After unfortunately having to cut off many of my dreadlocks’ ends due to breakage, I thought to myself, “What are some of the things I should avoid to prevent damage to my dreadlocks in the future?” So, I decided to compile a list of the most important things to avoid damaging your dreadlocks. One of the most dreaded (pun intended) realities for anyone with dreadlocks is noticing that your locs are thinning in a particular area. Although there are many factors that contribute to damaged locs, here 10 things that will damage your dreadlocks in 2020.
- Never style, twist or retwist dry locs.
- Stop doing crazy experiments with your dreads.
- Don’t trim the fuzzy hairs from your locs.
- Stop waiting to wash your hair for weeks or months.
- Avoid wearing tight updos for long periods of time.
- Stop doing every DIY you see on the internet.
- Don’t neglect your dreads.
- Do not bleach or color your hair without properly knowing how.
- Do not tie knots into thinning locs.
- Be careful about what goes into your hair.
Never Style, Twist Or Retwist Dry Locs
For many people, the beginnings of their dreadlock journey are exciting and people generally want to rush the process. You’ll find that people tend to twirl their hair between their fingers throughout the day in order to maintain their curl or to encourage the hair to lock faster. Some people even do dry comb retwists with their hair.
Styling or retwisting your hair dry will inevitably lead to damage and breakage. This is because the dryer your hair is during the styling process, the more it will encounter friction which will lead to small tears in the hair follicle. Over time, these tears will become larger causing your loc to thin and eventually break off.
To avoid this, always make sure you style or twist when your hair is damp. Use a moisturizing product or style it after you’ve washed your dreads. Wet hair has more elasticity which will decrease the amount of friction that occurs when styling your hair.
Stop Experimenting With Your Dreads
There are many videos on the internet of people using different concoctions of products to achieve certain goals with their hair. While some of them can be harmless, there are many things you do not and should not ever put on your hair.
I’ve seen videos of people using mustard, toothpaste, laundry detergent, many different essential oils, sodas, etc, to clean their hair, add protein, moisturize, or style their locs. While is it important to try and use products that are natural, keep in mind that everything is not meant to be used on your hair. This especially goes for dreadlocks where products can easily get embedded into the loc which may never come out.
Using products like these can potentially lead to undesired effects such as hair loss or an allergic reaction. If it works for you, that’s fine but products like these are not ideal.
Instead, find a natural product that works for your hair and stick with it for a least a couple of months. If after a couple of months you do not see the results you’re looking for, then try something else but please only use things that are safe for your hair.
Do Not Trim The Fuzzy Hair From Your Crown
I’ve noticed that many of my friends with dreadlocks tend to trim the fuzzy hairs that stick out from their locs in order to maintain a more “groomed” appearance. However, trimming these fuzzies can lead to thinning and breakage.
When you trim the fuzzy hair from your locs, there’s no way of telling which hairs are holding your dreads together. Trimming these hairs can lead to an unraveling of your loc. You may not notice the results right away. It could take months or even years before you see the damage caused by trimming off your fuzzy hairs.
Everyone’s dreadlock journey is different. Some people may end up having really fuzzy locs while others may not. Hopefully, if you’ve decided to loc your hair then you are open to your dreadlock journey and are fine with results that may not be exactly what you hoped for.
Stop Waiting To Wash Your Hair For Weeks Or Months
This has to be the most frustrating trend I see in the dreadlock community. Many people, including myself, at the beginning of their dreadlock journey, are told to not wash their hair for weeks or months. This supposedly helps your hair lock faster however, this could not be further from the truth.
You should avoid anyone who advises you to wait a long period of time before washing your hair. Failure to wash your hair for weeks or months can lead to many issues including mildew, fungus, extreme scalp itch, pimples on your scalp, foul odor, inhibited growth, and can slow down the locking process.
Instead, maintain a washing schedule that fits your needs. If you washed your hair every three days prior to locking your hair, then continue to wash your hair every three days with your dreadlocks and adjust when necessary. Failing to keep your hair clean will not make your hair lock any faster so please wash it.
