Dreadlocks Bad For Your Hair? The Ugly Truth!

If you want to try dreads on you’re hair, but you’re worrying if they will damage your hair, I’ve got you sorted! I’ve done some research and here is what I’ve discovered.

Dreadlocks are not bad for your hair. However, there are a few things associated with dreads that can cause damage to your natural hair and scalp. If you avoid these, dreads are actually good for your hair. The damaging factors are as follows:

  • Your dreads are far too tight or heavy.
  • Scratching your scalp too much
  • Over/under maintenance

Getting dreads is a major decision and shouldn’t be made without being well informed. Let’s get into some of the main factors involved with getting dreads.

How To Prevent Dreadlock Hair Damage

Dreads are definitely not bad for your hair, however like most things, whether the damage is caused or not is completely dependent on your actions and how you care for it.

Dreads are fairly low maintenance and don’t require much effort, but there are a few things that should be avoided. If care isn’t taken in these areas, you will definitely be finding yourself with damaged hair – something nobody really wants. Let’s take a look:

1. Avoid Tightening Your Dreads Too Often

As your dreads grow, they loosen and need to be maintained. If you are as pedantic as I am about little things, like neatness, this will definitely have you wanting to get your dreads tightened often. However, this is something that you want to avoid.

Tightening your dreadlocks too much or too often can definitely put added tension on your natural hair and cause complications such as thinning hair, traction alopecia, and ultimately balding.

This is especially true with your edges as they are the weakest parts of your hair. If your dreadlocks are pulled too tightly, your edges will definitely suffer damage.

2. Try not to skip wash days.

Although it is a common idea that dreadlocks do not require much care, they still need regular washes. Dreadlocks are fairly low maintenance but skipping wash days could cause painful damage to your natural hair and scalp.

Build-up caused by-products that have been used on your dreads can cause itching and irritation. This could lead to you scratching at your scalp and can result in damaged hair follicles and abrasions on your scalp.

This is why it is of extreme importance that you do not skip wash days, to protect your scalp and natural hair from potential damage.

3. Try to avoid over-maintaining your dreads, as it is extremely bad for your hair. But, so is under-maintenance.

Wanting neat and presentable dreadlocks is definitely a worthy desire. No one really wants to be walking around with dreads that are untidy or unraveling.

However, going to the extreme of twisting your hair and over manipulating it will definitely cause major damage. However, this isn’t the only time that maintaining your dreads can be a problem.

Neglecting your dreads is very dangerous to your natural hair. This leads to matting and tangling that is extremely damaging to sort out and causes major breakage.

This is definitely where the saying ‘everything in moderation’ comes into play.

Things To Avoid Doing To Your Dreads

Dreads have the potential to smell, never leave them wet.

As we know, hair is really good at retaining odors. For instance, if you walk through an environment with a lot of smoke, it is more than likely that your hair will retain that smell.

Because dreads are usually a significant amount of hair twisted together, it has more potential to retain odors. Dreads also take a longer time to dry and are therefore more susceptible to retaining a moldy smell after being wet.

Having dreads that are wet for longer than 8 hours will definitely result in a bad odor. Another factor that contributes to this is using heavy-weighted products. Using lightweight products and ensuring that your hair is dry in less than eight hours will help keep your dreads smelling fresh.

Don’t trim loose hair around your roots.

Never trim the loose or frizzy hair along with your roots. This is your regrowth the beginning phases of your future dreads. This hair needs to be well kept and twisted into your existing dreads when getting touch-ups.

Conditioners and dreads are not friends.

The weirdest thing about dreads is that they thrive on what we usually try to get rid of: tangles! Using products like conditioners that have the key function of softening your hair is not the best idea when it comes to dreads.

Moisturizers are essential, however, these should be chosen wisely and should be made with dreads in mind. Your hair needs moisture, but you really don’t want to loosen your dreads while trying to restore moisture.

Is Dreads Hygienic?

Dreads, just like your hair out of dreads, should be washed regularly. This means that they are definitely hygienic. The only time that they are not is when the wearer doesn’t take the time to properly care for their dreads.

Washing Your Dreads

Washing dreads is a lot different from your normal wash day routine as it requires a lot of care, especially if your dreads are fairly new. However, once you get the hang of your new wash day routine, it becomes much easier.

To begin, it is always a good idea to tie rubber bands at your roots and ends, to ensure that your dreads don’t loosen with your wash.

The washing process for new dreads is quite similar to a normal routine as you simply massage the shampoo into your hair (gently to avoid loosening your dreads) and rinse using warm to cool water. Be sure to squeeze out any access water to avoid a damp smell forming after your wash.

However, older dreads require a little more attention as it is much easier for them to loosen. These can be washed through a nylon stocking.

Drying your dreads

Dreads are well known for retaining water and this is why it is so important to dry them properly, to avoid any mold forming within them.

It is important to spray on a locking accelerator (a special product for dreads that has amazing hold) to tighten your dreads and accelerate the drying process. It also helps them appear cleaner and healthier.

The best way to dry your dreads is to first wrap them in a micro-fiber towel to ensure that all the access water is drained. Thereafter, the best solution is to air dry.

Neatening up your dreads.

Once you have washed your dreads, you will probably notice a few loose strands here and there. Do not panic because this can be fixed. These strands can be wound into your dreads or create new dreads, depending on the size of the pieces that are out.

To weave these strands in, you can roll the loose hair together into a smaller dread and then weave this little dread into the closest dreadlock. This can be done on your own or you can visit your stylist for touch-ups. An alternative method is to re-insert these strands of hair into the existing dreads themselves.

However you choose to neaten your dreads, it will require a good amount of time to be able to do it properly. This is why dread wash days can take a little longer than others but are a worthy investment to ensure that your dreads look the best that they can.


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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