How To Get Dreadlocks  (Step-By-Step) - NYLAHS NATURALS

How To Get Dreadlocks (Step-By-Step)

Are you bored with your current hairstyle? Thinking about switching it up? If so, you can try dreadlocks!

Dreadlocks can also be viewed as a way to express individuality or reject mainstream beauty standards. Different methods can produce different types of dreadlocks, such as loose or tight, thin or thick, and more defined or undefined. Different cultural and historical backgrounds also influence the method of creating dreadlocks. Some methods are more natural than others, and so methods may be quicker than others. As each method has its own pros and cons, it is important to research and choose the method that is best for you and your hair. With the help of this article, you will be able to recognise the various types of dreadlock starters and determine the best method for you.

5-minute read                                                             January 2023

I’m guessing you’re here because you’re trying to decide which method is the best solution for you. You need to take into consideration the texture of your hair, the length of your hair, and the desired result. All hair textures can form "locs" with proper care, patience, and time - the tighter your curls, the quicker your locs will begin to form and mature. Though the level of locking varies, there are similarities between the techniques, like their appearance while they progress. 

So, How Can I Get Dreadlocks? 

In order to make starter locs, there are seven different methods that can be used. These methods include: Among the most common types of starter locs are: 
  • Interlocking 
  • Palm rolling 
  • Backcombing 
  • Two Strand Twists 
  • Crochet Faux Locs
  • Backcombing 
  • Freeform locs 

  • * you may want to start with extensions or false locks - as your locks mature and grow, you can get rid of the false ends - if you want a fuller lock quicker, you can attach false locks, then allow your locks to mature after that. 

    Method 1: Interlocking 

    Interlocking is by far one of the most popular methods regarding those wishing to start your dreadlock their journey. Although this method is most commonly used as a maintenance technique, many people within the dreadlock community have relied on this method, leading to fully flourished and well-maintained locs. This method is done by pulling the loc hair tip through the base of your scalp and tightening the roots. It’s very similar to the stitching process, except you are threading a dreadlock tip into your scalp, not threading a needle into a stitch. You can complete this method using your fingers, however many locations rely on using a crochet tool also known as a latch hook to create the loc. 


    If you consider yourself an active person, then this method may be the best solution for you as it will keep your locs nice and neat, with only little maintenance required. Over time, they will begin to mature, causing them to shrink in size.

    Depending on your hair texture, your hair will begin to lock between 6 months up to 2+ years. 


    Although this method has many benefits, you must be aware of the cons that come with using this method. If you continuously interlock your hair, it may cause damage to your scalp causing your roots to become thinner over time. I advise you to use this method every 2 to 3 months.

    Method 2: Palm Rolling 

    This is another method which is most commonly used within the dreadlock community. This method is popular for those just starting out their loc journey since it doesn’t create as much tension or pull on the locs and scalp.

    These types of locs are formed by rolling a section of your hair between your palms which compresses and tightens the knots within your locs. This is also a maintenance method which can be implemented if you want to switch from using another method, such as interlocking. Depending on your hair texture, these locs may vary in shape, but most people who use this method are delighted with the uniformity and roundness of their locs for a more naturally appealing look. This method usually takes 12-18 months to complete the locking process before your dreadlocks begin to really mature. For those with tighter or thicker curls, this method may be the better option for you.


    It’s very easy to begin your starter locs with palm rolling as it is not as time-consuming as other methods - as long as you’re willing to learn, you can even do this on your own hair at home. 

    Not only does this method reduce the number of bumps and lumps you may come across throughout the locking process, but it can also present frizziness, resulting in neatly styled and well-maintained locs. 


    A common disadvantage would be that palm rolling requires a little more maintenance than other techniques, as each individual loc may not hold up as long as other methods such as interlocking. Also, when it comes to wet hair, your locs may begin to unravel, leading to puffy roots. 

    Be mindful of constantly retwisting your locs when using this method, as even though it does not create as much tension on your scalp as interlocking does, it can still cause your hair to thin if used excessively. 

    Another disadvantage would be that this method isn’t as natural as interlocking, as it requires a specific wax (also known as dread wax) to hold the locs together. Although this may help your hair to lock, it can also cause wax buildup to occur, enabling many complications to arise such as allowing your hair to attract lint and dirt. 

    Method 3: Backcombing 

    Backcombing is a method of creating tangles of hair by repeatedly combing the hair in the opposite direction of its growth. It is often used to create volume or texture in the hair, or as a way to create dreadlocks. Backcombing works best on hair 6 inches or longer, but it can also be used on shorter hair as short as 3 inches. Backcombing can be used on any type of hair texture. 

