Retwisting dreadlocks is a routine part of maintaining them and keeping them healthy. While you may think it requires the help of a professional, all it takes is a little bit of time and a few supplies to do it yourself.

Whether you’re new to having locs or have never retwisted them yourself, follow along to learn the ins and outs of retwisting your dreadlocks at home.

How to retwist dreadlocks yourself: 6 steps

Ready to get started? By following these six simple steps, you can ensure that your dreadlocks stay healthy and stylish no matter how long your hair grows.

Step 1: Gather supplies

When retwisting your locs at home, you’ll need a variety of different supplies. Before you start, make sure you get:

  • A rat tail comb
  • Alcohol-free twisting gel
  • Hair clips
  • A blow-dryer
  • A silk or satin bonnet

Once you have everything you need, you can start preparing your dreadlocks for the retwisting process.

illustration of supplies needed to retwist dreadlocks: rat tail comb, blow dryer, hair clips, alcohol-free twisting gel, silk or satin bonnet

Step 2: Wash your locs

When twisting your dreadlocks, it’s crucial to start with clean hair. To ensure your hair is free of all dirt, sweat, and hair products, thoroughly wash your locs with shampoo two to three times. Now that your hair is wet and free of any buildup, you can start retwisting.

Step 3: Apply twisting gel to new growth

Using a rat tail comb, part new hair growth toward your existing locs. Then, gently twist the loc clockwise at its root while applying the twisting gel. You will continue this process until the loc is straight and all new growth has set into your locs.

steps to apply twisting gel: pick up gel with index finger and thumb, apply to new growth, gently pich loc at the root and twist clockwise

Step 4: Secure the dreadlocks with a hair clip

You’ll want to use hair clips to secure each loc as you go. If needed, you can keep adding individual locs to the same clip until you’re ready to use a new one. This will help keep the dreadlocks from unraveling as you continue the retwisting process.

Step 5: Dry your dreadlocks

Unless you have a hooded dryer, the best method for drying your dreadlocks is by using a blow-dryer. Before removing any clips, make sure your dreadlocks are completely dry. Using a blow-dryer can help eliminate the risk of any mildew or odor that could form when air drying.

Step 6: Remove hair clips

Once your hair is completely dry, you can remove all of the hair clips. Spritzing your dreadlocks with your favorite hair oil can help keep your hair moisturized. To further protect your dreadlocks, sleep in a silk or satin bonnet. By routinely taking care of your dreadlocks, you can keep them clean and healthy.

How often should you retwist locs?

How often you retwist your dreadlocks depends on the maturity of your locs. If you have starter locs, you should be retwisting your dreadlocks every three months. On the other hand, if you’ve had your locs for over a year, you can retwist them as frequently as every two weeks.

However, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Once you have mature dreadlocks, you can retwist them as often as you’d like to attain your desired style. For example, if you prefer tight and neat locs, every two weeks may be best. If that’s not your style, you can wait several months between twists.

When in doubt, you can always meet with a professional loctician to ensure you’re retwisting your dreadlocks at the right time.

Frequently asked questions about retwisting dreadlocks

Whether you’re retwisting your dreadlocks for the first time or you’re already an at-home expert, here are some common questions that may arise during the retwisting process.

How long does it take to retwist dreadlocks?

The amount of time it takes to retwist your dreadlocks can range anywhere from two to five hours. The length of time it takes depends on your:

  • Skill level
  • Hair length
  • Hair density
  • Number of locs

If this is your first time retwisting your dreadlocks, it may take a bit longer. No need to worry — you’ll get better and quicker with practice.

Is it better to retwist dreadlocks wet or dry?

Retwisting wet hair is much easier than dry hair. Damp hair is also much more elastic. Because of this, it’s better to retwist your locs while your hair is wet to avoid any hair damage or breakage.

Can you retwist interlock dreadlocks?

Yes, you can retwist interlock dreadlocks. Instead of twisting your hair clockwise, split the new growth down the center and create a hole. Then, take the end of your loc and flip it through the gap. Repeat this flipping motion until all of your new growth is twisted together.

Can you retwist instant locs?

Yes, it is possible to retwist instant locs. In addition to the supplies listed above, you’ll also need a crochet needle. After following the first two steps as directed, you’ll use the crochet needle during step three. While applying twisting gel and twisting your locs, thrust the needle in and out of your new hair growth.

Doing so helps your hair loc up. Because the crochet needle will help your hair stay in place as is, you can skip steps four and six.

Can you get your locs retwisted by a professional?

Yes, it is possible to get your locs retwisted by a hairstylist. If you don’t feel comfortable retwisting your dreadlocks at home, you can book an appointment with a professional loctician, though it will be more expensive than retwisting them yourself.