Deciding to grow dreads is a big commitment, but the outcome can be a beautiful thing, especially when you care for them holistically. My husband and oldest daughter have dreadlocks, both receiving them at different stages.
He got them with a mini fro and I locked my daughter’s when her hair was already to her shoulders. However, both came out beautifully. Today, my daughter’s hair is to the middle of her back and my husband’s is almost to his waist.
This was my first time maintaining dreads and I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way. If I had kinkier hair, I think I’d get them myself (I personally think dreads look the best on 4 type hair).
I started off using store-bought products for their hair, including bees wax and moisturizers and shampoos, but I’ve strayed from that path and have gone au naturale with my approach to dread maintenance.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to focus on the maintenance of dreads that have already been locked.
Cleansing and conditioning your dreads
Since we are veering away from commercial products, I’m going to share with you my preferred cleansing and conditioning treatment for my family’s dreads.
If you’re familiar with my other posts, then you already know that it’s shikakai*, amla*, brahmi*, reetha and bhringraj. These are herbs that have been used for centuries to cleanse and condition the hair and scalp.
This blend is synergistic in that it gives you all-around healthy hair. It focuses on promoting the natural oils* in your hair and scalp, thickens your hair, prevents hair fall and increases circulation for growth. I also notice that it adds natural shine to their hair. It’s nature’s 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner.
There are different ways you can make the concoction, depending on your level of comfort. But for me, I either use the shampoo bar*, which I found on eBay for cheap, or purchase the powders to make a liquid “tea” out of it and use that.
Either way, you want to clean the hair in sections, making sure to massage the scalp. I do this 2-3 times, since I wash their hair every 2 weeks. If you want more sudsing action, just add more of the reetha (double or triple the dose).
Just bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then set it aside. Pour in 1 TB of each of the herbs and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes — the longer the better. Strain it and put it into a squeeze bottle or spray bottle.