Dreadlocks: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

dreadlocksDreadlocks are ropes of hair. This style is also known as Jata, Sanskrit, dreads, or locs, which all use different methods to encourage the formation of the locs such as rolling, braiding, and backcombing.

On the surface, dreadlocks are “free formed” locs of hair.

There is a common misconception that dreadlocks are dirty. In reality, they are not. The process of keeping the hair clean and in good condition is important to have healthy dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks also have a deep affiliation with the African and Rastafarian religion and lifestyle.

Note, that just as straight, curly, and short styles vary among the mass population, dreadlocks are no different. The way that a person chooses to wear their hair is a personal choice.

Cultural Significance

Several 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 look, will dye their hair with red ochre or root extracts to get the desired look.

Maasai Warrior
Maasai Warrior with 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 inspire the dreadlocks that Rastafarians wear.

The Revival of the Dreadlocks

reggae music
Young Rasta man playing a drum

Once 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 the dreadlocks more for style than cultural or religious reasons.

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 Line
The 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.

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

Dreadlock Hairstyles with Pictures

Dreadlock hairstyles have been popular for a long time. Here are some of our favorite dreadlock hairstyles. Despite the growing hair and fashion trends, the ombré hair-dying technique is still at the top of many women’s list, and men seem to have picked up on the color as well.

The truth is that dreadlock hairstyles for men tend to look awesome when some color is added and the ombré effect from black at the roots to honey blonde at the ends does just the trick.

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 lose. 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.

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 patten, the dreads appear slightly twisted, framing the face, and providing a more defined jaw line.

short natural twist dreadlocks hairstyles

5. Long Textured Dreads on Type 4 Hair Type

short natural twist dreadlocks hairstyles

6. Young Blonde with Dreads

Young blonde girl with dreads

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

Dreadlocks Today and Sports

Dreads have also found their way into many different popular professional sports, ranging from the facial dreadlocks worn by Drew Gooden to the long back dreadlocks of NFL Larry Fitzgerald.

The majority of professional sports players that are wearing the dreadlocks are of African-American decent. However, white athletes like US soccer sensation Kyle Beckerman have begun sporting the dreadlocks look.

Since Ricky Williams started wearing dreadlocks back in the 90s, the trend has exploded. Many players now can be seen on the football field wearing locs.

In 2012, there were over 180 players in the NFL wearing dreadlocks.

Historically, defensive players are more likely to wear dreadlocks. Defensive players are less likely to be tackled by their hair.

Players who wear long dreadlocks are at risk of easily being tackled by their hair. Dreadlocks can give the other team a competitive advantage because the hair is easy to grasp.

Currently, the NFL does not have a rule against tackling a player by their hair. It is considered to be a part of the uniform. If a player understands the risks and wears locs, they have to deal with the consequences.

Here is an example of how dreads can affect gameplay:

Todd Gurley of the St. Louis Rams was considered out of bounds because his dreadlocks crossed the out of bounds line.

Also, there have been instances in the NFL where a player had his dreadlocks ripped out during a tackle.

Dreadlocks: Step-by-step Video Tutorial

Recommended Products

Dreadlock 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.

Beads: There are many creative ways you can decorate dreads. Beads are one of them. Not only are they stylish, they’re 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.

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.

How to Make Dreadlocks for Type 1 or Type 2 Hair

The techniques used to make dreadlocks for type 1 straight hair or type 2 wavy hair differs slightly from the more common techniques used for type 3 curly hair or type 4 kinky hair. If you have a type 1 or type 2 hair type, the tutorial below will show you the necessary steps to make dreadlocks for your hair type.

How to Get Faux Dreadlocks Tutorial

Faux locs have become really popular for those who simply want to try dreadlocks for a relatively short period of time. Faux locs (temporary dreadlocks) use extensions or hair weave to create a beautiful natural hair style that emulate real locs. If you’re interested trying faux locs before you make the leap to real locs, check out the tutorial below and this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I read about the history of dreadlocks?

