Many times I have been asked to recommend

dread maintenance tools by clients who want to do some maintenance on their own.  This may be because they might have to do some work on their hair when they travel, move away or just to keep it on a budget.  Some of the tools I am about to explain here are used by others; the crochet hook is my go-to dread maintenance tool. 

There are basically three methods to maintain dreads, the latch hook, the crochet hook and your hands.  There is a fourth which is just leaving them be, but we are sticking to the first three for this post.  Lets discuss the pros and cons of these methods:


  • The latch hook method also known as the interlocking method requires you to pass the end of the dread through the roots in a series of steps.  It tightens the roots to the scalp but requires another method to smooth stray ends and fuzz.  I do not favour this way as I feel it pulls on the roots of the hair and I find those who use it end up with their hair receding over time.  
  • To make and maintain sister locks  uses a way similar to the latch hook method  but with a few more steps and way less hair.
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  • The crochet hook method works best with a small hook so there is minimum damage to the dreads.  I prefer a 2.25 mm which is small enough to go through the hair but is able to grab the fuzz on the way back.  Many people avoid this method because you have to develop a technique so the hook does not snag or stab you in the fingers when you try to go quickly.  I still thank my home economics teacher  for making me suffer through crocheting doilies almost daily!  If you watch someone crocheting, they do not get hurt by the needle unless they are not paying attention.  The hooks come in various sizes.  I use the smaller sizes for real hair but sometimes have to go larger if there are dread extensions which are much harder.
  • The third method:  palm rolling:  this involves rolling each dread between the hands so they have that cylindrical form.  This is by far the easiest but it takes time to train the hair to keep the hold.  For this reason a lot of people resort to using lots of gels or beeswax which just causes buildup in the dreads over time.

To have great-looking dreads, you should use either the palm rolling method or

one of these dread maintenance tools.  The hooks are made by a variety of people/companies.  Over the years I have come to realize that comfort is a big deal when you have to use any tool for an extended period of time and some of these hook are huge.   Please make sure you buy the size suitable for your hand.

By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design

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