How to Retwist Dreads

Retwisting dreads is a key part of maintaining the neatness and health of your dreadlocks. Whether you’re new to the dreadlock community or a seasoned veteran, retwisting helps keep your locks tight, tidy, and growing healthily. This guide will walk you through the basics of retwisting, covering everything from the time it takes, what products to use, and how to do it with or without clips. Plus, we’ll share tips on how to handle the retwisting process yourself, ensuring your dreads look their best between professional maintenance sessions.

How Long Does It Take to Retwist Dreads?

The time it takes to retwist dreads can vary greatly depending on a few factors:

  • The Length of Your Dreads: Longer dreads take more time to retwist than shorter ones.
  • The Number of Dreads: More dreads mean more time.
  • Your Skill Level: With practice, you’ll get faster at retwisting.
  • Method Used: Using clips might take longer but can result in neater dreads.

On average, expect to spend anywhere from 2 to 4 hours on the retwisting process. If it’s your first time, give yourself a bit of extra time to get the hang of things.

What to Use to Retwist Dreads

Choosing the right products to retwist your dreads is crucial for maintaining both the health of your hair and the integrity of the dreads themselves. Here’s a straightforward guide to selecting the best products for retwisting dreads, ensuring they stay neat and healthy:

Natural Oils

  • Coconut Oil: Offers moisture without weighing down your dreads.
  • Jojoba Oil: Mimics the natural oil of your scalp, keeping dreads hydrated.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Great for its antiseptic properties, keeping the scalp clean and healthy.

Locking Gels and Waxes

  • Residue-Free Locking Gel: Provides hold for new growth without leaving any buildup.
  • Natural Beeswax: Though some prefer to avoid waxes due to potential buildup, natural beeswax can be used sparingly for its strong hold, especially in the early stages of locking.

Water-Based Moisturizers

  • Aloe Vera Gel: A lightweight option that hydrates and helps retwist dreads without residue.
  • Spray Leave-In Conditioners: These can help maintain moisture balance during and after retwisting.

What to Avoid

  • Heavy Waxes and Petroleum-Based Products: These can cause buildup and attract dirt, making dreads heavy and dirty over time.

Choosing the right product depends on your hair type, the maturity of your dreads, and personal preference. Experimenting with small amounts will help you find the perfect balance for your dreads.

Next, we will explore how to retwist dreads without clips, a handy technique for those who prefer a more minimalist approach or find themselves without traditional tools.

How to Retwist Dreads Without Clips

Retwisting dreads without clips is a skill that comes in handy, especially if you prefer a more natural approach or if you simply don’t have clips on hand. This method relies on manual techniques to hold the twists in place until they’re dry. Here’s how you can achieve this:

Step 1: Preparation

  • Wash Your Dreads: Start with clean dreads. Use a residue-free shampoo and let them dry completely.
  • Moisturize: Apply a small amount of natural oil or aloe vera gel to each dread to keep them hydrated and easier to work with.

Step 2: Section and Twist

  • Section Your Hair: Use your fingers to separate the dreads at the roots.
  • Twist: Take a dread, apply a small amount of locking gel or natural wax if needed, and twist it at the root. The direction you twist in (clockwise or counter-clockwise) should be consistent with your previous twists to maintain uniformity.

Step 3: Secure the Twist

  • Palm Roll: After twisting the dread at the root, gently palm roll the dread from the root to the tip to encourage the twist to stay and to smooth out any bumps.
  • Use Hair Ties: For thicker dreads, you can use a hair tie to secure the base of the dread temporarily. Make sure it’s not too tight to avoid tension on your scalp.

Step 4: Dry

  • Air Dry: Let your dreads dry completely. Avoid any heavy physical activity that could cause sweating and loosen the twists.
  • Blow-Dry: If you need to speed up the drying process, use a blow dryer on a low heat setting. Keep the dryer moving to distribute the heat evenly.

Step 5: Maintain

  • Regular Maintenance: Regular moisturizing and gentle palm rolling between full retwist sessions can help your dreads stay neat longer.

