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Dreadlocks are a unique hairstyle in which hair entangles into thick locks of various sizes. While removing dreadlocks may seem daunting because the hair intertwines and knots together from the roots to the tips, it isn’t hopeless. In some cases, you can loosen your dreadlocks in order to slowly comb them out. Loosening your dreadlocks requires some time and commitment to ensure you save your strands and don’t have to shave off your hair to remove the locks.

Clip off an inch at the end of each lock with salon shears. Wash your locks gently with clarifying shampoo. While your locks are still damp, use your comb and some detangling spray as needed to separate any locks that snag together or intertwine.

Apply two cups of moisturizing conditioner to your damp dreads (if you have locks past your shoulders add another two cups). Twist up your locks and wrap your entire head with clear plastic wrap to lock in moisture and help conditioner work deeply into the strands. Wait for 30 minutes, and then gently wash out.

Let your locks dry and pour a cup of coconut oil over them, adding one more cup of oil for longer locks. Twist or tie up your hair and let oil sit for an hour, and then wash out with hot water. Do a final rinse on clean locks with cold water to close the hair shafts and minimize snags.

Grab a lock and begin slowly combing it at the end with your metal comb. Spray with detangler every few minutes to keep hair slick as it will start to dry while you work. Continue combing out the lock and take breaks as needed.

Work on your locks until you remove all of them. Any time you take a break, use a clear plastic hair band to tie off the current lock you are working on at the spot you’ve combed up to. Tie all of your hair and locks into a ponytail or leave down.


If you are ready to go back to working on your locks after a day or two, shampoo and apply conditioner as you did before. Remember, depending on how tight your locks are the process of removing them can take days or even weeks if you can only commit short amounts of time to detangling them.

About the Author

Amy Davidson

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.