Check out these books on dreads.

What are dreadlocks?

On the surface, dreadlocks are “free formed” locks of hair.  There is a common misconception that dreadlocks are dirty. In reality they are not.

The process of keeping the hair clean and in good condition  is important to have healthy dreadlocks. When the hair is left alone and nature is allowed to take its course, the hair mats and forms as it pleases. This is referred to as “free forming”.

Dreadlocks also have a deep affiliation with the African and Rastafarian religion and lifestyle. Note, that just as straight, curly, and short styles vary among the mass population, dreadlocks are no different. The way that a person chooses to care for their hair is a personal choice.

What are locs?

Locs are considered the mainstream version of dreadlocks. Locs are cultivated into a particular size and groomed/cleaned on a regular basis.

The term loc is often preferred because history shows that dreadlocks are sometimes: considered dreadful, the person wearing them is viewed as dreaded, or due to the non-religious affiliation.

Are the terms locs and dreadlocks interchangeable?

Well, it depends on who you are talking to. I would definitely ask the person which term they prefer, out of respect to the person. However, throughout this article, the words are used interchangeably.

How long will it take my hair to lock?

Softer textured hair generally takes longer to lock than coarse hair. Softer textures may take a year or longer to lock, while coarse hair can begin locking in only a few months.

The locking technique that is used plays a role as well. In order for the hair to lock, the hair has to mat and tangle.

How long does my hair have to be to start dreadlocks?

This question depends on how you decide to start your locks. You are able to start the locing process with only a couple months of growth – assuming that you decided to big chop.

Some techniques will allow that you to keep relaxed ends attached in the beginning and you can cut them off later. With other techniques, you may have to wait several months until you have at least 4 inches of hair.

What is the best way to make locs uniform?

Making locs uniform comes with technique. Ensure that you tighten your new growth using the same technique and direction each time. If you are palm rolling, be sure to palm roll in the same direction all the time.

The goal is to keep your technique consistent. Keep in mind that each loc is different;  with each potentially having different textures of hair that may not behave as the neighboring locs.

How to size locs or dreadlocks?

If you have fine (thin) hair, your base should be big enough to support the starter loc. Also, keep in mind that your starter locks should be relative in proportion to your base. Generally, ¼ inch * ¼ inch may yield about the size of a standard No. 2 pencil.

Can you remove dreadlocks or locs?

Yes, dreadlocks or locs can be removed. For this answer to be true, take two things into consideration: (1) the technique that was used to create your starter locks and for dreadlock maintenance and (2) how mature your locks are. More mature locs may be more difficult to detangle than the younger portion, so you may decide to cut the oldest part off first before detangling.

Which locking techniques are easier to take down later?

Comb coils, finger coils, and two strand twists are the easier to take down because the hair has not been manually woven and manually intertwined.

Can you wash dreadlocks?

Locs or dreadlocks should be washed at regular intervals to remove dirt and odor, just as you would loose hair. In fact, wetting the hair encourages the hair to tangle more.

What products should I avoid with dreadlocks or locs?

Avoid beeswax and petroleum jelly. These products cause build up which attract dirt and lint. Avoiding creamy consistencies will help keep your locs clean of white residue. Finally, using detangling products in the early locking stages will prolong the locking process.

What type of products should I use on my dreadlocks?

Think of your locs as a finely meshed net. The job of this net is to filter everything that you put on your hair. As a rule of thumb, do not use products that will get visibly caught in the net. Gravitate towards oils, clear shampoos and clear gels.

How do I make my dreadlocks or locs grow faster?

Keep in mind that everyone has a growth cycle that consists of four phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), telogen (resting) and exogen (shedding). The best way to encourage and optimize hair growth is to eat a balance diet, exercise regularly, and drink adequate water.

Questions to ask the loctian?

  • What products are you using to loc my hair and to maintain it?
  • What technique are you using to tighten my dreadlocks?
  • Where can I purchase these products?
  • What tools will be used on my hair? Take a look at the tools and ask where you can purchase them.

