Locs & Twists 101: Healthy Life, Healthy Locs

young black woman in profile

As they continue to mature dreadlocks become tighter and smoother and require less maintenance. But until that point, your maintenance routine will vary depending on the age of your dreads and the method you used to start them. Here are a few ways to keep your locs and twists looking and feeling healthy and fresh.

Twist Maintenance:
Maintaining the twists is pretty easy, especially in-between washings. Your job is to keep them twisted. While you are driving or watching tv your hand will go exploring your head looking for dreads that are in need of twisting. Twist them at little as you notice them. You usually begin by twisting the dread around until it us under very slight tension from the twist. Then, hold it so it can not un-twist you roll it back and forth between your fingers or palms. This helps the “spirals” of the hair slide in against each other and helps the lock compress further. In textured hair types it is not difficult to over twist and damage the hair. Avoid twisting the same locks repeatedly. It’s better to leave them be than to over do it.

After each washing you’ll notice the twists will feel looser. Some people completely re-twist their dreads after each washing. It is not usually necessary to re-twist after every washing. Strong healthy hair (take your vitamins , eat as many raw fruits and veggies as possible) can withstand more re-twisting but if it doesn’t need to be done there is no reason to spend the time to do it. Re-twisting after every other washing is usually fine, especially if you are able to wash them carefully and not disturb the twists. One tip is to wash them while wearing a nylon stocking cap. This helps to protect the dreadlocks during washing. If you try this method take care to rinse the dreadlocks extra well since the stocking will tend to make getting all of the soap out of the dread more difficult.

Washing Dreadlocks
Whenever you wash your dreads get them as dry as possible afterwards. Don’t leave them covered in such a way that they can’t dry completely. It is good practice to squeeze as much water out of them by hand as possible before wrapping them with a dry thirsty towel for about 10 min and then finally letting them air dry or drying them with a hair dryer. This will ensure that the dreadlocks dry all the way through. Leaving them wet will cause them to smell like a stinky wet towel. Nasty! Ensure shampoo residues are not permitted to build up inside your dreads and slow the drying process. Choose a residue free dreadlocks shampoo.

Side profile of a young man with dreadlocks

Dreadlock Breakage
Breakage is another concern because dreadlocks can get pretty heavy as they get longer. It is possible for them to break off at the root if they are not properly moisturized. Continued use of Knatty Dread Cream keeps dreads moisturized. If you know that your hair is prone to breakage you can help by supplementing your nutrition and if you’ve not started your dread yet you can start them a little thicker. If your dreads are thin you can keep them at a reasonable length to avoid breakage.

Dandruff:
Dandruff in your twists or locs can be a pain, not to mention mess up your whole look. Dandruff can have several causes, including dry skin, not cleaning/scrubbing often enough, shampooing too often, psoriasis, eczema, sensitivity to hair care products, or a yeast-like fungus.

Here are other natural remedies below:

Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water into a spray bottle. Spray on your hair and scalp. Massage it into your scalp gently. Leave it in your hair for about 5-15mins then rinse. Moisturize as desired (preferably with…