Monday, 29 October 2012

Dreadlocks and activities

Dreadlocks are obviously quite different to most other hair 'styles'. They aren't temporary and are therefore going to be a part of everything you do, so I thought I'd go over a few activities that you're dreadlocks might impact.

I talk a little about helmets, facemasks and swimming further on, but I'll just cover something general first. Dreadlocks are warm. They're great insulators and excellent when the weather turns cold for the winter. But - not so good if you have an intensive workout schedule.  Dreadlocks are a little like wearing a warm hat at all times, you can keep a little cooler by tying them back in a ponytail or with a headband, but you'll still be warmer than you would with normal hair. So while at the gym you'll get more sweaty from the heat and when you shower afterwards, as always, the dreads will take a long time to dry.


Dreadlocks are more obstructive than normal hair, it can affect the wearing of helmets, so this is something you'll need to consider. Normal hair can be squeezed under a helmet quite easily, but dreadlocks are thicker and tougher. It will vary from person to person as everyone has different dread thickness', length and quantity, but from first hand experience I can say that I have struggled to find helmets which will comfortably and safely fit my head. So this may possibly affect; cycling, horseback riding, motorcycle riding, some climbing and skiing etc. Removing the padding from helmets is usually the best you can do - the dreadlocks will make perfectly acceptable and comfortable padding by themselves.

Sleeping with Dreadlocks:


Something that gets asked alot is the impact that dreadlocks may have on swimming. Dreadlocks are often associated with surfing and surf culture so obviously you can take them out and get them wet, but there are a few things to be aware of. I'll break it down into two sections, salt water and chlorinated water.

Saltwater -  Now saltwater is generally thought of as being good for dreads. It your hair frizzy and more prone to locking and the salt makes the hairs a little more abrasive and can help to lock and tighten the dreads. So saltwater is not a problem, you can swim and surf in the sea all you want. What you will need to remember is that the dreadlocks get heavier when they're wet. They soak up water a little like a sponge so they will make your head a little heavier. Only the dreads that are out of the water will have any added effect to you buoyancy - the dreads actually in the water will just float around - so it's not like they will make you sink.

When you dive underwater, the dreads will float around and can get in the way of your vision - like any long hair would, so it's recommended that you tie your hair back in some way so that you're able to see. It's also worth noting that it can be difficult to get diving masks to fit easily over your head when you have dreadlocks. It doesn't mean you can't wear them, it's just a little tricker to get a good tight fit. You have to put the mask on and get the straps through the dreads, then you'll need to try and tie your hair back afterwards.

Chlorinated water - It's not particularly great for dreads, but you can swim in pools without much bother apart from the points I mentioned earlier - they get heavier and can float in your face. The main issue I have with dreads in chlorinated water is that they get that sticky feeling accompanies swimming in pools. So you'll really want to give them a good wash afterwards, which often isn't easy with the showers they usually have at pools. Which moves me on to...

Drying - Something you will have to remember is that dreadlocks take a long time to dry. So you'll be dripping a long time after you get out of the pool or out of the sea. I recommend you remember to take a towel just for wrapping up your hair so that you don't drip everywhere while moving from the pool / sea to the shower.


31 comments:

  1. So if you have brand new dreads 2 months or less would swimming make them fall out or anything bad? or I guess what I'm trying to ask is how long should you wait until you go swimming with new mattes/clumps of hair?

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    1. It depends what you're doing - swimming in salt water / the sea is actually good for them whereas chlorinated water is not so good because it's difficult to rinse it out so all the extra rinsing can be stressful on young dreadlocks. You can swim as soon as you want, as long as you're prepared for the dreads to get a little messy afterwards. Young dreads always look messy after they're washed because loose hairs get pulled out by the water, this happens more when you swim. It's all hair that will wash loose anyway - it's not hair that's locked in so it'll either wash out when you swim or wash out over the next few washes.

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  2. T-Gel shampoo is safe for dreads? I was the one asking about frizzies on YouTube, I took my dreads out (I had 15 and still maybe ten to go) because of dandruff, and wrong shampoo...but I am trying them again once my dandruff is better.

