My friend Ty recently adopted a set of dreadlocks, and they’ve moved in where his hair used to be. He’s rocking the Bob Marley look like a champ, and is tolerating his collection of new nicknames remarkably well. The cost of dread products, on the other hand, is far less tolerable. The descriptions on dread waxes and shampoos make them sound as if they are formulated from the souls of hippies gone by at the top of a magical Rastafarian mountain, and the prices generally match. I set out to unseat this legend and make my own.

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From the dream waxes I researched, and the one Ty brought in for me to feel up, they’re basically an oily paste of beeswax, assorted liquid oils, and some honey or glycerin (though those seem to be optional). So, basically body butter, often heavily spiked with a blend of essential oils that instantly triggers memories of folk festival and fair trade coffee shops.

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I started off with beeswax and shea butter, two favourites of mine. The beeswax hardens the entire mixture, and shea butter has a sticky texture that’s beneficial for dread forming. Hemp oil seemed like a no brainer for its great green colour and high protein content. Next up, jojoba oil, which is high in vitamin E oil and absorbs relatively quickly.

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Lastly, some honey and glycerin. Because they’re water based they help thin out the oils, cutting down on the amount of oil you’re spreading in your hair. The honey is antibacterial, hopefully helping to fend off anything that might be interested in taking up residence in your new dreads, and glycerin is a popular additive to shampoos and other body products for its softening properties.

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The wax comes together easily, and the honey and glycerin emulsify into the oils very well, giving you a light green waxy balm that’s great for dreads. Ty testified that it worked really well, and he really enjoyed the lack of scent after his previous wax, which was crazy fragrant. You can, of course, add any essential oils you like.

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Hemp & Honey Dread Wax

12g beeswax
28g shea butter
10g hemp seed oil
10g jojoba oil
12g honey
2g vegetable glycerin (optional)

Melt the beeswax, shea butter, hemp seed oil, and jojoba oil together over medium heat.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey and vegetable. Whisk as the mixture cools—it won’t emulsify until the mixture is closer to room temperature.

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