post 3: washing dreads – part I

imge from wiki how to that ive edited


okay this post will be in a few parts because believe it or not, there is a lot to know about the washing of dreads.
what i am about to ‘blog-out’ is based from my own personal experience as a dreadlocker and dreadhead, it doesn’t mean that its GOSPEL truth, at the end of the day, if its working for you, if your dreads are clean and happy and healthy – do it! I’m a big supporter in doing what is best for you provided there is no negative side-effects (but this is a bit of an objective notion, we will come back to that soon!)

so this post is all about: WHAT TO WASH DREADS WITH: SHAMPOOS – you will find all sorts of different ideas and products on the wondrously vast world of the internet. i caution only one thing when you are hunting for your own ‘dread washing truth’ — companies that make dread products (or any beauty related product) will ALWAYS tell you their product is good because they want to make that sale – it doesnt mean the product is bad in reality, it just means that there are lots of things to consider.

at this stage, i don’t make any dread washing products, so what I’m ‘blogging’ at you right now is pretty objective rather than subjective in opinion.

what i have been telling my clients for years is AVOID SODIUM LAURYL SULFATES, simply because that is what was taught to me and i admit, ive simply accepted this as being good advice. Now when clients ask me ‘why?’ its been bothering me that i haven’t got a really good answer, so here we go, here’s a good answer!

there are a few reasons as to why its best to avoid SODIUM LAURYL SULFATES/SULPHATES (american/British spelling), or any sodium sulfates for that matter. the first is about lathering and soapy suds!
we have the idea in our heads that something is clean once you lather it up. Looking around, i found some interesting reports from hairdressers about this. it seems that with our modern age, we are able to make shampoo’s/soaps that have cleaning agents (natural or manufactured) in them which don’t produce suds. but psychologically, if we don’t see suds, we don’t think its clean, so products have been added to shampoos/soaps to help make them lather up thus convincing the user that it is cleaning! but it also DOES do some actual cleaning but this cleaning is reported to strip away at some of the natural oils that hair produces, which can cause hair to be become brittle and more sensitive to hair dyes and sunlight. In addition to stripping natural oils, it also has its own oil like properties which stick onto your hair, when it comes to dreads, this can be a serious problem as this thin film coating your dreads will actually stop the dreads from being fully penetrated and thus being fully cleaned. i also suspect that putting an extra film on your dreads will make it that little bit harder to fully dry them, and drying dreads is a key maintenance tip (more on that later).
Some people will also find that sulphates make their hair frizzy because of the stripping of natural oils. Apparently it is also common to be allergic to sulphates which can cause/trigger dry itchy scalps.
There are a whole bunch of people who claim that sulphates are cancer causing, but i haven’t seen any ‘hard science’ for this, and lets face it, pretty much everything in the modern western world is reported by -someone- to be a cause for cancer.
finally, i do want to add that most sulphates are actually derived from coconut or palm oil, so they are not as chemically as you may think. Palm oil has a bunch of ethical problems associated with it (maybe more on that some other time) and we will come back to speaking about coconut oil in another post – there are some pro’s and con’s with that too!

now we have that one out the way, lets move on to the next product i highly recommend you avoid, and this one is new information to me and sadly has meant that the shampoo i was going to recommend has to go on the ‘stay away’ list…. i had been using Thursday Plantations Every Day Tea Tree Shampoo, because it appeared to be pretty basic on the chemical side (it does have Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate in it, but of all the sulfates, its reportedly the less ‘aggressive’ one) and Tea Tree is excellent for dreads, but i my presumption on this next ingredient was a serious mistake….

cocamide DEA — “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists coconut oil diethanolamine condensate (cocamide DEA) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which identifies this chemical as possibly carcinogenic to humans” (wiki) – usually I’m a little reluctant to use Wiki as a source, but in this case, it checks out, it really is on the list. the coconut oil part isn’t the problem – cocamide, its the diethanilamine that’s the problem, ironically even has the word ‘die’ in its name. i doubt that alone is really going to kill you, but i personally like to try and avoid too many cancer agents (i already smoke and eat bacon, so im probably already doomed!)

if anyone knows of any shampoos which are good for dreads and free of these nasty chemicals, post away in the comments section! 🙂

im going to hunt out a good shampoo to use here in NZ and i will let you know how the quest goes!

okay, so now we have that covered – i do encourage you do your own research, you’ll notice i haven’t included many references because I myself feel like there is more research to be done on this topic and i intend to come back to it later and add in some good links, if you have any sources please do share in the comments section.

stay love locked all!!