Dreadlocks are growing in popularity. They have become the hairstyle of choice for many men and women who want natural hair without the fuss and fashionistas are lured by the many gorgeous hairstyles you can pull off with a healthy head of locks.

Although there are many great benefits to having dreadlocks, there are also many myths and misconceptions about the hairstyle that could damage your hair and lead to horror-movie level experiences.

Related: Celebrities with fabulous dreadlocks

1. Dreadlocks can be undone (most of the time)

Locks are locked until they aren’t. Although dreadlocks are mainly seen as a permanent hairdo that can only be undone by cutting your hair, many hair salons are now offering to undo their client’s dreadlocks in a variety of ways. While this is great for people who are looking for a change, accidentally undoing your dreadlocks is also possible.
Part of every healthy hair regimen calls for conditioning, including a regimen for healthy dreadlocks, but using too much conditioner or a conditioner meant for softening your hair and de-tangling could undo your dreads.

If you like the dreadlocks look, but aren’t sure you want the style permanently, faux locks are a great way to get the look without the commitment. They’re kinder to your hair too.

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2. You still need to maintain your hair

Dreadlocks may be easier to maintain than an afro but you still need to maintain them. Wash days are still going to be part of your monthly routine. Washing, moisturising and protecting your dreads just like you would other natural hair types can keep your hair healthy.

Regularly washing and detoxing your hair is especially important for removing hair products from your hair as they can build up and get trapped in your hair. Regular soaks and detoxing can help remove gunk and lint from your hair as well as restore your pH balance which is necessary for healthy growth.

Add some fun to your dreadlock routine by colouring your dreads to suit your personality and style.

3. If it doesn’t dry properly, your hair will mould

Air drying is the best way to dry your dreadlocks as direct heat can damage your hair. When air drying, make sure your hair is loose and can dry properly or it can get mouldy and smell. Because of the structure of dreadlocks, they are difficult to dry. Many hair stylists will twist and style wet dreadlocks as they are easier to manipulate when wet. This means you could leave the salon with damp hair.

The best thing to do is to allow your hair to dry completely before wearing a head wrap or using any head covering.

4. Twisting your hair more often won’t make it grow

There’s a misconception that twisting and styling your dreads more often can make them grow faster. Twisting and styling your dreads can protect new hair growth and prevent breakage caused by daily styling and manipulation, but it won’t make your hair grow faster. In fact twisting and styling your hair too often can cause breakage and scalp damage leading to thinner hair and at worst hair loss and alopecia.

5. Long hair doesn’t mean long dreads

If you thought your dreads would be the length of your stretched out hair, you thought wrong. Dreadlocks are not straightened hair, they are twisted and in some cases crocheted to form a lock. This may mean your dreads will probably be as short as quarter of the length of your hair, depending on how thick your locks are and the method used to lock your hair.