How to make dreadlocks

You will need:Dread WaxResidue Free ShampooMetal CombRubberbands

I recommend the DreadHead Supa Dupa Dread Kit: It has everything you need and they guarantee your hair will dread.

  1. Wash your hair with a residue free shampoo and let it air dry.
  2. Section your hair into sections that are 1 inch by 1 inch. You can use rubberbands to hold the sections while you section the rest of your hair.
  3. Start in the back of your head, remove the rubberbands and start teasing the hair towards your scalp. Only backcomb about a half inch of hair at a time, this will keep your dreads from forming loops.
  4. Once you have finished backcombing the that section of hair, put a rubberband on the tip and one on the root. Add about an M&M’s worth of wax to the dreadlock and palm roll it.
  5. Do this to all the sections of hair.

Twist and Rip

You will need:Dread WaxResidue Free ShampooRubberbands

I recommend the DreadHead Wax and Shampoo.

  1. Section your hair into sections that are 1 inch by 1 inch. You can use rubberbands to hold the sections while you section the rest of your hair.
  2. When you’re washing your hair rub your head in a clockwise motion.
  3. Once you get out of the shower and your hair is dry pull your hair apart in the sections where the rubberbands are.
  4. After you have pulled apart the sections add a M&M’s worth of wax to each dread and palm roll.

Twist and Pin

You will need:Dread WaxResidue Free ShampooRubberbands

I recommend the DreadHead Wax and Shampoo.

  1. Wash your hair with a residue free shampoo and let it air dry.
  2. Section your hair into sections that are 1 inch by 1 inch. You can use clips to hold the sections while you section the rest of your hair.
  3. After you have sectioned off all of your hair, take one section down at a time and twist it, then put some wax on the twist and keep twisting until it the twist is twisting down into a ball on your head,


You will need:Dread WaxResidue Free ShampooRubberbands

I recommend the DreadHead Wax and Shampoo.

  1. Wash your hair with a residue free shampoo and let it air dry.
  2. Section your hair into sections that are 1 inch by 1 inch. You can use rubberbands to hold the sections while you section the rest of your hair.
  3. Once you have sectioned off all of your hair, take one section at a time and twist it back and forth between your fingers, then put some wax on the twist and keep twisting it. The more you twist the hair back and forth the faster the dreads will form and lock up.

Brush Rubbing

You will need:A soft bristle brush

Dread Wax

Residue Free ShampooRubberbands

The Cultural Significance of Dreadlocks

cultural significance of dreadlocksSeveral different cultures have commonly worn locs. In some cultures, locs are an expression of religious beliefs. In other cultures, dreadlocks are a representation of ethnic pride or simply fashionable.

Several different African ethnic groups wear dreadlocks. Although, the significance could change from group to group.

The Maasai warriors are easily recognized by their long, red, thin dreadlocks. Some people, familiar with the thin dreads worn by Maasai warriors, will dye their hair with red ochre or root extracts to get the desired look.

Maasai WarriorThis Maasai Warrior has very long, thin, red dreadlocks. Kenya and Tanzania have significant populations of Maasai people.

In different cultures, Shamans wear dreadlocks. These are the women or men that claim to speak and serve deities and spirits.

Children in Nigeria-born with naturally locked hair are called Dada. Priests in Yoruba also wear the dreadlocks. Turkana people of Kenya and the Akomofoo priests wear their hair in locs.

Dreadlock styles were adopted by the Rastafarians, with roots that date back to when slaves were traded in Jamaica.

The Rastafari dreadlocks symbolize the Lion of Judah, many times located in the center of the Ethiopian flag.

The Rastafari believe the Haile Selassie are direct descendants of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba by way of their son Menelik.

Some people think that Nazarites of the Bible inspired the dreadlocks that Rastafarians wear.

The Revival of Dreadlocks

Revival of the DreadlocksOnce reggae music was widely accepted in the 1970s, dreadlocks or dreads became a modern fashion statement.

This newly fashionable hairstyle was being worn by musicians, athletes, actors, rappers. People began wearing dreadlocks more for style than cultural or religious reasons.

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reggae musicYoung Rasta man playing the drum

When the Rasta style gained in popularity, beauty and fashion industries jumped on the bandwagon. These industries were hoping to capitalize financially.

Suddenly new lines of hair care products were developed for use in salons. Many of these salons catered almost only to white clientele.

These upscale salons offered their customers a variety of hair care products for dreadlocks. These products range from shampoo, wax, and jewelry.

The hair stylists, working at these salons, started creating a variety of different modified or artificial locs, including extensions, multi-colored synthetic locs, and dread perms that utilized certain chemicals to treat the hair.

Christian Dior Rasta Inspired LineThe pictured handbag is from the Christian Dior Rasta-inspired clothing line.

