section of hair was too weak. If you’re planning on dying them regardless, understand the risk before going through with it.

Things you may find in your dreadlocks

There are a few things that can accumulate in your dreadlocks over time. These include: 

1. Lint: Dreadlocks have a velcro-like texture which makes it super easy for lint from clothing, bedding, and other fabrics to attach itself to.

2. Dust and debris: Dirt particles are always floating around in the environment, even though we don’t see them. Just like lint, our dreadlocks can attract them. It can usually be easy to wash off, unless you’ve used sticky substances like gel or wax on your locs. 

3. Natural oils: The scalp produces a natural oil called sebum. If you don’t wash your locs often enough, it’ll accumulate and may cause itchiness. 

4. Product build-up: Products such as hair gel, wax, traditional shampoos, and other styling products will build up in the dreadlocks over time. Always use natural and water-soluble ingredients. If you’re unsure about which products are safe for your locs, check out this article where I discuss all the ingredients that are not recommended. A deep cleanse will help remove a significant amount of buildup. Click here for my DIY recipe which includes the best products for freshening up your locs.

5. Residue from hard water: Hard water can leave mineral buildup in the dreadlocks and make them look dull. You can bring back your hair’s shine by following up your shampoo routine with an apple cider vinegar rinse. 

6. Mold: If your dreads remain wet for too long, they’re prone to growing mildew. The only way to avoid them is to ensure they dry thoroughly before going to sleep, however, keep in mind that they can take several hours to dry. For this reason, I recommend washing your hair in the earlier part of the day. 

7. Dead hair: As hair grows and sheds naturally, dead hair will get trapped in the dreadlocks. One time I brushed out the four locs on the front of my face, and I was shocked with the ginormous hairball I was left with. If you brush out your dreads, you’ll probably experience the same thing. 

Why are my dreads loose and frizzy?

There are several reasons why your dreadlocks may be loose and frizzy:

1. Lack of maintenance: Dreadlocks require maintenance to keep them tight and compact, otherwise some of the hair inside the locs will naturally come out, while the new growth at the root will look messy and possibly frizzy. 

2. Incorrect technique: The method of twisting or locking the hair may not be suitable for your hair type or texture, which may be the cause of your dreads becoming loose.  

3. Dryness: If your hair is dry, it can cause frizziness and give your locs a rough texture that resembles velcro.

4. Washing your locs with hard water: Hard water can make the hair frizzy.

Keep in mind that each person’s hair is unique and has different textures. The cause of frizziness and loose locs will vary from person to person.

One tip to reduce some of the frizz is to palm roll them from the root all the way through the end of the loc. You can also tuck in the extra frizzy sections with a crochet hook for a neater appearance. 

This article was originally published on May 12, 2019. It has since been updated and improved.

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  1. My loctician trimmed my frizzies twice at the early stage of my dreads. I’m only 4 months on the journey. Please, I’m worried my hair won’t thicken out

    1. oh no! For your next maintenance appointment, ask your loctician not to trim the frizz. It might look a little messier but it’s part of the locking process. I hope they’ll thicken out properly!!

  2. I recently just started dreads and they was short but also locked and everyday I tried to style them do it can look neat but I didn’t know I was thinning them so now I have some dreads that’s really thin that’s about to break off so I’ve been combing them with other dreads and hope to get a stronger root what should I do. To fix this one side of my head is very thin compared to the other side I don’t know if it’s growing or not

  3. I’m curious about the mention of dye. Have you done research on or do you have any experience with more conditioning dyes, like Lime Crime, NRage, or Lunar Tides? I’ve got partial locs in dyed hair now and am hoping to get the rest locked in a couple months. Would like to get dye out, but have no interest in bleach.
    I’m wondering if my locked hair will be super damaged?

    1. Hi Jennifer!
      I don’t have experience using conditioning dyes. Chemical dyes can be more damaging to dreads than loose hairstyles because removing the dye from the inner parts of the locs is difficult. If you accidentally leave the product in too long or don’t successfully get it all out, the chemicals can ruin your hair and cause irreversible damage, such as breakage. For this reason, I highly advise against it, but if you choose to do it anyway, I would recommend getting advice from a professional loctician who has experience dying locs. 🙂 Best of luck!!

