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braiLauryn Hill. Lisa Bonet. Zendaya. Ava Duvernay. The list of amazing black artists who’ve rocked dreadlocks is long – and you can pull off this stunning style too!
All you need is a little bit of locking cream and a lot of patience.
Within six months, you can have tight and beautiful dreads just like your favorite stars. Here’s how.
What Do You Need To Start Your Dreadlocks?
Growing dreadlocks isn’t as simple as throwing out your shampoo and refusing to wash your hair.
To form tight, beautiful dreadlocks you’re going to need a lot of supplies. All hair is different, so you can experiment with different types of products on your own, or you can buy a premade starter kit such as this one Knotty Boy Dreadlock Starter Kit with Dark Wax from KnottyBoy.
If you’d prefer to make your own kit, here’s what you’ll need:
You can see a full list of the best dreadlock products here.
What Are the Best Products To Start And Maintain Your Dreadlocks?
Just like with loose natural hair, it will take you several tries to figure out which products are right for you. Here are a few to get you started:
Knotty Boy LockStead Tropical Tightening Gel has an extra strong hold. If you’re having trouble with flyaways and frizziness, a drop of this gel will hold every hair in place.
Alikay Naturals’s Totally Twisted Loc Butter is ultra-hydrating for both your hair and your scalp, so this is perfect if you have dryness or flakiness. The natural ingredients seals in the moisture, and is one of the best loc butters around.
Dread Empire, while expensive, offers a wide variety of grapefruit, cedarwood, lime and coconut shampoos for every type of hair.
How Long Does It Take To Form Dreadlocks?
Even if you spend twelve hours twisting and palmrolling, your hair won’t turn into dreadlocks overnight. The twisting is just the beginning.
If your hair is coarse, it will take about three months of regular twisting and maintenance before your dreadlocks start to feel permanent. If your hair is more fine, it will take even longer.
Not sure of your hair type? Check here as a black woman, or here if not.
Over the first 1-3 months as your dreadlocks form, they will change direction and shape, partially unravel and become frizzy. You’ll use a lot of wax just to keep them together.
Dreads that are less than a year old are considered “young dreads,” which means they’re soft and fragile. But once you make it through this period, your dreadlocks will become long, strong and healthy.
For a week-by-week breakdown, check out DreadHeadHQ.
How Do You Start Dreads With Short Hair, Compared To Long Hair?
It’s best to start your dreads when your hair is at least 6 inches long, but you can technically start them at 3 inches. Anything shorter than that, and your dreads will keep unraveling before they can lock.
If your dreads are very short, then be aware that they’re more delicate and susceptible to breakage. If you start with long hair, then your young dreads will be more forgiving if they suffer damage.
Unlike short dreads, they will lie flat instead of sticking up in all directions. The only downside is that they take much longer to do, so block off an entire day to twist or backcomb your hair.
What Is A Loctician, And How Do You Find One?
A loctician is a hair stylist who specializes in dreadlocked hair. He or she can start your dreads for you, give you tips on what products to use, and walk you through the dread maintenance process.
If you want to make sure that your hair is healthy and neat, consider making an appointment with one near you.
First, check the WhereToGetDreads database to view a list of locticians are in your area.
Before making an appointment to get dreads, meet with him or her for a consultation. He or she can recommend a certain process for your hair, and you can evaluate whether he or she is a good match for you.
He or she is a good loctician if:
- He or she readily shows you a professional portfolio.
- He or she is easy to get in contact with.
- His or her salon is neat.
- If he or she has an online presence, the reviews are stellar. Five stars all around.
- He or she suggests installing test locs to see if you’re ready to commit.
- You get a good feeling about him or her – go with your gut!
How Do You Start Dreadlocks With Twists?
The twisting method is a popular way to start your dreadlocks. Start with a twisting butter.
After washing and drying your hair, work the butter down one section of your hair. Use your finger or a comb to twirl this section of hair into a coil. This creates single twists.
If you want to create sturdier dreadlocks, then do a double, or two-strand, twist by twisting two portions of hair around each other. The twisting butter will hold them in place, and these dreadlocks will stay put during washing and retwisting.