What Are Dreadlocks? How To Make Dreadlocks, Maintenance

Short Dreadlocks Derrick Haircut

Dreadlocks- making and maintenance: One of the oldest hairstyles that will never go out of fashion is the dreadlocks. Though this hairdo is thousands of years old it is still in trend because it is literally the coolest hairstyle that exists still. Ropes like clumps of hair that are formed when an individual’s hair is matted together give rise to dreadlocks.

This hairdo is associated with many civilizations like the Greek culture, Aztec, Buddhist, and Rastafari. But nowadays this hair trend is mainly linked to African culture and identity.

One of the most natural technique to make a dreadlock is the ” neglect method”. Here the hair is completely neglected by forgoing combing, brushing, and completely chopping it down. This technique takes several years for a dread to mature. However, many easier and faster procedures that provide a uniform dreadlock are available today.

How to Make a Dreadlock?

The following steps provide a complete insight on to making a dreadlock.

#1: Wash the hair with a residue-free clarifying shampoo.

The hair needs to be clean and residue-free for enhancing the process of dreadlock making. The natural oils that are seen to build up in the hair make it slippery, hence it is recommended to start with a hair that has been freshly shampooed and it is also advised to brush out the hair once it is completely dry.


  • Refrain from conditioning or using any other products to the hair post shampooing.
  • Make sure to completely dry the hair before the process is started.
  • Allocate 4-8 hours to dread the hair as this process takes a long time for a proper dreadlock formation.

#2: Section the hair into squares.

With the aid of a wide-toothed comb part the hair into squares. Small rubber bands need to be made use of to hold the bottom left squares apart from each other.  Each square of hair will form a dreadlock. Each square of hair will or should contain one inch of the hair from the wide sectioned hair.

Brick pattern


  • For a neater overall appearance, one needs to plan to make a uniform dread size.
  • The sections and rows in between the squares tend to be visible in the finished dreads. Hence it is predominantly recommended to fashion the squares in a zig-zag format to achieve a more natural look.

#3: Dreadlock making techniques.

a) Backcomb method.

If the hair is curly or textured, begin the dreadlocks by wrapping it in an inch section around the finger or a rat tail comb to create a coil. If the hair is straight, hold a section of hair straight up from your scalp. The hair section needs to be backcombed from about an inch below the roots towards the scalp region. This is seen to create a tangle that is seen to form the foundation of a dreadlock. Continue backcombing in this manner until the ends of the hair are reached.

Dread braiding procedure


  • As an individual backcombs with one hand, the other hand needs to be used to gently twist the section that one is working on. This helps not only to keep the hair in shape but also assists with the backcombing process.
  • Continue backcombing each section of the hair in the same manner until all of the hair has been backcombed. Taking some external help is seen to speed up the long procedure.
  • Dread each hair section with the same patience and care. rushing through the last part of the hair will yield uneven-looking dreads.

b) Dread braiding procedure.

Pick one inch by one inch of hair sections at a time and section off all the hairs by tying them up with a rubber band at the roots.

c) Brush rubbing

Brush rubbing

Wash the hair with a residue free shampoo and let it air dry. Rub a soft bristle brush in the clockwise circular motion around the head. One will start to notice little dread balls forming. Add a little wax to each dread ball.

#4: Dread wax application to the dreads.

A natural dread wax, a beeswax molding paste, locking gel, or tightening gel application will aid in keeping the dreads from fraying or frizzing. The wax or gel needs to be applied to the entire length of the dread, such that it covers the whole strand. If one chooses to wax, it is recommended to do only once every 2-4 weeks.


  • Many people with dreads refrain from using a dread wax or gel because they believe it obstructs the dreading process. hence using a wax depends on an individual’s needs.
  • Dread wax can be purchased from any of the beauty stores, salons, or online.

#5: Roll the dreads between the palm.

Roll the dreads between the palm

If an individual doesn’t want to use a wax and prefers a more natural method of making dreadlocks they can skip the wax. Once the dreads are secured,  it is advised to roll each dread between the palms up and down the length of the entire dread. This will help in providing a tighter and more secure dread.


  • This method is seen to work well on people with African-textured hair.
  • For a naturally straight or wavy hair, it is seen to take longer to dread the hair without wax and one may not get tight dreads.

How to Help The Dreads Lock?

The following pointers help in successfully helping the dreads to be locked.

#1: Roll the dreads once a day.

It is strongly recommended to roll the dreads between the hands periodically to maintain the smooth shape of the dreads. Start at the scalp and work down till the hair ends. Make the ends look rounded by smashing them against the palm of the hand to encourage the hairs to roll up into a dread.


