Dreads, locs or dreadlocks, whatever you want to call them, are hairs that are matted together.
Over the course of history, we find their evidence in various cultures and ethnicities. In some cultures, they were an illustration of religious belief like in the Rastafari religion.
In other cultures, they were a representation of ethnic pride or just fashionable. We find evidence of dreadlocks being worn by priests and warriors.
In the 1970s, dreadlocks had a new life with reggae music and it transitioned from being a traditional or cultural thing to being a fashion or style trend.
In the modern world, dreads are popular among people from varied cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. They are popular among players from the NFL and musicians of African-American ethnicity.
The second is that they can only be worn by people of African-American background.
Recommended Read: Best Shampoo for Dreads
The fact is that people with all sorts of different hairs and backgrounds wear and can wear dreads. However, this is a natural style for people with curly hair and people with straight hair find it hard to stick to them. Chances are that people with straight hair will slip out in the early stages of developing dreads.
Table of Contents
Methods On How to Start Dreads
When it comes to starting dreads, there are a number of ways you can do that. We will be outlining some of the most popular and easy-to-follow methods.
Method 1: Backcombing to Start Dreads
This method is best for hair that is at least 5-inch (12.7 cm) long. For people with shorter hair, we would advise growing their hair or try another method.
This is a method that both people with curly and straight hair can utilize.
For this method, you will need:
- A couple of hours
- Relatively long hair (at least 5-inch long)
- A friend
- Dread comb
- Small rubber bands
- Dread wax
This method involves the following steps.
Step 1: Part Your Hair Into Small Sections: The basic principle of dreads is that there are small sections of hair that are matted together.
For this step, you will need the help of a friend or a family member. They need to part your hair into multiple small sections.
The density or volume of each section will determine the width of each of your dread. Therefore, determine the width of each dread beforehand and then go about this step.
Generally, you can go with 1-inch or 2-inch squares.
Step 2: Backcomb If You Have Straight Hair: In this step, the person dreading your hair needs to firmly hold the hair of each parted section.
Then, you need to backcomb the hair towards the roots of the hair. You need to start this 1 inch or so from the scalp and backcomb towards the scalp.
Once your hair starts to accumulate towards the roots, the person can move farther from the scalp. Continue backcombing until the whole section has been done.
Step 3: Spiral Twist Each Section If You Have Curly Hair: Backcombing is not the best option for people with curly hair.
In these people, once you have parted hair into smaller sections, apply a dread wax and spiral twist the hair from roots to the ends.
Step 4: Repeat Each Section: Once you have done the above steps on all different sections of the hair, next is to repeat it again.
The second thing you can ask your friend to do is to roll each section in between their fingers. They need to do this in a back and forth style like twisting a rope.
This will get the hair as tightly together as possible which is essential to dread forming.
Step 5: Secure Each Dreadlock with Two Rubber Bands: As said earlier, this is like twisting ropes together. So, what happens once we leave twisted ropes, they can spiral backward, unravel and become loose or separate again.
We need to keep the hair strands in each section packed as closely together as possible. For this purpose, we need two rubber bands for each section. With one, we will secure the end of dread, and with the second secure the roots of the dread.
This will prevent the hair from loosening or unraveling.
Step 6: Tame the Dreads With Wax: The final step in this method is to liberally apply wax to all the dreadlocks.
This will help tame the loose strands and will help strands to form dreads quickly.
Well, there you go, your easy-to-follow steps to start dreads.
Here are a couple of things you need to be mindful of when going for dreads by this method.
- You will lose the length of hair. This means that if you have 8-inch long hair, don’t expect your dreads to be 8-inch long. You can lose as much as half or one-third of your hair length in dreads.
- The dreads will take three to four months to mature. This is even after the hair has been waxed.
Method 2 Starting Dreadlocks with Thread Twist:
This method involves the following steps:
Step 1: Part into Small Sections: As is essential for dread forming, you need to start this method too with parting your hair into small square sections.
As said in the above method, the density and volume of each section will determine the width of your dread.
Step 2: Further Divide Each Section Into Two or Three Threads: Next, you need to split each into two or more threads. More the number of threads, more the twisting and tight the packing of the hair.
You need to tightly hold each thread. For this purpose, you can use either hair clips or rubber bands.
Step 3: Cover Each Thread With Dread Wax: Before going into the main step of twisting, cover each thread with dread wax or cream.
This will hold the hair strands together and will also encourage dreads to form quickly.
Step 4: Rotate Each Thread And Then Pair Them and Twist Again: The next step is to twist each individual thread. However, the key is to rotate each individual thread anticlockwise.
Once each thread has been twisted, you need to pair each strand and twist it again. Remember that these are strands from the same section. These strands are twisted clockwise over each other 2-3 times. This will form a large hair spiral.
Step 5: Secure Each Spiral: Once you have paired two strands together, the next is to secure each from top and bottom with a hair clip or rubber band.
Due to the different directions the strands have been rotated, they will lock together and shape dreads.
Step 6: Give Time to Mature: Dreadlocks formed by this method take time to mature and give the appearance of a single dreadlock. This can take as long as six months to two years to mature.
