Are Dreads Low Maintenance

Are dreads low maintenance? The answer is a resounding yes! Dreads, also known as dreadlocks, are a hairstyle that requires minimal upkeep compared to other hairstyles. With dreads, you can say goodbye to the daily routine of washing, styling, and combing. These natural or intentionally formed matted locks of hair require less time and effort to maintain, making them an attractive choice for those who prefer a hassle-free hairstyle. Whether you’re starting fresh or maintaining existing dreads, this article will provide you with all the information you need to keep your locks looking fabulous with minimal effort.

Are Dreads Low Maintenance?

When it comes to the question of whether dreads are low maintenance, the answer is both yes and no. While dreads do require regular care and attention, they can also be a low maintenance hairstyle once they are established. In this article, I will go into detail about understanding dreads, dread maintenance, the benefits of low maintenance, caring for healthy dreads, myths about dreadlocks, and offer some tips for managing dreads. By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the level of maintenance required for dreads and how to properly care for them.

Understanding Dreads

What are dreads?

Dreads, also known as dreadlocks or locs, are a hairstyle where the hair is intentionally allowed to mat and form into long, ropelike strands. This hairstyle can be achieved through various methods, such as backcombing, twisting, or using natural methods for hair locking, depending on personal preference and hair type. Dreads can be worn by people of different ethnicities and have cultural significance for many, including the Rastafari movement.

Different types of dreads

There are various types of dreads that individuals can choose from based on their hair texture and desired aesthetic. Some popular types include freeform dreads, which allow the hair to naturally lock and form without much manipulation, and interlocked dreads, where the hair is interwoven to create a tighter and more defined look. Other types include sisterlocks, which are much smaller and require specialized maintenance, and faux locs, which are created using hair extensions.

Dread Maintenance

Initial creation

The process of creating dreads requires time and dedication. Depending on the method used, it can take several hours or even multiple sessions at a salon. The hair needs to be properly prepared, sections created, and then either backcombed, twisted, or manipulated in the desired locking method. It is recommended to consult with a professional stylist or a knowledgeable friend who has experience with dreads to ensure the best results.

Daily maintenance

Once your dreads are established, daily maintenance involves keeping the hair clean, free from debris, and well-groomed. This may include occasionally palm-rolling the dreads to maintain their shape and re-twisting any loose or frizzy strands. Regularly using a residue-free shampoo and avoiding heavy products can help prevent buildup and keep the dreads looking and feeling fresh. Some individuals may choose to use a dreadlock wax or gel to help give their dreads more hold and structure.

Washing and drying

Washing dreads is an important part of their maintenance routine. However, it is essential to strike a balance between keeping the hair clean and not over-washing, as excessive wetting can prolong the drying process and potentially lead to odors or mildew. It is recommended to wash dreads once or twice a week, using a gentle shampoo specifically formulated for locs.

Drying dreads thoroughly is crucial to prevent moisture from getting trapped within the strands. Air-drying is the most recommended method, but it can take several hours or even overnight. Some individuals use a hairdryer on a low or cool setting, ensuring that the dreads are completely dry before styling or going to bed.

Protective styles

To minimize daily maintenance, some people choose to wear their dreads in protective styles. These styles involve gathering the dreads into buns, braids, or updos, which can help to protect the dreads from excessive manipulation, prevent them from tangling, and promote healthy hair growth. Protective styles also provide a versatile option for different occasions and can be accessorized with headbands, scarves, or beads.

Benefits of Low Maintenance


One of the main benefits of dreads as a low maintenance hairstyle is the time saved on styling. Unlike traditional hairstyles that require regular brushing, combing, and styling, dreads only need occasional maintenance and can be left to continue matting on their own. This allows individuals to spend less time on their hair routine and allocate more time to other activities.

Less product usage

Dreads generally require fewer hair products compared to other hairstyles. While some individuals may still choose to use conditioning treatments or oils to moisturize their dreads, the amount of product needed is typically minimal. This not only saves money but also reduces the time spent applying and rinsing out products.

Less frequent salon visits

With dreads, there is often less need for frequent salon visits. While initial creation may require a salon appointment or assistance from a professional, the ongoing maintenance can be done at home. Regular maintenance, such as palm-rolling or re-twisting, can be easily done by the individual or with the help of a friend or family member. This reduces the need for continuous salon appointments and allows for more flexibility in scheduling.

Caring for Healthy Dreads

Regular maintenance

While dreads are considered low maintenance, it is still important to keep up with regular maintenance to ensure they remain healthy and well-maintained. This may involve occasional re-twisting to prevent excessive frizz and maintaining the desired shape of the dreads. Regularly inspecting the dreads for any signs of damage or breakage and addressing them promptly can help maintain the overall health of the hair.


Keeping dreads moisturized is crucial for preventing dryness and breakage. While dreads do not require daily moisturizing like loose hair, applying a light oil or leave-in conditioner occasionally can help keep the dreads hydrated. It is important to use products specifically formulated for dreads to avoid residue buildup and potential damage.

Periodic re-twisting

Over time, dreads may naturally loosen or lose their shape. Periodic re-twisting can help maintain the neat and defined appearance of the dreads. This process involves twisting the new growth at the roots to encourage it to lock into the existing dread. It is recommended to re-twist the dreads every 4-8 weeks, depending on hair growth and personal preference.

Myths about Dreadlocks

Dreads are dirty

One common myth about dreads is that they are dirty and unhygienic. This is not true. With proper care and regular maintenance, dreads can be kept clean and odor-free. Regular washing, drying, and using appropriate hair products can help maintain the cleanliness of dreads just like with any other hairstyle.

Dreads are unprofessional

Another myth surrounding dreads is that they are seen as unprofessional in certain settings, such as the workplace. However, this perception is changing as more people embrace their natural hair and cultural expressions. Many professionals successfully maintain and style their dreads in a neat and professional manner, discrediting the notion that dreads are inherently unprofessional. It ultimately depends on the workplace culture and individual preferences.

Tips for Managing Dreads

Use a silk/satin pillowcase

Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase can help reduce friction and prevent excessive frizz or damage to the dreads. The smooth surface of these pillowcases allows the hair to glide easily, minimizing tangling and preserving the shape of the dreads.

Avoid excessive manipulation

While maintaining dreads does involve some level of manipulation, it is important to avoid excessive manipulation or styling that can cause strain or damage to the hair. Being gentle when palm-rolling, re-twisting, or styling the dreads can help prevent breakage or thinning of the hair strands.

Seek professional advice when needed

If you’re new to dreads or facing any specific concerns or issues with your dreads, seeking professional advice can be helpful. Professional stylists or locticians can provide guidance on maintaining healthy dreads, offer solutions for specific problems, and help you achieve your desired dreadlock look.


In conclusion, dreads can be considered low maintenance once they are established, but they still require regular care and attention. The initial creation process may involve visiting a salon or seeking professional help, but daily maintenance, washing and drying, and occasional re-twisting can typically be done at home. With the right approach and products, dreads can be kept clean, healthy, and stylish. It’s important to dispel the myths surrounding dreads being dirty or unprofessional, as they can be maintained in a professional and hygienic manner. By following the proper care routine and seeking professional advice when needed, anyone can enjoy the benefits of dreads and showcase their unique style.

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