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Going Natural With Dreadlocks

Updated on March 22, 2013

Curly Locs: Dreadlock Style

Natural Hair Journey

My natural hair journey began more than 10 years ago when I did the big chop (a drastic hair cut, cutting off permed ends). At the time, I was concerned about what my co-workers and family would think about my new look. I didn't have any experience in working with my hair in its natural state. My natural hair is extremely kinky or curly. People who choose to describe hair by type would say that I had type 4b hair. The front of my hair is a bit softer, probably type 4a.

I was surprised that my co-workers and editors at the newspaper where I worked embraced my hair. In fact, I don't remember that they said anything about my hair at all. However, comments from people in the black community ranged from positive to extremely negative. I got a lot of stares.

I wore my hair natural and loose in afros and two strand twist styles for about three years. I decided to try locs after experiencing hair loss from a cornrow style. My hair was styled at Talija Waajid's natural hair care center. I felt that my hair was braided too tight, and I didn't realize just how tight until I experienced the hair loss after removing the cornrows. Ironically, I allowed my locs to be started at the natural hair care center with the thoughts that was to be the last time that they would get my money. Once my hair locked in the dreadlocks, I didn't get my hair styled at a salon for several months, maybe years.

These days, I do go to locticians at other natural hair care center from time to time, and I am usually pleased with the results. I am a freelance travel writer, and I like my hair to have that neat, manicured look. These day, I'm trying to do my dreadlocks myself. I palm roll my dreadlocks, and I try to keep my scalp moisturized.

Curly Dreadlocks

Curly locs using pipecleaners.
Curly locs using pipecleaners.

Curly Locs

One of my favorite dreadlock styles is a "curly loc" style. You can curl locs with hard perm rods, the skeleton of foam curlers or even use pipe cleaners. If you use perm rods to curl your natural hair that is loced, be warned that it is difficult to sleep on the hard perm rods. They hurt. The skeleton, the part that's left after you remove the foam cushion, on foam curlers work well for tight curls and they don't hurt. Pipe cleaners are my favorite for achieving beautiful spiral curls in dreadlocks. In any of those methods for curling natural hair, you can put one loc on a curler or you can curl two or more on the curler. If you use the perm rods or pipe cleaners to curl your natural hair, you can control the width of your curls. Use bigger curlers for fuller curls and smaller curlers for tight curls. Combine two or more pipe cleaners together for larger, fuller curls.

Curl your hair when it is wet or spray it with a setting lotion for hold. I've also used dreadlock gel and even hairspray to set my curls. I wouldn't recommend using hairspray with alcohol, because it can cause breakage. You can get under a hooded dryer or allow your hair to air dry. However, it's best to sit under a dryer so your dreadlocks do not develop a mildewy smell.

How to Curl Dreadlocks with Pipecleaners

Maintaining Locs

Always twist locs while they are wet.

  1. Use a spray bottle as needed to moisturize dry locs. Use an loc butter or loc gel to retighten your locs.
  2. Simply add a dab of product near the roots and twist the hair until it is tight at the root.
  3. Don't over-twist. Your head should not hurt.
  4. Add a metal clamp if you wish to securely hold the twist in place.
  5. Get under a hooded dryer for a tight hold.

How often should you twist your locs? Twist them no more than once every two weeks. Some people like freeform locs and do not twist their hair regularly. Some people do not twist at all. However, your locs may join together if you don't tighten and separate them.

Watch my YouTube videos on dreadlock styles for more ideas!

Flat Twists in Dreadlocks

No Pipe Cleaners Curls!

Just in case you do not like to use pipe cleaners to create spiral curls, or if you do not have any around, here is another style that should create similar curls. You will need some tiny black (or brown, depending on your hair color) rubber bands, and some hair pins.

Sleeping with pipecleaners in your hair could be an uncomfortable experience. The pipecleaners tend to poke and jab, and you might look a little strange if you walk around with them in (unless you are brave like me). I like this style because it's very cheap or inexpensive. It produces cute curly results, and you can sleep in peace.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago from The Beach

      This is a great hub. I am seriously considering getting locs, this hub is filled with so many great styling tips. Your hair is really beautiful.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      8 years ago

      I loved this Hub!! Thank you so much!

      I am shocked more people have not commented!?

      I have 'white' hair, long and blonde! But hair is such a common element among all of us!

      I think you look beautiful! I would love to 'loc' my hair and might try it!

      Thank you so much for this beautiful Hub!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!


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