Classic Hairstyles

How To Get Rid Of Dreads

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: June 17, 2020
How To Get Rid Of Dreads

Dreads, also called dreadlocks or simply locs, are rope-like hair strands formed by braiding or matting hair. Developing them requires technique and they take a long time to grow. Once you develop dreads, you are saved from all the hair maintenance processes, including combing, brushing, trimming and cutting. But now that you have kept your dreads for several years, you may want to change your look and get rid of them. Most people argue the best method to remove dreads is to shave your head. While cutting is an easy and quick option, there are other alternatives too. In this oneHOWTO article, you will find out how to get rid of dreads in different ways.

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  1. Cut them off
  2. Comb them out
  3. Get help from a professional

Cut them off

The first and most obvious option to get rid of dreads is to cut them off. Use scissors to cut off each lock separately. How short or long you cut them depends on how long you want to keep your hair. You should cut them off even if you are planning to shave your head, as cutting will get rid of the extra length of the locks, and make them easier to shave off.

If you are planning to shave, cut them close to your scalp where your hair is least tangled. If you want to retain some length of your locks, then cut them around 1-2 inches away from your scalp. Once done, you should be easily able to untangle them and comb them out. If you want to keep longer hair, follow these steps to comb out your dreadlocks:

  • Wash your hair and scalp thoroughly, and rinse with a hot oil or leave-in conditioner.
  • Once your hair has become soft with shampooing and conditioning, try to comb them slowly without hurting your scalp.
  • You can use a detangling lotion or spray, conditioner, oil and a sturdy comb for the process. If it hurts, try to work on a little section of your head at a time.
  • If your hair has been in dreadlocks for several months or years, they are bound to move up and roll for a few days. Give them time to settle down and then head to a hair stylist to style your hair the way you want.

Comb them out

Removing dreads without cutting is a time consuming process, and you may need to recruit some friends to help you out. Since you may not be able to remove all dreadlocks in a single sitting, it is better to get busy during a long weekend. As you would be working on a small section at a time, you may want to cover up the unfinished job with a scarf or head wrap while going to work or doing something public. Follow these steps to comb out your hair and get rid of your dreads:

  • First of all, gather your supplies that you would be using during the dread removal process. You will need:
  1. A strong comb like a metal rat tail comb. If you use plastic combs, they may break while combing your hair.
  2. Deep cleaning shampoo. If you have created your dreadlocks with wax, you will need a shampoo that has wax-removal formula in it. Baby shampoo can be great at removing residue.
  3. Conditioner. It will lubricate and moisturize the hair, and make it faster and easier to detangle. Although any conditioner may work, there are special knot removal conditioners available on the market.
  4. Spray bottle filled with water.
  • Trim the end parts of your dreads. If your dreads are less than two years old, you may skip trimming, but it would be helpful to trim at least ½ inch from the bottom of your dreads. If you don’t want the extra length, you can cut it off to save unnecessary combing.
  • Soak the dreadlocks to let them saturate with water before you comb them out. Take some warm water in a bowl and soak your dreads in it for at least 10-15 minutes.
  • Thoroughly shampoo your hair with a wax removal or deep cleaning shampoo. Keep rinsing them until you see no suds in the rinsing water. This may take around 20-30 minutes.
  • Beginning from the top of dreadlocks and working to the bottom, saturate your hair with a conditioner. Use your hands to massage the conditioner into your dreads. Apply extra conditioner near the ends.
  • Pick apart one dreadlock from your hair, and start untangling it carefully while starting at the bottom. Work your way to the top near your scalp and comb it smooth as you detangle it completely.
  • You might need help from friends to comb out strands at the back. Since this process is going to take a lot of patience and time, keep some entertainment ready in the form of music or movies. As this can be a painful process for your scalp, shoulders and arms, you may need to use OTC pain relievers to manage discomfort.
  • Try to keep your hair wet and moisturized. Keep a water spray bottle ready to ensure that the dreadlock you are combing out stays moist while you detangle it. You may also lubricate the locks by massaging a conditioner with your hands or using a spray conditioner as you go.
  • As you comb and untangle your dreads, be prepared to lose a lot of hair and throw it out. You don’t need to panic, as this is not new hair and you must have lost it a long time ago. Hair gets caught in your dreadlocks and you are just removing it as you detangle your hair.
  • Wash your hair and condition once you have detangled all your dreadlocks. You will want to trim them out, but wait for a few days until they settle down to take their lost shape and texture. Many people like to go for a completely new start with short hair like a pixie cut.
How To Get Rid Of Dreads - Comb them out

Get help from a professional

The older your dreadlocks are, the harder it will be to get rid of them. Newer dreads fall apart easily and are easier to untangle and comb out with less effort. But if your dreads are more than two years old, it is better to get help from a professional who specializes in dreadlocks and dreadlock removal. Depending on the length and age of your dreadlocks, they will be able to use the right tools and techniques to remove them completely. The entire process may need to be completed in more than one sitting, so book your appointments accordingly.

In the first sitting, the stylist will assess your locks and provide you with an estimate of how much time will be required to remove them, how many sittings you will have to take and how much the entire process will cost. If you agree with the terms and conditions, you can book an appointment and visit them to undergo the process.

Research online to find a professional in your area which has good reviews and decent prices. If you can’t find one, you can ask for reference from a friend who already had their dreadlocks removed by a professional stylist. They will be able to give you a better idea about the quality of services provided. Instead of thinking of getting rid of your dreads as work, think of the appointment as a mini vacation. Think about the new look you will enjoy after getting rid of your dreads.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Get Rid Of Dreads, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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How To Get Rid Of Dreads