The term weak spot or thin spot, when referring to dreadlocks, means that a section of your loc is thinning out- in extreme cases that section will be reduced to singular strands of hair, literally. If you can describe a section of your dread as “holding on for dear life,” then you have a weak spot and I understand why you’re panicking!
Here I’ll discuss the main reasons why this might occur so that you can prevent it from happening again in the future, and a few recommendations for how you can fix them.
Possible reasons for weak spots in dreadlocks
1. Your locs are not mature yet
Your dreads can take years to mature. For those with coarse and curly hair types, it might take a year or more, whereas for those with thin, straight hair types it could take about three years!
In any case, some locs (or portion of locs) may mature faster than others, so don’t get worried if you notice sections unraveling or looping, and weak spots in young dreads. Just accept that they’re still babies and need time to adjust.
Now, if the problem doesn’t seem to get resolved after some time, perhaps you should consider some of the other seven causes mentioned below.
What to do: There’s no way to prevent this since it’s part of the process. But it helps to learn how to be patient. 😉 Here are 17 tips if you’re having a hard time during the early dreadlock stages.
2. Tight styling
This is perhaps the most common reason and I have been guilty of it myself. When I first got dreads, I wasn’t comfortable showing off the frizz and mess so I resorted to tying my locs in buns and ponytails. Big mistake!
Tight styling can choke sections of your locs and prevent them from shaping up properly.
What to do: While styling locs is a fun part of the journey, it’s best to use headbands and ties that will hold your style loosely- especially if your locs are not fully mature yet.
3. Tight accessories
While we’re on the topic of styling, I’ll mention dreadlock accessories. And I’ll admit, I’m guilty of this one too!
Healthy locs generally get thicker over time, so wearing tight beads may prevent the wrapped section of your hair from maturing properly. If you leave the accessories in the same spot long enough, those sections will inevitably be much thinner than the rest of the dread.
What to do: If you love accessorizing your locs, just move the beads around from time to time.
4. Dry or brittle hair
If your hair feels like a metal scrubber when it brushes up against your face, then you have dry hair. Naturally, this would weaken your hair follicles and cause breakage, which could lead to weak spots somewhere along your dread. Dryness could be caused by low humidity, dry weather, using a hair dryer too often, not drinking enough water, and not eating the right nutrients.
What to do: Drink plenty of water and moisturize your hair and scalp more often. Moisturizing is as easy as lightly spraying water and essential oils throughout your hair. To encourage hair growth, you can massage your scalp with a pea-sized amount of the carrier oil of your choice.
5. Obsessive lint picking
Yikes, I’m guilty of this one too! The first time I found lint stuck in between my locs, I freaked! Then I got ultra obsessed and looked under every loop of hair to see if I would uncover more.
When I did, I’d dig in there with my crochet hook and spend hours trying to get it out. I was so concerned about removing the lint only I could see, that I didn’t consider the fact that I was weakening the knots in those areas.
What to do: Protect your hair from getting lint, such as by wearing a silk cap at bedtime. If you’re trying to remove lint from your locs, be ultra-gentle and know what you might get yourself into. This about this- is digging around for lint worth weakening an entire section of a loc?
6. Overly maintaining your locs
Constant maintenance can create strain and cause breakage on the strands of your hair and on your scalp. Your hair needs time to repair itself, grow, and knot on its own.
If the weak spots are occurring somewhat close to your scalp, it might be because you’re maintaining your dreads too often.
What to do: You should wait a minimum of 6 weeks before going back for maintenance, however, the ideal amount of time is 8 weeks or more.
7. Retwisting your roots wrong
Your hair grows in a circular direction. This is known as “hair whorl”. To maintain your roots properly, you should follow your hair’s natural growth direction, whether it be clockwise or counterclockwise.
Twisting your hair in the wrong direction can disrupt the locking process and may cause weak spots later on.
What to do: Pay attention to your hair’s natural whorl and maintain your roots accordingly. If you get them professionally maintained, it’s a good idea to go to the same loctician every time. People who visit different locticians risk having their roots twisted in different directions.
8. Dying your locs
Chemical dyes are extremely damaging to your hair. Not only do they cause dryness, but if the dye is left in your hair long enough (over 20 minutes in some cases) it can cause extreme thinning and breakage. Bleach can literally dissolve hair. There are some cringe-worthy videos on YouTube if you want to see bleach fails.
Dying dreadlocks is especially risky because it’s hard to remove the dye from the inner parts of the loc, thereby the damage may be worse than the expected result. Since your locs are basically intertwined/ knotted strands of hair, any damaged to the hair can create weak spots.
What to do: My recommendation is to avoid hair dye altogether. It’s really not worth it.
How to fix weak spots in dreads
Repairing weak spots in locs can be an easy fix, so no need to panic. 🙂 You have several options but note that some work better for some hair types than others. I highly recommend having a professional loctician help you, especially if the damage is severe.
1. Pull hair into the weak spot
Using a crochet needle (no larger than .8 mm), you’re going to pull some of the matted hair from below the weak spot upwards into the weak spot. Then, pull some of the matted hair from above the weak spot downwards into the weak spot. In essence, you’ll be refilling or fluffing up that spot with more hair.
Once it’s thicker, you can crochet it from side to side and palm roll to even it out. This will work best on the dreads that are not holding on by a strand or two. The process may cause them to shrink a little. You can see a demonstration of this method in this video.
2. Add extra hair to strengthen the weak spots
For this method, you’ll have to purchase textured hair that matches your hair color the best. Synthetic hair should work fine if you’re not allergic to it. A beauty supply store should have it or you can get it on Amazon.
Once you have the hair, take a small amount and wrap it around the weak spot. Then, crochet it into the loc. This seems to be one of the most popular methods of repairing weak spots and it should work great for the one that is hanging on for dear life. This video shows the technique. Skip to minute 3:36. It goes kind of fast but you can play it in slow motion.
3. Make knots on your locs
This method is exactly what it sounds like. Make a knot over the weak spot with your same loc. It would work on the dreads that are holding on by a good amount of hair strands because otherwise it might cause it to break off completely. Also, it works best on coarse hair types.
The risk with this method would be lumpy locs, so you have to make sure that the knots do not overlap. This video demonstrates this method well.
4. Sew the loc together with a thread
Using a sewing needle and thread (a color that is the closest to your hair color), you’re going to twist your dread a little bit and sew it together. This is the best video I could find showing this specific method. Skip to minute 2:52.
5. Crochet the surrounding hair
If you notice any weak locs close to the root, the simple fix would be to crochet in the loose hair surrounding that loc, as is shown in this video. If you do this, be sure to part the hair at the root properly.
6. Reattach broken locs
If some of your locs fell off, or you cut them off, you can reattach them just like you would with extensions. This video shows you how to do that with a crochet needle. Note that the crochet hook used here is different than the one I previously mentioned.
There you have it— the 8 most common causes of weak spots in locs and 6 ways to fix them. If you have any tips or questions, be sure to leave them in the comments!
Do your locs need a natural pick-me-up? Check out these 39 DIY recipes to revitalize your dreads!