      1. Hi Elijah,

        Yay, that’s awesome!!
        Yes, frizz is definitely normal, especially within the first 6-12 months. The time may vary based on your hairtype and the method with which you started your locs, but don’t worry, your hair is adjusting. 🙂
        Wish you the best on your dreadlock journey and feel free to reach out anytime if you have more questions!

    2. Hi!

      I am on my second month in loc journey land. My hair is down to my jawline. The first month I did nothing to my hair before retwisting after 5 weeks. Now, I am misting my hair with rosewater and oiling scalp with grapeseed and avacado oil. All is good EXCEPT, I’m noticing my locs unraveling bit now that in using it for moisture. Is this normal??? I had no unraveling when I didn’t use rosewater.

      1. Hi Reema! Unraveling is a normal part of the loc journey, especially during the first few months as your hair starts to adapt to locs and matures. Keep your hair separated at the root and they’ll eventually get tighter. 🙂 Moisturizing is important because it keeps your hair flexible (versus dry) so it prevents breakage later on. I don’t think rosewater would be a problem necessarily, but you can try using distilled water instead if you’re concerned.

    3. So I used to have dreads hoping to do them again but I normally use arctic fox dye I never noticed any damage on my locks the only thing that would worry me is that it’s a conditioner based dye so essentially the same as a deep conditioner with pigment and we all know not to use conditioner on them but the worst that happened to me was the ends of my locs unraveling but if you do dye your hair I recommend rinsing in a bucket and squeeze them out it will take longer to get all the color out but if some happens to get left behind it won’t cause damage to your hair other than over moisturizing it

  4. Thanks for the needed advice. How can one fix a bad dye result? I really should have not tried to dye my hair but know it just looks awful! Can this be fixed without causing more damage.

    1. Hi! You’re welcome 🙂
      When you say bad dye result, do you mean the dye didn’t take properly to your hair and you want to re-dye it to fix it? Or your hair got damaged as a result of the dye and you’re looking to do something that’ll help your hair recover?

  5. My retwist don’t last longer than a couple of days or a week now that I’ve been locked a couple of months. Should I help them keep their retwist or allow them to do what they want? I don’t want damaged locs in the long run but this stage is hard to maintain

    1. Hi Joan,

      I agree, it’s not easy maintenance at first but it will get better over time. 🙂 Retwising too often or constantly manipulating the hair at the root could cause long-term hair loss, so I would recommend just being diligent about separating the roots every day or every other day. If the locs seem to be loosening or coming undone, I would recommend spritzing them with water and palm rolling them (while the hair is damp). You can get them retwisted once every eight weeks or so.

      I hope that helps 🙂 Best of luck!

  6. Some of my love didn’t backcomb as tight as I was hoping, will my loctician be able to fix them for me or should I take them out and restart them?

    1. When I retwist my hair I leave it for a month . It doesn’t unravel but when I wash it even after leaving the retwists for a month everything just unravels 🙁 Every single retwist I do unravels when washing . And I can’t just leave my hair dirty with dandruff . I really don’t know what to do

      1. Hi Amanda! I would love to offer some tips but I don’t know what your hair type is nor which method you used to start and retwist your locs. Would you email me directly ( and if possible, send photos of your hair. Look forward to hearing from you!

  7. 9 months and counting , but my hair grows so fast l also wash them once a week and redo them every 8/10 weeks .l must say l am loving the comfort of having my own hair no stressing too much, thank you so much for the tips.

  8. My 10year son has had dreads since 5 years old. They are locked nice. Problem is around second year I tried to retwist with wax. Now he has what look like dirty rings towards ends where the wax was, how can I remove the dirty rings

    1. Hi Barbara,

      The only way to get rid of the wax 100% is to cut that section of the dreads off. 🙁 But that would be tragic so I recommend attempting two things before making the decision to cut. First, I’d start with a deep dread cleanse. Here is the step-by-step:
      In your son’s case, I’d say to soak the dreads twice as long as is recommended in the article (mainly because it may help to loosen up some of the wax but also because his dreads are mature, so soaking them longer shouldn’t become a problem).

      Then, while his hair is soaking, I recommend squeezing them like Yannie the Locologist does in this video: [Skip to minute 5:47 and watch until 8:22]. Hopefully you’re able to squeeze the residue off enough so that the rings from the wax disappear.