The Stages of Dreadlocks

The three basic stages of dreadlocks are starter locks, teenage/middle locks, and mature locks.

Oh, Your Twists Are Cute

Starter Locs: Your loc journey will begin with starter locs. Everyone will begin here regardless of the technique chosen. This stage will not resemble “mature” locs yet and it may go undetected that you have actually chosen to pursue a dreadlock journey.

Important elements will take place during this stage within your locs. When your starter locs are first installed, there aren’t any knots, tangles, or matting taking place at the time. However, over the next few months, as your hair is allowed to “set”, the inner strands of the hair will begin to naturally knot and tangle.

Congratulations! You have knots or buds.

Knots or Buds: Knots are a very important step in your locing journey.  Knots occur when your hair begins to loc and this is how it starts. Think of these knots as a seed that has been planted.

On the outside, the hair is continuingly wrapping itself around neighboring strands of the starter locs. This intertwining creates sort of a cocoon for the inter knots that will expand as your dreadlocks mature. Be sure to continue to handle your starter locs with care as they are still getting “set” in their ways.

Oh, You’re Locing?

Teenage locs/ Middle stage: I like to think of this stage as the middle stage. Your locs are not really starter locs anymore but they are not mature locs, either. They are sort of caught in the middle and they are searching for their way.

Each locing experience will be different depending on the individual’s mindset about the events that are going to take place during this stage of the journey.

At the same time, due to the expanding of the internal knot(s) and the tightening of different strands of hair that are pulled as the knot(s) tighten, the dreadlock(s) will stand up and/or out appearing to be shorter and unruly and will no longer lay flat with the others. This is the stage where the locs show their personality.

Frizz is another major element of this stage. You may have the urge to beat the frizz by continually twisting the locs but don’t! This is only a short term fix, creating a disastrous future of thinning locs and a weak base.

Accept this is a part of the journey and you can use this time to experiment with head wraps. This stage is really about letting your hair naturally do what it wants to do. Before this stage is over, your locks will lay flat and hang more – showing signs of growth.

I like your locs!

Mature: The outer cocoon that was taking shape in the knots or buds stage is formed and completely encases the internal knots that have now encouraged internal matting in the inside and bye, bye frizz!

Some loc wears will not have sealed ends, but instead they will have a coil. Just like the coil or tendril at the end of their twists. The locs are taking shape and should no longer resemble the old starter locs. They are heavier, which makes them lay flat vs. standing out as in the teenage/middle stage.

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 cooperate, tie your hair down at night and/or where an updo whenever possible.

How to Get Dreadlocks

Hair Texture and Length: Why is the texture of your hair important for dreadlocks? The texture of your hair is the best indicator for which technique you should choose and how long it can take for your hair to lock. Generally, softer textured hair takes longer, as long as a year and coarser textured hair can lock in as little as a few months.

Curly, kinky, coily hair naturally twirls and tangles around the neighboring hair strands. This natural action is the key component to creating dread locks. If a person with naturally curly hair chooses not to comb their hair for a period of time, nor use any type of detangling product, their hair would lock effortlessly – on its own.

Does length really matter? You can begin your starter locks with as little as an inch of hair (that’s two months of growth, on average) with certain methods. For shorter hair, a locking tool will be needed to coax a coil pattern that will eventually morph or transform into a lock. If the hair is at least a few inches long, the fingers can be used and no tools are required. When the hair is long enough to grab and manipulate, the locking method is different.

Starter Locks: Starter locks are just that – they are the beginning babies that will transform and morph. Think of starter locks as two strand twists that are purposely installed with the intention of allowing them to mat and form into mature locks or dreadlocks.

Always wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo like Giovanni Triple Treat Clarifying Shampoo or Kinky Curly Knot Today to start with a clean slate and remove any product build up or oil from your hair strands. Do not apply thick, creamy conditioners to the hair, as this will cause build-up. Instead, use a hair rinse like Aubrey Organics Green Tea Finishing Rinse.

