Just as dreadlocks take many months and plenty of patience to cultivate, they take time, a slow hand and a little help to remove -- especially if you don't want to go under the clippers. To work dreads out of your hair without cutting, you need to enlist the help of a dreadlock removal kit and a couple of willing friends.
Dilute a bit of dreadlock soap in a few gallons of hot water, using about a spoonful of soap per gallon of water. Mix in a cup or so of pure lemon juice.
Soak your hair in the solution for about 10 minutes. Use your hands to work some of the solution into your locks and allow it to set for roughly five minutes.
Rinse your dreads thoroughly. This deep cleaning will help you to more easily remove wax and buildup when you shampoo.
Shampoo and Condition
Wet your hair with very hot water and scrub your locks thoroughly with dreadlock removal shampoo, then rinse completely. The shampoo -- specifically formulated to break down wax -- often comes as part of a dreadlock removal kit, available at specialty salons and online retailers. Repeat the shampooing process as necessary to remove buildup.
Towel dry your dreads to remove excess moisture and apply a hearty dollop of dreadlock removal conditioner -- included in dread-removal kits -- to your still-damp hair. If you prefer a natural alternative, you can use almond, coconut, hemp, jojoba or olive oil instead of conditioner.
Rub the conditioner or oil into your palms and then coat each individual lock with a massaging motion. This will make it easier to comb through your dreads.
Pour some conditioner or oil in a spray bottle and dilute it with enough warm water to enable you to spritz the solution through your hair. This will further enable you to comb through your locks.
Comb Your Locks
Take an individual lock into your hand and pierce it near the bottom with the tail end of a metal-tipped tail comb. Pull the tail downward to loosen the dread into individual strands.
Slowly work up the dread, repeating the piercing and pulling motion. After loosening a few inches of each lock, use the teeth of the comb to comb through the newly loosened section using a downward, brushing motion. This will help to smooth the hair out and make it easier to comb through.
Routinely spritz your hair with the conditioner or oil solution to keep your dreads damp and pliable as you work them out. Enlist a friend or two to help you pick and comb out the dreads on the back and sides of your head.
Wash your hair once again with the dreadlock removal shampoo, then rinse it with hot water.
Apply a generous amount of dreadlock removal conditioner, then rinse that out as well. Repeat the shampooing and conditioning as necessary to wash out any remaining residue or loose hairs.
Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.