Removing Dreadlocks

Whatever problem you are facing with your dreads, be sure that it will resolve soon; so removing dreadlocks should be your last option. Still, if you have made up your mind that it’s enough with the locks, you should know about removing dreadlocks without harming your hair. But if you are depressed with a thought that it is not possible, come out of it – removing dreadlocks is absolutely possible! There might be some misconceptions in your mind about removing dreadlocks; so let’s remove those myths first.

Is Shaving Head a Must?

You might have got goose bumps with a thought that you have to shave your head for removing dreadlocks. But heave a sigh of relief – it is a total misconception. You don’t need to shave your head. However, it is indeed the fastest way to do that, but not essential.

Wearing Short Hair

This is the simplest way to adopt after removing dreadlocks without having to shave your head, because dreads don’t lock up to the roots of hair right in the scalp. However the more mature the dreads, the closer they will be to the scalp. But even the oldest and most mature dreads don’t touch the scalp.

Removing Dreadlocks

Cut the locks anywhere from one inch to two inches from your scalp. This will depend upon how mature your locks are.

You will notice that the hair left behind is not solid dreadlocks and you can just brush it out. Washing and conditioning regularly will make brushing easier.

You will also find that the hair has become uneven, because you have cut your each dread individually. Therefore you will have to balance it, but need not shave it off.

Is It Possible to Shift from Dreads Directly to Long Hair?

You will be surprised – but the answer is “yes”! However it will take a lot of time – how much? That will depend upon how long your locks are, how many are they and how mature are they. But some people, particularly girls, prefer to go in this way, because they generally will neither want to shave head off nor wish to wear short hair. So, you will have to keep patience and learn this.

What will You Need?

Firstly understand that removing dreadlocks being a time-consuming task, you will have to keep aside some hours of your many days (or nights). Doing it while on a long weekend or vacation is perfect. In short, a lot of time is the first thing you will need.

Other essential you need is a friend (or mom or dad or bro or sis…) and you will sit on floor and s/he will sit on a chair or couch behind you. You can watch TV while removing dreadlocks sitting in this way, so that you (and especially your dread-remover) won’t be bored.

And again you will need more time – to pay visits to a saloon to make your hair even and straight again before you start going to school, college or work!

Further things you will need are:

Plenty of conditioner and/or de-tangler

Warm water

Sewing and knitting needles


Hair brushes

Trash can/bag (to throw away loose hair)

How to Do it?

To start with, the dreadlocks are to be soaked in warm water. You can take a shower or soak hair in a bucket of warm water. Warmth of the water should be bearable to you.

Next, start rubbing the conditioner in the dreads. Don’t use it all through your head. Use only on the dreads which you want to unlock first.

Once you get your dreads soaked and conditioned, you can begin pulling strands of hair apart with sewing and/or knitting needles. For some people, sewing needles are easier to work with, while for others knitting ones are more so. Some will also find it better to use sewing needles to start with and knitting needles to continue downward. Whichever needle you use, be very careful with them, and don’t get pricked and hurt.

Pierce the needle inside the edge of a lock near the tip, rotate it to form a loop and slowly pull the loop out. Be very patient to pull out only a small quantity at a time, e.g. 1 mm to 1 cm. Again pierce the needle into the separated loop and slip it down; it’s similar to brushing your hair, but only with one tooth.

You and your dread remover will have to be very patient and devote a lot of time to take out each small portion of every dread like this and separate each hair strand. You will also have to keep applying water and conditioner from time to time to maintain the softness of the dreads.

Keep painkillers handy, because you might get a headache while your hair is pulled.

Once your one dread is completed and all its hair strands are separated, brush through them and go to the next lock.

You can do this process yourself only for the front dreads. But for the dreads on the backside of head, you should take help of a helper. Of course, if you can get more helpers, better – because that will rid you of your dreads quicker.

While you come near the root, it becomes more painful. You should be careful when you reach there. Usually the dreadlocked persons prefer to do this part themselves.

Though removing dreadlocks is a time-consuming (and painful) task, it is not at all impossible. So, those who are distressed with them should cheer up and plan a long holiday for removing dreadlocks.