Never, under any circumstance, Back Comb or use Beeswax on your delicate tresses. Backcombing is never necessary for kinky, curly or coily hair and Beeswax causes buildup.

The base for starter locks = dreadlock size: Deciding on the base or how big the sections will be is important for two reasons: a good base provides a strong foundation for the lock and is a determinant for the size of the lock. Think of the base, just as you think of a foundation for a house. The foundation provides strength and stability to the structure of the house. If the base is weak, eventually, it will thin and due to the weight of the lock, the lock can fall off. So to prevent this from happening, choosing a base size that will support the weight of the locks is a best practice of preventive maintenance.

A large base does not necessary mean better. However, choosing the size that is proportionate with your desired thickness (size) of locks is more ideal. Understanding the thickness of your hair before you start creating your base will prove to be an invaluable piece of knowledge as you start your starter locks. If your base appears to be considerably bigger than the twist, where the twist looks too skinny or too thin compared to the base, make the base smaller in proportion to the thickness (size) of the twist.

How to part your hair for starter locks:
Parting is when you use a smooth rounded tip (ex. tail/handle of a comb) to draw a line in your hair and separate it into sections. This line can be straight, curved, or designed and any length. Parting can also be done with your fingers, but using this method creates a less defined line and uneven sections of hair.
The best practice technique, when creating parts for the dreadlock base, is to work in sections and in rows; regardless if you are using your fingers or a comb.

  1. Place the rat-tail comb firmly behind your ear; glide the tail of the comb up and across your scalp to the opposite side. This step creates two sections of hair from ear to ear.
  2. Use a duck bib clamp or ouchless bands to secure the front section of hair.
  3. Working with the hair that is loose in the back, place the tail of the rat-tail comb along the hairline, at the base of your neck in the center and move the comb upward until the middle part is reached. This step creates two sections (a left and right section) using the loose hair in the back of your head. You should now have three sections: front, left-back and right-back.
  4. Use a duck bib clamp or ouchless bands to secure the hair on the left side.
  5. Place the tail of the rat-tail comb ¼ inch or your desired height from the base of your hairline. Glide the comb straight across to the opposite side. Congrats, you have created the first row for your locks.
  6. Use a duck bib clamp or ouchless bands to secure the loose hair, so only your first row is loose.
  7. Working with the loose section only, part a ¼ inch wide vertical line (or your desired width), near your right your ear. This will create a box that will eventually mature into a beautiful healthy lock.
  8. Use your desired technique to create your starter locks (ex. Two Strand Twists)
  9. Once you complete the first starter lock, return to step seven to create another box for the next twist. Steps seven and eight will be repeated until all the loose hairs are starter locks.

43 Comments

  • My son is seven years old turning eight next month and about a month ago he told me he wanted to have dreads, so from that point I stopped getting his hair cut. Now I only take him to to get it lined up. I wash his hair once a week with organix’s shampoo and conditioner, I moisturize his hair daily, his hair is very curly right now I can pick it out or brush it for school and ten minutes later its curly again, they look like little beads all over his head. I do not know what to do start it, I want it to come in nice for him. I want to do it myself instead of taking him to someone and paying for it.

    • Hi @sinna1,
      You may want to start with two strand twist or comb coils. Start with article and I will help answer your questions. If I don’t know the answer, I will find out :)

  • Hi I just got starter locs yesterday. I feel anxious because I am not used to my hair being so flat. Well the anxious-ness is because I have to go to work and I don’t know what everyone will think. But once everyone sees it, I might feel better, lol……My question for you is…how long will it take for my locs to thicken, or fluff up some? Weeks? Months?

    • Congrats on your starter locs! In my experience, depending on the method you used to start your locs will determine if they are able to puff. You may find they may puff or fluff when moisture or humidity is introduced. Wear your starter locs with confidence and the rest will follow.

