In order to keep your scalp and dreadlocks healthy and comfortable, it's important to regularly check that the dreads are not growing together because this can cause pain and if left for long enough, your dreadlocks can fuse together. Sometimes this can be fun (if you intend for it to happen!), but if it's unplanned it can cause a great deal of irritation and pain for your scalp as hairs pull on your scalp making any movement or hairstyles uncomfortable.
Separating your dreadlocks is especially important if you have partial dreadlocks! Because of the combination of loose hair overlaying dreadlocks, you need to ensure that you brush your loose hair every single day, and gently ensure any loose hairs are not getting tangled in with your dreadlocks.
Personally, I feel that the best time to separate your dreads is either before or after you wash them. Separating prevents matting at the roots, which can be painful to rectify. It’s important that you do this at least once per week in order to keep your scalp comfortable. You want to separate your hair more often when your dreadlocks are young. As they mature, your dreads will figure out what they're meant to do and loose hair will be more likely to make its way into the correct dreadlocks. When dreadlocks get matted together it can cause pressure on your scalp. So please, make sure you separate them! It's worth noting that the more frequently you perform this maintenance, the less pain it will cause you and the faster it will be to conduct.
I like to do this by putting all of my hair into a big ponytail on the top of my head near the front. Then, gently pull down the very back row of dreads along the nape of your neck. Work your fingers along the lines of the sections (these should be easy to feel if you separate your dreads frequently), gently pulling apart any hairs that are growing into the wrong dreadlock. As you find a hair in the wrong place, pulling on it gently in the middle should tell you which end is attached to your scalp, so you can then gently pull on the other side. We don’t want to pull the hair off your scalp since these new hairs are what will lock up and help your dreads grow long and strong! Once you complete the row, gently bring down the next row of dreads from the ponytail and do the same. Keep going until you’ve checked them all.
As you separate the dreads, it can be a nice time to palm roll, particularly if you separate your dreadlocks after washing. Using a small amount of product such as the Dollylocks tightening spray or tightening gel can also help keep your dreads neat, tidy and smelling lovely.
If your hair is really matted after forgetting to separate your dreads for a while, it’s best to book an appointment with me so that I can help you get your dreads under control again. Please don’t use scissors to cut your hair, since this can really impact on the integrity of your dreads and later on down the road could cause weak spots and dreads snapping off. If you've reached the point where you're considering scissors, or your scalp is hurting you, please contact me to book in for maintenance!
Regular maintenance with a professional loctician will help prevent separation issues. I recommend you book in for maintenance once every 2-3 months to ensure your dreads stay neat, tidy and comfortable!
Next: Washing your dreadlocks