Congos are a dreadlocks hairstyle that’s getting more and more popular by the minute. And Loc’d Kings and Queens everywhere are looking for the right tutorial to help them create Congo dreadlocks at home.
But how do you know whether the information and tutorials you’re seeing are reliable? That’s where we come in. In this article, we’ll teach you the ins and outs of how to get Congo dreads. Let’s get right into it!
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Congo Dreads?
- 2 How To Get Congo Dreads
What Are Congo Dreads?
The term “Congo” refers to when two individual locs (i.e., two dreadlocks) become combined at the roots to form a single dreadlock (i.e., two dreadlocks join). Some people actively avoid Congo locs and try to separate them as quickly as possible because they don’t want their dreadlocks combing together.
However, others love the authentic look of Congo locs and have come up with several procedures to encourage them, creating the most natural-looking finish.
Freeform Vs. Non-Freeform Congo Dreads
Freeform Congo dreads are precisely what the name suggests – they are dreadlocks cultivated without manipulation. When dreadlocks are left untamed and unmanipulated, Congo dreadlocks will naturally form.
The hair begins matting at the roots and will continue to mat toward the ends over time. Non-freeform Congo dreads are produced by manipulating locs and any loose hair to join together at the roots.
Unlike freeform Congo dreads, they require more work and maintenance. However, the same look can be achieved using this more-involved approach.
How Long It Takes to Make Congo Dreads
Depending on the method you choose, it can take a few weeks or several months to get Congo dreads. Some techniques require one or more sessions for quick results, and others demand time and patience.
Furthermore, the length, condition, and texture of your hair also affect the time it takes to form Congo dreads. Crochet Congo dreads, however, will be done in an instant.
How Long Congo Dreads Last
The longevity of Congo dreads largely depends on the level of care and maintenance they receive. As long as you take care of your locs, they can last for many years. But if you neglect them or over manipulate them, they may only last a few weeks or months.
The Best Candidates for Congo Dreads
Congo dreads are best suited for those with locs that haven’t fully matured. Newer locks are easier to fuse together because the hair is still matting.
So, if you are within the first six months of your loc journey, Congo dreads are a great option. But if you’re past the 6-month mark, there’s no need to worry – Congo dreads can still be done on fully matured locks, but the process may take longer.
How To Get Congo Dreads
There are various methods you can use to make Congo dreads. Each requires few tools and minimal effort. Use the instructions and tips below to start the Congo process today.
The crochet method for Congo dreads is one of the quickest ways to combine individual locs.
Not only does this technique help you achieve the Congo look quickly, but it can save problematic locks from thinning and breakage. Moreover, the crochet method can give you a more uniform look if you have locs that vary in thickness.
What You’ll Need
- 0.5 mm crochet hook
- Hair tie
Follow the steps below to combine dreads using the crochet method.
- Choose two dreads you want to combine. Then, gather the rest of your dreads into a ponytail and secure them with a hair tie.
- Using your thumb and index finger, separate the roots of one dread, making a hole. The hole should be wide enough for the other dread to fit through it.
- Insert the end of the second dread into the hole at the root of the first dread. Then, gently pull the loc through to secure both dreads at the root.
- Twist both dreads together loosely at the root about three times. Doing so will further reinforce the root of the loc.
- Using your thumb and index finger to secure the dreads, insert the crochet hook horizontally through the root of both dreads. Do not insert the crochet hook at a downward or upward angle. Gently push it through straight across to avoid pulling your hair out at the roots. Then gently pull the crochet hook back through the root of both locks to marry them together. Repeat this motion over and over again in different spots to fuse the locks.
- While the hair strands are still latched onto the crochet hook, spin the dread 180° and insert the hair into a new location on the lock. If you are more of a visual learner, you can watch a video tutorial of this process.
- Repeat this process until you notice your roots starting to lock up.
- Once the loc is fused from root to tip, complete the entire process again on any other dreads you wish to Congo.
Note: Because the individual locs have been deliberately fused together, the new loc may not lay as flat as your other ones. But over time, the new Congo will relax and lay naturally.
Rubber Band Method
The rubber band method for creating Congos is less technical than the crochet method, but it may take longer for the dreads to combine.
With this technique, those with premature locs less than six months old will likely see faster results. However, it can be done on dreads at any stage.
What You’ll Need
The only accessory you need is a pack of rubber bands.
Follow the instructions below to Congo your dreads using the rubber band method:
- Grab the locks you want to combine. For a uniform look, the locs should be roughly the same length.
- Place the rubber band around the dreads about 1 inch away from the roots. Depending on the current length of your hair, you may need to place the rubber band closer to your scalp.
- Continue placing rubber bands around the locs about 1 inch apart until you reach the ends of the locs.
- Take the rubber bands off after two to three weeks and observe your locs. If they have fused, there’s no need to repeat the method. But if they are still not fused, start over from step 1.
Note: Leaving rubber bands in your hair too long may cause them to break or get lost in your dreads. That’s why this method should be used no more than 2 to 3 weeks at a time.
Another way to get Congos is to join your locs at the roots with an interlocking tool or latch hook. If you use the interlock method to maintain your locs, all you need to do to Congo your locs is to interlock them together at the roots every time you do your loc maintenance.
Over time, your locs will get the memo and fuse all the way down to the ends. If you want to know how to interlock your locs, watch this tutorial to learn the basics.
The key to doing Congos using the interlocking method is to interlock both of the locs in the same direction each time. They’ll instantly fuse at the roots, and then all you’ll have to do is wait.
If you regularly retwist your locs for maintenance, you can Congo some of your locs by simply retwisting them together with a holding product. This method will take a long time to work, but it’s by the far the most straightforward non-freeform method.
The freeform method for Congo dreads is the most stress-free way to transform your locs. Generally, Congo dreads will naturally form as your hair progresses through your freeform journey. The only maintenance your locs need is regular washing and moisturizing.
- How to Start Wick Dreads From Afro
- Starter Locs: Two Strand Twist
- How Long Does It Take for Dreads to Grow?
- What Are the Stages of Locs?
Congo dreads are an excellent option for those looking to rescue their locs from ruin or for those who just want a new look. But like all loc styles and methods, Congo dreadlocks must be done with care to avoid damaging your hair.
We hope this article provides you with the tips and instructions you need to rock your new Congo dreads.
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a serial hair blogger that has been writing about hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care. At Curl Centric, we aim to help our readers take control of their hair care journey and make good decisions about products, hairstyles, and maintenance techniques. We also have strict editorial integrity; here’s an explanation of our editorial guidelines and how we make money.