Dreadlocks are beautiful and relatively easier to maintain but require regular cleaning. The wax, styling products and other debris can lead to build-up in locs. The tightly-bound hair traps products and debris, making it difficult to get rid of excess products trapped inside them.
For your locs to stay healthy, you must prevent build-up. Unhealthy locs are likely to thin and even fall off. Worse still, locs with dirt can get mildew, making them emit an odour.
Here are tips to help keep your locs clean:
Cleansing: As a loc wearer, you must cleanse on a regular basis. Once a week is appropriate for fresh hair and a clean scalp. Use a clear shampoo as opposed to a creamy one as it is better in keeping build-up at bay.
Products: With locs, less is really more, as products can increase build-up. Avoid heavy products and stick to lightweight ones. The gels and oils should be light as creamy products can be too heavy for locs.
Light hand: Avoid applying too much product, otherwise the build-up will increase at a higher rate . Just apply enough for optimal results. It is ideal to use a routine that works for you. Some locs will do well with a once-a-week moisturising regimen, others will need more. Start with a light application and add as needed. If you become heavy handed with product, it is difficult to remove it.
Beeswax: This is a great holding agent for some styles. However, using it to twist or re-twist locs can lead to build up. Just a little of it is enough and since locs are not combed, it gets embedded into the hair and is not easy to wash away. Use lighter products such as light gels for re-twisting. Avoid beeswax.
Clarify: Once a month, use clarifying cleansers to remove any build-up. Increase or decrease the frequency once you are familiar with how often you need to clarify for your hair’s best health. If you have excess build up it may take time to get it out of your hair. Just wash often and remember to use very light products.
• Normal shampooing is not enough to remove excessive dirt. Soak your hair in dreadlock soap - try baking soda and vinegar. It dissolves residue, leaving your locs soft and clean.
• You can also use soap. Add two tablespoons of shampoo into a basin of water then mix well. Soak a towel in the soapy water then wring it before wrapping it around your hair. Leave it for 10 minutes. Rub the soap on individual locs allowing it to soak in for five minutes. Rinse with warm water.
• Baking soda and apple cider vinegar is also great. Wet your locs then towel dry. Fill your palm with baking soda and sprinkle it on your scalp and locs, rubbing into each. Put some vinegar in a spray bottle then spray it on your hair. Rinse under running water then shampoo as usual.
Note: Wait two weeks before washing your new locs. After that, you can wash them once a week. Never apply wax to wet locs as this can cause mildew and also make them smell.