How To Soften Stiff Dreadlocks

Dreads are one of the most popular hairstyles in the world, and for a good reason. They’re unique, and they look great on everyone. But for some people, dreadlocks can be a bit of a challenge.

If you have difficulty styling or managing dreadlocks, you may wonder how to soften them.

Why Are My Dreads Stiff?

If you’ve just started your dreads, it may be because there’s not enough hair in each knot to create the “dreadlock effect”. In this case, you’ll need to wait until more hair grows into each knot before the dreads begin to loosen up.

Another reason is that your hair may be too dry or damaged from excessive heat styling or chemical processing. This can cause your hair to break off more easily when you make a new lock and will also result in a less elastic and flexible dreadlock overall.

Using shampoo to wash your locks can strip them of natural oils and leave them feeling stiff and brittle.

How To Soften Stiff Dreadlocks

If your dreadlocks are very stiff, they can be difficult to style and manage. There are several ways to soften them up:

Wash Your Dreadlocks

The first thing you’ll want to do is wash your dreadlocks with shampoo. This will help loosen the knots in your hair and make it easier to detangle later.

Use a shampoo meant specifically for dreadlocks or coarser hair types — it will have more moisturizing ingredients than standard shampoos. Once you’ve rinsed out the shampoo and conditioner, squeeze out as much water as possible from your hair with a towel (or use an old t-shirt).

Moisturizing Dreadlocks After Shampoo

Moisturizing dreadlocks after shampooing is important because it helps to keep the dreadlocks soft and easy to manage. It also keeps them from drying out, which can cause them to become stiff and brittle.

There are several different ways that you can moisturize dreadlocks after shampooing. Some people use a leave-in conditioner, while others prefer a spray-on cream or wax.

A leave-in conditioner is probably the easiest way to moisturize dreadlocks after shampoo. Simply put some of the product on your hands and rub it into your locks as needed until they are fully moistened.

If possible, you should start with this method since it will give you the most control over how much moisture is put into each lock and where it goes.

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Hot Oil Treatments

You can soften your dreadlocks with a hot oil treatment. This is a great way to get your locks back to their original state or close to it. A hot oil treatment will help break down the hard waxes and conditioners that have built up on your hair.

Oil will soften dreadlocks if you use it regularly. It’s important to oil your dreadlocks often, so they don’t become too dry. If you don’t get your oil regularly enough, your dreadlocks can turn into a tangled mess of knots and tangles that are impossible to comb out without causing damage.

There are many different types of oils that you can use for this purpose: olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil (which acts as a moisturizer), etc.

The best choice is usually coconut oil because it has natural antibacterial properties, which help fight off dandruff and other scalp conditions that can cause itching and irritation for people with dreadlocks.

4 Fast Ways To Soften Stiff Dreads

If your dreads are stiff and dry, it can be difficult to work with them. They are often so tangled that they can’t be pulled apart and feel like they will break if you try to separate them. This makes it hard to do things like put them in a bun or use them as dreadlocks extensions.

Fortunately, there are several ways to soften stiff dreads. Follow these tips to make your dreadlocks easier to manage and more comfortable for your head.

  • Use a hair straightener: This is one of the most common ways to soften dreadlocks. Simply use a Hair Straightener on low or medium heat and carefully glide the iron over the locks. If your dreads are particularly stiff, you may want to start by using a lower heat and work your way up. You can also try using a hair dryer on low or medium heat to help loosen the dreads.
  • Apply conditioner: Dreadlocks can be especially dry and brittle, making them susceptible to damage from harsh chemicals and treatments. To soften them, add some conditioner to your hair, and wash and rinse it.
  • Warm oil treatment: A Warm Oil Treatment is another great way to soften Dreadlocks. Start by applying a small amount of oil (such as jojoba or olive oil) to your hands and working it through your dreads. Once the oil is absorbed, wrap your hair in a headband or shower cap and let it sit for 30 minutes-1 hour at room temperature (or in warm water if you prefer). You can also try using an apple cider vinegar hot water treatment instead of oil if you have milder locks.
  • Use a thermal protectant: One final way to soften stubborn dreadlocks is using a thermal protectant additive in your shampoo or conditioner regimen before bedtime. These products help lock in moisture overnight, which helps reduce the need for additional treatments throughout the day.
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How Long Before Your Dreads Become Stiff?

If you’re going to dread your hair, you’ll need to know how long it will take before your dreads become stiff. This is an important factor to consider if you’re planning on wearing them in a style that requires a lot of manipulation.

For example, you may want to wear them in a ponytail or braid and want to know how long before they become too stiff for this purpose. The good news is that most people get their dreads done in stages, so by the time they reach this stage, they’re usually ready for another session.

The length of time it takes depends on several factors, such as:

  • Age: As time passes, hair becomes thinner and more easily damaged. The older you are, the longer it will take for your dreads to become stiff enough to hold their shape. If you’re over 40 or 50 years old, expect your locks to take at least a year (possibly even longer) to become stiff.
  • Length of hair: The longer your hair is before you start dreading it, the longer it will take for them to form. For example, if your hair is shoulder-length when you begin wearing them in dreads, it may take two years or more for them to lock up completely.
  • Hair texture: Thick hair has more strands per unit volume than fine or thin strands — so thick-haired folks tend to have thicker locks that lock up faster than those with finer hair types.

How Can I Make My Dreads Softer?

The hair of your dreadlocks is naturally dry and hard. The harder your hair, the tighter your knots and the more time it takes to detangle them. Also, if you have braids or cornrows in your hair, they may be harder than your natural dreads. You may want to use some natural oils to soften them up.

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Olive oil is great for moisturizing any kind of dry skin or hair. It has been used for centuries as a food and a beauty product. Olive oil also treats psoriasis, eczema, and other skin irritations.

Another natural oil that can be used on dreadlocks is coconut oil. Coconut oil has been used for centuries because it is versatile and effective at treating many different things, from dandruff to acne to yeast infections! Coconut oil is also very lightweight, making it easier to apply without weighing down your dreadlocks too much!

You can also use a gentle shampoo or conditioner. While you don’t need to use special products for dreadlocks, if you have sensitive skin or scalp, you should stick with gentle products that won’t irritate your scalp or cause dandruff. Some people find that using a mild shampoo or conditioner occasionally helps keep their locks soft and manageable until they get longer.

Finally, comb gently with fingers instead of combs or brushes. Combs and brushes can cause friction between the strands of hair and cause breakage over time (especially if they’re metal).

If you must use these tools, try combing gently with your fingers instead of pulling the strands apart aggressively with a comb or brush every time you wash them — this will reduce the amount of friction on your locks significantly.

How Long Do Dreads Take To Soften?

Dreadlocks can take a while to soften up. Very tight dreadlocks may need a few weeks, while dreadlocks that are looser will gradually soften in about a month.

However, some people find that their dreadlocks take significantly longer to soften up. If you have dreadlocks that are very tight and aren’t loosening after several weeks of use, then it may be necessary to visit a hair stylist or Extensions Specialist for help.


Dreadlocks can be challenging to style, especially if they are stiff and difficult to manage. Luckily, several methods can help you soften them up so that they are easier to style and look more natural. Try one or more of these tips listed above the next time you want to soften your dreadlocks.

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