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    1. Hi Salix - lots of people have reported good results with T-gel. I will say that I have not used it myself however. I have used Head & Shoulders and that didn't go down so well, but T-gel gets good reviews from dreadheads. I don't think it's required for every wash so you could just use it at times when you feel your scalp really needed it. It isn't residue free - but even residue free shampoos are only residue free under idea circumstances so provided you deep clean every few months I doubt you'd have much issue with buildup.... as long as you didn't use tons of the stuff and as long as you rinsed thoroughly :)

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  3. Hey Chris, I have a few questions for you. I don't personally have dreadlocks yet, but I do plan on getting them soon over the next few weeks. But I do have some plans for my family coming up, such as going camping and swimming in such as lake or river. Now, river/lake water isn't the cleanest, and I was wondering what should I do when I have baby dreads? Since they probably won't be a month old when I do go on this trip, I wasn't exactly sure if I should wait more on getting dreadlocks. You've been a really big help on everything else, and without you I wouldn't so informed on dreadlocks! Thanks so much!

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    1. You can swim where you like... but you'll want access to a shower afterwards!

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  5. I love to get knocked around in the ocean and whatnot, but my dreads never stay in a pony tail and it results in heavy wet dreads in the face.. how can I tie them up and out of my way in a manner that with last!? My dreads are about shoulder length or a touch longer.. thanks mate!

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    1. I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to offer any great advice other than to tie them up better ^^ you may want to try headbands as a better way to keep them together.

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  6. I'd try multiple pony tails if need be, or maybe a stocking cap..

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  7. I have 1 day old back comb. I'll wait for a week before shampoo but is it ok to get the new buds wet ie rain, shower, beach?

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    1. You don't have to worry about rain - but if you're going to submerge them in water or soak them through - swimming / showering... then you might as well just shampoo them - the getting them wet and letting water run through them will loosen them, whether there's shampoo in there or not - so if you're going to get them wet, you might as well get them clean.

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  8. I have 5 day old backcomb dreads(knots) and live on a lake. I was wondering if it would be ok to swim if I had access to a shower afterwords. Will the lake make them smell bad or have any big effect on the locking process

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    1. I personally would probably give them a few weeks before I would swim with them. The effect the water will have will depend on how clean the water is and how well you wash them afterwards.

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  9. Ok but it's ok to swim with a swimming cap right

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    1. A swimming cap will stop them from getting splashed - they're not air tight - if you spend time under the water, the dreadlocks are going to get wet.

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  10. I will be going at a seaside resort for 10 day and I am going to get my dreads wet( with swimming pool and sea water) daily. I have a once a week washing routine and what I am asking is: should I wash them every night or keep the weekly routine? Thank you in advance for the response.

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    1. I think you may find that the hair / scalp becomes irritated if you do not wash the excess salt or chlorine off after swimming,

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  11. I'd tried dreads with the twist and rip method, but didn't work for my hair. I redid them with a metal comb, back comb method, I've got 45, but half of my head is older than the other half because I did them myself and including life events, wasn't able to get them all done at once. There are a few soft spots in the middle of the older dreads and it worries me, will they knot up in time? My new dreads are a week old and was wondering if showering is an okay at one week? And dandruff seems to be a huge issue, but after this first week it seems to have calmed down a little on the irritation but the dandruff is still there. I have t-gel shampoo, and was wondering if you had any recommendations on a washing schedule for me, taking in that my dreads are still just babies?

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  12. i started to dread my hair in the beginning of july. my hair is about 9-10 inches long and the first approx 5 inches from the scalp out dont really stay locked up, but the tips of all of them seem to stay locked up and really tight. i have used the twist and rip and palm rolling and back combing but i cant seem to get the base of them to stay locked. i wash my hair about 1 or 2 times a week depending on how much activity i do. i skate board so i do sweat a lot. is there anything i can do to help the base of the dreads to start locking up or does is just come with time?

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    1. Try clockwise rubbing look it up on dread head hq they'll tell you all about it. It doesn't make a difference right away but it will a little over time.

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  13. so salt and water is good for dreadlox ive used the sponge method bet there dont seem too be matting the way i wont iin morning i always have tooo twist and i have them 3 mths now

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  14. ive been using 100% bees wax how can i get a fimer twist look

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  15. ive been using 100% bees wax how can i get a fimer twist look

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  16. so salt and water is good for dreadlox ive used the sponge method bet there dont seem too be matting the way i wont iin morning i always have tooo twist and i have them 3 mths now i have been using 100% bee s wax

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    1. dude, throw the wax away, it doesn't help with the dreading whatsoever.

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  17. So i show horses year round. Can i get dreads and keep riding without messing up the brand new dreads?

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  18. So i show horses year round. Can i get dreads and keep riding without messing up the brand new dreads?

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  19. I exercise an hour too an hour and a half a day. Obviously I sweat. I was only washing my hair once a week but that's hard now that I'm exercising. Any advice?

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