Monday, 9 March 2015

Blow Drying Dreadlocks



If you’ve had dreadlocks for a long enough period of time you’ll know that the washing and drying process can be quite time consuming and rather annoying - and as the dreadlocks mature and grow longer… this process doesn’t get any easier.

It’s important to be able to effectively and efficiently dry dreadlocks. For one so that you can get on with your day and not have your life revolve around damp dripping dreadlocks and secondly so you can avoid the risk of mould/dreadrot that comes along with improperly dried dreadlocks.

Different people will have different drying routines for their hair depending on, well, pretty much what’s practical for them and their situation. Someone with short dreadlocks in a hot dry climate is unlikely to follow the exact routine as someone in with long dreadlocks in a cold, damp environment. There’s all sorts of different ways to dry dreadlocks, towels, shaking, squeezing, sitting in the sun - today I’m going to cover blowdrying… if that wasn’t already obvious by the title above.

Hairdryers are pretty popular among dreadheads for pretty obvious reasons. A lot of people with dreadlocks will have had long-is hair before starting out and so most will already own a hairdryer, but many will ask whether it’s appropriate to use one on dreadlocks - is it effective? is it safe?

The risks that blowdrying poses to dreadlocks are the same risks that are posed to regular hair… as, well, dreadlocks are still formed from hair after all. Excessive heat can damage hair… and dreadlocks are made from hair. Dreadlocks are slow drying - it’s not so difficult to dry the outside - this can be done simply with a towel, but it’s the inner part that retains the moisture that you want to actually dry out. The problem is that people will be tempted to just crank the hairdryer and pretty much fry the dreadlocks. Trying to dry them this way really isn’t all that effective as you simply end up drying out the exterior hairs - the high levels of heat on your hair will then usually be uncomfortable on your head and then you’ll have to stop before you’ve actually really done any good. This is really not a method of drying that I’d recommend as the targeted high heat is not going to be very effective at drying the dreadlocks and will have an increased risk of damage to the hair…. but I do still personally use a hairdryer.

My method for using a hairdryer is to enclose the dreadlocks in a dry towel and funnel warm air into the towel. This provides a warm environment with a gentle heat that will be distributed to all the dreadlocks and not just concentrated to cook one specific patch. Your head will also be within the towel so you’ll be able to make sure that it doesn’t get too hot in there - if it’s too hot for your face, it’s too hot for the dreadlocks. A slow, gentle drying is more effective and less damaging than a concentrated application of a hairdryer on turbo high.

How you dry your own dreadlocks is going to be entirely up to you and will require you to weigh up the pros and cons and consider them against your personal situation in order to find what works best for you.

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