How to maintain your dreadlocks.
Wait! Just a quick note to all the Knotty girls out there: Hey! Our products are in no way intended for use specifically by the male population even though it's called Knotty Boy - we just liked the name. Girls are capable of being just as knotty as boys!
For people with hair that has little to no texture (ie. bone-straight ), a good thing to do the night before dreading is to wash your hair with the Knotty Boy Dread Shampoo Bar. No conditioners! Then towel dry very well and braid the hair slightly damp into a few tight braids. Sleep with them in overnight, then the next day before you begin dreading, take out the braids and brush the hair to make it as frizzy as possible. This will help the dreads take to your hair much better.
Read on for some really useful tips about immediate dreadlock maintenance/after-care!
Rewaxing your dreadlocks:
After the first shot at getting them all locked up, sit down and re-wax each one as best you can at LEAST twice a week to begin with, if not every few days, but use your judgement. You'll find that the first few days things will feel a bit tacky and sticky up there, but as your dreads start to lock in the next few weeks and aren't as soft anymore, things dry out a lot. After they've started to form into real dreads (anywhere after about 2-6 months), you can use Knotty Boy to get the loose hair back into the main dreads and goop them up whenever you feel it's necessary, and when you're at that stage, the waxiness lasts for only about a day after you reapply it.
Some people will also use their comb to backcomb the loose hair into the dreads again, and others find continuing to palmroll their dreads to be very helpful. Do whatever works best for you and your hair type.
IMPORTANT! - You never, ever want to apply wax to wet or damp dreadlocks
Doing so seals in the moisture, which in turn begins to start a colony of mold and mildew growing inside those spongy locks. Know that wet-dog, old-musty-towel smell eminating from some dreadheads out there? Yep, you guessed it. That's either because of dreads that have not been allowed to dry thoroughly between washings, waxing over wet locks or both.
Sleeping with Dreads:
Also, a very good thing to do for sleeping after you've just waxed is to either find an old pillow case that you don't care about to put on your pillow for the next while, or pin a towel to the pillow. Knotty Boy isn't slimy or anything, but it may get your pillow a bit waxy after just having put it in your hair.
If you're hair is long enough, tie it back, and if it's short you can always wear a tam or hat, or nylon stocking to keep it away from your face when you sleep. Doing this will also help keep them from rubbing apart and getting really fuzzy when you sleep.
Washing your Dreads:
Anytime you feel that your dreads need to be washed, just wash them. If you're using Knotty Boy Dread Wax and you've just done your dreads up with it for the first time, try to not wash for at least a week to give them some time to dry out a bit. After that you don't have anything to worry about when you wash - you can always rewax the loose pieces back into the main dreads. And in fact, washing them actually helps them develop faster, as it's removing the natural oils from your hair that cause those new knots to slip out!
When you wash, give your scalp a really good scrub with the Knotty Boy Dread Shampoo Bar or Liquid Shampoo (see Products section to the left). Don't use regular shampoos from the chemist or salons - they contain conditioners and other chemicals that soften and detangle hair, not knot it up! And don't worry about washing the dreads themselves, the soap that runs down from your scalp will clean them just fine and you don't really want to mess with them too much anyway. Just keeping your scalp healthy is the super important part.
And here's a little tip for drying your dreads after you shower: if they're new dreads, carefully squeeze them dry with a towel, or if they can stand up to the abuse, whip out the excess water by headbanging to any good 80's metal tune. And be sure to get your dreads completely dry every time you get them wet or wash them - this is very important! If you swim or wash them a lot (more than once a week usually), your dreads can start smelling very funky and musty if you do not dry them out properly in the sun, with a hairdryer, etc. Mold can actually grow inside your locks if you leave them damp most of the time, so get them dreadies dry, dawg!
Some people like to give their head a quick dip in the ocean because salt water helps to dry them out and tighten them up a bit better, but if you find your hair smells fishy after that or you're not sure how clean it is in there, DON'T DO IT.
And on that note of tightening dreadlocks naturally, after a few weeks of starting your locks and you notice they're beginning to come together a little more each day, picking up a jar of Knotty Boy Tropical Tightening (Locksteady) Gel is a great way to get them dreadies tighter, faster, without the use of harsh and damaging salts.