How to dye dreadlocks

Dreadlocks usually come with a certain attitude, a certain idea of how one wants to live their life and that often includes the wish to change hair colour. Many dreadheads want to use natural products and hair dyes like a henna dye. However, in this article we will introduce you to both natural and chemical ways of dyeing your hair and will show you why we clearly prefer a chemical approach.

Chemical option (permanent dye): Dyeing your hair chemically is quite easy. Most products you can buy in the supermarket will include two packages. The first is the hydrogen peroxide, the second is the dye itself. Those two get mixed together and are then applied to each strand of the hair. The dye will then penetrate the hair structure and will remain in there. It is nearly impossible to reverse this process, therefore the colour will usually stick and can be hard to change again. However, there might be some fading effects after a few months.

Natural option: The natural based approach can be done with henna, chamomile or reng. Please note that each one of those is only able to achieve a limited range of colour. Henna for example will usually give the hair a nutty brown tint, whilst chamomile will turn it more yellow or blonde.

When should you dye your hair?

The best time would actually be before you get your dreadlocks because once you have locks, dyeing the knotted hair will be much harder and having evenly and properly dyed hair will be much harder.

If you want to dye your dreadlocks, you need to be much more careful. Dyeing your hair is quite damaging and the process of making dreads and felting them over months already put a huge strain on the hair. If you’re concerned that the tips might break and that your hair will be damaged beyond repair, you best stay away from hair dye. If you’re in any doubt, feel free to contact us and we will take a look for you.

What to pay attention to

If you’re looking for a good hair dye you best take a look at hairdresser accessories and equipment. Here, you will find a wide range of high quality dyes in many different colours. You will also have the option of choosing the concentration of contained hydrogen peroxide in each dye. As a rule of thumb you can choose the concentration by how much lighter your hair should be: The lighter, the higher the percentage.

However, a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide will also damage your hair much more and you should never bleach your hair more than once. Seeing as how 18% would even be too much for healthy hair and isn’t available on the German market, we recommend that you don’t exceed a concentration of 6%.

We also recommend that you leave at least a week pause between dyeing your hair and taking care of your roots.

Dreadlocks and hair colours

First of all, if you have dark hair but want to have a lighter tone like ginger or blonde, you will need to bleach your hair. If you don’t have locks yet, take a few weeks time to bleach the hair properly.

After you did that, dyeing your dreadlocks is pretty easy and you can have any colour available on the market. It can also be fun to dye locks in different colours or use unusual colours like blue, pink or green. For those, we can recommend the brand Directions, but please not that intense colours like these will fade after a while.

Dreadlocks and henna dyes

We do not recommend dyeing your hair with natural products, especially not henna. Henna is actually a mix made of dried and pulverised leaves. Dyeing your hair with henna is very much a possibility, but the tiny pieces are nearly impossible to get out of your hair after. This can lead to your hair to smell intensely and you will even be at risk of mould. Your hair itself will of course not moulder, but if you put in other substances like wax or leaves, those are prone to do so.

So, if you do already have locks please stick to chemical dyes and be careful with the concentration of hydrogen peroxide as well as with bleaching in general. A bleaching done properly once might help with felting, however once you do it, you might find your locks no longer on your head but falling off.

If you have any doubts or questions, please feel free to contact us.