Q. Can I bleach or dye my dreads, and should I do it before or after I lock up?

A. You can bleach or dye before or after you dread your hair, it don’t matter.

Before is better, if possible, cuz it will be easier to do without your hair all locked up. Coloring before will also help to fry the hair, which will help the dreading process. It’s not difficult to dye or bleach once your dreads are in, though, just proceed as you would with normal hair and really squish the dye out when washing. It’s up to you.

Just make sure that your dreads are strong enough to handle the action, which could be up to 3 months or more after you put them in, and don’t use any dreadlock wax in there for a while cuz the bleach/dye might not take to it very well. You’d have to wait until the dreads are really tight and together.

There isn’t a specific bleaching product that I recommend over another – L’Oreal Blondissima (‘Super’ strength) from the drug store seems to do the job for bleaching and it’s easy to use.

Bleaching is actually kind of good for getting dreads together because it really dries them out and makes them easier to lock up, but use a natural dreadlock wax like Knotty Boy or maybe their conditioning spray after to keep them from getting too dry and brittle.

And I also would recommend anyone that’s bleaching their dreads to pick up a good natural anti-dandruff shampoo because bleaching your scalp is a really good way to get dandruff and your gonna want to use something that helps keep your scalp healthy and itchy-free. The KB shampoo bar is good. I use it after I bleach my hair and I don’t gots dreads right now!

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  1. I bleached my locks about 5 months ago and put a blue color using Color Ion. I want to go back to a natural color, either brown or the dark blonde they were. I would really prefer to make them a light brown/dark blonde again. Any suggestions? If that is not possible, do I just put the brown on over the blue? And I have only bleached them once, is it safe to bleach them again?? Please help! It is for a job.

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  2. Guys how do you keep your blonde hair color bright (cancel yellow) after you’ve dreaded your hair?? I’ve searched high and low and i can’t find any products that are purple (for keeping platinum blonde bright) that are also safe for dreads (no residue, organic). Help Please!

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  3. Hey! I’ve been considering dreading my hair for about a year now, my hair is naturally ashy brown so i wanted to bleach my hair blonde before i went through with the dreading. i’m nearing the point of my hair being light enough and now but i cant find an answer to the only thing that’s really worrying me about it, after my hair is dreaded is there a non-residue purple shampoo i’ll be able to use after my dreads are in to keep yellow out?? I’m afraid that right now i love the bright blonde color i have but over time I fear it will turn yellower and yellower as time goes on since washing dreads is limited as far as what you can use without damaging them over time. Does ANYONE know what can i use to keep my blonde color bright (not yellow!!) after i have my dreads?????? Help!

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  4. Hi, I’ve had my locs for a little under 6yrs now and I’ve been experimenting with dyes a lot, some results were great, some weren’t so good. Now I’ve been really thinking and wanting to dye the top half of my hair red copper and I know I’ll have to bleach first…giving it to you straight..I’m petrified. The last time I attempted to bleach my hair, it was a disaster and the color didn’t take after, I had orange spots, red spots, smh. I’m wondering if I should just pay a professional. Side note* this isn’t my first time with locs, I had it before for 7yrs, bleached, dyed and it always worked. I eventually cut them off but this new batch lol are rebels, nothing works like before….Help!!!! Plz

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  5. Don’t bleach dreads they will be fine for a year or so then just fall apart. I had highlights threw my hair before I dreaded it and have now lost all that hair which was 12″ + now with no bleach much healthier dreads and nearly the same length as when I first got the 3 1/2 years ago!!!

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  6. I’ve Had Locks For About 10 Months Buu I’m Thinking About Dying My Tips Should I Do It Before I Get A ReTwist Or After ?

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  7. The last time I had my ends bleached, I lost them all! Everything blonde broke off. This also happened when I had a perm. Do you think my hair just can’t take it? It’s really coarse and thick.

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  8. No DREADS, dreads were nicknamed by the British and viewed upon as dreadful. My fellow lockheads, please, let’s not call our hair dreadful as they are lockZ

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  10. My hair has been dreaded for about two years and is growing really fast ….I have been dying my hair for years to cover the gray. Just recently my hair has start thinning and breaking off really bad. Not at the root but towards the end of the dread. I can literlly just pull gently on my dreads n they just break off. I dont know what to do. Please help….L. Denise F.

