Thursday, 25 October 2012

Dreadlock Cleanse

Super Deep Clean!:

Basic Bicarb Soak:


There are many different variations on this. Some with nice smelling additives, but I'm going to explain what I do and then once you've got the basics down you can feel free to experiment a little. Tea tree oil is a normal addition due to it's anti-fungal qualities and Rosemary oil can be added to help with dandruff problems.

Every now and then you'll find you want to give your dreadlocks a serious deep clean. Over time various shampoos and soaps can build up in your hair (even if they're residue free) and you'll feel like they're a little bit heavier, a little bit stiffer, just not as 'alive' as they once were. There are also more extreme cases where you'll use a shampoo only to find out it is definitely not residue free - when you squeeze out after washing, the water that comes out is a little stickier / doesn't feel like straight clean water or on the extreme - you'll get white powder accumulating in the tips of your dreads once they've dried.

What can you do about this?...........................Deep cleanse!

How I go about it:

  • I feel a washing bowl with hot water, the hotter the better, because you don't want it going cold on you while you're still using it. But obviously not so hot that you burn yourself! (You can also use a bucket or whatever you want, as long as it's deep enough to hold the hot water and your head of hair. I've even seen it done where you lay on the kitchen counter with your head back into the filled sink!)
  • Then I will add bicarbonate of soda / baking soda. There's no exact measurement for this and everyone is going to use a different sized bowl and a different amount of water. I'll usually add quite a lot, but not so much that you get undissolved bicarb in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Then you lay back and dip your hair in the water. It's tricky to do this actually, I lay on a step or box, even a skateboard to get my body higher than the bowl so that I'm comfortable dipping the hair.
  • You'll want to soak them for around 30 mins. You can rub the hair in this time, make sure you get everywhere wet and just relax. It's nice to have the warm water flowing over your head and it removes itchiness.
  • Once you've finished soaking you'll want to squeeze everything out of your dreads. You can repeat this part without the soaking time, just dip and squeeze, dip and squeeze.
  • Then wash your hair as normal.
You should find they're a little lighter, bendier / bouncier, less itchy. All round new and improved!

I don't think bicarb washes should be overdone because it can make your scalp dry and therefore it's easy for it to get sore. I recommend every 4-6 weeks for optimal nice-ness! You shouldn't need to do it anymore often provided you wash and dry your dreads correctly. See my Washing and Drying post.

31 comments:

  1. Love your videos!!! I have been doing my hubbys dreads for 8 years. After your videos I am dreading my hair!!!!

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    1. That's excellent! I'm glad you enjoy my videos :D

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  2. At what age would you recommend someone's knots be when they start using acv?

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    1. There's no set age requirement and there can't really be one because even at the same age, two sets of dreads can be completely different. Just be aware that when you use ACV it will soften the hairs and can loosen the dreadlocks so if you feel your dreadlocks are not at a stage where you'd want them to be any looser either steer clear of the ACV a little while longer or only use it in small, diluted amounts.

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  3. Is the deep cleanse a substitute for washing my dreads? Or, how many days after washing my dreads should I wait before doing a deep cleanse?

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    1. Counts as a wash, so just use it in place of a wash on your normal wash day.

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  4. I have just gotten new dreads. How long should I wait Untill I wash them? & could I use this method instead of shampooing my hair?

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    1. At least 5, preferably 7 days. This would wash the hair, however would probably be the most practical way to wash them every time and soaking with oils that regularly would not be beneficial to young dreads.

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  5. I have just cleansed my dreads with baking powder instead of baking soda... will there be a different effect or what?

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    1. Baking powder has baking soda in it... but it also has other things. The feedback on powder is mixed - some say that it didn't cause a problem... others say it was not as effective at rinsing out properly. I myself have never used baking powder so I can't really add much other than I would recommend just using soda.

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  6. Thanks. I always use baking soda anyway but on this odd occasion I only had baking powder in the kitchen so I thought I would give it ago. I rinsed my hair thoroughly so all should be good. Never going to use it again though. Thanks again for the reply :)

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  7. As summer is setting in, I notice my dreads are holding somewhat of a sweaty smell even after I wash them.. Will the deep cleanse help with smell? And if not what oils and extracts would be safe to use to combat the smell?

