As low-maintenance as they are, dreadlocks still require some care. In this article, we will teach you how to moisturize efficiently dreadlocks and get healthy beautiful and growing dreadlocks.
Why are your dreadlocks dry
As your dreadlocks grow longer, you might notice that the tips are getting dryer and more brittle compared to the hair around your roots. This is totally normal. The longer your dreads, the older your hair is. Your dreads have probably been rubbing against your clothes and your pillowcase, exposed to the sun or the heat from your hairdryer…
Because the cuticles of your dreads are opened, they have more difficulties to retain moisture. You need a physical barrier to keep the moisture in: a vegetable oil.
What vegetable oils should you use to soften your locs?
The properties of vegetable oils
Vegetable oils are produced through extraction or pressure from grains (nuts for example) or fatty fruits (avocado).
They are hydrophobic (don’t mix with water) and water-proof meaning that they create a film around your hair.
They are able to soften your hair while reducing moisture loss.
Vegetable oils are mainly composed of fatty acids triglycerides, which is what gives them their softening properties.
Vegetable oils can be applied to brittle dreadlocks after cleaning them, in between washes when they need softening and as a hot oil treatment once a month.
Click here to learn more about the vegetable oils properties on hair.
The best vegetable oils to soften dreadlocks
Below is a list of the best vegetable oils to soften dry brittle dreadlocks:
- Almond oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Sunflower oil
- Jojoba oil
- Grapeseed oil
You can either use them pure or make an oil mix with your favorite vegetable oils.
Coconut oil and dreadlocks
Coconut oil is a great vegetable oil to use on damaged hair such as coloured, bleached, weak or porous hair.
This oil is able to penetrate deeply the hair all the way to the cortex and bind to the hair proteins to strengthen it.
Sometimes, coconut oil may cause more drying and breakage of the hair when it has been used too frequently or the hair doesn’t need extra strengthening.
So if you feel that after applying coconut oil to your dreads, they become even drier and brittle, choose another oil such as sunflower or grapeseed oil.
Can essential oils moisturise dreadlocks?
Contrary to what the name suggests, an essential oil does not contain fat, so it cannot soften or moisturise hair.
Because of their antiseptic properties, they are able to fight against dandruff and soothe itching. They are also appreciated for their fragrance.
Add a few drops of essential oils such as Tea Tree, Geranium, Bay Laurel, Palmarosa, Cade, St Thomas Bay, Patchouli in your hot oil treatment, apply it to your scalp, massage and relax.
How to moisturise your dreadlocks after shampoo
For your hair to be healthy, it needs to be kept clean. A weekly wash is recommended with a residue-free shampoo.
- After washing your dreadlocks, remove the excess water with an old t-shirt or a microfibre towel.
- On slightly damp dreads, apply some vegetable oils focusing on the dry areas of your dreads such as the tips.
- Press your dreads with your hands to help to penetrate the oil.
- Avoid applying oils on your scalp as it can be responsible for dandruff.
How to moisturise your dreadlocks in between shampoos
Make yourself a spray bottle and use it as often as needed.
- 2/3 of water or flower water such as patchouli, orange blossom or lavender water.
- 1/3 of vegetable oils of your choice mentioned above.
- A few drops of essential oil such as peppermint or lavender for the fragrance.
Shake well before use. Spray on your dreads especially the length and tips. Press your dreads to help with penetration.
Keep your spray bottle in the fridge.
To soften your dreads, you can also apply some vegetable oils to your dreads.
Hot oil treatments
Hot oils treatments are great for really dry dreads:
- Add into a bowl the oils of your choice. The more hair you have the more oil you should add.
- If you suffer from dandruff or itchy scalp, add a few drops of essential oils such as Tea Tree, Geranium, Bay Laurel, Palmarosa, Cade, St Thomas Bay or Patchouli.
- Warm up your oil mix into a bain-marie.
- When your oils are warm enough (not piping hot), take off your bowl from the bain-marie.
- Apply the treatment on dry hair (not damps) from the scalp to the tips. Remember, the oil must penetrate every strand so don’t hesitate to press on your dreads to ensure even oil application.
- Massage your scalp.
- Wrap your head with a plastic bag then a hair wrap. Let it set between 30 minutes to a night.
- Wash your hair with a residue-free shampoo.
Should you use conditioner or moisturising creams on your dreadlocks?
When applied on dreadlocks, conditioners and moisturing creams can leave residues on the hair, even after a thorough wash. Build-ups are very challenging to get rid of and can be responsible for bad smell on your dreadlocks.
This is why it’s better to use oils and a homemade spray bottle.
To have beautiful healthy dreadlocks is easy: wash them on a weekly basis with a residue-free shampoo and apply some vegetable oils on the length to soften your dreads. Once a month, do a hot oil treatment to add extra softness.