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How To Get Dreads: 5 Fool-Proof Tips For Black Men (& Women)

Last Updated on: May 9, 2024

So, you want to loc your hair?

Welcome to the dreadlocks community in advance.

You’ll enjoy the simple daily hair care routine and the versatile ways to style dreadlocks.

But:

Before you worry about styling dreads, you need to grow them. Thus, we want to show you how to get dreadlocks using simple DIY techniques that don’t need expensive equipment like an egg hairdryer.

What You Need To Create Dreadlocks

Before discussing how to make dreads, let’s mention a few supplies needed in dreading techniques.

Shampoo 

Best Shampoos for Black Men's Hair
Best Shampoos for Black Men’s Hair

The first step is shampooing, so you work with clean hair. Since you’ll be washing your hair regularly, even after dreading it, use a mild, residue-free shampoo, without cleansing agents that leave your afro-textured hair dry.

Dreadlock Wax

Dread Wax
Dread Wax

The finger coil technique we’ll discuss needs locking gel. You’ll use a small amount to avoid residue that can prevent your dreads from knotting. Also, using too much locking gel leaves you with wet dreads. When they’re not completely dry, they smell.

Afro Pick/ Fine Toothed Comb

Afro Pick
Afro Pick

Choose an accessory to section your hair. Most people use an afro pick, but some techniques, such as backcombing, require a comb. Additionally, buy some hair clips or rubber bands.


How To Do Dreads In These 5 Ways

You can have dreadlocks by tonight with some of these techniques. Read on!

1. Twist And Rip

This method’s name is somehow misleading. But, don’t worry, we’ll not ask you to rip your loose strands out. Its name describes how you’ll knot your hair. See the process below.

Step 1

Wash your hair to prepare it for dreading. Rub it in one direction so that it starts knotting.

Step 2

Dry your hair completely. Let your hair air dry so it doesn’t smell or get moldy. It’s also the best drying method for hair that loses moisture fast, such as curly hair.

Step 3

Divide your hair into a small section, about the size of medium dreadlocks, and secure the rest with an elastic band. Thin or thick dreads aren’t a bad idea either.

Step 4

Apply wax and palm roll the sectioned hair. Twist it from the root to the middle of the single strand and separate the hair like you’re ripping it apart. Doing this stops it from unraveling after palm rolling.

Takeaway

Note that palm rolling your starter locs at least once a day for the next few weeks will make them knot faster.

2. How To Make Dreads By Backcombing

How do you comb your natural hair? You brush it from the scalp towards your hair tips. To knot it, you’ll do so in the opposite direction. It’ll give you as much volume as needed to form thick dreads. Here’s how.

Step 1

Shampoo, moisturize and dry your hair, ready for backcombing. Use a residue-free shampoo to remove hair products that may prevent your hair from knotting. 

Step 2

Split your hair into several sections, clip them or tie a rubber band. 

Step 3

Plant a fine-toothed comb into a small hair section and comb towards the root while holding the hair tips with your free hand.

Takeaway

Start dreadlocks close to the scalp, about three inches away, move the comb up, then continue backcombing towards the scalp. 

It’ll look like a mess at first, but it’s one of the fastest ways to develop locs naturally. 

You can do this to straight or wavy hair. However, it’s not the best method for kinky hair as its coils form little knots that are painful to backcomb.

3. Finger Coil Technique

It’s the most popular of all the methods we’ll discuss as it gives you neat dreadlocks. Finger coiling also doesn’t pull your hair like other techniques; therefore, no damage to your scalp. 

Here’s how to start dreads using the finger coil technique.

Step 1

Section your hair into four parts and clip them.

Step 2

Pull out hair the size of a loc from one section using an afro pick. You can hold the rest of the section back with a clip, or it’ll get caught in the loc when you start twisting.

Step 3

Spritz the hair you pulled out to dampen it for your fingers to run through without tangling it. 

Step 4

Oil the root of the wet hair using molding gel or dread wax as a binder. 

Step 5

Palm roll the strand until it coils.

Step 6

Clip the finished dreads to stop them from unraveling and proceed to section another area.

Repeat the dreading process until you knot all your hair.

Takeaway

Keep a spray bottle nearby, as you’ll spritz the other sections as you work on them.

4. Braiding

This method also gives you neat locs of equal sizes. It’s fast, plus it’s a natural styling method as you don’t need wax. You can work on hair that’s about an inch long. Here’s how.

Step 1

Divide your hair into manageable sections and clip them except the part you want to start braiding.

Step 2

Pull out hair about the size of a dreadlock from the free section. Your dreads can be perfect squares or any other shape. Split the hair you pulled out into three parts.

