Growing healthy dreadlocks takes time and patience.
And while there are plenty of dubious ‘hair growth solutions’ out there, we prefer to stick to more natural methods – ones that are well-tested and low-risk.
Here are a few of our top tips for getting happy and healthy dreadlocks that grow faster. Hopefully a few of these can work for you!
1. Keep your dreads healthy and dry
If your dreadlocks are new, your stylist has probably told you to avoid washing them for the first month or so.
And that’s great advice. When new dreadlocks suck up all that water, they can puff up and go fluffy, ruining all the hard work you’ve just had done.
But it’s not just new dreads that need to stay dry. Water damage can wreak havoc on any kind of hair type, causing the fibres to swell and weaken, which can lead to breakage.
(Let’s not even get started on the unpleasant smell of ‘dread rot’ that comes when your dreadlocks hold onto water for too long. There’s no point growing long dreads if you have to cut them off because you didn’t keep them dry!)
So if you want to maximise the long-term growth of your dreadlocks, you need to make sure they’re going to last – and that means keeping them dry and strong after every wash.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Wash your dreads in the morning, so they have more time to dry.
2. Start ringing out your dreads at the end of your shower to squeeze out any excess water.
3. Wrap your dreadlocks in a fast-absorbing microfibre hair towel to soak up the water from inside your dreads.
4. Leave your hair uncovered for the rest of the day to help it dry naturally.
Microfibre hair towel dries twice as fast as a normal towel, and helps you avoid the damage caused by rubbing and hair dryers.
2. Get more blood flowing to your luscious locks
Just like any other part of your body, your hair needs a steady supply of nutrients to grow and flourish.
And without a healthy flow of blood to carry those nutrients to the hair, your dreadlocks could end up starved and less able to grow.
Luckily, there are loads of easy ways to improve the blood flow to your hair to keep your dreads happy. You could try:
- Getting more daily exercise. Yoga is especially good for getting more blood to the head – just think of all those upside-down positions!
- Massaging your scalp. Just a few minutes each day can help to bring more blood to your hair.
- Eating better. Foods that have plenty of iron can improve your circulation, while hot spices like cayenne or chilli peppers can cause your blood vessels to dilate, letting more blood get to where it’s needed.
3. Stay happy and stress free
That’s not just good hair advice – it’s good life advice.
When you’re dealing with something stressful, your body creates extra adrenaline and cortisol (they’re often called ‘stress hormones’).
These hormones are great for helping you to escape or resolve a stressful situation. But if you keep getting stressed over a longer period of time, your body can struggle to regulate these hormones, leading to higher levels of another hormone, DHT.
DHT causes your hair follicles to shrink and enter a resting phase, where hair production slows down. And that’s something you really don’t want when you’re trying to help your dreadlocks grow faster.
So if you want the best possible hair growth, do everything you can to reduce or eliminate stress from your life:
Get plenty of exercise and sleep, avoid difficult people and situations, and find some time in your daily routine to relax and unwind.
4. Use natural oils to boost and strengthen your hair
There are loads of drugs and chemicals available that claim to help your hair grow faster. But there are also plenty of natural alternatives that have been used for hundreds of years.
Castor oil (made from pressed castor seeds) is packed with proteins and beneficial fatty acids. It’s rich in antioxidants that support the keratin in your hair, and it has plenty of ricinoleic acid, which can help to improve blood circulation in the scalp.
Unfortunately, it’s also a bit thick and sticky – so some people prefer to mix it with coconut oil to make it easier to use.
But take care: some people can be allergic to some of the ingredients. So always do a quick test on a small area of skin first – and wait a day or two to see if you have any problems.
5. Give your hair some physical protection
All the growth-boosting tips in the world won’t help you if your dreadlocks can’t survive once they’ve grown.
You can help to protect them from damage and breakage by:
- Wrapping them in a scarf or silk cover when you’re sleeping. This helps to reduce friction and prevent them from drying out
- Finding a reliable conditioning treatment to help lock in your hair’s natural oils
- And getting yourself a swimming cap with plenty of space to keep your locks dry and safe in the shower or the swimming pool.
6. Don’t rush it!
Growing any type of hair takes time and careful maintenance.
But with dreadlocks, it takes even longer – so you need to be patient and fight the temptation to take risks that could damage your dreads.
In particular, you should try to avoid:
- Using hair-growth drugs that aren’t well-researched or well-tested. There are plenty of companies promising faster hair growth (especially online), but they won’t always have your health as a top priority.
- Getting too many re-twists too often. Excessive twisting can thin the hair and cause damage – so most people recommend waiting at least 4 weeks before each session.
- Overloading on vitamins and supplements. Some are helpful for growing hair faster (and many are relatively safe), but you should always talk to your doctor before you start taking anything new.