What is wax?
Wax is hydrophobic (doesn’t like water) and malleable at ambient temperatures (1). Wax is the main ingredient of dreads wax products.
There are 3 types of waxes:
- Animal waxes
The best-known animal wax is beeswax [Cera alba (Beeswax)], used in constructing the honeycombs of honeybees. Another example of animal wax is lanolin, obtained from sheep wool.
- Plant waxes
Plants secrete waxes into and on the surface of their cuticles as a way to control evaporation and hydration. The most popular plant wax is carnauba wax [Copernicia Cerifera (carnauba) wax], a hard wax obtained from the Brazilian palm.
- Petroleum-derived waxes
Paraffin and microcrystalline waxes are the most popular petroleum-derived wax used in cosmetic.
Did you know?
Contrary to its name, Jojoba oil [Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil] is not an oil but a liquid wax. Its composition is close to the human sebum (2).
Analysing the composition of a dread wax product
Ingredient list: Beeswax, Microcrystalline wax, Mineral/White Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Vitamin E.
This product is made of a mixture of beeswax, petroleum derived ingredients (microcrystalline wax and mineral oil), vegetable oil (hemp seed oil) and vitamin E (to protect the vegetable oil against rancidity).
Why people are using wax on dreadlocks?
Dread wax acts as a binding agent to help new locks form quicker by “gluing” the hair together and remain compact. Dread waxes are supposed to be used during maintenance.
Why you should avoid using wax on your dreadlocks?
Using wax on dreadlocks will attract lint and dirt. Wax is really hard to rinse out of the dreadlocks even with The mixture of wax and dirt will create build-ups. The dreads will become tacky and waxy and can potentially start to smell.
How to remove wax from dreadlocks?
1) Removing wax from your dreadlocks using heat:
You’ll need paper towels, a blow-dryer, a flat iron.
- Wrap a few paper towels around a dreadlock,
- Apply heat on the entire length using the blow-dryer. That will get the bulk of the wax off the exterior of the dread. With sufficient heating, you’ll notice quite a bit of wax residue is removed.
The next step is to go to deeper. To get the deepest spots of the wax, you’ll do the same thing but with a flat iron.
- Wrap your dread with a paper towel,
- Take your flat iron and heat your dread all the way through. The largest the flat iron, the better.
- Twist slightly your dread while heating it with the flat iron. That will make sure that you hit all of the different sides of your dread.
With a few passes, you’ll end up removing most of the wax from your dreadlocks. Finish with a warm rinse and 2 shampoos using a clarifying shampoo.
2) Removing wax from your dreadlocks using your fingers:
- Start with washing your hair twice with a clarifying shampoo. Do not apply conditioner afterward. Finish with a warm water rinse.
- Press your dread between your thumb and your index and pushing the build-up out of the dread.
- When done, wash your dread again with a clarifying shampoo.
How to maintain dreadlocks without wax
Maintaining dreadlocks without wax is a healthier way of achieving beautiful dreadlocks.
Regardless of which method you choose, dreadlocks require plenty of patience and a perseverance. You have to be willing to implement quarterly dreadlock care and maintenance by visiting a dreadlocks salon in order to ensure that your locks remain healthy and growing.
Here are 4 wax-free dreadlocks maintenance methods:
Crochet dreadlocks maintenance
This method uses a thin crochet hook that will grab a few loose hair and release them in the dreadlock. The hook can also be pushed into the centre of the dread and rigorously pushed back and forth (without coming outside of the dreadlock) to encouraging locking in the middle of the dread.
It is advised to crochet your dreads up to 3 times per year to avoid unnecessary breakage.
This method suits any hair type.
Interlocking dreadlocks maintenance
The interlocking method consists of letting your hair grow out approximately an inch, dividing the outgrown hair into two parts and passing the dreadlock through a hole using a latch hook.
This process has to be repeated numerous times, each time in a different hole (direction) to avoid loops. Interlocking should not be done too close to the scalp as the hair may become too tight and cause breakage and headaches.
This method can be done on any hair types.
The roots stay neat and tidy for around 8 weeks.
Re-twist dreadlocks maintenance
Re-twist consists of wrapping the loose hair from the regrowth around the dreads.
This method should be done on wet washed hair. A light gel can be used to maintain the re-twist longer.
After re-twisting a locks, pin it in place with a clip.
When you’ve finished re-twisting the entire head, let it dry and style the locks to keep the dreads neat and tidy longer.
This method is best on afro hair.
Palm rolling dreadlocks maintenance
Start off by washing your dreadlocks followed by towel drying and then separating the locks to expose the new, outgrown hair. Apply a little bit of oil or light gel of choice on the regrowth then roll the lock in your palms, enough to neatly tighten the new, outgrown hair.
Be sure not to tighten the hair too close to the scalp as this could cause breakage.
You can then pin the lock in place and leave to dry.
When you’ve finished palm rolling your dreads, keep them tidy longer by styling them in plaits, cornrows or in a ponytail.
Palm rolling is perfect for keeping your locks neat and tidy in between dreadlock salon visits – especially if you’re unable to visit a salon once a month. The palm rolling method works best on afro hair but does not last as long as interlocking or crochet.
What products do we use at Melbourne Dreadlocks
At Melbourne Dreadlocks, we don’t use any products. We only use our crochet hook to do maintenance or to start dreadlocks.
Do you have any questions regarding a dreadlock service, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regardless of why you wanted to grow dreadlocks, to begin with, knowing how to maintain them in simple, cost-effective, and easy ways will allow you to enjoy your locks for longer -without the use of wax.
At the end of the day, your locks are your pride and joy.
Avoid a quick fix in order to flaunt your dreadlocks for years still to come.
- (1) Wax: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wax
- (2) Jojoba Oil Wax Esters and Derived Fatty Acids and Alcohols: Gas Chromatographic Analyses. THOMAS K. MIWA, Northern Regional Research Laboratory Peoria, Illinois 61604.