What Are the Best Tips for Removing Dreadlocks?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Dreadlocks can be removed a couple of ways. Many people remove their dreadlocks completely. Removing dreadlocks can be done, however, without cutting much hair off. Locks should be washed well and conditioned before picking dreadlocks out. Untangling dreadlocks is usually done with a strong metal comb, and it can take a long time.

One of the easiest methods for removing dreadlocks is by cutting them off. This can either be done with scissors or electric clippers. Many experts recommend growing dreadlocks out for a few months, however, before cutting them. This will usually result in 1 or 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters) of unlocked hair at the roots, which will be easier to cut than locked hair.

Some individuals may not want to have very short hair after their dreadlocks are gone. Although it is usually much more difficult, removing dreadlocks can be done by picking each one apart. This is sometimes referred to as a take down.

Special dreadlock removal kits are often recommended when removing dreadlocks without cutting them. These kits include special shampoo, which is designed to break down the wax used to create dreadlocks. Moisturizing conditioners may also be included, along with a heavy duty comb.


To begin removing dreadlocks using this method, an individual should soak his locks in hot water. Although the water should not be hot enough to cause burns, it should be as hot as he can stand. The high temperature will often help melt the wax before shampooing. Vinegar can also be added to the hot water to help break down the wax.

Dreadlocks should then be shampooed with the special shampoo. It should be worked into each dread and left on for a few minutes. The dreadlocks should then be rinsed thoroughly.

Before combing out the dreadlocks, many individuals choose to cut the ends off of each one. This will often make the take down easier. More hair may need to be cut off of dreadlocks, however, that have been in for more than a few years.

Removing dreadlocks is typically much easier when conditioner is applied. Each dread should be saturated with a creamy conditioner. Some individuals may even leave the conditioner in overnight before combing dreadlocks.

A metal comb is usually recommended for removing dreadlocks. Plastic combs can be too fragile for this task, and they will often break during the process. Each individual lock of hair should be combed out, starting with the ends. The comb can be used to pick apart each lock of hair. It may take several hours, or even days, to comb out some dreadlocks.


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