How To Keep Dreads Healthy and Growing – 12 Tips

Dreadlocks are a beautiful and adaptable way to wear your natural hair, with classy updos, inspiring colors and styles, and great length. However, one of the most common misunderstandings about locs is that they are …

Dreadlocks are a beautiful and adaptable way to wear your natural hair, with classy updos, inspiring colors and styles, and great length. However, one of the most common misunderstandings about locs is that they are neglected and never washed. Yet, it takes effort to keep dreads healthy and growing. They require regular maintenance.

Nothing compares to a full head of beautiful dreadlocks. But, It takes time and patience to grow healthy dreadlocks. There are several do’s and don’ts that must he/she must observe, just like any other hairdo. Developing a regimen for caring for your prized dreads will save you a lot of time and frustration.

This article will walk you through things to do and what you have to avoid to keep your dreads healthy and growing strong. We will also teach you warning signs to look for that indicate your locs may not be healthy.

Things to do for healthy locs

Like all hairstyles,locs require maintenance. So, whether you’re new to dreadlocks or want to learn more about how to keep your locs healthy, here are some tips.

Always Keep your locs dry

We all know that moisture is good for locs, especially to help them look healthy and smooth. Still, there is a limit to how much water the hair can withstand, just like everything else in life. Too much moisture in the locs can lead to mildew or build-up.

While a spritz of rose water helps soften and revitalize your hair, bathing your dreads in water after showering will not help them and actually could damage them.

Ensure you dry your dreads promptly after washing them to avoid odor. Using a hair dryer on a low setting will be adequate to get the job done.

We don’t recommend letting your hair dry all day or going to bed with damp hair. Air drying can cause moisture to become trapped in matted hair, causing mildew. 

Regular washing 

When you wash your hair regularly, your chances of acquiring dandruff and itching on your scalp are reduced. As a result, this will reduce the risk of your dreadlocks smelling. In addition, you’ll reduce the amount of oil secreted by your scalp, preventing your hair from looking greasy. This will give you dreadlocks that are healthy, light, and clean.

In general, you should wash your dreadlocks at least once a week with a residue-free shampoo to keep your scalp healthy and your dreads odor-free. Instead of cleaning your locs, a residue-forming shampoo will add to the build-up. Also, look for chemical-free, natural, organic shampoos to soften and style your hair.

Wash your hair twice weekly if you are really active, work in a dusty environment, or work out frequently. If you have dandruff or an itchy scalp, it’s also a good idea to wash your hair twice a week using an anti-dandruff shampoo.

Likewise, don’t forget to clean and look after your roots. They must be clean and healthy since this is where your locs attach. 

Wrap your locs at night

While sleeping, we recommend that you cover your dreadlocks. Dreadlocks should be covered when sleeping to keep lint and dirt out of your hair and reduce breakage. There are many options when it comes to sleeping with your hair covered.

Durags (Amazon link) are one of the best materials to protect your dreadlocks from frizz and lint while sleeping. They are a breathable solution made of soft and lightweight material. Tie it as tightly as necessary to keep your durag from falling off.

Wearing a dread sock is another option. Longer dreadlocks should sleep in a dread sock or dread tube, as the cloth will protect them from frizz and lint.

You can also protect your dreadlocks by wearing a bonnet to sleep. The majority of them are satin lined to keep your dreads from frizzing.

Conversely, If you prefer having your hair uncovered at sleep, the satin pillowcase is an excellent choice. Satin does not snag your hair and cause breakage, nor does it produce lint as cotton does.

Visit a loctician

A loctician is a dreadlock grooming and treatment specialist who can serve as your dreadlocks consultant. Having someone to lead and coach you during the process is extremely beneficial.

Locticians are the greatest at starting dreadlocks because they understand your hair type and when to use palm rolling, locstitching, backcombing, and other techniques. Your dreads will get off to the best start possible with their help. Afterward, they will assess the condition of your locs. 

