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How to Dread Your Hair

Updated on February 15, 2016

So, you want dreads?

The dreading process is a slow yet rewarding one. It takes patience and time, a lot of time. You cannot expect your dreads to develop into mature and thick dreads overnight, or without some good maintenance. (Unless you have decided to go with the Neglect Method, in which case, you will still need to take care with non-residue shampoos and waxes.)

The Backcombing Method

To dread your hair using the backcombing method, you need a few items.

  • Dread Comb
  • Dread Wax/Creme
  • A lot of Time.

Let it be said that dreading your hair in ANY method is a long and slow process. You can do it yourself with the help of a good friend or two, or you can ask around at your local salons for a willing stylist. Some salons will do dreads, and usually run around $20-$30/HR. An alternative to natural dreadlocks is synthetic dreads. These can be made or bought.

To Begin Your Dreads...

  1. Start with clean hair and begin sectioning your hair into 1" to 2" sections. It is easiest to begin from the back of your scalp near the neck and work forward. Simply pull the rest of your hair to the front of your head and pin to keep out of the way.
  2. This is where we begin with the products. If you have decided to use a wax or creme (Wax's are better for finer, thinner hair and cremes are better for denser, thicker hair.), apply it to a single section of hair and work in. If not using any products, skip this step.
  3. Now, begin to back comb using your fine tooth comb. What you are wanting to begin to see happening is a ratting of the hair. You are literally knotting your hair right now, and this takes time.
  4. Smooth and roll the dread in your hand after you have backcombed its entire length. You want your dreads to be similar in size and consistent through its width. This means no lumps or sections of loose hair.
  5. After finishing with a single dread, move on to the next section of hair and repeat steps 2-5.

Upkeep and Things to Remember

After the slow process of dreading your hair, your locks will need a daily routine to ensure their full maturation. A full, healthy adult dread is smooth, with no loops and has obvious vitality in it. The hair will look clean and healthy with a daily maintenance routine.

Bad Hair Days......Okay, Guys. Bad hair days, will happen. In fact, I can promise you this. That is because of the sheer nature of dreadlocks. In order to control the beautiful chaos of dreadlocks, you must first work through the hardships of creating dreads. You will have days where your hair looks like crap. I can't lie to you and say you wont. However, I can inform you the quickest way to hide said bad hair day. Hair wraps and hats will become some of your best friends.

small backcombed dreadling These little buggers can get pretty fluffy. Keep on palm rolling, and your dreads will lock up quick.
small backcombed dreadling These little buggers can get pretty fluffy. Keep on palm rolling, and your dreads will lock up quick. | Source

Morning Routine

Morning Routines are by far the easiest to keep up with. Immediately after waking and showering (Don't Forget!!! Use only dread intended shampoos without scents or residues!), begin by inspecting your dreads first, and repairing any loosened hairs or loops. The easiest way to do this is with a crochet hook, which is found below in the 'Items to Use' section. It looks just as it sounds, and buy using the crochet hook to weave together the loosened hairs back into the dread, you tighten the hold of the hair and lengthen the life of your dread. The crochet hook also works well in the roots when dreading your new growth.

Palm Rolling

Palm Rolling will be necessary the first month or so and consecutively afterward. BE WARNED that over rolling your hair can be detrimental to the quality of your dreads. You do not want to dry out your hair. This happens from excessive rolling. The drying quality of the skin and oils on your hands can do this. A light rolling, with little pressure is a good way or forming the dread into a rounder and more consistent strand.


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    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

      well, I don't want dreads.. but if I did this would be helpful :)

    • Nikki D. Felder profile image

      Nikki D. Felder 2 years ago from Castle Hayne, N.C.

      Enjoyed reading this as it's from a different perspective! I've been locking for almost nine years. That comb stands out to me though I probably can't use it... It's a unique twist!

    • veggie-mom profile image

      veggie-mom 5 years ago

      This is a great hub, katecupcake! I have always been very curious about the process of dreading hair. Voted up & awesome, welcome to hubpages!

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      I may have to try this! thanks