Wax – What is it?
You may know it as the primary ingredient in wax products for dreads. Wax doesn’t take well to water, which means it’s hydrophobic, and it’s very malleable when kept at ambient temperatures. (1)
Here are the main three types of wax.
The most famous one of all is beeswax or Cera alba. It generally comes from honeybees which construct their honeycombs with it.
But you might have also heard of lanolin which is an animal wax people obtain from the wool of sheep.
Greens produce wax on the surface of their cuticle area so as to better manage hydration and evaporation. When it comes to plant wax, the most famous one of all is carnuba wax which comes from the Brazilian palm [Copernicia cerifera].
Wax derived from petroleum
The ones you might have heard of and which are commonly used in the cosmetics industry are microcrystalline and paraffin waxes.
Fact of the day!
Even though it’s literally called an oil, Jojoba oil is, in fact, a liquid wax. Not only that, but it has a composition that resembles very closely that of human sebum!
Analysing the ingredient list of a wax product
The product below contains: Beeswax, Microcrystalline wax, Mineral/White Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Vitamin E.
You can find beeswax, compounds derived from petroleum (mineral oil and microcrystalline wax), vitamin E that will keep the oils from going rancid, and hemp seed oil to soften the locs.
Are there people using wax products on their dreadlocks?
Yes, of course! But that doesn’t mean they should! Wax is generally used during the forming process. It’s supposed to ‘glue’ hair strands together and help the locs themselves form a lot quicker. It’s also supposed to keep the dreads compact. Wax can also be used for maintaining dreads.
Why you should not use wax on your dreadlocks
Wax is a very difficult product to wash off. Therefore, the remains will gradually start to buildup and attract dirt and lint. This mixture of wax and dirt will make your dreads waxy and tacky. Not to mention they might actually start to smell! This is why you should not use wax on your dreadlocks.
How do I remove wax from my dreadlocks?
1. Using heat to remove wax from dreadlocks
The tools you need are a flat iron, a few paper towels, and a blow dryer.
- Wrap the paper towels around one dreadlock
- Heat up the exterior of the dread with your blow dryer. As you do that, you will notice that some of the waxy residue is starting to come off.
- To go deeper, you will need to use the flat iron. So wrap your entire dread with the paper towels.
- Heat it up using a flat iron. If you can find a large flat iron, your chances of success will increase.
- Twist the dread while you are heating it to make sure you get all the wax inside.
By doing this several times you should get out all the wax residues. Finish off by washing your hair twice with a clarifying shampoo. But, most importantly, do not use wax on your dreadlocks!
2. Using your fingers to remove wax from dreadlocks
- Wash your hair with clarifying shampoo twice. Do not use conditioner and rinse with warm water.
- Squeeze each dread between your index and thumb and push out the wax.
- After finishing wash again using a clarifying shampoo.
How to take care of dreadlocks without any wax
Seeing as you definitely should not use wax on your dreadlocks means you need to find an alternative solution. Independently of which one you go for, your locs will need a lot of patience and love. We advise you to visit a dreadlock salon quarterly for a care and maintenance visit to make sure that your precious locs are safe and healthy.
Here is how you can take care of your dreadlocks without any wax.
Crochet dreadlocks maintenance
Using a thin crochet hook, the loctician takes a little loose hair and pushes it into the dreadlock. He or she can also run the hook through the center of the dreadlock and then go back and forth but not reaching outside. This process will encourage more locking within the center of the dread.
You are advised to crochet your locs up to three times per year so make sure you are not suffering from unnecessary breakage. It’s a method that can be performed on any type of hair.
Interlocking dreadlocks maintenance
Here’s how it works. You have to allow your hair to grow for about an inch. The growth is then divided into two strands and the dread itself will be pushed through the hole created using what is called a latch hook.
This simple process will be repeated countless times in different direction or holes. It’s the only way to avoid loops. Keep in mind that interlocking cannot be done too close to a person’s scalp. It could lead to headaches or breakage.
Interlocking leaves the roots tidy and neat for up to 8 weeks and can be performed on any type of hair.
Re-twist dreadlocks maintenance
This process is as simple as taking your loose hair or your regrowth and wrapping it around the dreads. The hair needs to be washed and wet when performing this method and the loctician may employ a very light gel. Of course, you should not use wax on your dreadlocks.
When you’re done, use a clip to pin the dreads in place. Allow them to dry, but style them at the same time so that they will remain tidy and neat. Please be aware that this is a method best suited for afro hair.
Palm rolling dreadlocks maintenance
Wash your dreadlocks and towel dry them. Separate the locs so that you can expose the newly grown hair. Use a bit of light gel or even hair oil on the growth. Do not use wax on your dreadlocks! Roll the dreadlocks in the palm of your hand until the new grown hair is tight and neat.
But don’t tighten it too close to the scalp because you could break it!
Pin everything in place and allow it to dry.
If you want your dreadlocks to be tidy for a longer time, you can style them in a ponytail, cornrows or plaits.
This method is great if you want to maintain your locs between your visits to a professional dreadlock salon. Even more so if you can’t do it every single month. Keep in mind this is a method that works best if you have afro hair, but it won’t be as enduring as crocheting or interlocking.
What products do you use at the London Dreadlocks Salon?
We do not use any type of products here. The only tool we have is a crochet hook. We use it both for starting locs and for maintenance.
If you have any questions about our dreadlocks services, please send us an email at email@example.com
Independently of why you chose to wear dreadlocks in the first place, the process of maintaining them is cheap, effective, and simple. Not to mention it will allow you to enjoy your locs for many years to come! We know your dreadlocks are a source of pride to you so we urge you not to go for quick fixes. Please do not use wax on your dreadlocks!
(1) Wax: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wax
(2) Jojoba Oil Wax Esters and Derived Fatty Acids and Alcohols: Gas Chromatographic Analyses. THOMAS K. MIWA, Northern Regional Research Laboratory Peoria, Illinois 61604.