Do People With Dreadlocks Wash Their Hair?

Dreadlocks have often been associated with “dirty hippies,” even though those who have them are very clean. Is it true that they don’t wash their hair, or is this a myth?

People with dreadlocks do wash their hair, as it keeps their scalp clean and their locks free of mold buildup. When people wash their dreadlocks, they must use specific hair products and be careful not to loosen the dreads.

This article will explain how people with dreadlocks keep their hair clean. It will also answer questions about hygiene and hair loss due to dreadlocks.

Do People With Dreadlocks Wash Their Hair?

Whether you have curly hair, straight hair, or dreadlocks, washing your hair must be the first step in your hair care routine, as it keeps your scalp healthy and makes your hair look and feel its best.

However, many assume that people with dreadlocks don’t wash their hair. Some believe that exposing the dreadlocks to water will undo the style, lead to fluffs, and require a trip back to the salon for some re-dreading. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

People with dreadlocks can and do wash their hair, despite popular belief. In fact, some people with dreadlocks wash their hair more often than those without dreadlocks.

Do People Shower With Dreads?

People do shower with dreads, and they do it just like everyone else. The only difference is that they must take a few extra steps to care for their dreads. Getting dreadlocks doesn’t mean quitting showering altogether, nor does it mean that you’ll need to cover your hair when you shower.

However, people who are new to the hairstyle need to avoid wetting their hair for the first month after getting dreads. Once that first month has passed, they are free to shower as often as they like.

People can shower and take care of their dreads simultaneously by following these steps:

  1. Douse the hair. Get the hair as wet as possible to create foamy suds, which are good for dreadlocks.
  2. Part the hair down the middle and pour shampoo on the exposed scalp. People with dreadlocks use two types of shampoo during the washing process. One product targets the scalp, and the other targets the locks.
  3. Rub the shampoo along the sides and back of the scalp. Clean the scalp by rubbing the shampoo inwards and washing all sides and back thoroughly.
  4. Rinse off the shampoo. To avoid product buildup, use plenty of water to rinse the shampoo out of the hair completely.
  5. Massage your hair using the shampoo dedicated to the locks. Rub the locks from the middle of the hair to the tips.
  6. Finish off with a proper rinse and dry. After rinsing shampoo from the dreadlocks, gently squeeze excess water out before wrapping it in a towel. It is important not to rub wet hair with the towel, as this can cause damage. Lightly pat or blot the hair dry. 

Do Dreads Smell? 

Dreads don’t smell as long as they are washed regularly and dried properly. Oils naturally produced by the scalp, as well as dirt and build-up, are common reasons why dreadlocks can smell. Therefore, dreads can develop a musty smell if they aren’t washed properly.

Additionally, dreads are prone to mold formation because they are good at trapping moisture. 

Each strand is structured together to make the hair form a cloth-like material. Therefore, while dreads naturally don’t smell any different from other hairstyles, they tend to smell because of their structure. 

How Do I Make My Dreads Not Smell?

To make your dreads not smell, be sure to dry your hair properly after washing it. Gently squeeze out moisture from each dreadlock before allowing your hair to air-dry.  This method will keep your dreads smelling fresh.

You can follow these steps to ensure that your dreads will dry properly:

  1. After washing your dreads, bend forward and allow the water to drip from your hair.
  2. Use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible.
  3. Place a towel on the back of your head.
  4. Dry the back of your hair by tugging on the towel to the left and right.
  5. Wrap your head in a clean towel, and rub your hair in circular motions to dry the sides.
  6. Once the towel has absorbed some water, gently squeeze and twist your dreads.
  7. Using a different towel, wrap your hair in a turban for about an hour. 
  8. Use a hairdryer on the cool setting or allow your dreadlocks to air dry.

Do Dreadlocks Cause Hair Loss? 

Dreadlocks require maintenance and regular hair appointments. Over time, the locks get loose, and you must go to a specialist to retighten them.

Dreadlocks cause hair loss when they are pulled too tightly. During maintenance, some stylists may tug and twist dreadlocks too tightly, causing damage to hair follicles. Over time, this damage can lead to hair loss.

Traction alopecia is caused by chronic pulling or tension on the hair follicles, and it’s the primary reason dreadlocks can cause hair loss. It can lead to irreversible scarring alopecia if the unregulated tightening continues, but unfortunately, this condition has no cure yet.

Even using baby oil for hair growth won’t save you once you’ve had alopecia. Therefore, you must recognize the early signs of this disease and seek treatment as soon as possible.

A good stylist will have the experience and knowledge to care for your dreadlocks properly. They can tell you which products to use and how often to wash and condition your hair, so to avoid conditions such as alopecia, make sure you get a good stylist to maintain your dreadlocks or learn how to do it yourself.


People with dreadlocks take very good care of their hair. They take a shower, wash it regularly, and use special dreadlock shampoos to keep it healthy.

While it’s true that dreadlocks can trap dirt and sweat, as long as they are properly maintained, they can be just as clean and odor-free as any other hairstyle. Proper maintenance will also prevent hair loss among people with dreadlocks.

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