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How to Get Dreadlocks: a Complete Guide From Start to Finish (2024)

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how to get dreads

Embracing change and individuality, dreadlocks offer a unique journey into the world of hairstyling. Whether you’re aiming for a statement of freedom, a sense of belonging, or simply a new look, understanding how to get dreads is your first step.

The Art of Dreadlocking

Dreadlocks offer a unique journey into the world of hairstyling. They are a means of embracing change, expressing individuality, and asserting control over your appearance. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you understand the process of getting dreads.

1. Understanding Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks are a style of hair where the strands are locked together to form a cohesive rope-like structure. They can be created using various methods, and the technique you choose will depend on your hair type and lifestyle.

2. Choosing the Right Technique

There are several methods for creating dreadlocks, including:

  • Interlocking: This method involves using a tool to interlock the hair, creating a tight and secure dreadlock. It’s a good option for those with thick, coarse hair.

  • Two-Strand Twists: This method involves twisting two strands of hair together to create a rope-like structure. It’s a good option for those with loose, curly hair.

    3. Preparing Your Hair

Before you start creating your dreadlocks, it’s important to prepare your hair. This may involve:

  • Washing Your Hair: It’s recommended to wash your hair before starting the dreadlocking process. This will remove any build-up and make it easier to create the locks.

  • Sectioning Your Hair: Dividing your hair into sections will make it easier to create the dreadlocks. The size of the sections will depend on the size of the dreadlocks you want.

    4. Creating Your Dreadlocks

Once your hair is prepared, you can start creating your dreadlocks. This will involve:

  • Backcombing: This involves combing your hair backwards towards the root, causing it to mat and lock together.

  • Palm Rolling: This involves rolling the dreadlock between your palms to help it lock together.

    5. Maintaining Your Dreadlocks

Once your dreadlocks are created, it’s important to maintain them. This may involve:

  • Washing Your Dreadlocks: It’s recommended to wash your dreadlocks once a week to keep them clean and healthy.

  • Retightening Your Dreadlocks: Over time, your dreadlocks may become loose. Retightening them will help keep them secure.

    Embracing the Journey

Getting dreadlocks is a journey, and it’s important to embrace the process. Whether you’re aiming for a statement of freedom, a sense of belonging, or simply a new look, understanding how to get dreads is your first step.

With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to find the perfect technique for your hair type and lifestyle.

Key Takeaways

Dreadlocks are a versatile hairstyle that can express individuality, cultural identity, or a desire for a new look. They are formed by locking strands of hair together into rope-like structures using various methods such as interlocking, two-strand twists, backcombing, and palm rolling.

The choice of technique for starting dreadlocks depends on hair type and personal preference. For example, interlocking is suitable for thick, coarse hair, while palm rolling is gentler and better for those with patience and a focus on scalp health.

Regular maintenance of dreadlocks is crucial for healthy hair and scalp. This includes regular washing to prevent residue buildup, and adopting styling options and care practices that promote healthy formation and prevent tension breakage.

Undoing dreadlocks is possible but requires patience, careful combing, and avoidance of harsh chemicals. Dreadlock extensions can provide instant length and volume but necessitate proper care to maintain the health of the natural hair.

How to Get Dreads

How to Get Dreads
To get dreadlocks, you can choose from various methods like backcombing, twisting, or using a crochet hook to knot and mat the hair into dreads. The process involves sectioning the hair, creating the dreads, and maintaining them with proper washing and care.

How to Get Dreadlocks

How to Get Dreadlocks
Embarking on the journey of starting dreadlocks is like setting sail into a sea of self-expression and cultural heritage.

The allure of dreadlocks, or locs, lies not just in their unique beauty but in their rich history and the sense of belonging they offer.

However, diving into this adventure comes with its own set of challenges. From choosing the right method—be it two-strand twists for those seeking thick, lush locs, to understanding the maintenance dance to keep them thriving—every step is crucial.

Yet, the benefits of dreadlocks, like their low maintenance and protective qualities, often outweigh the drawbacks, such as the patience required during the starter locs phase.

And if you ever feel the need to change course, undoing dreadlocks is a voyage in itself, filled with discoveries about your hair and identity.

Choosing the Right Method for You

Choosing the Right Method for You
Selecting the ideal method for starting your dreadlocks hinges on personal preferences and hair type.

Consider the maintenance involved and the potential impact on your scalp’s health as you make your choice.

Method Suitability

Choosing the right dreadlock method involves considering several factors, including method safety, hair texture, and scalp type.

