In the first three weeks your dreadlocks be will very delicate and you’ll want to wash them either every 3 days or every 4 days. Pick one and stick to it for the first month. After they have had a chance to establish themselves a bit, usually by the start of the second month, you can begin washing them every other day or every second day.
If possible, always use residue free shampoo when you wash your dreads. Not only will it help them mature faster, it will ensure that new growth continues to lock up. Soap residues slow down and in some cases prevent the hair from locking properly. Residues can also build up inside dreads, increasing the time it takes for them to dry. This can eventually lead to dread rot (mildew growing) inside the dreads. Growing mildew is unhealthy and it smells like you’re wearing a sour gym bag on your head. Fortunately it’s easy to avoid! See the info about getting your dreads dry in our FAQ.
You can keep a nylon stocking on your head while you shower for the first month or so. Yeah, I know you’ll look a little ridiculous but it keeps the dreads from loosening up while they’re wet. Pour some soap on your head, and lather it up through the stocking, then rinse it out really good. If you have rubber bands at the roots and tips wearing the nylon on your head is less necessary. More on using rubber bands later on…
After you wash your dreads, squeeze and shake the extra water out. Squeeze them again with your towel. Lastly put them in a dry towel (one that doesn’t shed) for about 10min or use a hair dryer to dry them well. Squeezing them with the towel really helps get the water out of thick dreads.
If you decide to let them air dry make sure they are not tied up. Do not stick your damp dreads in a tam and leave them there. Getting them dry is very important. You’ll probably notice that the inside of the dreads, especially thicker mature dreads, takes quite a while to dry.
As long as you get the outside as dry as possible the inside will air dry without a problem unless it’s packed full of slimy soap residue… They also have these nifty hair dryers that have a plastic bag which fills with hot air and dries your dreads faster. These will leave your dreads tight and fluffy.