Step 3

Put one of the three parts over the other sequentially until it forms a neat braid. We’ll show you how to do that in a video later in the article.

Step 4

Wax the hair and palm roll it to tighten the pattern. If you made a neat braid, you don’t need to palm roll it. Also, if your hair unravels, tie rubber bands at the tip of the dreadlocks. It’s necessary if you have straight or chemically treated hair.

Step 5

Leave the braids on until the hair knots. It can take a few months to see good results. During that time, wash your hair to remove build-up and moisturize it regularly without undoing the braids. Keep your scalp clean to prevent residue that might stick to your locs. 

You might have to do an apple cider vinegar rinse at least once or use a clarifying shampoo to remove lint and residue caused by the wax.

Takeaway

One advantage of braiding is that you’ll not worry about your starter locs unraveling.

If you don’t know how to braid, you can split the hair into two parts and twist it instead.

5. Wool Rubbing Technique

We listed it last because you won’t enjoy the friction from a woolen hat if you have afro-textured hair. Rubbing might increase frizz on dry hair too.

But, if none of the other methods work, you can try the wool rubbing technique. Do it daily until the hair locs.

Here’s how to do dreads using the wool rubbing method:

Step 1

Rub a woolen hat or sweater on your hair in circles until knots form.

Step 2

Rip large knots apart and rub the woolen hat again to form new knots that are the average size of dreadlocks.

Step 3

Rub the hat daily until the locs tighten.

Takeaway

Wrap your dreadlocks with a satin scarf at night to prevent friction that may knot several dreads together since they aren’t neat as when you create dreadlocks by braiding.

Here’s a bonus technique. It’s a bit demanding, so you might take some time to learn it.

6. Crochet Method

It’s a good choice for long hair, and it’s a simple locking process that doesn’t use gel or wax. You only need a crochet hook to pull loose hairs through. On top of that, you don’t have to wash your hair first to retouch it using a crochet needle.

Let’s look at stunning ways to style dreadlocks since you now know how to make dreads.


Top Dreadlock Styles To Try Now

As with all hairstyles, your facial features and hair type guide your choice. Let’s look at a few ideas.

Dreadlocks Bun And Undercut Fade

Show off your long locs on the crown while keeping the rest of your hair short and manageable. 

1. Short Dreads

Short dreads fall over the forehead but aren’t too long that they touch the eyebrows.

It’s a stylish, ageless style.

2. Ponytail

Pull your dreadlocks to the back of your head if you don’t want to do a high bun.

3. High Top Locs

Instead of a man bun, cut the dreads short at the crown, then taper your sides and back. You’ll have short dreads at the crown and a taper around them.

4. Braided Locs

It’s the best style after retouching your locs because it keeps them together as the new growth knots. This style works for short and long dreadlocks.

Shaver’s Cut: Maybe you’re more interested in having a bun instead. If this is your choice, then read our post about this hairstyle — Black Man Bun.


Watch This!

As promised earlier, watch Keisha Arielle show us how to get dreads by braiding three-inch natural hair.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make dreadlocks at home?

Yes, you can! All the techniques discussed are great DIY ways to get dreads. They aren’t so technical that you’d need a stylist’s help. If you want to get neat locs, then let someone help you section your hair. Also, locs are permanent. You can’t change their size once hair knots.

As you compare the techniques we described, remember to choose a dreading method for your hair texture and length. Why? The braiding method works well on textured, curly hair, but straight hair unravels fast. On the other hand, using a woolen sweater on textured hair increases frizz.

Do dreadlocks hurt the scalp?

No, dreadlocks don’t hurt the scalp when you knot your hair gently without pulling it or over twisting. Additionally, moisturize your scalp whenever you wash your hair as locs expose it to weather elements that can dry it fast.

Is there a simple dread style?

Yes, there is. When you stop styling or taking care of your hair, it’ll knot fast; however, it would be a mass of knots but not dreads. The alternative, simple method is to braid or twist it in sections to define the dreads’ size and have neat, matted hair.

If you want a temporary solution, get faux locks. Walk into a hair salon with natural hair and leave with a head full of faux locs a few hours later. Zendaya is a pro in that.


Conclusion

Watching your hair grow into neat dreadlocks is one of the best feelings for natural hair enthusiasts.

It’s a process that starts when you decide how you want to make dreadlocks, whether to apply dread wax, twist your locs, or use a crochet hook.

Think about your hair length and texture as you choose how you want to grow dreads. Further, consider how often you need to fix loose hair as some techniques, such as braiding and crocheting, are neater.

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