      Let me know how it goes and if that doesn’t help, I’ll try to come up with another suggestion!
      Best, Nadia

    2. I just started my son’s locs with 2 strand twists but they are counter clockwise. Should I redo them clockwise? Or can I retwist clockwise? Or retwist them the way they already are? It’s only been about 3 weeks so far. His hair will take a long time to loc, do you recommend saltwater or a product like dollylocs?

      1. Hi April,
        There are mixed opinions on which direction to retwist locs. The industry standard (for locticians) is clockwise. Typically textured hair coils to the right as well, so retwisting clockwise would ensure that you’re maintaining the hair in the direction that it naturally grows in.

        Whichever direction you choose to go with, however, always retwist in the same direction. If you change directions at some point, you risk interrupting the loc process and possibly causing breakage and unraveling.

        As for products, I recommend making your own. Sea salt spray can help them loc up faster, but don’t overdo it. Salt will dry out the hair so too much can be counterproductive in terms of keeping the locs healthy and moisturized. Here’s more information on using sea salt sprays & the recipe to make your own 🙂 Click on this URL:

        I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  9. Haven’t started yet, but doing my homework. The 6-8 weeks for re-twisting, is that A recommendation for already developed locks? How often should a beginner with say, 3 inches of hair twist?

    1. 6 to 8 weeks is recommended for dreads at any part of the journey, so definitely would be fine for new locs.
      The longer you can wait, the better. The reasoning behind it is that you need to give your scalp enough time to recover from the tug and pull of each retwist. Too much of it can cause hair loss/ thinning later on.

  10. I started my dread with relaxed hair n it came out really frizzy, it’s been four months now n it’s getting worse. I have followed up every thing I know you make it look like a real dread but it’s just get fluffy and the tips loose. Please what should I do?

    1. Hi Stella, frizz is part of the journey, especially in the beginning. Palm rolling might help smooth them out but it’s no guarantee. Which method did you use to start your locs (i.e. crochet, freeform)?

  11. Hi, I’m Ife
    I’m about to venture into starter locs but I already have dye on my natural hair, would that cause a damage to the locs?

    1. Hi! Yay, congrats!!
      While your locs won’t be as strong as if you had started them with healthy hair, having it dyed already shouldn’t cause any extra damage.
      Don’t dye your hair once it’s in locs, and all the new growth will be much healthier 🙂
      I hope that answered your question. In any case, I’m always happy to help if you have any more questions!

  12. Hi Nadia, I’m free forming my locs and I’ve been on this journey for 10 months now. I wasn’t finger combing through to separate my locs but would shake my head to loosen them.. I definitely have a couple of thicker locs, specifically one, which I call, “mama” cause she was my first loc and she loves attaching to all the loose hair around her, thus continuously growing bigger. Should I attempt to separate at this point or just let it do it’s thing? And what happens with big thick locs?

    1. Hi Jetaun! It’s definitely up to you 🙂 I recommend separating the locs at the root every 3 to 5 days, that is IF you want to keep them the same size as you currently have them. As new hair grows, the roots will always mingle and get messy. If you’re happy with your large loc, that’s totally okay! (I love that you named it, by the way!!)
      The thing with big thick locs is this- if you ever change your mind and want to make “mama” smaller, you’ll have to brush it out and start that one all over. Also, it’ll take a long time for it to dry thoroughly after you wash it, so make sure to wash your locs early in the morning and don’t go to bed with wet hair.
      I hope that helps!

  13. I just started my pics late May. However, I just got them retwisted on Tuesday but did not wait for them to fully dry and now the roots are already swelling. Is that normal?

    1. Hi Isabella, retwisting your locs while they’re damp is actually a good idea because when your hair is wet, it’s much more flexible and less prone to breakage. If your roots are swollen it’s because the retwist was too tight. I recommend waiting 6 to 8 weeks minimum between retwists. This time period allows your scalp to heal and helps prevent traction alopecia in the future.

  14. I’ve had my second retwist for my locs and I’ve been a little worried because some part of the locs are thicker than the other and my locs are not straight just always stunted but If this is my fault and if I ca fix it.

