Dreadlocks, also called “dreads” or “locks,” require relatively low maintenance to keep them looking great. Common misconceptions surrounding dreadlocks are that they are supposed to be dirty, and that you can’t wash them. On the contrary, deadlocks are not meant to be dirty. In fact, to maintain dreadlocks, it’s important to wash them at least once a week. While dreadlocks are low maintenance, there are a few steps you must take to properly maintain this hairstyle.

Washing Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks need to be washed at least once a week to keep them clean and healthy. The first few times you wash your hair, wear a rubber band on the roots and tips of your locks. It makes the maintenance much easier.

Use a shampoo that is residue-free. Choose something that is low-suds, clear and unscented. Work the shampoo into your dreads, including the roots, and give them a thorough rinse. Using a shampoo that leaves a residue can cause build-up in your dreads and, among other problems, lead to the formation of mold.

Drying the Dreadies

Drying your dreadlocks is far more complicated than washing them. Thorough drying is essential or damp dreads can develop mildew and begin to stink. Getting all the water out of your locks is going to be a long process, so be prepared. You begin by leaning over and hanging your dreads down in front of you. Squeeze out as much water as you can.

Once you’ve squeezed out as much water as possible, use products like Knotty Boy Tightening Gel and DreadHead HQ Locking Accelerator, which will help them tighten up. Finally, wrap your dreadlocks in a towel and keep it on for 15 minutes, followed by air drying.

Wax Your Dreads

Conditioning your dreads during washing is not advised, as it will loosen the knot. However, you need to moisturize them. Waxing them once a month with a product made specifically for dreadlocks will give your locks the essential nutrients they need and not mess with your style. Without waxing, your hair can lose moisture and become brittle.

Take a small amount of wax in your fingers and twist it into each dry dreadlock. If the wax is visible, blow dry it so it melts and seeps into the core of your locks. After a few washes, the wax will wear off, and you can repeat the procedure before your dreadlocks become brittle.