What Is Dreadlocks Wax?

Marjorie McAtee

Dreadlocks wax is a type of hair pomade typically used to style hair into dreadlocks, or to maintain the dreadlocks hairstyle once it has been achieved. A quality hair pomade for dreadlocks is usually made out of naturally occurring waxes, such as beeswax, and may also contain vegetable oils such as hemp seed oil. Dreadlocks wax should generally be very stiff and thick in consistency. When used properly, it can help hair form tight, neat dreadlocks more quickly, and help moisturize and strengthen the dreadlocks. Hair should be able to absorb most types of dreadlocks wax, so if the dreadlocks take on a waxy appearance, it may be because the wearer is applying too much wax, or because the wax used is of low quality.

Bob Marley influenced the popularity of dreadlocks.
Bob Marley influenced the popularity of dreadlocks.

Beeswax is often a common ingredient in dreadlocks wax, because it can be used to create a thick, stiff pomade that helps hold the individual strands of hair together so that they can knot tightly and form dreadlocks. Petroleum-based waxes, pomades and styling creams are widely considered inappropriate for forming or maintaining dreadlocks, since they can make hair oily and slick. Slick, oily hair is considered far less likely to knot tightly into dreadlocks.

Wax is used to style hair into dreadlocks.
Wax is used to style hair into dreadlocks.

Many people use dreadlocks wax as a styling aid when putting dreadlocks into their hair for the first time. Manufacturers typically claim that appropriately formulated wax can help dreadlocks form faster, while also making them sturdier and neater in appearance. The wax may be able minimize the appearance of flyaway hairs in the dreadlocks hairstyle. These pomades are typically enriched with natural oils, vitamins, and amino acids said to be beneficial to hair's health and appearance.

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Some people use this type of styling wax to maintain the appearance of their dreadlocks, to or restore moisture and shine to aging dreadlocks. Thick wax can easily accumulate in the hair, so it's generally recommended that only a pea-sized amount be applied to each individual dreadlock. A hot-air blow dryer should generally be used to help melt the wax and spread it throughout the dreadlock. The hair should absorb the melted wax.

Manufacturers of dreadlocks wax often claim that their product makes the dreadlocks easier to shampoo. Wax residue is typically washed out of the hair with each shampooing, so dreadlocks wax usually needs to be reapplied each time the hair is washed. It is said to help keep dreadlocks soft, shiny, and supple, and to prevent the breakage that can occur as dreadlocks become brittle and dry with age.

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