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    1. A deep cleanse should help to fully clean out the dreadlocks. If you're using an oil for scent it really should only be used to add a scent where there is none, rather than trying to use it to cover something else up. If the problem returns after a deep clean you may wish to consider trying alternative shampoos.

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  8. hey, my dreads are just 8 weeks old so i thought i better start researching deep soaks. i've seen quite a few that recommend using apple cider vinegar? will that do the same as bicarb? your videos have been a lifesaver in absolving me of baby dread anxiety!

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    1. You probably don't yet need to worry about deep cleaning at 8 weeks. Bicarb is alkaline, ACV is acidic, you can follow one with the other to leave the hair in a more neutral state than using just one alone.

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  9. Hey 😃 I just did my hair a few days ago and I was wondering if dry shampoo is ok to use?

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    1. If you're in a scenario where you are unable to wash them for long periods of time - e.g if you're camping etc, then dry shampoo can be used to help keep the scalp comfortable, but it's not something I would use while in a regular situation.

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    2. Ok thanks! I thought it might help with the locking process since it pulls all the oil out ..

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  10. when is it necessary to get deep cleanse treatment for dreadlocks?

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  11. I've had my dreads for going on Two years. Would it be recommended that I use the avc method? If It helps to answer the question I do have naturally nappy hair, and I have build up in different areas of my dreads. Although it isn't major, I'd like to get it nipped in the bud before it does grow to be a problem that can only be fixed by chopping my dread off. That is a completely unacceptable answer.
    Any advice is welcome.

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    1. I always use the bakingsoda soak, rinsed out, followed by a light vinegar rinse (left in for 1-2 min) and then let my dreads dry in the sun. They always are much happier so I'd recommend that especially at 2 years :)

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  12. I have super new dreads... My OH has started them for me, and has used a styling product to get them to mesh. Not a lot of product, but enough that it's annoying the crap out of me!
    I'm really worried about dread rot, is one application going to affect my baby dreads? If so, how do I get it out?

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    1. Ah! Get that gunk out! Do the baking soda wash if you already haven't. In your case let them soak. Dreads will form naturally by simply not combing your hair and separating as needed. So if they come a little unraveled don't sweat it, let them be the cute independent and individualized dreads they want to be :)

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    2. Ah! Get that gunk out! Do the baking soda wash if you already haven't. In your case let them soak. Dreads will form naturally by simply not combing your hair and separating as needed. So if they come a little unraveled don't sweat it, let them be the cute independent and individualized dreads they want to be :)

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  13. My dreads are very short can i still be able to deep clean them

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  14. My dreads are 5 months old and when i washed them last night i realized that i had some kind of odd build up in my roots. I wondered amd squezed my dreds and some kind of oilsh/butterish thing came out of my roots. Never used wax or anything els. I wash my hair every 6th or 7th day. But just realized the build up.Maybe sebum? Will deep clean help eliminate that build up?

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    1. Deep clean is probably always the first thing you should do when you notice something funky in your dreads. I see it's been a while since you asked this question, so I hope you have done that by now. Since it's only near your roots, it could be sebum, but I am more inclined to think there might be something wrong with your shampoo. Lots of brands sell off their soap as dread-safe, but this is not always the case. Your soap may have too much glycerin, un-saponified oils in them or other gunk. maybe they add shea butter after the trace-stage of soapmaking. It could be sebum, yes, but I recommend just trying a deep cleanse and then trying out a soap made of 100% saponified coconut oil (soap made of coconut oil dryes out skin. it does not leave residue at all, but prepare to maybe oil up your roots once in a while). If you don't have that readily available, I recommend making it yourself. Making soap is actually a lot easier than one might think, and you know exactly what goes in it. ;)

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  15. What shampoo do you use??☺️

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  16. Spearmint essential oil, strong smell that lasts and makes your head feel even cleaner.

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  17. I've had my dreads for 10 months now, just did a baking soda deep cleanse (had no idea until finding your video on youtube this morning) I made sure I rinsed really well, just dried my hair but i can feel a residue on my hands (feels a little chalky), is this normal?

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