Avoid Breakage

Whether you are still getting used to your first set of dreads or you are a seasoned pro, everyone is going to have this issue at some point.


Dreads in varying hair types and textures often break off at the most inopportune time and are extremely difficult to deal with when it happens. So why does it happen? Dreads break for a number of reasons but it’s also possible to fix and even prevent dread breakage in the future.

“Why Do My Dreads Break?”

Dreads break for a variety of reasons that could have to do with your hair or with your dreads. One of the main reasons why dreads break is because they are too dry. Dryness happens often and is sometimes due to seasonal changes or changes in location. Likewise, your care and maintenance routine might be lacking key and essential factors that will fight dryness. The number one suggestion is to always keep a good quality clarifying shampoo and conditioner close at hand.

Another key reason why they break is because they were created too thin from the start. This is something that is helpful to address pre-dreads. As soon as you decide you would like to get dreads, have a conversation with the person helping you create them about making sure the spacing and thickness is going to be sustainable for the long run.

Finally, the third largest reason why dreads break is that they are pulled too tightly. If you are highly active in sports or athletics, it can be hard on your dreads to constantly be whipped around and pulled back into tight buns or ponytails. Likewise, if you are sleeping and moving around a lot, the friction of your head and your pillow or sheets can also cause them to pull and break.

“What Can I Do About It?”

In the unfortunate event of a dread breaking off, don’t lose hope. It might look silly and hopeless but there are a few options you have to help minimize the damage.

First and foremost, call your trusted beautician or salon professional because they might be able to reattach it. It takes some time and perseverance, but it is possible. Some people will get it started and reattach it and will need you to continue to monitor it and help it find the right shape while others are so good you won’t even know it happened.

If the reattachment isn’t possible, you still have a few options. First, if it’s a small section of the dread, you can actually trim a few other dreads to match. This creates the illusion of layers and looks like it was done on purpose. You should still seek professional help to do your trimming if you haven’t done it before so you don’t cause even more damage.

If all else fails, sometimes you can get lucky and just hide it. Maybe move the dreads over to the other side of your head or keep some of them pulled back in a rubber band until it grows out a bit more. This is the worst-case scenario but is a last-ditch effort to make it work without extreme measures.

How Can I Prevent Them From The Start?

In order to prevent these breakage nightmares from ever happening, you can do a few things from the start.

From the first day your dreads are installed, start a good maintenance and cleaning routine. This will include a good clarifying shampoo and a few other moisturizing products to keep dryness at bay.

From there you will have to experiment as you learn about your hair. Some hair types are dryer than others and some are thicker than others. Depending on the natural texture of your hair and the thickness of it, you will have to try different amount of shampoo and conditioner to find what works for your routine and your hair type.

Additional advice would be to vary your ponytail style and time when your hair is in the ponytail. This will help prevent the same dreads from being damaged every time you work out or exercise. Likewise, getting a soft satin pillowcase cover or sleeping with a satin or silk head wrap will help avoid rough sleep and dreads breaking overnight.

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