What is a good maintenance routine for the first month? - Dreadlocks FAQ's
Ok here we go step-by-step walk-through style. You've got some new dreads and you're all excited and have no idea what to do first. You know they're supposed to get tight and smooth but how? This routine should get you through the first month of dreadlocks maintenance and ready for the A-B routine which starts on the second month.
1st Month Dreadlocks Maintenance:
1. Assuming the dreads were just done you won't need to wash them for 2-3 days. They are newly waxed and some might hurt a bit if you have rubber bands at the roots that are too tight. These overly tight bands should be loosened because it's more comfortable and it's better for the dreads. (ahh that feels better) Make sure you have dreadlocks sleeping cap to wear over your dreads when you sleep. This will train them to lay down properly and it will keep frizz, fuzz and feathers away from your dreads. After they mature a bit they won't be such fuzz magnets but keeping them covered while they are still loose is a good idea.
2. Ok, it's been 2 or 3 days and you are ready to wash your dreadies. It is a really good idea to have rubber bands on the roots and tips of your dreads when you wash them, at least for the first month. Wearing rubber bands makes the maintenance a lot easier and makes them less delicate. You won't have to always wear them but in the beginning I highly recommend'em. Don't mind the ultra-separated, "I can see my scalp" look. That will go away as soon as you take the bands off and wash them for the first time.
In addition to rubber bands, washing your dreads through a washing cap will also help them hold up better while they are brand new. Washing your dreads through a washing cap is pretty straight forward. Just soak'em down, squirt the soap through the washing cap, work it in concentrating on the roots, and then rinse them really really well. You don't want to leave any soap in the dreads or on your scalp. Un otro vez pato: Always rinse dreads really well! You can pull off the washing cap off at the end and rinse again to make sure all the soap is out. You won't loosen much hair by rinsing, especially if you have rubber bands on the roots and tips. Of course I'm not going to tell you that you have to use the dread head soap to wash'em in but I will tell you that it rocks and once you start usin' it you'll never wanna wash your sweet dreadies in anything else...
Now you have to dry them well. The best way to get them dry is to lean over, letting them all hang down in front of you, and squeeze as much water out of them as you can. Wring them like a wet towel later but be gentle while they are new. Then wait about 10 seconds and repeat. Next, grab them in a towel and wring them out with the towel around them.
As your dreads get really tight, and they will get really tight, getting them dry will be really important. Dreads can hold water for many hours if not dried properly and mildew can grow inside them. This is called Dread Rot. This is the second most common reason peoples dreads get stank. The first is not washing.
Normally you'd let them air dry (or break out the trusty hair dryer) from here but we're going to spray them down with Locking Accelerator and finish drying them later. So spray them down with some Locking Accelerator ...weeee. You don't have to totally soak them but get them pretty well covered. Be sure to lean over while you do this so you can spray the dreads and not the scalp. If youaccelerate your scalp it will feel itchy...like when you go to the beach and let the ocean water dry in your hair a few times...so you prolly want to avoid that.
Palm roll them to work the Locking Accelerator in and squeeze them well to remove the extra. Letting them dry with Locking Accelerator on them is going to help them tighten really fast. Hit them with a hair dryer and get them completely dry. Always make sure your dreads are completely dry before putting them in a tam or tying them up in a pony tail.
3. Now they are completely dry, all clean, and full of Locking Accelerator. This is called the "A Week Environment" aka the knot-makers dream. You can dread ball loose hairs and clockwise rub with great results. Your dreads will knot and tighten easily now because their is a lot of friction between the hair strands. Touching the straight hair at the roots of the dread (the new growth) with a finger that has a little bit of Lock Peppa on it will help knots form faster during clockwise rubbing and tha Lock Peppa is frickin' awesome sauce for making dread balls! Just grab the hair with fingers that have some Lock Peppa on them and get rollin'. All of these "knot creating activities" like dread balling and clock wise rubbing work great in dry hair will little to no wax. The Locking Accelerator and Lock Peppa increase the dryness and the friction which speeds up the knotting. You can leave your dreads dry and frizzy like this for a day or so while you palm roll and rub them as often as you can.
You can make new knots after your next washing when there is little to no wax present. Don't worry, if the wax/ don't wax thing is confusing, it will make perfect sense after you read up on the A-B maintenance routine...
4. After you are all done rubbin' and ballin' (heh ballin') and you've made a bunch of new knots you can treat your dreads to a maintenance serving of wax. Of course you won't add wax to any dreads that already have some from before. As always, use a hair dryer to heat the dreads and melt the wax in really good and remove any extra from the surface. Be sure to palm roll each dread you wax for at least a minute. That will compress the knots so they can get the full benefit of the wax and tighten down as much as possible. A final step would be to put a lil Dread Butta on your hands and run your fingers though your dreads. This will knock out any waxyness that remains on the surface and your dreads will look and feel supa nice. You can pimp them in a Dread Band or whatever you like. They will be fine until the next washing but feel free to palm roll them daily and take care of any loose hair with a Loose Hair Tool.
5. In 2 or 3 days you'll want to wash them again, same as before. Pick either 2 or 3 and stick to it. The more consistent you are with your washing the quicker your scalp will adjust and show you love.
You can continue this pattern until the end of the first month...
At the end of the first month you should use a hair dryer to melt all the wax out of the dreads. The wax will turn to liquid and you can absorb it with a paper towel. Follow this up with a couple deep washings with hot water and Dread Soap. This two step process is called a Hot Rinse. The Hot Rinse is done for two reasons. First it removes any extra wax. You'll be using far less wax from now on so it's time to get the extra out. Second, you're going to start the A-B Maintenance Routine and you'll want the dreads wax free for the first "A" Week.
Click Here to learn more about maintaining dreadlocks with the A-B Maintenance Routine!