Models began wearing dreadlocks and appeared in numerous fashion shows. Stores began promoting Rasta clothing that had a unique Jamaican look.

Brands like Christian Dior designed a Rasta-inspired line. It was worn at many fashion shows by models sporting their new dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks gained popularity in the West among the Hippies, (1990 to today). Locs were also popular with New Age Travelers, Crust Punks, Goths, and members of the Rainbow Family.

People from these unique cultures wore dreadlocks for very similar reasons, mass-merchandising, rejection of their government, or just to fit in with a crowd.

Different members of the cyber-goth culture wore artificial dreadlocks made of fiber, plastic, or synthetic hair. These locs, often referred to as faux locs, are still very popular.

During the late 1990s and the early 2000s, dreadlocks became a popular trend down in southern states, like Louisiana and Alabama.

Different elements were incorporated in the hairstyles like flat-twists, where sections of the hair are rolled barreled to look like cornrows, or simply braiding the dreadlocks.

Different examples of these variations included the flat-twisted Mohawk style, flat-twisted half-back style, braid-outs, and braided buns.

People who wanted to share ideas about their unique hairstyle hit the internet via video blogs, social media, forums, and YouTube. Some people even started new beauty blogs dedicated to sharing their dreadlock journey.

These people were able to share styling tips, create tutorials for braiding the hair, and show pictures of their hair.

Recommended Products

dreadlocks todayDreadlock Shampoos & Soap: Dreadlocks are a common hairstyle in the natural hair community; however, many large hair care product manufacturers aren’t actively developing products for dreadlocks.

As a result, the majority of natural shampoos and soaps on the market today leave behind undesirable fragrances or product build-up in the hair.

To combat this potential issue, we recommend using residue-free soaps and shampoos. These shampoos actively wash in-between hair strands removing most, if not all the residue. Overall, this gives the scalp and the dreadlocks a much cleaner presentation.

Dread Combs: Dread combs have sturdy, metal bristles that are specifically designed for using the backcombing method. Plastic combs, on the other hand, are a poor substitute because the bristles bend or snap while using them.

You could go through several plastic variations to achieve the same results with a single metal dread comb. An investment in a proper dread comb will save you valuable time and money long term.

  • Dread Comb by Dread Head HQ
  • Knotty Boy Professional Metal Dread Comb

Beads: There are many creative ways you can decorate dreads. Beads are one of them. Not only are they stylish, but they’re also inexpensive and easy to put on and take off. It gives your hair an entirely new look without changing the hairstyle. Similar to fitting a ring on your finger, beads are easy to slip right on.

  • Beads Golden Metal Cuffs
  • Mixed Gold and Silver Plated Beads

Tams: Made for keeping dreadlocks in place, tams are crocheted beanies or knitted caps that not only hold a functional purpose, but they’re also cool to wear.

  • Latest assortment of tams, caps, hats & beanies

1. Neat Skinny Ombré Dreadlocks

When it comes to male dreadlocks, you can opt for thinner or thicker locks, bundle them into a ponytail, braid them, or simply let them hang loose. In most cases, the skinny dreads look seems more appealing due to its clean and more manageable nature. If you want to complete the look, you can have a connecting beard. Neat Skinny Ombré Dreadlocks

2. Classic Dreadlocks

The thing about thick dreadlocks is that they don’t need any sort of extra frills. This means that allowing them to hang free with an understated middle part will work wonders for you and not even the new curly growth will be able to spoil them. If you want, you can add a bit of flavor to your dreads with different kinds of adornments and accessories.

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Classic Dreadlocks

3. Chic Dreadlocks

One of the unique things about dreadlocks is that they have managed to transcend demographics, cultures and hair types. The fact is that dreadlocks will always differ from person to person. Certain textures will only allow the hair to partially lock, creating a unique dreadlocks hairstyle.

Chic dreadlock hairstyle

4. Short Natural Dreads

Some textures of hair tend to twist and lock more easily and naturally than others. The following is a great example of natural short dreads. With the curl pattern, the dreads appear slightly twisted, framing the face, and providing a more defined jawline.

short natural twist dreadlocks hairstyles

7. Free, Long Dreads on Type 1 Hair

Depending on your hair type, growing dreads may be more of a challenge. As you can see with these dreads, even if you have mostly straight hair, with some effort you can grow dreadlocks or opt for faux locs.

