How to Dye Dreads
A pop of color in your hair can add some funkiness to even the worst hair days. And you really don’t need to make a trip to the salon to achieve results. You can obtain the color you’re looking for in the comfort of your own home, by preparing and moisturizing your dreads, dyeing them with care, and taking care of them after the fact. If dyeing darker hair lighter, you may consider bleaching your hair first for best results.
Preparing to Dye Dreads
Moisturize your hair 1-2 days before you want to dye it.Moisture will influence how well your hair will take color, so in the days leading up to dyeing your dreads, wash and moisturize your hair thoroughly. Different types of oil make great moisturizers for dreadlocks, including jojoba oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, and hemp oil.
- Buy the oil of your choice at a local supermarket or online, and use after showering.
Buy two color kits for ample coloring supplies.One color kit can be enough for a lighter head of hair, but depending on the thickness and length of your dreads, you might need two. There’s nothing worse than running out of color mid-way through dyeing, so if you have thick and coarse or long hair, go ahead and buy two kits.
Dye-proof your bathroom and body with towels, old t-shirts, and gloves.Set up a towel on the floor, put on clothes you don’t mind ruining, and set plastic gloves nearby for when you start working with bleach or dye. Set out supplies you will need before you begin the process.
- For best possible results, make sure you have a hair coloring kit, a plastic hair cap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizing oil, and hair ties.
Bleaching Dreads for a Brighter Color
Bleach your hair if you’re ok with a little hair damage.If you have dark hair and are trying to dye the dreads a lighter color, bleach might be necessary for the color to properly “pop.” However, know that bleach will damage your hair and make it difficult to return it to its natural color. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for that platinum blonde or candy pink look!
- There are natural alternatives to bleaching if you want to lighten your hair before dyeing it. You could apply lemon juice to your hair and lie out in the sun, pour chamomile tea on your hair and let it dry out in the sun, or wash your hair with water and baking soda.
- All of these classic pantry items have lightening properties and can lighten your hair without the damage of bleach.
Deep-condition your hair three days before bleaching.This is probably the best way to protect your hair from the potential damage of bleach.Soak your dreads in coconut oil or use a deep conditioning mask on them the night before for extra protection.
Buy a hair specific bleaching product.You can find hair bleaching products at most drug stores, an example being L’oreal Blondissima “super” strength. Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color in Lightest Platinum has very clear directions to follow to make the process as safe for your hair as possible.
Apply the bleach while wearing gloves.Follow the directions for the bleach you are using and squeeze your dreadlocks once you apply the bleach to soak them through. Cover the bleached dreadlocks with plastic wrap to allow the bleach to soak in as best as possible, and leave them for the allotted time.
- Do not go over on the time, as you might cause extra damage.
Wash your dreads thoroughly and towel dry them.Put your dreads under a steady stream of warm water in the shower and wash out all of the bleach. Squeeze each dread from top to bottom to make sure the bleach is removed from the inside of the locks as well. Towel dry your hair, and wait a few hours for it to dry completely.
Apply a natural dreadlock wax or conditioner once your hair is dry.This will prevent your locks from getting so dry that they crackle and feel gross. You can also do this after putting the color in if you want to proceed directly to dyeing the locks.
- Bleach can actually help dreadlocks “lock up” because it dries them out further, but you don’t want them getting brittle, which is why conditioning before and after is crucial.
Dyeing Your Dreads
Partition your hair and protect your hairline with protective balm.With already dry locks, partition your hair into four sections, held together by hair ties. Coat your hairline and ears with protective balm (provided in the kit), vaseline, or lip balm to protect from spilled dye.
Mix the hair dye together in a bowl.Put on your plastic gloves on your gloves, and mix together the color, following instructions from the color kit. Mix the color over a towel to avoid a mess.
Cover the outside of your locks in color.You can use a tint brush to apply color evenly along the locks, or you can dip your locks into the color mixture, scrunching the locks with your gloved hands to soak them with the color.
- You don’t need to worry about getting the inside of the dreads colored, just focus on thoroughly covering the outside of each lock.
Leave color in for the set time plus a dreadlock buffer.Put the dreads up into a hair cap while the color is setting to avoid drippage and stains. Follow the instructions on the color kit carefully to ensure that the color sets, typically adding 10-15 minutes of setting time for dreaded hair.
- Taking the color out too early can lead to poor outcomes, but leaving it in too long can damage your hair.
Wash the color out of your hair until the water runs clear.Typically this takes 1 or 2 washes for dyed dreads.You can use a neutralizing shampoo to repair any damage that might have been done by the color, or simply shampoo, condition, and moisturize with your favorite moisturizing oil.
Taking Care of Colorful Locks
Wash your dreads less, but still keep them clean.The less you wash color-treated hair, the longer the color will stay.Try washing with lukewarm water, which will be easier on the dye, and using special, color friendly shampoo and conditioner, like Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Clarifying Shampoo.
- Clean hair will make the color shine more, so even though you’re washing them less, you shouldn’t let them get extremely dirty.
Moisturize your locks daily.Now that your dreads are colored they will need extra moisturizing maintenance. Use a moisturizing oil or a protein conditioner to take care of newly colored hair, preventing dryness and breaking.
- Dr. Locs YaYa Oil or Jinan Leave in Conditioner are good moisturizers for colored hair.
Apply hot oil treatments or hydrating mists for extra protection.If you feel your hair becoming dry or brittle despite normal moisturizing treatments, you may consider making a hot oil treatment to apply to the locks monthly.
- To add a hydrating mix to your routine, mix together glycerin and rose water and mist onto hair for extra hydration in the morning or evening.
- Moisturize and treat before styling your dreadlocks for the best results.
Protect your dreads with wraps when you sleep.Dreads that have been dyed are more prone to damage, so it is extra important that you protect your dreads with a scarf or silk wrap at night. You can also replace common pillowcases with silk or satin pillowcases to avoid needing a wrap.
Video: How to Dye Dreads! Dying My High Top Dreads Pink!
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