Dreadlocks are very tightly knotted or braided twists in hair, a style that has been around pretty much since the dawn of mankind. If you want to replace your dreads with a fresh look, or are looking to change to a style that may be perceived as more acceptable in the professional world, you can cut the dreadlocks or, if you want to keep your hair length, you can perform a “take down.”

Things You'll Need

Removing Dreadlocks by Cutting Them Off

Grow your hair out to the point where about 1 inch near the scalp does not contain any dreadlocks. This allows you to have room to cut the hair without pulling on your scalp, which causes discomfort. Do not twist the hair near the scalp while it is growing out, so that it will be easier to cut.

Hold the dreadlock upward and shave the hair near the scalp with the hair clippers. Repeat for each dreadlock that you want removed from your head.

Cut the hair between the scalp and the dreadlock to remove it with a pair of scissors. Repeat for each lock until all the dreads have been removed. This is the most commonly used method for removing dreadlocks from your hair, and can also alleviate the need to perform a “take down” procedure.

Removing Dreadlocks in the Take Down Method

Purchase a take down remover and detangler for dreadlocks from your local beauty supply store, or acquire a few bottles of shampoo and hair conditioner. Both will work to untangle the hair that has been formed into dreadlocks, so it is a matter of preference.

Trim 1 to 2 inches off the tip of each dreadlock. This part of the dread will be its oldest growth, and is also the most tangled part. Cutting the oldest growth of each dread will let you pull apart each lock with the hair pick.

Loosen the knotted locks using the take down detangler, or with the shampoo and hair conditioner, as instructed on the packaging instructions. Apply the recommended amount of hair product to your scalp, then work it into each dreadlock with your fingertips. Rinse and repeat as indicated on the bottle. Repeat the process for a couple of days, until the hair looks like it could be picked apart with the hair pick.

Untangle the dreadlocks with the hair pick to remove the locks that remain. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 until all the dreadlocks have been removed from your hair.


  • You can also pay a salon to perform a take down for your dreadlocks, which costs from $200 to $500 in most cases.