How To Dread

Dreadlocks are a mat of hair created by a bunch of knots. This can be done completely naturally by putting your comb in the garbage. The natural method does not work with all hair so you may have to help the process along by doing Twist and Rip or backcombing. Creating dreadlocks with methods such as a dread perm, crocheting, or DreadheadHQ’s method are hard on your hair and can lead to permanent baldness. Whichever method you decide to do, you do not need to use wax or any other product to “hold” your dreadlocks together.

(aka: freeform, neglect)

If you want to try the natural method, all you need to do is wash your hair a few times a week and separate individual dreads regularly. I did this method for 4 months from March to July, but my hair never got past the “super curl” stage. Although, this could have been because I would run my hands through my hair and did not have soap designed to keep hair moisturizer free for knotting.



If the natural method doesn’t work for you, use Twist and Rip, Backcombing or do a combination of the two. A friend will be invaluable during this stage.

Either way, if you want even sized dreadlocks, start by sectioning your hair into anywhere from 20 to 80 sections (I have 52 in approximately 3/4 inch sections). You can use small rubber bands or beads to temporally keep sections separate. Be sure to remove the rubber bands or beads before dreading.

sectioning patterns

Twist and Rip
(aka: TnR)

Take a section of hair and twist it, next split the section in two near the tip and pull down the length of the hair. Repeat until you get to the end. Each time make sure that you grab different amounts of into each section before pulling down the length (sometimes you may have only a few hairs in one hand and a bunch in the other). Despite it’s name, no hair should actually break.

Even though it can take longer to complete, Twist and rip is my preferred method. I have done this mostly on my tips before they are tight when they unravel.


Back Combing
(aka: back brushing)

Back combing is how I started my dreadlocks.

First, you will need a comb. While a normal plastic comb will work, a metal comb will be stronger. You can pickup a comb from DreadheadHQ or KnottyBoy, I have heard that flea combs made for dogs work great too!

Alright, take a section of hair in one hand. With your other hand comb from the tip to root direction. Work your way combing the first inches towards the tips. Take it slow and pack the knots down tight. Rotate the dread as you work so that it doesn’t form into a flat beaver tail. Unless that’s the look you are going for of course! Haha!

I do not recommend products that accelerate this process (ex: Lock Peppa) because this tends to grab too much hair and might cause a nonuniform dread later on.

Depending on your hair type, you may want to replace the rubber band on the tips after you are done, this will help prevent them from unraveling until they lock up. Be sure to check them every few days because dreadlocks love to suck in anything touching them!

Given that you followed the steps above, you now have baby dreads that you can be proud of! Once you are done celebrating, check out how you should care for and maintain your dreadlocks.

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