How to Remove Dread Wax


Leah asked: How do I get dread wax out of my hair? I used wax to dread my hair and now I want it out and nothing is working.

Dread wax makes for quick dreads and is often encouraged by the companies that make it and discouraged by those experienced with dreadlocks. Essentially, there are two removal methods, either wash it out or melt it out. The process can be long and difficult, especially if there is a lot of wax in the dreads. Here are the recommended steps to remove the wax.

Washing Method

You Will Need:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Hot water
  • Bee and Flower Chinese bar soap (available in many Chinatowns or online)
  • Good bar soap (if Chinese soap is not available)
  • ProSolv cleaner (available at Wal-Mart)

Steps to Remove the Wax:

  1. There are several different steps you can take to wash out the wax, and the success will vary greatly depending on what type of wax was used. If beeswax was applied, such as Knotty Boy, it will take much more work to break it down for removal.
  2. This process uses several different cleaning products, but always employs the help of hot water to soften the wax and make it easier to remove. Use the hottest water that you can stand without causing harm to yourself.
  3. To complete the first approach, fill a sink or bowl with hot water.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar to the water. The amount will depend on the amount of wax and the length of the dreadlocks.
  5. Place the waxy dreads into the solution and allow it to soak for at least one-half hour.
  6. Wash immediately with hot water and a high quality shampoo. It will be necessary to scrub the dreads to get the softened wax removed.
  7. If beeswax was used, there is a Chinese bar soap available that can be used to remove it.
  8. Again, apply the soap with hot water and scrub well to remove.
  9. Repeat until all of the wax (or as much as possible) is removed.
  10. A last resort cleaning product is ProSolv. This product will remove the wax, but will most likely cause damage to the hair as well. Apply it to the hair with hot water, scrub and rinse.

Iron Method

You Will Need:

  • Cotton cloths
  • Brown paper bags
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Partner to assist with the removal

Steps to Remove the Wax:

  1. This method involves melting the wax out of the hair and should only be completed with the help of a friend while using great caution not to burn the scalp. If the dreads are short, do not attempt this method at all.
  2. Have the person sit so that the dreadlocks can be draped over the ironing board.
  3. Take a small section of the dreads and wrap a piece of brown paper around them.
  4. Use a warm iron with NO steam and gently rub it over the paper. You will begin to see the wax transferring to the paper.
  5. Repeat with a clean piece of paper until the wax is removed.
  6. Continue with new sections of hair each time following the same steps above.
  7. Use great caution not to allow the iron to become too hot or to get too close to the scalp as both can cause serious burns.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Knotty Boy, the maker of many dreadlock products, also has a removal kit that can help remove wax and dreadlocks.
  • If the wax cannot be removed, the dreads may need to be cut off.

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