One of my favorite things about sporting dreadlocks is that they’re super low maintenance. They don’t require you to fuss over them to maintain their stylish effect.
Sure, you’ll need to do your monthly retwists when your hair grows out or get an oil treatment once in a while. But overall, having dreads is a terrific option for those who want a laidback, low-maintenance look.
But even the easiest of protective styles still have unique issues you need to address. For dreads (and most types of protective styles), it’s that eventually, your hair will get thinner by the roots. In the worst-case scenario, they can sometimes break and fall out.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to reverse this and make your dreads strong and thick again. In this post, we’ll take a detailed look at how to make dreads thicker at the root.
Why Do Dreads Get Thinner At The Roots Over Time?
There are several reasons why your dreadlocks could be getting thinner at the roots.
The longer you sport dreadlocks, the heavier they will become.
And there comes a time when your roots won’t be strong enough to carry all that weight.
Because of the pressure of holding up heavy locs, your roots might start breaking or snapping off, resulting in thinner roots.
The same thing happens when you style your hair too frequently.
The tension that comes from putting your dreadlocks in ponytails and high buns might lead to a condition called traction alopecia, which is hair shedding caused by hairstyles that tug on your strands.
Retwisting At The Wrong Time
Another reason why your roots might be getting thinner is that you are retwisting your locs at the wrong time.
If you do it too often, the frequent manipulation of your hair can weaken it.
On the other hand, if you let your hair grow too long without retwisting, more pressure might be put on your roots (to carry the rest of the deadlocks), making them more prone to breakage.
You might also see thinner roots over time when you don’t use the right amount of hair products on your dreads.
Not moisturizing your hair enough might lead to dehydrated, fragile strands that thin out.
But if you over-moisturize, there could be product build-up in your locs, which can be detrimental to their health.
Poor Scalp Health
If you can’t relate to any of the above, then the reason why your dreads have thinner roots now might be because of poor scalp health in general.
If you have a dry scalp or have dandruff issues you’ve been ignoring, then that might be hindering healthy hair growth, leading to weaker, less dense roots.
How To Make Dreads Thicker At The Root
Whatever the reason for your roots thinning out, there’s always a way to nurse them back to health.
There are lifestyle and hair regimen changes you can take up to ensure that your roots grow back thick and strong enough to hold your dreads in place for as long as possible.
There are basically two ways to make your dreads’ roots thick and resilient again.
The first is to combine thinner locs together to make thicker ones.
The second is to nourish your roots from the inside, fortifying your strands to grow long and strong roots later on.
One is a more immediate solution, while the other requires time to see results.
Nonetheless, they’re still both easy and effective ways to ensure that you can extend the lifespan of your dreadlocks while keeping your hair strong and healthy.
Let’s take a look at how each approach should be done.
Combine Thinner Dreads To Form One Thick Dread
There are plenty of ways to combine two of your dreadlocks to make one thicker one.
Most people will immediately opt for beads and rubber bands to bring two or more locs together.
However, these might tug on your hair, making your roots even weaker in the long run.
I suggest more “natural” ways to bring your locs together.
My favorite way to combine dreads is by pulling one loc into the roots of another.
Some people call this the “Y-shaped lock” because you’ll end up with a thick dreadlock that looks like an upside-down Y.
It’s best to do this method when you have around half an inch’s worth of regrowth from your last retwist.
All you have to do is use a latch hook to pull one thin dreadlock into the root area of another, essentially combining them at the root.
What you’ll get as a result is two dreads that are combined at the roots.
When your hair grows moving forward, the hair will grow into one thick loc, creating the Y-shape.
If you’re not a fan of how the locs are separated, you can twist them together to create one chunky dreadlock.
Do this method for the rest of your dreads that are thinning out at the root and need extra support from neighboring locs.
Moisturize And Strengthen Your Roots Properly
Moisture is the lifeline of all hair, including dreads.
When your strands are nourished properly, they become strong and thick.
But when they’re parched and dehydrated, they become super fragile and more prone to breakage.
So, if you want the roots of your locs to be strong and thick, you have to make sure they’re moisturized at all times.
Most people think that you can simply massage some coconut oil into your scalp and be done with it, but that’s actually not the best way to attack it.
Oil alone doesn’t have water molecules, so you’re not locking any hydration in your hair if you use oil only.
You have to use a water-based moisturizer and then follow up with an oil to seal your strands.
Oils are emollient, which means they lock whatever hydration is in your hair to keep it there for a longer time.
One of my favorite water-based moisturizers for locs is the Locsanity Rosewater Peppermint Daily Moisturizing and Refreshing Spray.
It’s formulated mainly with rosewater and other plant extracts for a boost of healthy hydration to your roots and scalp.
This vegan, sulfate-free spray also has peppermint oil to stimulate your roots, giving you a refreshing feeling with each spritz.
Then, follow up with a root-strengthening, hair-thickening oil to lock in all that moisture.
The original Jamaican Black Castor Oil is great for boosting thick and healthy hair growth, which can fortify your roots.
Meanwhile, the red pimento oil ensures good circulation and nutrient absorption for a healthy scalp (which always equates to strong roots).
Both oils are rich in antioxidants that protect your hair from pollutants and free radical damage, which is always a plus.
Tips To Prevent Your Roots From Thinning Out
While the two methods above are great solutions when you’re already experiencing thinning at the roots, the most effective way to keep your roots thick is by preventing thinning in the first place.
Here are some of my top tips to avoid weakening your dreadlocks’ roots to begin with:
The first tip is that you should maintain a healthy and sustainable schedule for your retwists.
Retwisting (or tightening your dreads after you’ve had some regrowth at the roots) is an important part of dreadlock upkeep.
But if you do it way too often – or don’t do it enough – it can lead to weak roots.
Mark your calendar for consistent retwisting schedules.
Around 4-6 weeks per retwist would be great, depending on how fast your hair grows.
Wear A Satin Bonnet To Bed
Cotton sheets and pillowcases tend to create friction on your hair, which can pull and tug on your roots unnecessarily.
To protect your hair from this, wear a silk or satin bonnet while you snooze.
The soft fabric will prevent hair breakage.
Don’t Wear A Shower Cap In The Bath
You might be used to wearing a shower cap every time you take a hot shower, but your locs can benefit from the extra steam.
Tie your hair up loosely instead of wearing a cap over it so that your locs can drink up the extra moisture from the air as you shower.
Have A Healthy Diet
Make sure you drink eight glasses of water a day to keep your body and hair hydrated.
If you can, load up on extra protein and veggies as well – these can help strengthen your strands, and consequently, your locs’ roots.
Whether you’re the type to leave your dreadlocks alone most of the time, or the hair enthusiast always looking for the best oil to moisturize your strands with, it’s likely that your roots may eventually thin out.
This thinning can happen for various reasons, but the solution always boils down to thickening and strengthening your roots again.
You can go one of two ways: combining the thinner locs to make thicker roots, or moisturizing and nourishing your hair to make the roots strong and resilient again.
Of course, you don’t have to choose one. Doing both is an awesome way to ensure that your dreads’ roots are thickened up right away but are healthy enough to grow long and strong on their own too.
If you’ve been wondering how to make dreads thicker at the root, these tips will help you to grow the healthy locs that you’ve always desired.