Avoid Wearing Tight Updos For Extended Periods Of Time
While it’s OK every once in a while to wear your hair up or in a ponytail, you want to make sure to balance it out with wearing your hair in a loose style or down. Continuously wearing tight updos can cause stress on your hair follicles which will lead to thinning edges and locs.
If you are wearing ponytails or keeping your hair up, make sure to use hair ties that do not have a metal band holding them together which can rip out your hair. Use soft-tipped bobby pins or clips to keep your hair in place. Also, make sure to wrap your hair at night with a silk or satin nightcap to avoid moisture loss.
Stop Doing Every DIY You See On The Internet
While there are many tutorials out there showing people how to improve locs with many different products, this doesn’t mean that all of them are meant for your hair, especially black hair.
You may find videos of people using things such as raw eggs, mayonnaise, vegetable oils, etc on their hair. While in some cases it may work for people, those with dreadlocks should avoid using items like these. With locs, you never know if these things will come out of your hair or cause problems in the future.
Instead, look for products that are water-soluble and as natural and light as possible to avoid any issues.
Do Not Neglect Your Locs
Some people assume that having dreadlocks means that you do not have to do much to them in terms of care. It’s important to note that while it may be easier to style, you should maintain a regular care schedule for your hair. This includes setting a specific day for washing your hair, moisturizing if necessary, and making sure you avoid doing things that can cause damage to your locs.
This goes for any form of dreadlocks including sisterlocs, freeform dreadlocks, comb twists, crochet locs, twist-n-rip, etc. Your hair is your crown so treat it as such by caring for it properly.
Do Not Bleach Or Color Your Hair Without Knowing How
Being able to have fun with your hair is important and occasionally some people may want to dye their hair. A quick Youtube video might make it look easy but if you do not know how to properly color your hair then find a professional that can.
You want to look for a professional that knows how to dye dreadlocks. The process for dying loose natural hair is a bit different than dying dreadlocks. You need to use more dye and you want to avoid leaving it on too long and applying incorrectly, otherwise, you could end up with a lot of breakage.
Dyes and bleaches are generally made up of very harsh chemicals. While a dreadlock is thicker than a single strand of hair, it can endure enough damage to eventually thin out and break off. So do not assume that just because you have dreads, you’ll avoid any consequences from mishandling your hair.
Do Not Tie Knots Into Thinning Locs
Generally, when people notice that their dreadlock is thinning, they’ll end up tying a knot into the thinned out portion in hopes of saving the lock and the length. This method, however, is not recommended and only suffices as a quick fix to a much bigger problem.
Tying knots into thinning locs will cause a bumpy look to the lock. If you are someone who does not want their locks to have bumps, avoid tying a knot. Instead, if you know how to use a crochet hook reattach hairs and strengthen your locs, then do so. Otherwise, it’s advised to see a professional loctician who can help you achieve the look you’re going for and repair your hair.
Remember that a thinning loc is only a symptom of a much bigger problem. If you notice that your locs are thinning then try to figure out what may be causing it. This way you can prevent thinning and breaking in the future. Check out my blog post “How To Stop Dreadlocks From Breaking” for ways to prevent hair loss.
Be Careful About What Goes Into Your Hair
Having dreads can be fun and almost carefree. However, it is important to recognize that some of the things you use to get away with when you had loose hair, you can not do with dreads or should avoid doing.
This includes things such as going to the beach and getting sand in your hair, maybe you enjoy mudding, or using many products on your hair. While these things are easier to rinse out with loose natural hair, dreadlocks act as sponges and tend to trap things much more. It can be near impossible to get every grain of sand or dirt out. Using heavy products can cause buildup in the center of your loc which will lead to stiff and smelly dreads.
The dreadlock journey can be exciting and may give you a sense of freedom and inner peace but be sure to recognize the importance of maintaining your hair to prevent damage and hair loss for the future. Follow these simple steps and you can be certain that your hair will continue to look as beautiful as you do!