How to Wash Small Dreads on Men

Small dreads need washing -- just like longer ones.
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Getting your new dreads created at the salon was the easy part, but now you have to take care of them. While dreads may seem like a maintenance-free style, that’s just not the case. It is true that you can ease up on shampooing for the first month -- after that, it’s back to a regular personal-hygiene routine. In fact, if you don’t wash your dreads, you may find that they slide right out.

Pour 1 to 2 teaspoons of castille soap or dread shampoo into your palm and massage it gently over your scalp only. Work your fingers in between each of your dreads to remove scalp oil and dead skin cells. Avoid massaging the dreads themselves, as you may release the knots.

Rinse your hair with hot water for 30 to 60 seconds to remove most of the soap residue from your hair. The hot water also helps to rough up the hair shaft to enhance the appearance of the dreads.

Turn on the cold water and continue rinsing your dreads until the water runs completely clear.

Wrap a towel around your dreads and gently squeeze them with your hands to absorb the excess water. Remove the towel and let your dreads air-dry naturally.

Examine the end of each dread to ensure the rubber band is still tightly pressed against the dread itself. If the band moved during shampooing or drying, gently roll it back up using your fingers until it sits directly beside the matted part of hair.

Repeat the washing once per week for the first three months.

Increase washing to twice per week after three months, and begin massaging the actual dreads themselves, as well as your scalp.

  • Do not wash your dreads more than twice per week, as this will prevent them from drying out completely. Damp dreads can develop a mildew smell when not allowed to dry.
  • Do not go to bed with wet dreads, as they will not dry properly.
  • Do not use any shampoo that has PEG listed in the ingredients; these products will leave a residue in your dreads.
  • If preferred, you can blow-dry your dreads using a low-heat or no-heat setting.

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.