Dreadlocks offer the wearer plenty of benefits -- this all-natural hairstyle frees you from harmful chemical relaxers, encourages faster hair growth and -- when cultivated and properly groomed -- makes for a timeless, low-maintenance do. Without proper care, however, dreads suffer; remove lint from your locs as part of your regular routine to keep your hair looking neat and fresh. To completely remedy linty dreads, work on a routine of removal, concealing and prevention techniques.
Identify lint, pet hair and other foreign particles using a hand mirror and your bathroom mirror each day as part of your haircare routine. Pluck out loose lint by hand and remove stubborn embedded lint with a pair of pointed tweezers. Work lock-by-lock for the most thorough results.
Clear buildup -- indicated by a waxy texture and grayish tinge -- to prevent lint accumulation when you don't have time for a full rinse. To quickly remedy the buildup, dry shampoo your hair. Wrap your index finger in gauze or cheesecloth and lightly dampen it with witch hazel. Part your locs and massage your scalp with your finger, replacing the gauze or cloth as it gets soiled. This technique helps refresh your dreads and prevent lint buildup between your regular shampooing regimen.
Cleanse your hair of lint and buildup, which is often caused by residue left behind by shampoo, with a rinse of apple-cider vinegar. Heat a half-and-half solution of water and apple-cider vinegar, and soak your dreads in the mixture for a few minutes. Rinse your dreads thoroughly with water and residue-free dreadlock soap.
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Color in deeply embedded lint -- clusters of debris that you can't remove with your tweezers -- using a black or brown permanent marker.
Prevent lint in the long run by using residue-free shampoos and covering your locs each night while you sleep, wrapping them in a soft, lint-free head scarf of silk or satin. Likewise, always dry your dreads with a lint-free towel, such as those made of microfiber.
Dye your dreads to conceal a case of deeply embedded, plentiful and highly noticeable lint. Visit your stylist and request a hair-matched, semi-permanent dye or color glaze for a gentle dye that blends benign lint in with your hair's natural hue.
Dan combines his decade-long experience as a freelance writer and small business owner with hands-on experience in fashion, mixology, media production and more. Previously, he's published with Chron.com, Charlotte's Book, LIVESTRONG, Civilized Life, Hunker, Fortune, Salon.com, Out East Rose, Samsung, USA Today and others.