Dreadlocks are one of those hairstyles that yield diversity to various looks from updos to Mohawks and cascading waves.

Although you don’t have to suffer through the trial of detangling hair with this style, having locs doesn’t mean that haircare should be put on a back burner. You still need to schedule regular visits to your stylist and pay close attention to proper maintenance.

We caught up with Celebrity Hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, who is the talent behind many of Jill Scott’s hairstyles, for a few tips on properly caring for locs.

-Salon Visits

Leatherwood says it’s important to have locs “blessed” (touched up) at least once a month but it’s what goes on between salon visits that’s really important to the hair’s health. “In between that time, it’s important to oil the scalp but make sure the locs aren’t left with moisture,” she says.


Allowing hair to fully dry after a shampoo is key because locs are thick and can hold moisture so there’s a risk for bacterial buildup to occur, she says. That’s why it’s important to give hair ample time to completely dry by either air drying or sitting under a hooded dryer. If not, you could be stuck with a smelly mildew odor.

Thinning could also occur as a result of bacterial buildup on the scalp. Leatherwood recommends using Listerine to rid hair of the scent. “It won’t go away overnight but it will definitely improve,” she says.” That’s what Listerine does, it fights germs and bacteria.”

An anti-fungal shampoo such as Nizoral, apple cider vinegar and which hazel can also help rid hair of the unpleasant scent.

-Oil The Scalp

Leatherwood also says it’s a rule-of-thumb to oil the scalp after each wash for moisture. Jojoba, olive, rosemary, ylang ylang and other essential oils are great options to keep scalp from becoming dry and flaky which helps to prevent breakage.

What other tips do you recommend in caring for dreads?

-Margaret Francois

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  • abba

    I have locs, not dreads… There is a difference… But i take care of my locs on a weekly basis, just as if i had loose hair.


      You’re so right…there is a difference between locs and dreads. It is skin color. You know Jim Crow Laws should still be around, so that we can segregate between what white people can’t do that us brothers can do like loc our hair. Whities shouldn’t be able to fro their hair either. I don’t care if he wake up like that…he best straighten his hair cause whities shouldn’t have natural hair like us. Brothers and sisters definitely shouldn’t come together under one love with anyone that’s white.


  • Naomi

    This article is wrong wrong wrong. You do not need to go to a salon to care for your locs. Maintainence can be done by yourself. I’ve been loced for almost 2 years now and have never paid for someone to look after my hair, and it is healthy, clean and neat.

  • Roberta

    As someone who’s had her locs for 11 years, this article does not provide readers with correct information. I have been a DIY (do-it-yourself’er) for 7 years. I wash and care for my locs as I would if my hair were loose. I would suggest that instead of sending people rushing to the salon, suggest that they learn how to care for their locs. I STRONGLY recommend the website Nappturality.com. This site has been a blessing for some many natural heads.

  • Kathy

    Im glad natural hair is in style. I can’t wait till ll of us sistas embrace our kinks and curls:)


    In the meantime please come get FREE NATURAL HAIR INFO


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