  • Crochet faux locs: This method offers quick styling, making it a convenient choice for those who want dreadlocks in a short amount of time.

  • Backcombing: This technique adds volume to your hair. However, it may not be the best option for those with sensitive scalps due to the potential for damage.

  • Palm rolling: This is a gentle method that requires patience, as it can take longer to achieve the desired results.

  • Two-strand twists: Resembling mini twists, this method is great for creating thick locs. It’s a good option for those who want a more textured look.

Your time commitment also plays a significant role in determining the best approach for you. If you’re looking for a quicker method, crochet faux locs might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re willing to invest more time and want a gentler approach, palm rolling could be the right choice.

For those who want a more voluminous look, backcombing could be the best option, while those seeking thick locs might prefer two-strand twists.

Maintenance Requirements

When choosing your dreadlock method, consider the impact on scalp health and hair growth.

Regular washing is crucial for maintaining scalp health and preventing residue buildup. However, the frequency and method of washing may vary depending on the chosen dreadlock method.

In addition to washing, your routine should include styling options and care practices that promote healthy dreadlock formation. This may involve using specific products or techniques to keep your dreadlocks tidy and free from damage.

Whether you plan to remove your dreadlocks or simply keep them looking their best, proper maintenance is key. A well-maintained dreadlock style can boost your confidence and add to your personal style.

In summary, the choice of dreadlock method and subsequent maintenance routine are both important factors in promoting healthy scalp and hair growth. By prioritizing proper care and upkeep, you can enjoy your dreadlocks with confidence and style.

Scalp Health Impact

When choosing a method for creating permanent dreadlocks, it’s crucial to prioritize your scalp’s health. Here are some considerations:


This method can lead to scalp damage if overdone. It’s a more invasive technique that involves interweaving the new growth into the existing dreadlock.

Palm Rolling

This method is gentler on the scalp. It involves rolling the dreadlock between the palms to tighten it.


This method can be rough on the scalp. It involves teasing the hair to create a mat, which is then rolled into a dreadlock.

Two-Strand Twists

This method is less tense than some other methods. However, it might unravel more easily. It involves twisting two strands of hair together to create a rope-like structure, which is then coiled to form a dreadlock.

Crochet Faux Locs

This method often requires a professional touch to avoid hair irritation. It involves using a crochet hook to create the locs by looping and knotting the hair.

Aim for thick locs without tension breakage. This means finding a balance between tight enough to create a durable dreadlock and loose enough to avoid putting too much stress on the scalp and hair follicles.

Method 1: Interlocking

Method 1: Interlocking
Transitioning into the world of dreadlocks, you’re likely pondering how to get dreads that reflect your unique spirit.

Let’s dive into Method 1: Interlocking. This technique involves weaving the tip of your loc through the base near the scalp, either with a crochet tool or your fingers. It’s a fantastic way to keep your locs looking neat with minimal fuss. However, a word to the wise: excessive use can lead to scalp damage.

So, while interlocking can be a cornerstone of your loc journey, remember, moderation is key. This method suits those with long hair and a deep appreciation for dreadlock history, offering a blend of tradition and personal expression.

Method 2: Palm Rolling

Method 2: Palm Rolling
Transitioning from the meticulous art of interlocking, let’s unravel the simplicity of palm rolling. This technique is like giving your locs a gentle massage, rolling them between your palms to encourage knots to tighten and locs to form.

It’s a less intense method than interlocking, offering a reprieve to your scalp while still keeping your dreadlocks on point.

Palm rolling is a go-to for maintenance, especially when you’re aiming to prevent hair damage and manage scalp irritation. Plus, it’s a champ at maintaining the styling versatility of real hair dreadlocks.

Remember, though, consistency is key—regular rolling sessions will keep your locs looking sharp and well-defined without the fuss.

Method 3: Backcombing

Method 3: Backcombing
When you’re aiming for dreadlocks that scream independence and heritage, backcombing is a tried-and-true method that offers styling versatility and long-term results.

  1. Section your hair into squares for uniform dreads; think chessboard chic.
  2. Tease each section towards the scalp, gently—no need to wage war on your hair.
  3. Aim for a firm but kind touch to avoid scalp sensitivity and minimize hair damage.
  4. Patience is key; let those knots mature like a fine wine for cultural significance and strength.

Method 4: Two Strand Twists

Method 4: Two Strand Twists
Moving on from the somewhat intense backcombing method, let’s ease into the gentler world of Two Strand Twists.

