By Laura Holton
Although cutting is the most common method for removing dreads, it’s not a good option for those who want to go natural. It’s possible to undo, or “take down,” dreads no matter how long they’ve been in. The process is not difficult, however it is time consuming. While it usually takes between four to eight hours, it can take up to 15 hours. Visiting a salon to have dreads undone is generally considered unnecessary and expensive. Services will normally cost around $200-500, and the time taken to untangle the dreads will be around the same.
The ease in undoing dreads will depend on length, hair type and the method used to put in the dreadlocks in the first place. They are easier to remove from smooth, straight or curly hair than coiled or kinky hair. Free formed and comb coil dreadlocks take less time to untangle than those made with a two-strand twist or interlocking.
Before beginning to untangle the dreads, the hair must be soaked in water for at least ten minutes. It is then washed with a degreasing shampoo and water as hot as can be withstood. The shampoo is worked into each dread individually to remove the build-up of wax and grease.
The best type of conditioner for untangling dreads is one that contains balsam, due to its softening properties. A large quantity of conditioner is applied to the hair until the dreads are saturated. The hair is then lightly rinsed, to remove all but a filmy layer. Now the dreads are ready to be untangled.
A metal or rat-tail comb is advisable for undoing the dreads. One or two inches are cut from the end of the first dreadlock and water is sprayed from a bottle to keep the dread moist. Each dread is unraveled in turn until all are undone. The hair then needs to be washed thoroughly, with a shampoo that is designed for removing grease and more conditioner.
After the dreads have been unraveled and washed, the ends of the hair will look uneven. It is important to go to the salon to have the hair cut and styled to begin going natural.