How to Retwist Dreads with Clips

Using clips to retwist dreads can offer more control and precision, especially for maintaining tightness at the roots. This method is great for ensuring your twists stay in place as they dry. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to retwist your dreads using clips:

Step 1: Prepare Your Dreads

  • Clean: Start with freshly washed and dried dreads. Using a residue-free shampoo will ensure there’s no buildup.
  • Moisturize: Lightly apply a natural oil or aloe vera gel to keep the dreads and scalp hydrated.

Step 2: Apply Product

  • Locking Gel: Apply a small amount of locking gel to the root of each dread you’re about to retwist. This will help hold the twist in place.

Step 3: Section and Twist

  • Section: Carefully separate the dreads at the roots using your fingers.
  • Twist: Firmly twist the dread at the root in the direction you want your dreads to lay. Keep your twists consistent to avoid uneven dreadlocks.

Step 4: Secure with Clips

  • Clip: Secure the twisted root with a hair clip. Make sure the clip is tight enough to hold the twist in place but not so tight that it causes discomfort.

Step 5: Dry Your Dreads

  • Air Dry: Allow your dreads to dry naturally. This is the healthiest option for your hair, though it can take longer.
  • Blow-Dry: For quicker drying, you can use a blow dryer on a low heat setting. Move the dryer constantly to avoid concentrating heat in one area.

Step 6: Remove Clips and Style

  • Remove Clips: Once your dreads are completely dry, gently remove the clips.
  • Style as Desired: Your freshly retwisted dreads are now ready to be styled as you like.

Using clips for retwisting is especially useful for those looking for a more polished look or needing their dreads to stay neatly in place for an extended period. With practice, this method becomes a quick and efficient way to maintain the beauty and health of your dreadlocks.

Next, we’ll explore how to retwist dreads yourself, offering tips and tricks for those who prefer to maintain their dreads independently, ensuring you can keep your locks looking their best at all times.

How to Retwist Dreads Yourself

Retwisting your own dreads is a rewarding process that not only saves you money but also deepens your connection with your hairstyle. With the right approach, you can achieve professional-looking results from the comfort of your home. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Get Ready

  • Wash and Dry: Clean your dreads with a residue-free shampoo and let them fully dry.
  • Gather Your Tools: Have your locking gel, natural oils, clips (if using), and a mirror handy. Using two mirrors (one in front and one behind) can help you see all sides of your head.

Step 2: Section Your Hair

  • Parting: Use your fingers or a tail comb to part your hair into sections. Make sure each section only contains one dread to avoid merging.

Step 3: Apply Your Products

  • Moisturize: Apply a small amount of natural oil to each dread to keep them soft.
  • Locking Gel: Rub a bit of locking gel between your fingers and apply it to the roots before twisting to help the new growth stay in place.

Step 4: Start Twisting

  • Twist: Firmly but gently twist each dread at the root in the direction they were initially twisted. Be consistent with the direction to maintain uniformity.

Step 5: Secure the Twists

  • Using Clips (Optional): If you’re using clips, secure each twist at the root to hold it in place as it dries.
  • Without Clips: For a clip-free approach, you can palm roll each dread to encourage the twist to stay.

Step 6: Drying

  • Air Dry: Let your dreads air dry completely. This could take several hours depending on their thickness and length.
  • Blow-Dry: If you’re short on time, gently blow-dry your dreads on a cool setting.

Step 7: Maintenance

  • Regular Moisturizing: Keep your scalp and dreads moisturized with light, natural oils.
  • Nighttime Care: Wear a silk or satin scarf to bed to reduce frizz and keep your dreads tidy.

Retwisting dreads by yourself may seem daunting at first, but with practice, it becomes an easy and fulfilling part of your grooming routine. It not only keeps your dreads looking neat and healthy but also gives you a sense of pride in maintaining your unique look. Remember, patience and gentle handling are key to beautiful, thriving dreadlocks.

This guide has walked you through the essentials of retwisting dreads, from preparation to maintenance, whether you’re doing it with clips, without, or by yourself. By following these steps, you can ensure your dreadlocks continue to be a vibrant expression of your individuality and style.