How to Care for “Partial” Dreadlocks

Even if you only have one dread, you need to at the very least keep them CLEAN and keep them SEPARATE! Dreadlocks, whether you have one or one hundred, always have a tendency to want to “eat”/suck in any loose hair around them. Unless you want to end up with mega-dreads you need to regularly run your fingers through your hair around the dreads to make sure none of the hair you want left loose is getting tangled into the locks.

Needle & Thread

Using a needle and thread to maintain your dreadlocks is very similar in theory to the way a latch hook is used to maintain dreadlocks. However, unlike the latch hook where you are …

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Cotton, being an organic material, WILL rot over time and can cause mold growth. However, when a string is tied tightly around the dreadlock, it can cause weak spots in the dreadlock from holding the lock too tightly. Additionally, the string often “chokes” the dreadlocks causing the dreadlock above the string the hold excess moisture where it cannot as easily wick down the lock and out the end to dry properly after washing/getting wet. (See photo below for example.) For these reasons, we do NOT recommend threading and far prefer rubber bands in a situation where a client wants something placed at their roots to encourage locking.

Clock-wise Rubbing

Clockwise rubbing is a maintenance method often used to tigthen up new hair growth at the roots. There is some slight controversy in the dreadlock community because it is not really 100% necessary …

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Rubber Bands

Many sources recommend rubber bands at the roots and tips of new dreadlocks to help things lock up at the root and to help to prevent knots from migrating out the end of …

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Backcombing, in additiong to being one of the methods of putting dreads in, is used in some situations to maintain dreads. However, re-backcombing is only recommended in hair that is COMPLETELY straight, unknotted …

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We DO NOT recommend felting. Although, it can be used relatively safely on MATURE dreads VERY sparingly and only to remove un-wanted bumps, loops, and zig-zags. You should NOT, however, in any case EVER be used to TIGHTEN your dreadlocks. The barbs on felting needles inevitably break quite a few hairs while being inserted in and pulled out of the dread, and extensive use can cause SERIOUS breakage, i.e. losing whole dreads. Felting should be totally avoided if possible.


Of all the techniques for maintenance that there are out there, separating is one of two of the most important things you can (and should!) be doing for your locks! It is also …

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Crocheting has become very popular in the dreadlock community as a way to tighten up all your dreads and pull in most of the loose hairs on the surface of the dread. To …

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Loose Hair Tool

The loose hair tool, appropriately given its name, is for helping dreadheads pull loose hairs into their dreads. We also use, and prefer in most cases except where the amount of hair that needs to be pulled in is too large, a “micro-latch hook”. Micro latch hooks are typically made for putting “fusion” extensions in normal hair, but has great applications as it comes to the maintenance of dreadlocks. We find latch hooks to be an invaluable tool if you are especially into the neat and tidy look in your own dreadlocks. We use it QUITE a bit in our own dread work and on others.