Don’t let anyone tell you dreadlocks can’t be versatile. Contrary to misconception, dreads can be curled, styled creatively, and even dyed. And dying dreadlocks with henna is a brilliant option if you are keen to avoid dryness and breakage, owing to its simple chemical makeup.
Any hair can be dyed - and this includes dreads! The process is relatively similar to styles with loose hair strands, but there are a few extra things to think about.
Which dye to use on dreads
Dyed dreads are a perennially hot trend – just think of The Sandman star Vanesu Samunyai and her colourful locks – but which is the best dye for the job?
We recommend a natural, non-toxic dye such as henna. Dying dreadlocks with henna hair dye is a fun and healthy option that will help you achieve the colour of your dreams without any breakage or dryness.
Colours and styles
When it comes to using dyes such as henna on dreadlocks, there isn’t a single method or colour. You’ll want to consult a colour chart and consider which style is right for you. Here is a trio of the most popular methods.
Opting for all-over dye coverage is a bold choice, perfect for those looking for a more dramatic change or to cover up grey hair. As you might expect this requires a significant amount of dye.
Ombre comes from the Old French word “to shade” and refers to the technique of leaving the roots dark whilst lightening the tips. This creates a wonderful two-tone effect, subtle yet chic.
Highlights are all about adding dimension or fun contrasts with lighter strands. Not too drastic, this option is perfect for those who don’t want to commit to an all-over colour.
Benefits of henna on dreadlocks
Henna is a beautiful, organic alternative to traditional box dyes. With its restorative, plant-based credentials, henna balances the pH of your tresses with stunning results.
Offers many benefits for afro hair types, which can be especially fragile, henna is free of the cocktail of additives such as PPD and ammonia that may harm your dreads.
Applying your colour
Dying your dreadlocks with henna at home is a relatively straightforward process if you follow the instructions carefully. Ensure that your dreads are healthy, strong and well-maintained. You can use henna on dreadlocks, even on older ones, but if they’re brittle you may end up with breakage.
- If your hair passes the test, you can move on to the first step, a patch test. Dab a small amount of dye behind your ear or on a strand of hair to check for colour timing and hair compatibility.
- Following the instructions on the package, mix the henna powder for the correct hair colour and apply the paste liberally from roots to tips for all-over colour, or on the correct strands if sectioning.
- Leave the henna mixture to sink in for 3-12 hours under a shower cap, plastic bag or DIY alternative.
- Remove the mixture under running water, squeezing the locks thoroughly. Since the hair isn’t loose, extra care must be taken to ensure the dye is properly rinsed out.
Pro tip: you should also remove all henna mixture before it dries as it will be difficult to remove and may lead to mould if left within the lock.
While it’s exciting to think about the gorgeous results of dying your dreadlocks with henna, aftercare is important to keep in mind. And this means maintaining your dyed locks.
Using, colour-safe, natural products such as henna shampoo, conditioner and even hair masks will keep your locks healthy and soft, sealing in colour and shine. Avoid sulphate-laced products, as these will strip away the colour.
Less is more
While it’s completely safe to dye dreadlocks with henna, be careful not to over-process them. This means avoiding a dye job if your locks have been dyed within the last 6-8 weeks.
There you have it. A foolproof and healthy method of dying dreadlocks with henna for a satisfyingly deep and rich colour transformation. All that’s left is to show off your soft, radiant and seriously luscious locks.