How to remove dreadlocks without cutting hair

Written by mai bryant
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How to remove dreadlocks without cutting hair
Your hair doesn't have to be cut to successfully remove dreadlocks. (man with dreadlocks image by nutech21 from

When it comes to dreadlocks, there are many myths and misconceptions. One of the more common beliefs is that the only way to remove your dreadlocks is to cut or shave them off. While this is one option for removal, it is not the only one. Whether you are wearing your hair in this style or know someone who is, learning how to take them out is a simple, if not time-consuming, task.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Basin
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair bands or clips
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Metal or strong plastic comb

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  1. 1

    Fill a basin with hot water and soak your hair for five to 10 minutes. The water should be as hot as you can tolerate without burning your scalp. This will help to remove any excess build-up from oils or sprays. Shampoo your hair after it has soaked, working the lather into each lock and rinsing with very warm water. Ring out the excess water and slather the hair in a cream conditioner. Allow the conditioner to sit on your hair to soften it. Wait an additional 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing your hair again with very warm water.

  2. 2

    Blot as much water as possible from your hair. Divide it so you are working in four to eight sections. Twist the locks in each section and secure them out of the way using a coated band or a durable plastic clip.

  3. 3

    Fill a spray bottle one-third to halfway full with warm water. Fill it the rest of the way with your conditioner and shake thoroughly.

  4. 4

    Place a towel around your shoulders. Spray the locks in the first section of hair in the back using the water bottle. Wet it thoroughly and work the mixture into the locks with your fingers. Twist that section of hair back into place with the exception of one or two locks to work on.

  5. 5

    Start at the bottom of one of the locks. Use a comb that is either metal or a strong plastic. Using the teeth of the comb, gently begin to work the hair loose. Do not overly pull or tear at the dread. Work your way up the lock, discarding any shed hair as you go until all the hair has been detangled.

  6. 6

    Braid the loose hair so that it does not tangle with the remaining dreadlocks. Use a hair clip to pin the braid out of the way and work on the next lock of hair in the same manner as the first. Pull down another one or two dreads when needed and respray them with your bottle of conditioner and water. Continue until you have completely worked each of the locks in that section loose. Braid and pin that hair out of the way.

  7. 7

    Move to the next section of hair and spray in your conditioner as before. Carefully work one section at a time starting at the bottom of each lock. Do not rush the process; it can take a full day or two to complete.

Tips and warnings

  • While removing the dreadlocks, it may seem as if you are losing large amounts of hair. This is the hair that has shed while your hair was in dreads, and it is normal.

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