How to Soften Human Hair Dreadlock Extensions

Dreadlocks are an undeniably trendy and carefree hairstyle. Yet, one of the things people dread most about dreadlocks is that they can be stiff and rough, making them look and feel like a dreadful nightmare. Don’t worry, though – it’s easy to soften them up.

It’s normal for human hair dreadlocks to be stiff at first. You can wash them beforehand to make them less rigid. Give them a few weeks to be “broken in” like a pair of new shoes. From there, wash with mild shampoo and condition and moisturize. 

If your human hair dreadlocks are feeling a little stiff, don’t panic – this is relatively normal and can be caused by many things, from being brand-new to having too much build-up. This article will share some great tips to soften them up so you can enjoy awesome dreads once more.

Who’s feeling a little soft today?

How to Soften Human Hair Dreadlock Extensions – 6 Ways

Stiff dreadlocks are a common issue. Thankfully, it can be rectified with a few simple steps. Here are some of the top tips for softening human hair dreadlock extensions:

1. Wait it Out

If your brand-new locs are stiff, the best thing to do is to wait it out. Think of your dreadlocks like a new pair of shoes. You need to “break them in,” so to speak.

That said, don’t hesitate to play around with your new dreadlocks. Massage them, put them into different hairstyles – the more you work with them, the more they’ll “loosen up” and become nice and soft.

It should only take a few days for your dreadlocks to soften up.

2. Soak Them Before Installing

If you don’t want to wait too long for your extensions to soften up after installation, you can consider soaking them before installing. Here’s how to do it:

  • Feel a bucket or sink with warm water.
  • Mix some conditioner in with the water.
  • Place your human dreadlock installation into the basin of the conditioner and water. Make sure all locs are submerged.
  • Allow them to soak for around 30 minutes.
  • Rinse in cold water, ensuring all conditioner is removed.
  • Let the dreadlocks air dry.
  • Dry thoroughly before installing.

If you don’t want to do all these steps, you can always apply a good conditioner to your human hair extensions and toss them into a plastic bag. Then, turn on the shower until the bathroom is hot and steamy. Allow the extensions to sit in the steam for 30 minutes.

This is known as the “baggy method” and works beautifully!

3. Wash Weekly

You should not wash your human hair dreadlock extensions for at least four weeks after installation. However, after the four-week mark, you should definitely wash them weekly. I know, I know – this can sound somewhat odd, as many are under the impression that locs don’t need to be cleaned.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, though. Just like your natural hair, your dreadlocks will succumb to dirt, grime, and build-up, and they shouldn’t be left on your locs. Dirty locks will become stiff and unsightly – and who wants that?

Washing your dreadlocks is a cinch. All you need to do is:

  • Get your scalp and dreadlocks wet. 
  • Pour some dreadlock shampoo into your hands and lather.
  • Use your fingertips to massage the shampoo into your scalp. Be thorough so that you do not miss any sections of your scalp.
  • Rinse your scalp, allowing the water and shampoo to cascade down your dreadlocks.
  • Massage the shampoo into your dreadlocks, but do so gently and minimally. In other words, you want to leave your locs alone as much as possible while still giving them a good wash.
  • Shampoo a second time if needed or desired.

4. Moisturize Regularly

Just like any other type of extension, moisturizing is critical – perhaps even more so when it comes to dreadlock extensions. 

The easiest way to ensure that your dreads are moisturized is to use a moisturizing spray. Simply spray your scalp and dreads with your moisturizing spray. The spray will not only work to hydrate and strengthen your locs but keep your scalp moisturized and itch-free. It’s a win-win!

Don’t want to purchase a commercial product? Prefer all-natural solutions? Another great way to moisturize and strengthen is to use natural oils. Coconut oil and olive oil are two of the most popular options. Apply a bit of this oil to your scalp and locs, and enjoy the hydration!

5. Sleep with Silk or Satin

Did you know that your hair undergoes a lot of friction while you sleep, especially if you have cotton pillowcases? This undesired friction, day after day, can be the culprit of rigid dreadlock extensions. What can you do?

You can wrap your locs up into a silk or satin cap before going to bed. This will protect your dreadlocks and keep them nice and smooth. If you don’t want to bother with a cap, you can also swap your cotton pillowcases for satin or silk options. (They’re so comfortable – trust me!)

6. Steam Your Locs

Steam can do wonderful things for your stiff locs. Not only will the steam add immense hydration immediately, but it will also open the hair cuticle, allowing for your favorite moisturizer or conditioner to seep inside. The result? Even more hydration. Yes, please!

Steaming your hair is easier than it sounds. Just follow these steps:

  • Start by shampooing your hair. You don’t want to steam dirty locs. 
  • Apply your favorite leave-in conditioner or moisturizer.
  • Use the steamer, starting from the root down to the tips.
  • Continue until all dreadlocks have been thoroughly steamed.
  • Rinse with cold water to ensure the conditioner and/or moisturizer is sealed into the hair’s cuticle.
  • Enjoy your intensely hydrated and soft locs!


Stiff locs? No problem – you now have the knowledge to combat stiffness and enjoy smooth, great-looking dreadlocks. Oh, but if you’re not ready to take off just yet, here are a couple of frequently asked questions to check out.

Why are my dread extensions stiff?

There are several reasons why dread extensions can feel stiff. They may simply be “new” and need time to loosen up. Or, it may have something to do with the quality or installation of the human hair dreadlock extension. They may also need to be thoroughly cleaned and hydrated.

What helps sore scalp from tight locs?

Is your scalp feeling sore from the dreadlock extensions? There are a couple of things you can do. Firstly, wear your hair down, even though it may seem counterintuitive. Apply moisturizer and give your scalp a nice massage. If nothing works, you may need to choose a different hairstyle.

What does rose water do for dreads?

Rosewater is an excellent option for restoring moisture and luster to human hair dreadlock extensions. Find a product that contains rosewater and apply it to your dreads daily for the best results.

You Can Soften Human Hair Dreadlock Extensions Easily!

Softening human hair dreadlock extensions is a breeze, folks! Really, all you need to do is to soak them before installing, give them enough time to loosen up and keep them clean and moisturized. 

How do you soften your human hair dreadlock extensions? Do you have any softening tips to share?

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