  • Interesting about “starter locs.” I had locs once, quite accidentally. I’d been wearing a wash and go all summer but skipped detangling one too many weeks so my hair had started locking on its own. I decided it was too much of a headache to detangle at that point, so I just let the process continue. Once my hair had locked at the roots and about two inches past the roots, I simply pried the big locs apart to form smaller ones. I by no means have soft hair, but it only took a few weeks for my locs to form. I’m always curious when people talk about “getting” locs, “starter” locs or “installing” locs. If you simply stop combing, brushing and detangling your hair, they will form all by themselves!

    • You are so right- free forming happens naturally (lol) Most times when people refer to “getting locs” or “starting locs” is the process of cultivating locs. Are you still loc’d?

  • I LOVE THIS!!!! Where were you guys in ’05!!!??? My journey would have been alot smoother with the info that is available today!!!! I encourage EVERY new Loc’er to appreciate and concider this blog!!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

  • This was some helpful information. I’m going into my second week since I started my locs and I’m frizzing up…considering a wig, but certainly not backing out!

  • Hi Zakyiah,
    I’m happy that you found the information helpful. You can try after you add your oil or product to your hair , try tying it down do the hair will lie down.

    • Thanks. I normally do tie my hair up at night, so I don’t really have issues with my hair sticking up. It’s the frizziness that’s bothering me lol. I will experiment more with oils, though…

      • Sometimes, tying the hair down helps to give it a smoother look. However, that technique may not work for all but many have had success with it. I love light oils- especially when people can create one that smells devine…!

        Good luck!

  • Hi, I recently started the loc’ing process (twists from short afro), I’m coming up on six weeks in a couple of days. I am so eager for my hair to grow and form into to the teen/middle stage. Can you elaborate on how long each stage generally takes? I was told to not expect mature dreads for at least a year. Is that accurate?
    Also, I see so many different types of dreads. Some very neat and attractive and others more rough and dirty looking? What can I do to maintain neat attractive dreads throughout this process. I have an office job and it makes me nervous to thing that when I get to the teen stage that my hair will start sticking staight up.

    • Hi NRishaM,

      As you may already know, starting locs or dreadlocs is a commitment. The locing process is really about patience. So try not to be eager but learn to appreciate the changes of your hair at each stage.

      Depending on the texture of your hair, it can possibly take a year or longer. When I was locing my hair, my crown area, which is the coarser area, loc’d the fastest. 6 months into my journey my hair was locing but it still looked like I had twists from far away. Then on some parts, it wasn’t loc’d at all; just a fuzzy little twist. I said all of that to say, it all depends. Keep in mind that for the hair to begin locing, the hair has to mat and tangle together.

      Keeping your locs clean (lint and grime free) is huge. I personally don’t mind frizz but some people do. I suggest keeping your hair tied down. Also, you can use bobby pins to pin the rebellious locs down if needed.

      I hope these tips help.

      Jael

  • Will my dreads puff up because they seem thinner than I want. I just started like 4 weeks ago. I’m a black teen male with “good” hair. Simlar to that of a mixed person but not quite as curly.

    • Hi Ziruss,
      Typically, the loc will “puff” and become more firm the older they get.
      If they are thin, you probably won’t experience as much puffiness as you would like but they will be pliable.

      Kira

  • This site is beautiful. Am 10 months old on my locs journey, my hair is the thin natured type but i like my dreads watching it and might try the necglect approach and see. Dreads are organic, artistic Healthy and customised…. Lol. Keep up the good work.

  • I started my locs in August, but I fell into the hands of a bad loctician who used scissors to cut my hair at the roots to “make my scalp clear”. Now I have plenty short hair that makes my scalp look dense, and my hair is generally unruly, with strands refusing to stay within the locs. I took out the front part and started again in October, so they are still young kinda. I thought of cutting my hair a lot of times, but I guess its all part of the journey…

    • Hey Nkiru,

      Thanks for sharing your experience.
      All journeys are unique and there is a lesson to learn.
      One question is to now ask questions before hand to understand their methods of grooming.
      Share your experience with them so they understand what is not acceptable for you and what is.

