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Breakage and Dreadlocks Loss

Beauty Centre

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I got a call the other day from one of my closest friends.  She started her locks about a year after I began mine.  She wanted to know why her locks were breaking.

Once your dreadlocks are mature, they may unfortunately undergo a stage of regression or loss.  As you know, once you're fully dreadlocked, little to no hair is shed.  What this means is, hair that would've long left your head through natural shedding remains. 

Over the years, these "shoulda been shed" hairs are subject to styling and environmental damage.  Thus, the hair that is the oldest (the end portion of your dreadlocks), may actually thin and weaken to the point of breaking off.

dreadlocks breakage

Is Breakage Guaranteed?

No.  At naani we stress proper care of locks for one simple reason:  Poor maintenance will always bite you in the ass eventually. 

Individuals who suffer end damage or loss have most likely over-used product during the early stages of locking.  If you were/are the type who twisted your dreadlocks incessantly during the baby and teenage stages, if you used products such as Murray's Beeswax or raw shea butter for example, you're far more prone to build-up in your locks.  Overtwisting and product build-up can weaken your locks and unfortunately, you may not realize the error of your ways until it's too late.

The best way to prevent breakage is to minimize twisting (twist as necessary) and periodically remove build-up.  Products such as naani's naturals Gunk Be Gone!, Aromatherapy Astringent or  Cucumber Lime Clarifying Shampoo work to remove deeply embedded build-up and odor from dreadlocks. 

It's important to note that where dreadlocks are matted hair, they should not be compacted by products that do not rid themselves easily with regular shampooing.  Removing product build-up enables your dreadlocks to "breathe" and therefore reduces the amount of time it takes for them to dry.  This is important because standing water in dreadlocks can produce mildew and fungal infections inside your dreadlocks.  So where you may not visibly see the bacterial concoction forming in your hair, it will eventually begin to be effected by it and break off.

Thus, this final stage of dreadlocks is years in the making.  If you care for and love your dreadlocks as you would any other style, you may not encounter this slow death.  If however you engaged or continue to engage in infrequent washing, overtwisting, excessive and/or wrong product application, breakage is just around the corner.  Stop what you're doing and work to remove the build-up.


naaniFam Speaks
ms tricia's picture

I have been locked for 19 months. I love my locs. I have always retwist often. Then I started interlocking recently. I like the results, my locs looked neat, but I didn't like how a few of my locs got interlocked together at the root. I pulled them apart and damaged a few in various areas around my hair line. I have lost at least three from thinning. I have been thinking of cutting them off and starting over. That thought is temporary insanity. So I'm going to just stop manipulating my locs so much and give them tender loving care. I have been researching free forming or at least semi free forming. Locs give me a natural freedom. Any feed back is welcomed. Peace n Blessings.

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