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  11. ok so my aunty is experimenting with my hair. and today she put one dread in. in the front. and i want to bleach my hair before she does the rest. can i bleach that dread to? or will it come out?

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  12. I already bleach the tips and want to know if I can do it again ? Every site for bleaching dreads said yes or no. But they are not yellow anymore and is getting dark hair mixing with them. Help

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  13. Whats a good dye/bleach to dye human weave dreads ? I have a dark brown hair color … i want it blonde .

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  14. Hello Ive had my loc extensions for about 3 months. Is it safe to bleach them yet? Please respond….

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  15. I have an afro thats about 3′ long and I am thinking about twisting my own hair to dread up. I was told that I should’t twist my own hair and I don’t know why. I just think that if i’m able to do it myself then why should I go to the shop to get it done and waste the money.

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    • I twisted my own dreads and it has been approximately 3 months with them now. It is fine to twist your own hair. Maintaining them is the iffy part. Only because you cannot really see what is going on in the back of your head. But i have yet to see a professional. I have been going as long as i can on my own. YOU CAN DO IT! :-)

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      • Yes most people say go to a professional only to get your hair sectioned right but if you got it then you don’t really need to go to the salon.

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  17. Tina my one year hairaversy is coming up the day after Thanksgiving, so congrats to you on two years. Anyway… my mom first colored my hair in August. I love red but, on my dark brown hair it could only be seen in the sun. Just a few days ago I went to a local beauty supply store and inquired about bleaching and coloring. I was given a Divina 20 volume cream developer and Clairol Kaleidocolors tonal powder lightner. I then chose my red. Mix the powder and 2 oz. of developer together. I would recommend section the hair off with rubber bands for easy application and for a stopping point (unless you want to go the roots). Apply immediately. let hair process for 10 minutes, covered with a plastic cap and under a hooded dryer. RINSE then shampoo. Now if you like the bleached look fine if not proceed to applying the color (semi-perminant). The best color is Jazzy. DO NOT squeeze color into the dreads. Just rub it down the shaft of the hair. Again use a plastic cap to cover and sit under the dryer for 30 minutes. After that rinse, condition, style as desired. Note: our hair is natural so time is not a real factor although I highly advise against immediate treatments such as bleaching and coloring too close after coloring has been done. Our hair can still be stressed in it’s natural state. Good Luck and I hope I was able to help.

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  19. Hi i have had my loc’s for two months and want to bleach my hair because i have a lot of gray can i bleach my hair.

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    • Yes you can dye your hair, use a natural hair dye instead of a bleach, which I find too harsh on natural hair. I have grey hair and dye my hair with a non proxoide product and they look great and are very healthy. I hope this helps you make your decision. Good luck.

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      • Sorry, correction, you should wait for at least five months to allow your locs to set in place. I

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  20. Most helpful site i’d been to! Will so be bleaching up my dreads tomorrow as sick of the brown making them look constantly messy! Awesome!

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  21. Iv had dreads for 4 years now and have been dying them bright red for most of that period, im thinking a blonde would be more suitable now as i want to go swimming regularly and the dye may be a problem. do you think id need to dye brown before blonde? as i really dont want pink hair, and want a dark blonde, no platinum blonde for me :)
    any advice would be appreciated. thanks

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  22. I want to add bright red to me locks in memory of a close friend who passed away. She didn’t have locks but dang did she have red hair. I have had my dreads for close to 6 years. Is bleaching okay for them?

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  23. I have had my locks for 11 years. I have always used a black rinse in my locks. Finally, I am ready for a change. With the gray coming in fast , I am looking to advance to the brown family . Should I bleach it first or deposit the color?

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  24. I don’t wanna dye my dreads all the way to the root I just want the ends dyed, so would it be best to bleach first or just straight dye. I’m also trying to decide between red or pure white(ghost) or maybe both anyone got any suggestions?

