How to Dye Dreads

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Going with a more natural hairstyle doesn't necessarily mean you have to stick with your natural color. The natural separation that occurs between dreads makes it easy to dye one or more locks one color while dying other strands in contrasting colors or leaving them your natural color. The dye process works in similar ways to dying non-dreaded hair, with a few exceptions. While you can do it yourself, the process goes much more smoothly if you recruit a friend to help.

Things You'll Need

  • Clarifying shampoo
  • 1 to 2 hair dye kits
  • Old towel
  • New towel
  • Disposable latex or plastic gloves
  • Dread lock gel or wax
  • Establish your dreads for at least 10 to 12 weeks before dying to ensure the dread lock process has taken hold. Established dreads survive the dye process better.

  • Wash your dreads with a clarifying shampoo to remove any dread gel or wax. Hair products create a barrier between the dye and wax which prevents the dye from penetrating the hair. Towel-dry your dreads.

  • Place an old towel over your shoulders to protect your skin and clothing from stray dye. Put on disposable latex, vinyl or plastic gloves.

  • Mix the hair dye chemicals according to the package instructions. You may need two boxes of dye to completely coat your dreads, but mix only one package at a time.

  • Fill the palm of a gloved hand with hair dye. Squeeze and roll the dye into your dreads, one dread at a time, until you've saturated the dread. Repeat until you've dyed all your dreads.

  • Leave the dye on your hair as long as the package instructions indicate, then rinse the dye out of your hair until your rinse water runs completely clear. Do not use the conditioner that comes in your dye kit as it may loosen your dreads.

  • Use a clean towel to dry your hair. Once it's completely dry, twist some wax or dread gel around each of your locks to smooth and condition them.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're changing your dreads from an extremely dark to an extremely light color, consider bleaching them first. Use a commercial bleaching kit and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Depending on the type of bleaching kit you use, you may have to wait a few days between bleaching and dying to make sure you don't over-process and damage your hair.

References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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