Free, Long Dreads on Type 1 Hair

9 Critical Dreadlock Tips

  1. To make a nice secure twist that will not unravel, be sure to twist each piece of hair tautly around the other by using your fingertips. Attempt to get as many revolutions as possible. Also, ensure that ample holding product is applied as well. Use metal clips to secure the twist at the base.
  2. Twisting on dry hair can cause hairs to snap.
  3. Once you reach the end of the twist and wrap it around your finger to secure the ends. Next, if you are unable to create a coil on the end, try creating a pin swirl with your fingers and secure it with a metal clip.
  4. Using conditioner is taboo when it comes to dreadlocks; however, it is a needed product to help keep the hair strands in their best condition. Also, keep in mind, that the ends of the hair are the oldest and need the most care. Using creamy conditioners in locs, especially starter locs, is not recommended; however, the ends of the hair must be taken care of. Try using a finishing rinse on the ends. This will help keep the oldest part of your hair conditioned. We recommend using Aubrey Organics Green Tea Finishing Rinse.
  5. Never use beeswax or grease (petroleum jelly) on your locks. These ingredients cause buildup and they attract lint and dirt.
  6. When washing your hair, wear a stocking cap- this will help maintain the integrity of your starter locks.
  7. Reduce lint in locs after washing by using a dark colored microfiber towel. This way, the lint will be black or dark colored and not white, which is more visible.
  8. Twisting too tight and/or to frequently can thin or weaken the base of the lock. You will need to experiment to find the right length of time that you are able to go between each retightening session. If you find that you have signs of distressed hair, you will need to evaluate your method and technique that will preserve your delicate tress.
  9. During the teenage/middle stage of your loc journey, where your hair may not be willing to cooperate, tie your hair down at night and/or where an updo whenever possible.

1. How to make natural dreadlocks

If you’ve never done or worn dreadlocks before but want to try, first you need to find out how to do dreadlocks. It may be a challenging task for beginners, but with our How To Do Dreadlocks step by step guide you’ll have beautiful dreadlocks in no time.

Note that this tutorial will teach you how to make dreadlocks without wax, since wax is mostly used at hair salons and can be damaging to weak and brittle hair. Here is how to do dreads yourself using braids:

  1. This method is often recommended to people who want to know how to make dreadlocks with short hair, but it also works great on longer hair. Shampoo and condition your hair, dry it completely and divide into equal strands.
  2. The size of the strands depends on how thick you want your dreads to be. Each dread will be roughly the same size as the braids.
  3. Turn every strand one by one into tight braids, securing the ends with rubber bands.
  4. Leave the braids for as long as needed for the dreadlocks to form, washing the hair when necessary but avoiding conditioning the hair.
  5. Use a crochet hook to put stray hairs back into the braids. You can also twist your braids to speed up the process.
  6. Normally the formation of perfect dreadlocks takes about a year, but you will notice first signs of locking within a few weeks from braiding.
  7. If you want to know how to get dreads fast, it’s best to avoid the use of hair products or keep it to a minimum, since various oils and conditioners slow down the dread formation.
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You can also learn how to do dreads by twisting. To do it, separate your hair in sections using the end of a rat tail comb. Divide every section into two strands, twisting them tightly from the root to the ends, securing with rubber bands. Then continue maintaining your twists to create that perfect dreadlock look.

3. How to maintain dreadlocks

Now that you know how to start dreads with short hair, you also need to know how to maintain your dreadlocks to give them the best look. Here are some dreadlock maintenance tips:

  1. Wear a silk scarf or bonnet when you go to bed to keep the dreadlocks from being ruined during sleep.
  2. After some time has passed from the dreadlock creation, you can experience scalp irritation and itching that happens due to skin dryness. Use a dreadlock conditioning spray to moisturize your scalp and get rid of the itchiness.
  3. Salt water is very helpful for the formation of the braids. Make a bottle of salt water and spray your hair every time you feel your locks are getting loose and unruly.
  4. Dreadlock washing is an important part of dreadlock maintenance. While washing your locks for the first few weeks is not a good idea, afterwards it’s really essential. Dry dreadlock shampoo bars or liquid dreadlock shampoo is your best choice for washing.
  5. Loose hairs are inevitable in the dread formation process, and there are many ways to solve this problem. You can pull the hairs back using a crochet hook, secure them with rubber bands, or use clockwise motions to press the hairs to the hair roots – that way your dreadlocks will form even faster and more naturally.

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Backcombing is a purely natural way to start your dreads and there won’t be any chemical damage done to it. The process leaves the hair looking instantly like dreadlocks and they shouldn’t take too long to mature, 3 months is about the average time for dreadlocks to settle when they have been done through backcombing.



 Backcombing can be incredibly time consuming, and you should expect it to take a couple of hours at least. It is best to try to convince some friends to assist you in making them or pop down to your local dread salon for some help. It can also be incredibly painful when you first start the backcombing, and it takes a lot of willpower to sit through the long process.


Getting dreadlocks requires a fair amount of commitment, as they need a high amount of maintenance to keep them looking good, and this is especially true in the first few months. However, dreads are addictive and once your have them, you will find it very hard to look back.

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