How to look after your new dreads


Congratulations on starting your dreadlock journey!


As with all new beginnings I am sure there are lots of questions you may have. I have put together this handy page of information to help you know what to expect over the coming months and to help you care for your new dreads to keep them in tip top condition. 


A lot of people with new dreads go through the itchy stage. It is caused because your hair is not used to being in dreads and your scalp is readjusting to the sectioning and the new way your hair folicules are laying.  It could also be beause you are now washing your hair less.  Please be assured that the itchy stage does pass.  If the itchiness is driving you bonkers you could try a soothing spray on your scalp.  I recommend that you use the Raw Roots Rescue Tonic Spray that is available online or can be purchased directly from me.  

Washing your new dreads 

I recommend that you wait a few weeks before you wash your new dreads. This will give them a chance to settle in. When washing your dreads you need to use a special dread shampoo.  I stock Raw roots dread shampoo here at the studio so you can pick some up before your appointment or when you get your dreads created.  Dreads lock up better when they are nice and clean. Hair oils and waxes can actually hinder the locking process and make your dreads dirtier.  If you use wax dirt will stick to the wax – yuk!  You can wash your dreads as often or as little as you like, but I dont advise washing them every day as they will not get a chance to dry properly between washes and eventually they will start to smell. 

Washing dreads takes longer than washing loose hair and dreads can take ages to dry. For this reason its best to wash your dreads in the morning.  When washing your dreads you really need to get into the roots and give them a good scrub, and then when you are rinsing your dreads you need to make sure you get right in there with the shower head to ensure you get ALL of the shampoo out. You will need to move your dreads around on your scalp to make sure they are rinsed thoroughly – flip your dreads over to the other side, hold your head upside down. Give them a good squeeze. Keep on rinsing until you are super sure there is no shampoo left in them. 

As mentioned before, drying dreads can take forever! Especially during the winter months. Once you are sure all of the shampoo is out of your dreads, give them all a good squeeze. You can even wring them out. Wrap them in a towel (a microfibre one is best as you wont get lint in your hair) and give them another squeeze. Then, give them a blast with a hair dryer. You can get portable drying hoods that go over your head and over the end of your hair dryer and this makes drying your dreads a lot quicker even if they do make you look a bit silly!




It can take  a year or two  for your new dreads to lock up properly depending on your hair type.  During this time your dreads are going to go through many stages and change a lot.   Regular maintenance is really important.  You should book in to see me about 8 weeks after you have had your dreads created for an Epic Tidy.  After that you will need to get your dreads maintained every 3-4 months ideally. 

Palm roll your dreads after every wash. Damp hair locks up better than dry hair.  Don’t start at the same place everytime because if you dont get around your whole head you will end up with uneven dreads. 

You can also root rub. This involves taking the root of your dread and rubbing it against your head in a clockwise direction to help your roots to lock up. If you have chosen to have root ties on your new dreads they will help your roots lock up as they grow out so root rubbing probably wont be needed. Only root rub every few months. Any more than this can cause you scalp issues. 

Your dreads may become really friendly with the other dreads on your head and love them so much they start joining together with them. This is perfectly normal, so don’t panic. You will just need to remember to go through your hair and seperate your dreads at the roots reguarly. You may want to get someone to help you to do this for the dreads that you can’t reach or see.  To seperate your dreads you need to gently pull them apart at the roots and run your fingers between the sections. I recommend you do this after every wash.

Lumps and Bumps and the Fluffies

Part of the process of having dreads is getting the fluffies and lumps and bumps in your locs.  When this happens, don’t panic. Its perfectly normal. As your hair grows you will get a fluffy crown around your head.  To get this sorted out you either need to book in for a maintenance session with me or learn how to maintain your dreads yourself with a crochet hook.  You should come back to get maintenance about 2 months after your first have your dreads created, then every 3-4 months after that.  
The lumps and bumps in your dreads are caused by different sections of your dreads knotting up quicker than others. I can fix these when you come for maintenance and palm rolling will help to prevent this but they are a natural part of the locking process so cant ever be completely avoided. 


It is perfectly normal for your dreads to shrink quite a bit in the first 12 months and to feel like your hair isn’t growing. I promise you, your hair is still growing and once the shrinking stage is over your hair will grow again and it can even seem like your hair is growing faster than before. If your dreads have shrunk considerably and you are missing the length you used to have, you could always consider coming back to have some 100% human hair extensions added to the bottom of your dreads. 


Some people experience dandruft from having dreads created.  This could be due to over washing or not washing enough. Make sure you are getting right into your roots and massaging your scalp when you wash your hair and try experimenting with how frequently you are washing your hair. 
If you feel that your scalp is dry then try massaging some  Raw Roots Hydrating Oil  or Argon Oil into your scalp after washing.
Some dandruft is fungal and you can get rid of it by spraying your scalp after washing with some Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water (half and half) and leaving it there for a bit before rinsing well. If you do this reguarly it will soon fix the issue. 
If natural products fail to help you then by all means try a regular anti-dandruft shampoo but make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly afterwards. 

Dreadlock Products 

There is a massive choice of dreadlock products on the market these days. Waxes, locking gels and sprays etc.  You may be tempted to try some of these things out during your dreadlock journey but generally I advise against it. A lot of these products do the opposite to what they say.  Wax is the worst culprit. It makes your dreads sticky and hinders the locking process. It even makes them dirtier as dust and all sorts of things will stick to them.  My first ever set of dreads were created using wax and they were gross!  Please don’t make the same mistake I did, stay away from the wax! 

If you want to encourage your dreads to lock up faster you can spray them with salty water then palm roll them. That would make them very happy.   Although don’t over use the salt spray as it can dry your hair out.  You could also use very sparingly a locking powder or gel made from all natural ingredients. I stock some of these in the studio so please message me for a chat about them if you want more information. 

If your dreads feel dry you can use a hydrating oil on them after you have washed them. Its best to do this while they are wet as it will help to absorb the oil. Pour some in your hands and run your hands through your dreads.  I really love the Raw Roots Hydrating Oil, it smells devine and works wonderfully. You can either order it online or purchase it from me in the studio. You can also use Argon Oil but make sure its 100% pure.