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by Savvy Brown
There are two ways of removing dreadlocks from natural hair. One way is by simply cutting the locs all off and going the BC (“big chop”) route, and the other is by slowly (and carefully) removing them by separating the hair either with a small fine comb or a needle. This post is about what to do with your hair after you chose the latter.
First off, you may want to start by going to see a professional hairstylist so that they can assess any damage that might have been done when you pulled your locs out. They may want to trim your hair to get rid of breakage, or deep condition it if it's too dry. This is a good idea because it's sort of a "physical" for your hair.
Beyond that, the following is all I personally think you need to do to take care of your mane. (This goes for all natural hairstyles actually).
Cleaning: You should wash your hair once a week. To start, I would definitely use a sulfate-free shampoo to help protect the hair’s cuticle and to coax your curls back into shape. Try using my method of cleaning the scalp first and then your hair. (Try Lisa's Hair Elixir Scalp & Hair Health Collection.)
Conditioning/Detangling: Never and I mean never try to detangle your hair dry. After washing, your hair will be sopping wet. Then load it up with conditioner and use a wide-tooth shower comb like this one to detangle one section at a time.
Deep Conditioning: You should also do this once a week or every two weeks. I personally like this pre-poo method, (which means you do it before you shampoo). But if you want to deep condition after you detangle that's fine too. Products without parabens, mineral oil, or petrolatum are best. You can also make your own. I sometimes use my Hair Guacamole mix to deep condition with. (Do NOT use this method with heat. Just.don't.) Whichever method of deep conditioning you use, heat is not essential to make it "work". But I get the best results when I leave it in for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Styling: I wear my hair in two strand twists and twist-outs mostly. I use a creamy product like Carol’s Daughter’s Hair Milk Original and then supplement it with a light non-alcoholic, non-plastic Hair Milk Styling Gel.
Maintenance: You should wet your hair everyday with a leave-in conditioner. Natural hair loves water, and will drink it up like a sponge. Just a bit though, Too much and you'll lose definition. I either make my own, or use something like Carol’s Daughter’s Tui Hair Oil mixed with water in a spray bottle.
Protective Styling: I personally think you should wear your hair in a protective style for a whole week, once a month. Some examples are buns, twists, coils, and bantu knots. Protective styles include anything where the edges of your hair are tucked in and protected. I would use the same products I use for styling for this as well. Don’t forget to replenish your protective style midweek, so that your hair won’t dry out.
Savvy Brown is a naturalista, geek, greenie-in-training and the creator of Savvy Brown, a blog about green, healthy living on a budget.