Can I dye my Real Dreads?

Real Dreads are in fact the same as ‘normal hair’. You can dye your hair, but it could be harmful to it. We have summed up some suggestions for you on how to dye your Real Dreads the easiest way possible!

I haven’t got Real Dreads yet…

Would you like Real Dreads, but not in your own hair colour? The best thing to do then, is to dye your hair before you get your Dreads. Dye your hair as short as possible before you get Real Dreads. This way, you don’t have an outgrowth when you make your dreadlocks and your hair will have an even colour.

After dying your hair, you can make your Real Dreads.

If your dreads have grown longer, you will of course have an outgrowth near your scalp. This hair can be dyed dread per dread. Make sure that you also dye the hairs on the inside of the tuft of hair. These hairs can become visible when they have grown into the dread. It would be a shame if they weren’t properly dyed!

Your dreads themself are the right colour already, but this colour can use some freshening up. The rest of your hair dye can be used on your dreads. Remember that your dreads will soak up more of the dye, so you will need more hair dye for this part. It is also important to wash it out extra thoroughly and to use a good shampoo.

I’ve already got Real Dreads

You already got Real Dreads but you would like a different colour? You can just dye your dreads. Here you can find some tips on how to do that.

Dyeing your Real Dreads is a lot of work. It is nice to have a second person with you that can help you with dyeing your dreads but also with washing the dye out.

Dyeing your dreads works somewhat the same as dyeing your own hair. You use the same kind of hair dye. But, you will need more dye than when you dye normal hair, because dreads will soak up more hair dye!

Start dyeing your dreads at the bottom. Almost all hair dyes react to warmth. This means that when the hair dye comes near your scalp, it works faster and better. By working from the bottom up, you will prevent a possible difference in colour.

Applying the dye is in this case easiest when you do it with your hands. Make sure you have sturdy gloves to protect your skin. Start at the bottom and work your way up to about 5-10 cm from your scalp.

The dye will soak into your dreads. It is important not to use too much dye on one spot. The dye you apply to your dreads has to be distributed equally. This can be done by palm rolling your dreads with some dye. Make sure that every spot has been dyed properly before you start with the next dread.

When you are done with dyeing to bottom part of your dreads, you can start on the upper side. Make sure that the hairs on the inside of every tuft are dyed as well. When you touch up your dreads, this can become visible and it would be a shame if they weren’t dyed properly.  

Never let the dye in longer than advised! This can be very harmful to your dreads, they can become fragile and even break off. When you’ve left the dye in for the advised time, you have to wash out your dreads very thoroughly. Wash them out until the water that comes out of your dreads is completely clear again. Ask someone to check your dreads for (parts of the) dye and/or spots where the dye hasn’t worked well.

Which hair dye do I choose for my Dreads?

Hair dye is harmful for your hair (most of the time) and if you don’t wash your hair properly, your dreads can be damaged from the inside and eventually break off. Washing out the dye is therefore very important! Always use a good shampoo that makes sure that dye that hasn’t been washed out, will be washed out properly now.

Dreadshop’s advice is to use a semi-permanent hair dye. This won’t damage your hair but will actually nurture it!

Bleaching / Decolourizing your Real Dreads

When you use semi-permanent hair dye, you will get the best result on decolourized hair. But is it wise to decolourize your dreads? Read our advice on this in our Blog.


When you would like to dye all of your dreads there will be few other options than described here. But if you’d like to dye just a few dreads, there are some (less harmful) alternatives. For instance, there is hair chalk. This is a colouring that won’t be visible anymore after washing your dreads once or twice. This will dry out your dreads a little, so taking good care of your dreads afterwards is very important.

You can also braid some ‘fake dreads’ between your Real Dreads. These dreads are available in different shades of blond and brown but also every other colour possible! This way, you can go all out! The ‘fake dreads’ can stay in for about 2-3 months. After that they will have to be braided in again. These dreads are not harmful to your Real Dreads. Have some outgrowth? Place your ‘fake dreads’ a little under it so you can still touch up your outgrowth.


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