Of all hair-coloring treatments, bleaching is the harshest and most damaging as it strips the hair cuticle of both pigment and moisture. Dreadlocks that are formed by fragile, tightly curled hair are vulnerable during this process because they are naturally prone to dryness. Without special care, your dreads won't boast the sun-bleached look you were aiming for but will feel brittle and rough, appearing dull and strawlike. Keep your dreads strong and lustrous after bleaching by adding homemade moisturizing remedies to every step of your hair-care regimen.
Reduce the number of times you shampoo each week, as repeated washing contributes to further stripping your scalp and dreadlocks of moisture. However, if you feel you must shampoo, give your dreads a preshampoo treatment that will coat and protect them. Mix 4 tbsp. jojoba oil and 2 tbsp. organic sunflower oil or olive oil. Warm for 30 seconds in a microwave on low heat. Massage into your scalp and along the length of the dreads. Wrap hair turban-style in a towel dampened by warm water and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
Rinse out the treatment and wash your hair with warm water and a mild homemade shampoo. Commercial moisturizing shampoos often contain fillers that exacerbate dryness in dreadlocks. To make a moisturizing, natural shampoo, mix 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup liquid castile soap and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Add five drops of essential oil, such as sweet orange, for fragrance. Rinse with cool water to close the hair cuticles and lock in moisture.
Deep-condition your dreads at least twice a week. Conditioning adds moisture and prevents scalp and hair dehydration. Blend a small peeled and pitted avocado into a 1/2 cup of organic coconut milk until the mixture has the viscosity of hair conditioner. Massage into dreadlocks. Rinse and shampoo after 30 minutes. For another treatment, you can warm 1/2 cup honey in a microwave for 30 seconds and mix in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Work through your dreads until coated and let sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo and rinse with cool water.
Air-dry your dreads and avoid heated styling tools such as blow dryers, which can further damage your hair. Spritz dreads daily with a leave-in conditioning moisturizer. To make your own leave-in conditioner, fill an 8 oz. spray bottle with 1/4 cup glycerin, 1/3 cup olive oil, water and five drops of lavender essential oil for fragrance.
Brighten and condition your blond dreads naturally with a chamomile rinse. After a few weeks, when your hair color begins to fade, avoid using additional chemical treatments that may cause dryness or breakage. Instead, brew a pot of chamomile tea with four tea bags. Let steep and cool, and douse your dreads with it after shampoo and conditioning. Leave rinse in your hair and sit in the sun for five to 10 minutes. Your blond dreads will be moist, conditioned, and noticeably lighter and brighter.
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Linda Horton has been a professional journalist since 1978. She is a former reporter for "Newsday" and "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," where she was also a copy editor. Horton has been involved in the travel industry since 1994, primarily in retail travel. She studied English and journalism at Hofstra University.