    1. Hi Esosa, How long have you had your locs for?
      It’s normal that some part of your locs can be thicker than others. When it comes to natural hair, it’s expected that they will take a shape of their own, however it’s not normal if the roots are significantly thinner than the rest of the locs, or if small sections of your locs are thinning. I would be concerned about that. If you’d like, feel free to send me a picture to and I can give you better advice on what to do next. 🙂

  15. Wow. This was all great advice. I’m so glad I ran upon this article. I’ve been doing everything all wrong. 🤦🏽‍♀️ This information was golden. 🙌🏾

  16. My head is always throbbing I’ve stopped touching it so much twisting it while I twist lots of hair falls out when is it to log to fit it?

    1. If your scalp hurts to the point that it’s throbbing, then I recommend allowing more time between each retwist- try to wait a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks. If your roots are consistently too tight, then you risk permanent baldness (traction alopecia).

  17. Hey
    Im 4 weeks in, have delightful fuzz, have noticed a tightening of the locks. I wash my hair every other day, it sounds like this is too much? Always in the morning and my hair is chin length.

    1. Hi Claire! Every other day is too often because it doesn’t give the inner part of your locs enough time to dry. If they stay wet too long, they’ll grow mold. It’s best to wash once every seven days and lightly use an essential oil moisturizer during the week to keep them smelling nice 🙂 These are six DIY moisturizer recipes if you’re interested:

  18. Hi Nadia. This is the most comprehensive and accurate article/blog I’ve come across. Thank you! What shampoos would you recommend? And what should I use for twisting/retwisting?

    1. Hi Jay! Thank you so much 🙂 My favorite shampoos are Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Shampoo (click here to see what it looks like) and Trader Joe’s Shampoo Bar (click here to see that one). I usually don’t use any products for retwisting, however if you need something afterwards to soothe your scalp, then I highly recommend aloe vera (straight from the leaf, preferably). I wrote an article about the benefits of aloe vera for locs and step-by-step instructions on how to extract the gel from the leaf and make your own scalp spray. You can check it out here:
      I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. I’ll be happy to help!

      1. Hi!
        I’m 3months in my loc journey, I started with interlocking, however I want my locs thicker as I’ve learnt interlocking creates thinner locs.
        Transitioning to retwist would most likely create a weird pattern from the interlocking I would leave off. The question is,
        1, How do I get thicker locs with interlocking or is it safe for me to Transition into retwists.
        2, Can I wait up to 3 months before reloc? (Every other maintainance like washing will continue except reloc)

        Thank you!

        1. Hi Toluwani! You can congo (meaning, combine) two thin locs that are next to each other to create a thicker one. If I were in your situation, I would try to congo two of the locs near the base of your head (closer to the neck) and see how it turns out. If you like the result, continue with the others.
          Yea, you can wait 3 months between maintenance however I would recommend keeping up with your roots weekly. After you wash them, separate (pull apart) the roots so that they don’t merge on their own. Otherwise, when you do get them maintained, it’ll be a lot more painful and difficult to separate the locs.
          I hope that helps! 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions!

  19. Hello dear, I’m Helen,, a starter of dreadlocks,,,only three weeks old… My hairdresser has told me I be retouching my hair as oftenly as weekly or every two weeks,,,we normally wash it thoroughly… Untwist and then twist is again using her palm.. Finally we style.. The worried part is they are so thin…I asked her if they will get to normal size and she told yah after they are fully locked. I’m I doing the right thing plz?

    1. Hi Helen! Which method did you use to start your locs? It’s recommended to wash them once a week but retwisting should be done once every 6 to 8 weeks (not sooner). I don’t understand why your hairdresser would want to untwist and retwist again since untwisting would not give your hair the ability to loc- that would actually have the opposite effect. 🙁

  20. Hello..arielle here, 4 months into my loc journey,the day before yesterday,i did moisturise them,but yesteday i retwisted them,they had already dried up.i didn’t know it was bad to do so.actually it was my first ever retwist,i did not even planned to retwist them,i was just wondering if i could do it,i tried one,then the next,and the next and before i knew i did all my hair,so i came this morning to check out on google if there was anything about it and here i am,hoping i didn’t do too much harm to my babies,should loosen up the retwist to avoid damage?

