How to Start Dreadlocks

how to start dreadlocks woman with blonde dreadlocks

Here is a guide to help you select the best method to start your dreadlocks whatever your hair type.

Different Methods on How to Start Dreadlocks

The good news is that there is no one single method for starting dreadlocks. Your hair type, hair length, lifestyle, and the size of locks you want to achieve all influence which type of technique will give you the best results.

Time to bust out those combs and get dread-y to create those locs!

How to Get Dreadlocks – The Crochet Method

The crochet technique uses a small crochet hook (0.6 mm) to create dreadlocks, hence the name. These very small hooks are difficult to come by in your local craft stores, so you may need to scour online to get one.

  1. Wash your hair with a residue free shampoo. Let it dry.
  2. Section your hair according to the lock size of your choice starting from the nape, forming a square at the base. Secure the sections with elastic bands.
  3. Once the hair has been sectioned, remove the elastic band and twist each section with your comb. Start from the middle and work your way down.
  4. Place your crochet hook between the hairs and pull. Make sure the hair is dry otherwise the crochet method won’t work.

Crocheting is a great method for both textured and straight hair. If you want to achieve that instant appearance of mature dreadlocks, then this one is for you.

how to get dreads
How to get dreads – The crochet method
Get dreadlocks crochet
How to get dreadlocks with the crochet method

Below is a video to show you how to start dreadlocks using the crochet method:

How to start dreadlocks – The Braiding Method

Many people use braids to start their dreadlocks because the process is fairly simple. No need for fancy tools—just a sectioning comb and you’re good to go! This method works best with afro hair.

Braiding allows you to evenly section your hair, which gives you total control over the size of your dreads.

  1. Wash your hair with a residue free shampoo. Let it dry. It’s important not to condition your hair because your braids won’t hold up if your hair is too soft.
  2. Determine the size of your locks and divide your hair into sections. The bigger the sections, the thicker the locks.
  3. Once the hair has been sectioned, remove the elastic per section and start braiding.
  4. When you’re done braiding your classic three-strand braid, wrap a single strand of hair around your braid and you should see your loc forming.

How to get dreads – The Two-Strand Twist Method

The two-strand twist method is best suitable for those with natural Afro-textured hair. Compared to other techniques, strand twists dread smoother and the locs look more visually appealing. However, strand twisted locs are not as durable as braided locs.

  1. Wash your hair and let it dry.
  2. Section your hair according to the lock size of your choice starting from the nape, forming a square at the base. Secure the sections with elastic bands.
  3. Once the hair has been sectioned, remove the elastic and separate each section into two parts.
  4. Spin the strands to one direction and pass them over each other, twisting them to the opposite direction.

The ends of your twists may loosen over time. You can use the palm rolling or comb twisting method to re-tighten them.

How to Start Dreadlocks – the Comb Twist Method

The comb twist technique is suitable for any hair length, but it works beautifully on short to chin length hair. It’s also best for fully natural hair as there is a high potential for breakage.  This method involves using a comb to twist the hair to create uniform looking coils.

  1. Wash your hair with a residue free shampoo. Let it dry.
  2. Section your hair according to the lock size of your choice starting from the nape, forming a square at the base. Secure the sections with elastic bands.
  3. Once the hair has been sectioned, remove the elastic and apply locking gel per section.
  4. Secure the strand of hair in the head of your comb and start twisting it.
  5. As you twist, pull the comb downwards to form the loc.

How To Get Dreadlocks – The Twist and Rip Method

The Twist and rip technique allows better control over the size and quantity of your dreadlocks. It often creates a messier looking dread, which tends to have more volume as compared to other methods of how to start dreadlocks.

how to get dreadlocks

  1. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. Let it dry.
  2. Section your hair according to the lock size of your choice starting from the nape, forming a square at the base. Secure the sections with elastic bands.
  3. Once the hair has been sectioned, remove the elastic per section and further divide the strands into little sections.
  4. Divide the section into two and twist them.
  5. Pull them apart as you would open a bag of chips.
  6. Twist again and then pull them apart.
  7. Repeat this motion as many times as it takes until you start noticing little knots forming. That’s your dread!

How to Start Dreadlocks – the Backcombing Method

Backcombing works well for both straight and textured hair. It’s more suitable for long hair, but can be used on hair as short as 3 inches.

This technique involves teasing each hair section up towards the roots and rolling it as you go. The locs may appear fuzzier and hollow while they are new, but will compress themselves over time.

  1. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. Let it dry.
  2. Section your hair according to the lock size of your choice starting from the nape, forming a square at the base. Secure the sections with elastic bands.
  3. Comb the hair upwards towards the scalp until it begins to stack up. Use the palm-rolling method to make the dreads neater and secure them in place.
  4. Lock the dreads with an elastic band once you’ve reached the end.

Backcombed locs are durable and look more seamless as the hair continues to grow, that’s why it’s one of the most preferred methods by many.

How to Get Dreads – The Freeforming Method

Freeforming means letting the dreadlocks shape on their own without you interfering in any way. Basically, you’re just letting your hair loc up on its own and do its own thing. You can easily do this if you never comb your hair after you wash it.

Without a doubt, the freeform method is the easiest way to create locks. However, it might take a long time if you don’t help your locs at all or if you don’t use any special products.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnv9JCqVhs0

You might also like – Why You Should Not Be Using Wax On Your Dreadlocks

How to Start Dreadlocks – the Interlocking Method

Often referred to as latch hooking, interlocking involves pulling the hair through itself in a rotating manner from the end of the loc to the root of the hair.

This method is best suitable for Afro-textured hair.

  1. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. Let it dry.
  2. Section your hair according to the lock size of your choice starting from the nape, forming a square at the base. Secure the sections with elastic bands.
  3. Insert the hook at the tip of the dread. Run the hook with the dread in it through the root of your loc. Continue the process until it becomes tight and creates a ‘Y’ shape.

Interlocking is also considered as a maintenance technique in which the end of the dreadlock is pulled through the base of the new hair growth to tighten it.

Why use a residue free dreadlock shampoo?

Washing your hair with a residue-free shampoo will help you prevent build-up that may cause odors and bacterial growth.

Click here to buy a residue free shampoo.

Is it necessary to dry the hair completely prior to dreading?

Yes. Damp hair promotes mold and mildew growth. Plus, it’s a lot more difficult in some cases to dread wet hair instead of dry hair.

Do you really have to secure each section with an elastic band?

Placing elastic bands at the base of each section can help save you a lot of time, since you don’t have to keep on sectioning your hair as you go. However, some people who are used to doing dreads can do away with it.

Is locking gel better than locking wax?

If you really need to use a product to start your dreadlocks, we would recommend using a light gel instead of wax. Locking wax tends to produce build-up which can promote bacterial and mold growth.

how to get dreads