Now you have had your dreadlocks for a month and it is time to redo your roots but does

retwisting dreads hurt?  This is one of the questions that I can tell you will depend on many factors. After all, you figure making the dreadlocks was the most it was going to hurt, but it may not be that simple.  Interlocking hurts more than palm rolling, crocheting and free form methods, but they all hurt if you have matted roots.

There are some people, believe it or not, that get dreadlocks

 because they don’t want to comb their hair—ever!   It can be because they hate having to comb it often, but mostly they find it very painful too. Parents with kids that hate combing the hair will also do the same.  A lot of times the dreadlocks I am doing maintenance on I did not start, so I have no idea how sensitive the person is. It is not until we are a ways into the work that I may realize just how sensitive they are but with others it starts at dread number one.  


For all the years I have been making dreadlocks I do not

remember a time anyone asked does retwisting dreads hurt when they decide to get them.  In the excitement to get them done, who thinks this is a concern? Here a few things that a person with a sensitive scalp needs to know:

  • Dreads are like family, they like to stick together.
  • Since the roots come in outside of the already made dread, you have to regularly separate them all the way to the scalp.
  • Failure to separate them causes them to attach themselves to dreads in every direction close to them.  This causes a network like a birds nest, which if left too long becomes hell to pull apart. Imagine someone pulling a dread on the left side of your scalp but you can feel it pulling another one in the middle of your head.  
  • If you wait until say month three, you now have matted hair: good luck!


To stop retwisting from hurting, here are a few steps to take:

  1. Separate each dreadlock every 2-3 days.  
  2. Twist each dreadlock in the direction you prefer and maintain a clear path for each.   
  3. I find a lot of stylists that do interlocking pay little attention to how tight the roots are after a session so if you see a lot of white plugs the hair has been pulled out.
  4. A day before coming for maintenance, the client should either spray the scalp with water or favourite moisturizer to soften the roots and try to do a bit of the separating. You will be far more gentle than the stylist ever will be.


If you do interlock on your dreadlocks, I feel the last point is even more important since the hair is passed through the roots a few times.


Does retwisting dreads hurt is a valid concern depending on what method you choose to maintain them and how long you wait between sessions.


By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design

Buy my e-book:  Dreadlocks: A Hairstylist’s Manifest,

Call (613) 789-2179 For An Appointment If You Are In The Ottawa, Ontario Area.