      All the best,

      Kira

  • I would like to start locs on my 4c hair but I would like to know what the best method for starter locs for my hair type. I would like to start with coils but I’m afraid my hair is too course for that style.

    • I started mine with small box braids. Tell your braider you want regular box braids with regular partings (no diamonds, etc.) Do NOT tell her that you’re starting locs or she may try to charge you extra.

      In 4 -6 weeks (or whenever you have enough new growth), go to a loctician and ask to have your hair latched. (You can see this technique on YouTube; just search for “loc latching”). You may even be able to do it yourself if you’re good at doing your own hair.

      I started my locs this way back in 2008. I was able to shampoo whenever I wanted without fear of my hair unraveling and I never had to deal with the “teenage” or “wild child” phase. This was a much less expensive option than Sisterlocs, and when my hair grew too long to latch I switched over to regular palm rolling. `

  • Hey this is a great post i started my locs in August so I’m almost four months in and I think I’m in the teenage stage because they definitely don’t look like comb coils anymore only at the very end of some of them do (i have type 4 hair btw) I wanted my locs to look pretty thick when they matured and some of them are a nice thickness that I like already but a lot of the ones in the back and the sides are a lot thinner than I want them to be. Will they get thicker soon maybe around my 8 month? Or will they stay this thin? And also when would be a good time to combine them if I don’t see progress in the thickness of them?

    • Hi Sabrina,
      It is possible they will thicken up as the loc continues to form. So first patience is the key :-)
      However you feel like the locs are still flatten, as you stated, combining is an option for support.
      Or there is always the option to comb the back and side locs out and make them an appropriate size.
      I don’t have a time table on combining. But I encourage you to snap a few pics over a few months to see if you can tell a difference while you are waiting. If you see they are thinning from the pics, it may be time to combine. If you can tell the locs are thickening, combining won’t be necessary.

      All the best,

      Kira

  • Hello,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to research and write such a wonderful and educative article. I have been trying to get locs for 3 months now, this is literally the third time I am restarting my starter locs. The first set was comb coil and I didn’t like them because my loctician started them big and I was scared the comb coil method won’t allow the hair to expand a lot during the locing process. I started the second set myself but the parting was not very uniform since I couldn’t see the back of my head. My third set of locs are now perfect and were started by my sister. The only problem is the fact that I don’t like the look of short twists on me. My plan was to wear a protective style on the twist like faux locs. I was planning on just wrapping the yarn around the hair and not using the traditional harsh faux loc method. I was however wondering if doing this will prevent my starter locs from getting ticker and puffing up and having the normal size?
    Thank you

    • Hi Morenike,
      I’m glad you have found the article informational and educational. Because your locs are young, to compress them or bind the with yarn may restrict them or make them skinnier than you anticipated.
      You always have the option of wearing a wig.

      All the best,

      Kira

  • Hi there. I’m a white gal 56 years old, with fine thin straight hair, it’s about 5-6 inches long. The last year I’ve just read and watched everything I came across, and am ready to stop perming my hair and to make the commitment to my dread journey. I’ve sectioned inch by inch areas, and have those sections in braids until my daughters can hang out at Christmas break and lend me their hands so to speak. My question is on the size of sections. I see so much scalp, seems like more than hair, lol! I know some of this is expected, and likely more so as the last 2 years my hair has thinned due to stress, which has resolved, and I am having stubbly regrowth. The resulting braids from those sections are about 1/2 a pencils width. Do I need to make the sections smaller? Not sure I’d have more than a wisp that I wouldn’t be able to work with myself. Also, at what point can I add permanent synthetic extentions? Thanks so much for your consideration as well as the wealth of information on this site.