This approach is like a soft whisper compared to the shout of backcombing, offering a more nurturing path to starting locs. Imagine intertwining two strands of hair, like dancers in a close embrace, to form twists that eventually mature into locs.

It’s a method that’s as easy as pie, often done at home, and it’s a real boon for those with long hair aiming for a thick loc’d look.

But patience is key, as the twist pattern might play hard to get, taking its sweet time—up to two years—to skedaddle. And while avoiding breakage is the name of the game, keep an eye out for twist unraveling, a pesky gatecrasher in your loc journey.

Regular hair washing and steering clear of scalp irritation are your trusty sidekicks here, ensuring your hair’s health isn’t left by the wayside.

Method 5: Crochet Faux Locs

Method 5: Crochet Faux Locs
Transitioning from the simplicity of two-strand twists, let’s dive into the world of crochet faux locs.

This method is a game-changer if you’re after dreadlocks without the long-term commitment. You’ll use a crochet hook to weave synthetic hair into your natural locks, creating that sought-after dreadlock look.

The installation techniques are straightforward, but getting them just right might require a helping hand—perhaps a friend or a pro. With a variety of synthetic hair options, you can switch up your style on the fly, embracing aesthetic versatility.

Just remember, maintenance frequency is key to keeping your faux locs looking fresh.

Dreadlock Maintenance

Dreadlock Maintenance
After hooking you up with crochet faux locs, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of dreadlock maintenance.

You wouldn’t want scalp irritation to rain on your parade, right? So, wash your dreads regularly—cleanliness is next to godliness, especially for your locks.

And remember, a dry scalp is a sad scalp. Moisturize like your hair’s life depends on it, because, well, it does.

Palm roll your way to neatness, but don’t overdo it; you’re aiming for tight locs, not a headache.

Treat your dreads with love, and they’ll be your crowning glory, a testament to your unique journey.

The History of Dreadlocks

The History of Dreadlocks
Diving into the history of dreadlocks, you’re not just exploring a hairstyle but a rich tapestry of culture, symbolism, and religion.

The origin of dreadlocks is a journey through time, touching ancient civilizations where they signified wisdom, devotion, and strength.

Whether it’s the spiritual Sadhus of India or the fierce warriors of Africa, dreadlocks have always been more than mere hair. They’re a declaration of identity, a bridge to the divine, and a badge of honor across various cultures.

Embracing dreadlocks isn’t just a style choice; it’s connecting with a legacy that champions freedom, belonging, and control.

Can Dreadlocks Be Undone?

Just like the rich tapestry of dreadlock history, your hair’s journey can take new turns.

Wondering if you can reverse the path from dreadlocks back to free-flowing locks? Absolutely, you can unravel this symbol of individuality, though it’s no walk in the park. It’s a testament to the dreadlock community’s spirit of transformation that with patience and the right care, even the most mature locs can be coaxed apart.

You’ll trade hours of careful combing for the freedom of untamed tresses. Remember, dreadlock styles evolve, but so can your hair story.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I bleach or dye my dreads?

Yes, you can bleach or dye your dreads, but tread lightly! Overdoing it might leave them dry and brittle, risking breakage.

Always follow up with deep conditioning to keep your locks luscious.

How often should I wash my locs?

Wash your locs every 1-4 weeks, depending on your lifestyle and hair type.

Listen to your scalp’s needs, and don’t let myths hold you back.

Happy washing!

What products should I avoid with locs?

Avoid sulfates, formaldehyde, parabens, mineral oils, and alcohols in your loc care products; they can strip moisture, cause buildup, and damage your hair.

Stick to natural, lightweight alternatives for healthy locs.

Can locs cause hairline recession?

Yes, locs can indeed lead to hairline recession, especially if they’re too tight or heavy.

It’s like wearing a hat that’s a tad too snug – eventually, it’ll leave its mark.

Are dreadlock extensions a good option?

Dreadlock extensions are a fantastic shortcut to achieving your dream locks without the long wait.

They’re versatile, offering instant length and volume, but remember, they require care to keep your natural hair healthy and happy.


Embarking on the journey to get dreads is like weaving your own story into the fabric of your hair, each lock a testament to individuality and resilience.

By choosing the right method, you’re setting the stage for a style that reflects your unique spirit and lifestyle. Whether you opt for interlocking, palm rolling, backcombing, two-strand twists, or crochet faux locs, proper maintenance ensures your dreadlocks remain a vibrant expression of freedom.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.