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How To Wash Dreads Without Messing Them Up

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Maintaining a hair care routine for dreadlocks might seem a bit tricky in comparison to other natural hairstyles. Your locks are super delicate and require thorough care and love. Though getting dreadlocks is quite tempting, there's a whole lot to learn about its maintenance and care. If not properly cared for, these locks might end up greasy and completely filled with buildup residue. 

Keeping your dreadlocks and scalp clean is extremely important to maintain your tresses' healthy growth and nourishment. Follow this article to understand all about how to wash your dreads without any mess up and chaos. 

Table of Contents

1. How Often Should One Wash Dreadlocks?
2. Steps To Wash Dreadlocks
3. Recommended Clarifying Shampoos
  3.1 Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo And Coconut/Avocado Oil Conditioner Pack
  3.2 Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo
  3.3 WOW Hair Revitalizer 
4. How To Care For Dreadlocks?

1. How Often Should One Wash Dreadlocks?

Washing dreads either too often or infrequently isn’t ideal. There are two categories of dreads: 

Washing new dreads: If you’re flaunting brand new baby dreads, wait for at least one week before washing your dreads. However, if you’re getting troubled with an itchy or oily scalp, then go ahead and gently wash your dreads. New dreads can get a bit messy and frizzy after a wash, but it’s a part of the initial process.

Washing mature dreadlocks: Mature dreads must be washed at least once every week. Make use of a shower cap to prevent your dreads from humidity on regular shower days. 

As per Stacey Ciceron, “Some shampoos can be used weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.” The hair expert suggests pre-pooing your dreads with apple cider vinegar or baking soda rinse before shampooing for better results. “This chemical solution loosens up oil, buildup, or debris from your scalp and hair, making it easier to shampoo."

2. Steps To Wash Dreadlocks

Whether you have baby dreads or mature dreadlocks, the steps to wash are the same for all. 

  • Dampen your dreadlocks and scalp.
  • Pour shampoo into your hair and create a rich lather through your dreads.
  • Gently massage your scalp with fingertips after creating a smooth lather. 
  • Rinse the shampoo through your dreads. Feel your scalp, and if it doesn't feel clean enough, shampoo one more time. 
  • Squeeze water from your dreads and lock them in a towel. The drying process for your dreads may take quite a few hours. 

3. Recommended Clarifying Shampoos

A residue-free clarifying shampoo is an effective product that works well for dreadlocks compared to other alternatives and leaves no buildup or grease behind. A clarifying shampoo effectively provides your strands and scalp with a squeaky clean feeling. 

3.1 Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo And Coconut/Avocado Oil Conditioner Pack

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo And Coconut/Avocado Oil Conditioner

The ACV shampoo and conditioner pack from WOW Skin Science is a dynamic combination infused with bioactive ingredients. The plant-powered clarifying shampoo is enriched with raw apple cider vinegar and other nourishing botanicals that work to soothe scalp itchiness and dryness and transform your hair from roots to tip. 

The detox formula suitable for natural hair, as well as dreads, has a balanced pH level to fight against hair care woes such as dandruff, clogged pores, buildup, and irritation. The formulation is rich in antimicrobial properties that'll prevent scalp problems such as fungus. 

According to experts from the United Kingdom's hair loss treatment specialist, the Belgravia Centre, “ACV is an exceptional clarifying hair rinse as it actively removes all traces of buildup on your scalp and keeps your dreads well maintained and styled.”

3.2 Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo

Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo

The WOW Skin Science Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo is a plant-powered formula enriched with a soothing blend of sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, and aloe vera extract, apart from keratin. This detoxifying formula replenishes your scalp and ensures a clean and nourished scalp. 

Application of the shampoo on dreads provides relief from dandruff and helps stimulate hair growth. The two active ingredients of the formulation, activated charcoal and hydrolyzed keratin protein, gently tame your dreads and wash away all the dirt and grime, cleansing your scalp without stripping it of its natural oils, while the damaged hair shaft is penetrated with the hydrolyzed keratin protein. The shampoo is free from sulfates, paraben, silicone, color, or salt. 

3.3 WOW Hair Revitalizer 

WOW Hair Revitalizer

The Hair Revitalizer from WOW Skin Science is an exceptional product packed with the best ingredients, including extra virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil, Moroccan argan oil, jojoba oil, rapeseed oil, safflower oil, Vitamin E, bhringraj extract, rosemary, and tea tree essential oil. This premium quality formulation fight against frizziness and ensures strengthened hair from roots to the scalp, and minimal split ends. 

The leave-in conditioner will not loosen out your dreads, but will ensure whine. The Shea butter and soy protein present in this product will allow your hair follicles to absorb protein easily and smoothen out your dreads. 

4. How To Care For Dreadlocks?

Here are a few tips that can help you care better for your dreadlocks. 

Avoid using wax: Applying wax on your dreadlocks can spoil your hair. Make sure not to apply wax on your baby or mature dreads.

No exposure to heat: Do not use hair straighteners, curling irons, or any other heat element, as they can harm your dreads. 

Prefer oils: If you want to keep your hair protected against dryness and your scalp void of itchiness, then choose using oils over hair conditioners. 

Use only clarifying shampoo: Make sure to use only clarifying shampoos and not any other hair cleansing product to wash your dreads. 

Don’t go to bed with wet dreads: Make sure not to lie down without drying your dreads completely. Since dreads take longer to dry, wash them early in the morning to provide protection from mildew. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Are dreadlocks dead hair?

Dreadlocks are not made of dead hair, but they do contain hair that would have normally been shed.

2. Do dreads smell?

Dreadlocks can end up smelling if you’ve gone a long time without washing them. 

3. How do you get shampoo residue out of dreads?

To clear shampoo residue from dreads, rinse them with apple cider vinegar diluted in warm water. The vinegar is acidic in nature and will quickly dissolve built-up residue without harming your hair. 


Washing dreadlocks might seem a bit more complicated than washing loose or natural hair, but all you need is a premium quality clarifying shampoo that'll make your dreads lustrous and shiny. The products listed in this article from WOW Skin Science are formulated using the best botanical and natural extracts. The ACV shampoo creates a smooth lather, allowing you to wash your dreads effortlessly without them going loose, and helps with the removal of all the grease and buildup residue. 

Geetika Kapoor

Deeply passionate about writing, I’m a freelancer and have been working on several writing projects for several domains across the globe since last three years. I love reviewing different products ranging from skin care products, perfumes, body lotions, feminine products, hygiene items and several others. An English teacher by profession, I love interacting with kids and discovering different personalities as well. When I’m not writing I spend most of time reading novels, listening to songs, solving tricky puzzles and travelling around the world to my favourite destinations. Collen Hoover and Nicholas Sparks are my all time favourite authors. Their writing leaves a deep impact and stays with me for long.

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