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  25. Ive got extremely dark brown hair..most would says its black.
    Im also keen to go blonde but dont know how long to leave the bleach in for and how it will damage my hair.
    Iv gone through and still not sure.
    Has anyone got similar hair and what were the results?
    And how did it look when they started growing out?

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  27. Hi I have dread extensions and have had them 2 weeks and was wondering if it would be ok to dye them yet?????

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  28. hell yes! i’ve had my dreads for about six months now, and miss the habit of spurratically bleaching chunks of my hair. i’ve really been wanting to bleach a few of my dreads, but out here in wyoming it’s next to impossible to stumble across another human being with dreads for advice. i had no clue if it’d ruin my dreads, or how to go about such thing WITHOUT damaging my babies. thanks for the advice!

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    • I have dreads and I’m in Wyo!!! (:

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  29. Thank you for answering this q/o directing the OP to synthetic dread info! I have naturally med brown hair and have had my dreads for 1 1/2 years. Recently, like I normally would with or w/o dreads, I just dyed my hair darker. I used Revlon Color Silk and it turned out great but I am realizing I want my hair lighter! With dark hair, my dreads almost look messy instead of dreaded, kwim? Now I think I’m not so afraid of bleaching or lightening my hair with dreads. Gonna give my dreads a little break, get the dyes out, then go for it :)

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  31. I have had my locs for 6 years. They are multi-colored, blonde, red and black. Recently, I decided to add another color (purple) but have NO experience with Bleach. Loreal for dark hair has been my best ally along with all Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil products for my other colors. I’d love to bleach and add the purple to my black hair and to my blonde hair. Problem is, I need to do the blonde retouch BEFORE the purple. How do I do this? can I use the blonde and THEN the purple on top? It seems like ULTRA-FRYING would happen and I already have some locs that have broken with natural growth, so I try to be as careful as possible. Any suggestions?

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  33. Ugh, suprisingly this is the ONLY place I’ve found that explains I can have colored dreads without synthetics.
    But, my friend did tell me that I’d have to wait a while to do my dreads after I dye it, because the wax might not take to kindly to it.

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  34. i definitely thought you weren’t supposed to dye your hair any color before dreading, bleaching yes because it can fry the hair which makes it easier to dread. but i thought the dye in the hair would make it harder to dread, because you’re supposed to be using a residue free shampoo before and after getting dreadlocks. but hair dye is a residue, is it not lol. so is it okay for me to dye my hair red before i get my dreads? or should i wait until after and when they get pretty tight?

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    • wait until you get them tight – hair dye will NOT help lock dreads and bleaching will dry your hair – and from what I hear they lock better without bleaching. Like dye, wait until dreads are locked in good before bleaching.

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  35. Thankyou for writing that up! I have naturally blonde hair, but died it purple bfore I got my dreads done, I’ve dyed it since 3times, but the same colour. But now I’m sick of the regrowth! (My hair grows really fast) I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to bleach it as bleach is so much stronger and dries so much more than normal dye. But now I know I can!

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  36. Thanx so much. My mama bleached and dyed my hair last year and sum of my locs got thinner. I dont know if it was the amount of time she left the bleach in or what bt a few started popping. Thanx alot for the info because I plan on bleaching and dying my hair again for my senior prom this year.

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  37. Hey thanks a lot. I’m really thinking about getting dreads sometime soon, but I keep my hair blonde by bleaching it & I wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue bleaching it while dreading.. So this helps a lot! Thanks! [:

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  38. Thanks for the info – you’re the first dread site that was brave enough to answer my question before I asked it.

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  39. Yeah, great advice. Thanks! I dye/bleach my long dreads since a few months and find that they dread easier and they look great. I think it is important to never overapply bleach – go only as far as your roots go and the hair will be just fine.

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  40. Most of the facts that I read were true because I have experienced dying my own hair and when finished my hair was dry and briitle as never before. I went to my stylist to see why my hair was so dry and she told me it was the dying process.When i left her home I had shiny,moisterized, and clean dreads I felt like a brand new man. Now I have choosen to dye my hair burnt orange and I am going to take your advice on using the L’Oreal Blondissima (super strength) Thank for The advice!!!

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