Things to Remember: If you are starting dreads by thread twist method, here are a few things you need to remember:
- Once you have formed the dreads and before maturing them, you need to wash your dreads no more than two to three times.
- If the strands start to become or unravel, you need to re-twist them back.
- If your hair is growing, do not re-do the dreads. You can begin a new dread starting from the roots with the new hair.
Method 3: Starting Dreads Naturally (How to Start Locs On Natural Hair)
This is a method that is only suitable for individuals with naturally curly black hair. Here are the steps it involves:
Step 1: Grow Hair to 10 Inches or More: This method of starting dreads involves having a considerable length of hair to work with. We would recommend growing your hair to at least 10-11 inches (25 to 27 cm) or more before considering this method.
Step 2: Contrary to General Belief – Wash Your Hair: If you are into dreads you might have heard that you do not need to wash your hair or even deliberately soil it to start dreads.
The point they make is that washing the hair will deprive them of natural oil. I have to say that this is not true. Our hair has the ability to produce natural oil which can keep the hair moisturized.
Thus, the next step is to wash the hair before starting dreadlocks.
Step 3: Let Your Hair Entangle: You will agree with me that the best thing about curly natural hair is its innate ability to tangle together. This is your biggest asset when forming dreads with natural hair.
In this step, you will need to curb your temptation to comb, brush or untangle your hair. This will leave your hair tangle together.
However, in this method, you would not be able to determine the shape of your dreads. However, you can make slight adjustments like blending a thin dread into a larger one.
At this stage, you should take a two-week washing break as this will untangle the forming dreads. After two weeks, you can start washing your hair once or twice.
How to Start Dreads with Soft Hair
In this section, we will outline what you can do to start dreads with your type I or type 2 hair. These are the types of hair that come in the soft hair category because they are not overly oily or dry and are often thin.
For this, you will need a metal-lice comb. You can get it from a drug store, Walmart, and even from Amazon. Remember metal lice comb is essential because plastic combs will break and metal lice combs are strong.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Section The Hair: You need to section your hair at the roots and this can be an inch to inch and a half area. It can either be a square area or a triangle area.
Step 2: Twist and Split The Thread: In this step, you will need to twist the strand with your finger and then split it into two.
Step 3: Pull One Down and Push Other One Up: Once you have split the strand into two, the next step is to pull one down and push the other one up towards the roots.
You need to repeat steps 2 and 3 multiple times. This is parting the thread into two, then twisting it and pulling one down and pushing the other one up towards. At the end of these steps, you will get an indistinct braid-type structure.
Step 4: Backcombing the Hair: In this step, you will need to backcomb the hair from the ends towards the roots. This will tightly pack your twisted hair together.
Step 5: Repeat the Above Steps: Once you have backcombed the strand once, it will push your dread part towards the roots and leave a new area of undread hair.
You will need to repeat the above steps of splitting the strand, intertwining them, and then backcombing the dreaded part.
Step 6: Palm Roll the Formed Dreads and Secure Them: Once you have a fuzzy dread, palm roll it to tighten. This will further solidify your dreads.
The next step is to secure the dreads. You do this with either rubber bands or hair clips. Put one at the ends and one at the roots. This will keep your dreads intact and not unravel them.
There you go, your guide on how to start dreads with soft hair.
How to Start Dreads with Short Hair
Like just about anything, it is better to start early. If you have short hair and want to develop dreads, it is a perfect time to start.
There are quite a few methods of starting dreads with short hair but they basically use the same principle. That is locking or matting hair together and then taming and securing them.
Here are the steps you can follow to start dreads with short hair. Remember this is a method for hair that is 3 inches or shorter. And you also need to have relatively thick and coarse hair.
Step 1: Use a Brush or Sponge To Make Small Balls: The first step in this process is to use a soft-bristled brush or a dread sponge and make small circular motions over a part of the head.
This will lock short hair into each other and form small roughly ball-like structures.
Step 2: Apply Dread Wax to Hairballs: The next step is to apply dread cream or wax to the balls. This will keep the balls moisturized and keep them in a place.
You just need a fingertip of cream/wax and apply it to each of the hairballs formed by step 1.
Step 3: Secure Locks with Rubber Bands: In this step, you need to have small rubber bands and just tight apply them to each of the locks.
Step 4: Allow the Hair to Dry: After the above steps, you need to let your hair dry. You can use an air dryer for this method. You need to make sure that your hair is not wet, but moist at most from the dread wax.
Step 5: Let Your Hair Settle and Remove the Rubber Bands: Once you have allowed your hair to dry, let them settle for a couple of hours. After this time, you can ask someone to remove the rubber bands for you.
Remember, don’t try to remove the rubber bands by yourself unless you are completely sure to remove them without messing your hair up.
This is your first step to developing good-looking scene-stealing dreads.
Conclusion: Dreadlocks are cool but they require a lot of patience and perseverance.
Despite quite a few discouraging general beliefs about them, they remain in trend and are likely to remain for the foreseeable future.
We have outlined some of the easy-to-follow methods that you can apply to develop good-looking dreads. They cover methods for people with different hair types and lengths.
I hope it is of help to you, however, if you still have any queries, do post them below and we would love to respond.