    Backcombing aims to create a strand of tightly packed knots instead of a big fluff ball. While the motions are similar, if you put the comb into the strands you're holding and slide it up toward your scalp, not letting any hair slip free, not much would happen. The trick is to slowly let a hair slip on each stroke forward. If you did it very fast, your hair would get warm, but that's about it. Using your comb, firmly press each stroke against the newly formed dread to pack the loose hairs in tight.


    By backcombing, the hair has more volume, thickness, and texture because the roots are brought back up. Using this method can also help to create some particular styles; it is a clever trick that is very simple to do and does not damage your hair if done correctly.


    Backcombing can be a time-consuming process, and it can be harsh on the hair if done too frequently. It's important to be gentle when backcombing and to use a light touch to avoid damaging the hair.

    Method 4: Two Strand Twists 

    Twist the two parts of hair together tightly, making sure to keep the roots of the hair close together. As you twist the hair, add small pieces of hair to the section by gently pulling it from the surrounding unbraided hair. Continue twisting the hair until you reach the end of the section. Once the hair is twisted, use your fingers to roll the twisted hair between your palms to create a tight, compact rope. Repeat this process for each section of hair. Once you have braided all of your hair, avoid combing or brushing your hair for at least a few weeks to allow the dreadlocks to form.


    Low maintenance: Two-strand twists require minimal styling and can be left in for several weeks.

    Versatile: Two-strand twists can be styled in various ways, including updos and buns, making them suitable for various occasions.

    Protective style: Two-strand twists can protect natural hair from breakage and damage, making them ideal for those who want to retain length.

    Low heat damage: Unlike other styling methods that require heat, two-strand twists can be done without the use of heat, reducing the risk of heat damage.


    Time-consuming: Twisting each strand of hair can take several hours, making it a time-consuming process.

    Tension: Applying too much tension while twisting the hair can lead to breakage and damage, especially if the hair is fragile or brittle.

    Moisture: Two-strand twists can become dry and frizzy if not properly moisturised, leading to tangling and matting.

    Limited styling options: While two-strand twists can be styled in a few ways, they are limited compared to other styles that allow for greater versatility.

    Method 5: Crochet Faux Locs

    Start with clean, dry hair that is at least 2-3 inches long. Section your hair into small, square sections. The size of the sections will depend on the thickness and length of your hair. Take one of the sections and use a crochet hook to gently pull and knot small sections of hair. Repeat this process until the entire section is knotted and forms a dreadlock.

    Repeat this process for each section of hair. Once you have completed all sections, avoid combing or brushing your hair for at least a few weeks to allow the dreadlocks to form. 


    Low commitment: Crochet faux locs allow you to achieve the look of dreadlocks without the long-term commitment, as they can be removed after a few months.

    Quick installation: Crochet faux locs can be installed quickly compared to traditional dreadlocks, making them a great option for those who want a new look without the wait.

    Versatile: Crochet faux locs come in a variety of colours and textures, allowing for customization and versatility in styling.

    Low maintenance: Once installed, crochet faux locs require minimal maintenance, making them a convenient option for those with busy lifestyles.


    Tension: The installation process can be time-consuming and requires precision, and too much tension during the installation process can lead to damage and breakage.

    Scalp irritation: Some people may experience irritation or itching on their scalp, especially if they have sensitive skin or if the crochet faux locs are left in for too long.

    Cost: Crochet faux locs can be expensive to install, especially if you go to a professional stylist.

    Tangling: If not properly cared for, crochet faux locs can become tangled and matted, leading to difficulty in removing them.

    The History of Dreadlocks

    In pre-Columbian America, dreadlocks were worn by certain indigenous tribes, such as the Māori in New Zealand and the Inca in South America. They were often associated with spiritual or religious beliefs and were worn as a symbol of power and status.

    In Africa, dreadlocks have been worn by various tribes for centuries and were often seen as a symbol of spiritual purity, wisdom and strength. Warriors and chiefs would often wear dreadlocks as a symbol of their leadership and power. The hairstyle was also associated with the divine and spiritual realm.

    In Oceania, dreadlocks are an ancient tradition of the Pacific islanders, the Maori people of New Zealand, and the islanders of Polynesia. They were a symbol of strength and wisdom, often worn by warriors and leaders.

    In short, dreadlocks have been worn by many cultures throughout history as a symbol of spiritual, cultural or social significance, often associated with power, strength, wisdom, and connection with the divine.

    Dreadlock Maintenance 

    When it comes to dreadlocks, proper maintenance is essential for keeping your hair healthy and strong. We understand the importance of maintaining dreadlocks, which is why we provide a variety of treatments specifically designed to help you keep your locks looking great!