  • Rolling tends to aids in new growth dread faster or also helps in achieving a more neater dread.
  • Overdoing the rolling is seen to unravel the dreads.

#2: Moisturize the dreads on a daily basis to prevent breakage.
Mix three parts of Aloe Vera juice to one part of the natural oil that can include coconut or sweet almond oil. Add up to five drops of any essential oil like tea tree or lavender oil, for a perfumed flavor. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and lightly spritz the dreads every day.


  • Spraying the dreads in the morning aids in hydrating them post sleeping.
  • Special dread moisturizers are also available online or at some beauty stores in cases where an individual cannot prepare her or his own moisturizer.

#3: Shampoo the hair once a week.

Post 2-3 weeks after making the dreads wash the hair. This helps in preventing them from unraveling. Then, shampoo the scalp. When one rinses the scalp, the water is seen to run down and clean the dreads without causing them to fray.


  • Use a dread bar or a residue-free shampoo that doesn’t contain perfumes and conditioners, as these tend to make the dreads to smell.
  • Wash the hair in the morning so that the dreads have time to dry. Going to bed with a wet hair is seen to help mildew and mold to grow there.

#4: Tuck in the loose hairs.

As one’s hair grows and locks, some hair, especially near the scalp, may become loose. To grab strands of loose hair use a crochet hook or tweezers to tuck them back into the dreads.

Note: For longer loose strands, it is advised to twist and then wrap them around the dreads before tucking them in.

#5: Rub the roots to aid new hair growth dread.

As the dreads mature, the individual hairs are seen to naturally knot onto one another. After a while, the hair tends to grow into the dreads, but initially, they may become loose. The fingers need to be used to rub the new growth, section by section, so that the new hair knot up with the rest of the dreads.


  • It’s not necessary to rub the dreads often. As the dreads mature, the new growth is seen to naturally knot up about an inch from the scalp.
  • Be careful not to overwork the hair at the roots, as at times it may cause it to start falling out.

How to Maintain The Dreads?

Maintaining the dreads is a pivotal process post making them. The following steps completely explain the dreads maintaining procedure.

#1: Remove the rubber bands once the dreads are locked.

As the dreads get completely lock, one no longer needs to hold them in place with rubber bands. Hence, the rubber bands need to be removed from the roots and the tips of the dreads post three months of dread making.


  • The dreads are said to be locked when they appear to be tighter and less puffy than they did at first. There will be fewer loose hairs and one’s hairs are seen to start to grow into the locks.
  • If an individual’s place bands near the scalp, they may need to chop them out with scissors, as the hair would have tangled in that area.

#2: Repeat shampooing once a week.

Oils and residues on the scalp are seen to inhibit the hair from locking properly, preventing it from knotting up with the rest of the dread. Hence it is advised to keep the new growth clean and dry so that it the new hair naturally becomes part of the rest of the dread.

#3: Condition the hair with apple cider vinegar rinse twice a month.

Mix eight ounces/ 230g of apple cider vinegar with 16 ounces/ 450 g of water. Post shampooing, pour the rinse over the scalp and massage it in and allow to stand for some time before rinsing it out.

#4: Cover the hair with a silk cap or scarf while sleeping.

This will not only protect the dreadlocks from breaking but will also help in keeping them moisturized. one can buy silk nightcaps at beauty stores or online. Alternatively, one can put the dreads up in a bun and wrap a silk scarf around them.

Note: In the morning, post waking up, it is recommended to remove the cap and spray the dreads with aid of a moisturizing spray.

Some pointers that help in a better care of the dreadlocks.

#1: Conditioning spray.

Stylist advises investing in a conditioning spray if an individual feels his or her hair is itchy and irritating. This spray is seen to relieve irritation by enhancing the moisture of the scalp.

#2: Make use of natural hair products.

Make use of hair natural products that refrain from leaving out residue. This improves the overall health of one’s dreadlocks.

#3: Indulge in head massages.

To combat the discomforts of the heavily weighing dreadlocks an individual is advised to massage the scalp for at least 5-10 minutes a day prior to bedtime. Getting this massage dome from a friend or a third person is seen to enhance the relaxation.

#4: Saltwater spray.

The salt water spray is an excellent product that can be used to tighten the dreadlocks. One can make the salt water spray and store it in a sprayer and use it whenever one feels that the dreads are lifeless or loose.

#5: Silk headscarf usage during the night time.

To avoid the dreadlocks pick up the lint and fuzz from the pillow one needs to cover them with headscarves made of silk before bedtime.


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