  21. I do not like how my Loctician parted and twisted my locs. Hair seems to be tied into a lox that should be part of another loc or a separate lox altogether. I have big spaces in between locs and sometimes the hair pulls because it was pulled too far into one lox. My locs are crocheted. Can this be fixed?

  22. I’m nearly 8 months into my microloc journey and noticed a lot of bunching/budding on my ends. The upper half of my locs seemed to be loc’d, but the bottom half are frizzy, bunching, and budding in some areas. Is this normal? If not, what can I do to fix it?

  23. I’ve been growing my dreads for two years and I’ve noticed that they start further back from my edge line than when I first started. It’s looks like I can start another row of dreads sadly. What should I do and how can I prevent this? I would hate for 2 more years to pass and I begin to look like Stevie wonder😂.

  24. I’ve been growing my dreads for two years now and I noticed that my dreads start further away from my edge line than last year. It looks like I can start another row of dreads😭. I don’t understand where the hair went cause all of my dreads are still there(I count them). But anyway how can I prevent this from happening. I feel like I’m 3 years my dreads would start in the middle of my head if I don’t do something. 💀

    1. Hi Crash, that’s a great question. Would you feel comfortable sending me a photo to see the before and current version of your locs? I recommend separating the locs at the root often- depending on how fast your hair knots, you can separate them every few days or once a week. That should help to keep them in their original place. In any case, if you’d like, email me at and I’ll try to give you better advice 🙂

  25. Hi. I started my hair using the interlocking method and it’s medium in size. I have been using the interlocking method for maintenance. I don’t know if the interlocking maintenance method would make my hair expand. Should I continue using the interlocking method or do a retwist because I want my hair to expand overtime. My locs are three months old. I have a 4c hair

  26. Hi. My dreadlocks gets rough or should I say looks old on the sclap so quickly within a week after I have maintain and styled the hair in the salon. Is it normal or is there anything I need to do so that my styled hair can last longer?

    1. Hi Stella! I don’t recommend getting locs maintained professionally more than once every 6 to 8 weeks. This is because it puts too much pressure on the scalp, which can cause traction alopecia (long-term hair loss). Instead of weekly maintenance, you could palm roll them near the roots to keep them tidy in between maintenance sessions. 🙂

  27. My husband claim he knows how retwist and wash locs I’m in starter stage. First of all he washed my hair and did’nt use conditioner, now my hair feels dry and brittle, and he didnt use clips. And he twisted my hair dry I could literally feel my hair popping as he so call retwisted it. Should I go to a professional and let them rewash and retwist my hair or suffer for 6weeks looking a hot mess and having dry hair. I’m nervous as it is trying to make sure I have healthy locs I don’t want to damage my hair. He told me if I go get it rewashed and retwisted too soon my hair can become weak and break.

    1. Hi Terrie, Definitely you don’t want to use conditioner since that’ll detangle your hair rather than lock it. I would recommend moisturizing your hair as often as needed. In a spray bottle, mix 1 cup of water with 15 drops of your favorite essential oils. Mist your locs with this throughout the day or whenever it feels dry, just don’t drench them. 😉 If your roots/scalp gets dry too, you can massage a pea-sized amount of grapeseed, coconut, or jojoba oil (whichever you prefer based on how your skin absorbs it). I hope this helps! If you have more questions, feel free to reach out anytime 🙂

  28. Hello,
    Thanks for the super helpful article. I have long dreads and had been trimming them. Now that I know to stop, I need help w fixing the roughness that causes my neck and shoulders to itch like crazy. I don’t have the ability to palm roll as I use my hands a lot and have 82 individual locs and this would ruin my arms and shoulders. Would brushing them help? I’ve got my conditioning game down… I’m considering cutting them off bc it’s so uncomfortable to wear them down… 😔

    1. Hi Bianca!! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 Ahh I’m in a similar boat as you and I’m learning to navigate the itchiness on my back primarily. I haven’t tried brushing them but my loctician recommended that to me in the past, so I think it would be worth trying. Something I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time (yet) is to soak my locs in water and aloe vera gel (pure gel from the leaf). Aloe will soften the locs a bit, but it sounds like your locs are mature already so that shouldn’t be a problem. I can give you an update once I try this to let you know if that has helped 🙂 Fingers crossed!

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