    The first step in maintaining your dreadlocks is to regularly shampoo and condition your hair. We recommend using a gentle, sulphate-free shampoo and a lightweight conditioner to help prevent buildup. 

    To help prevent tangling and minimise shedding, use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your dreadlocks. To keep your dreadlocks looking neat and tidy, it’s important to trim them on a regular basis. Trimming can help get rid of excess hairs that can cause your dreadlocks to become thin and weak.

    It’s also important to remember that dreadlocks require regular moisturising to stay healthy. Investing in quality products that contain natural oils and butter can help keep your hair hydrated and nourished. We recommend avoiding products with heavy waxes and preservatives, as they can lead to buildup and eventually weaken your locks.

    Nylah’s Naturals offers shampoo and conditioner cream, moisture hair spray and super seed hair oil.
    which can help maintain those luscious locks and promote healthy hair growth! If you prefer having a bundle instead, click here.

    Note: Whichever method you choose, it's important to keep your hair and scalp clean to avoid build-up and odours, as well as to prevent matting. It's also important to research and find a reputable stylist who can create your desired look, and also give you advice on how to maintain them. Dreadlocks require regular maintenance, such as cleaning and re-twisting to keep them neat and tidy, and they can be quite heavy and may put a lot of stress on your scalp.



    Dreadlocks FAQ

    How are dreadlocks formed?

    Dreadlocks are formed by matting hair strands together, usually through twisting or braiding. Some people also use a process called "neglect" to form dreadlocks, where they stop brushing or combing their hair and allow it to knot on its own.

    Can anyone have dreadlocks?

    Yes, anyone can have dreadlocks, regardless of hair type or texture. However, your hair will react to it differently depending on your hair type and how well you look after your hair. 


    How long does it take to grow dreadlocks?

    The time it takes to grow dreadlocks depends on the starting length of hair and the desired size of the dreadlocks. On average, it takes about a year to a year and a half to form mature dreadlocks.

    How do you care for dreadlocks?

    Dreadlocks require regular maintenance to keep them neat and tidy. This includes washing the hair, using a residue-free shampoo, and separating any tangled or matted sections. Some people also choose to retwist or re-braid their dreadlocks to keep them neat and compact.

    Can dreadlocks be undone?

    Yes, dreadlocks can be undone, but it is a process that typically requires cutting the hair and then brushing or combing it out. The amount of time and effort required to undo dreadlocks depends on the size, number, and age of the dreadlocks.

    Are Dreadlocks Real Hair?

    Yes. Dreadlocks are real hair that has been twisted, matted, or locked together in a specific pattern. The process of creating dreadlocks involves twisting, matting, or tangling the hair together so that it forms a rope-like structure.

    Are Dreadlocks Permanent?

    Dreadlocks are a permanent hairstyle, once the hair is locked together it can not be undone without cutting the hair or using a chemical process to unravel the locks. However, the process of maintaining dreadlocks is an ongoing process. As the hair grows, new hair is added to the dreadlock and the hair at the root needs to be locked together with the rest of the dreadlock. This process of maintenance can be done by regular palm rolling, retightening the dreadlocks, and keeping them clean and moisturised.

    It's important to note that the process of creating dreadlocks can take a long time, and it can take months or even years for them to fully mature. It's also important to remember that not all hair types are suitable for dreadlocks, so it's best to consult a professional who is experienced in creating and maintaining dreadlocks before starting the process.

     Can Dreadlocks Be Undone?

    Dreadlocks can be undone, but the process can be time-consuming and may cause some damage to the hair. The process of undoing dreadlocks is called "unlocking" or "deconstruction". This can be done by cutting the hair, chemical treatments or by manually unravelling the locks.

    Cutting the hair is the most efficient and quickest way to undo dreadlocks, but it will result in losing a significant length of hair. Using chemical treatments can also be effective, but they can be harsh on the hair and may cause damage. The manual method of unravelling dreadlocks is a gentle way of undoing them, but it can be time-consuming and may require help from a professional.

    It's important to keep in mind that undoing dreadlocks can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and it may take several months for the hair to return to its natural state. Also, it's important to remember that not all hair types will return to their original state once the dreadlocks are undone, and the hair may appear different than before.

    If you are considering undoing your dreadlocks, it's best to consult a hair professional who has experience in undoing dreadlocks and discuss the process, the time it will take, and the outcome you can expect.

     Can Dreadlocks Be Washed?

    Yes, dreadlocks can be washed, it is important to keep them clean to avoid the build-up of oils, dirt, and bacteria. Cleaning your dreadlocks can be done with a dreadlock-specific shampoo or a residue-free shampoo. It's important to use a shampoo that is formulated specifically for dreadlocks because regular shampoos can leave buildup in the dreadlocks which can cause dryness, itching, and even odours.

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