    • Hi Cassie,
      Based on your comment, it appears you have low-density hair. Meaning, you have few strands per 1 square inch of your scalp. This also means your locks will be on the smaller (skinnier) in size in relation to your sections because you’ll have few strands of hair that will make the dread.
      You want the base and the lock to be in proportion to each other. You don’t want a big base and skinny dread. So, I’d say, keep what you have if you think they are in proportion.
      Also, since you want to add synthetic extensions, you want to make sure the dreadlock and the base are strong enough to carry the extra weight of the extensions since they are acting as an anchor. Before adding any extensions be sure the dread is completely locked (the dread is completely knotted and has few to no loose sections of hair and has a solid core).

      I hope you find this information helpful to your dread journey-

      #BeCurlCentric

      Kira

      • Thanks so much for the reply , Kira. I did just leave the sections as were and I’m happy with them, I like skinny dreads. Maybe in about 6 months I’ll do some extensions. I do have to get used to scalp sensations, lol. You info was very helpful, happy New Year!

  • Hello! So glad I found this article! Thank you!
    I am a 41yr old white girl with long (almost waist length) blond hair. My hair is SUPER straight and fine/somewhat thin. I have desperately wanted dreads for as long as I can remember, much to the dismay of most of my family. My long-haired hippie dad is the only one that says – go for it!
    I am ready to get started but with a full-time job and 5 kids – I don’t have an abundance of time to spend on my hair. I don’t think I want to dread all of my hair, not initially anyways and was wondering if there is a best method for doing partial dreads. Also, what is THE BEST method for my hair type?
    Thanks again for the great article!

    • Hi,
      No time is as good as the present- Go for it!
      There are several ways to start dreadlocks on SUPER straight hair. Here is what’s coming to mind:
      1. Backcombing
      2. Twist & Rip
      3. Crochet
      To explain it better for SUPER STRAIGHT hair, check out this video: http://bit.ly/2hBPwqN

      I hope this helps you!

      Kira

  • Hi,

    It’s been a little over a week since I’ve started my locs via comb twist. My hair is 4A and 4B mixed and very curly/wavy. I see a lot of scalp and my hair is thinning a little on the sides and in the middle due to genetics and hair loss post pregnancy. I love to see full looking head of locs and I really desire that full look myself. I see a lot of scalp and I am afraid the way it is now will look scalpy. Is there a way to part my hair where it looks fuller? Should I change it now and get smaller locs? Currently I have 86 locs.

    • Hi Fatima,
      I wouldn’t be concern about the scalpy look when the locs are freshly groomed.
      However, after a few weeks, the base parts should become less noticeable.
      Before you do anything drastic, give your hormones time to return to
      your prepreggers balance. Post-partum shedding can last from 1 to 6 months or more.
      When it comes to looking fuller, parting and hair type does matter in my opinion.
      Here is why: if your hair on the fine side, your base parts will need to be smaller because
      because you can only use so much hair per loc so its proposition in size to the base.
      No, I don’t think you should start over because your locs will thicken, shrink and poof over time as they mature.
      Let me ask you, if your locs ended up locing at the size they are currently, would you be happy with the size?
      If the answer is yes, don’t do anything. If the answer is no, you may want to make the smaller.

      I hope this helps!

      #BeCurlCentric

      Kira

  • I just started my starter locs with the comb method. They seem so thin ,I have thick hair. I recently did the big chop..I’m scared I will have thin locs and I don’t want them thin or too thick..is there a way to insure they will be the right size for me? My head is also on the smaller side..is there a certain amount of locs I should have?

    • Hi Sabrina,
      Thank you for your questions. So, is there a way to ensure your locs will be the right size for you?
      Technically, no. Here is why: your locs will thicken, shrink and poof over time as they mature.
      No, there is not a certain number you should have. The number of locs vary per person. There isn’t a magic number.
      Enjoy your journey!!

      Kira

  • So ive had my locs for about 7 moths almost eight now and i chose to have my locs hanging in front of my face. Now i changed my mind and i want them hanging over to the side. Is it too late for that is there something i can do?

  • Hi…Just had my starter locs installed in interlock method.. my concern though, are they dreads or sister locks?? they seem too thin??I’m afraid they won’t thicken??

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