Locticians are doctors of fashion. They are your guide to styles you’ve never considered before. Their knowledge can help you choose the best shampoo, conditioner, or natural oil for you.

If visiting a loctician regularly is too expensive for you, make an appointment when you first begin locs and later for maintenance. For loc maintenance on new growth, you may go every 4-8 weeks. You may also shampoo and condition your hair at home. Then, at night, lubricate your locs and wrap them up. These components of your loc care routine will keep your dreadlocks looking great in between appointments.

Regular locking

Maintaining a consistent locking routine will keep your dreads appearing sleek and tight. To keep your dreads locked, alternate twisting and palm rolling. Lock your dreads once a day to prevent them from becoming loose and fuzzy.

Consult a loctician if you’re unsure how to keep your dreads in good shape or if you’re having problems doing it on your own. Also, Inquire about the best ways to keep your dreads looking excellent, considering your hair type and lifestyle. 

Things to avoid

It is best to keep away from the following practices to keep your dreads healthy and growing well. 

Twisting too often

Retwisting your hair regularly to keep the locks tight is essential for dreadlocks care. However, If you twist your dreadlocks too often and too tight, you risk harming your hair. Twisting your dreadlocks more frequently tends to thin and break the strands of your hair, so only retwist them every four weeks. Also, avoid retwisting your locs when they are dry. 

Usually, as your hair develops into dreadlocks, the frequency of retwisting decreases. However, because everyone’s hair behaves differently, you should check with a loctitian in the beginning stages of your dreadlocks. The loc specialist will see if you need to retwist your hair more or less frequently than once a month.

If you’re in the starting loc phase or have mature locs, the frequency of retwisting will vary. It also depends on your loc type, hair type, and retwist procedure. For instance, you can go up to eight weeks without retwisting if you interlock. 

Dyeing your locs

Hair coloring is a harmful procedure that entails bathing your hair in harsh chemicals to achieve the desired shade. In addition, your strands will become weaker and more prone to breaking due to these substances. So even if we get fabulous hair color, we may face new issues if our locs are dry and brittle after.

Hair dyeing can be harmful to our hair strands, but it can look fantastic when done correctly. If you don’t get your hair dyed by a professional, you might end up with dryness and breakage. It’s safest to entrust this type of job to the experts to avoid damaging your hair.

Dyeing your hair at home is usually not a good idea. When looking for a colorist, keep in mind that dyeing locs differs from coloring loose hair. Make sure you hire a stylist who has prior expertise in dyeing dreadlocks. 

If your dreads are dry, thinning, or breaking, dyeing them is not recommended. There are plenty of alternative methods to adorn your locs without jeopardizing them. Work to make your locs healthy first, then consider dyeing them after.

Using wax or hair butter.

Apart from poor hygiene, wax or butter are dreads’ worst enemies. It’s tough to get wax and hair treatments with a butter base, like shea butter, out of your dreads. As a result, lint, dust, and grime will stick to them, generating a build-up. It may turn white over time and begin to stink.

What are signs your dreads are not healthy? 

Watch out for the following signs of unhealthy dreads :

Thin Dread Roots

Dreadlocks thinning at the crown is usually due to many factors such as health issues, drugs, stress, excessive hair products, tension, dyeing, over manipulation, neglect, etc


You probably have hair loss (Alopecia) if your dreads begin to retreat, appear thin, or shed in large amounts.

Smelly locs

Infrequent washing, damp dreadlocks, and excessive beeswax or petroleum products can make locs smell. 

Dread rot

This happens when the locs have mold or mildew in them due to being damp over some time. For more information about dread rot, please check out this article I wrote that goes into more detail.


Getting dreadlocks is just the beginning of a long process of learning how to care for your locs. To keep your dreads healthy and growing, ensure you keep them clean by regular washing, always keep them dry, and wrap your locs before sleeping. 

In addition, it is beneficial to your locs if you visit a loctician regularly and regularly lock your dreads. On the other hand, avoid twisting too often, dyeing your dreads, and using greasy or waxy haircare products.