HOW TO MAKE Dreadlocks THE SLOW WAY

(BEWARE: THESE METHODS TAKE A LOT OF TIME & EFFORT BEFORE THE DREADS FORM WELL)

Nowadays all you have to do is google how to make dreadlocks and you will find many different methods. With over 16 years as a dread Loctician, Ema has discovered almost every back yard and front yard (salon) method of making dreadlocks, directly from having her hands in amongst the dreads and chatting to their owners. This information is not from online research but first hand experience with dreadlocks on people from all over the world with all types of hair. Her favourite client method of how to make dreadlocks was someone using plumbers silicon! Read on to discover the main ways of making dreads and see the real life results. And remember, being well informed about dreadlock methods and the resulting reality is the most crucial part of your dreadlock journey, because once you have your dreads made, it is very hard to go back and change things. Read on to learn various methods of how to make dreadlocks.

 


DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) METHOD

To the right is a photo of a backyard example of some DIY dreads. Scroll down the page to see how the Divine Hand & Hook method sorted these dreads out!  This is how they're made:

  1. Hair is not always, but should be washed with, lock shampoo or natural shampoo to remove residue and dry it out.
  2. Hair is separated into strands and tied with a band. Tiny elastics are better then large ones as used here. 
  3. Each strand of hair is backcombed or matted up by hand.
  4. Then tightly palm rolled with wax.
  5. Owner must keep rolling a couple of times a week and wax again when they look like they're getting loose.
  6. Owner must be careful not to wet dreads for at least a month or they will get very loose and fluffy.

**We have known some people who go the true DIY route, forget the locking kit and just go with beer, peanut butter, honey, ash and even silicon to stick their dreads together!

A REAL LIFE RESULT

AND THE REALITY:

TIME TO MAKE: 10 to 30 hours

COST: A bottle of vodka, case of beer, a favour to the friend or very sore arms.

TIME TILL DREADS FORM: 6-12 months

PROS: Cheap. Kit cost: approx $100.

CONS: Takes ages, poor sectioning, random sized dreads, some dreads often too thin which can break, soft, loose, fluffy and destined to get messy unless the owner rolls them at least twice a week.

 



BACKCOMB/CHEMICAL/WAX/ROLL (HAIRDRESSERS) standard METHOD

  1. Hair sectioned & backcombed & rolled to form a loose dread.
  2. A strong chemical called Glycerol Monothioglycolate (or perm solution) is added to each strand which is then wrapped with pipe-cleaners or strips of cotton to 'hold' the style. 
  3. Wait 1-2 hours to let it 'set'. Often heat is used in this process.
  4. The pipe-cleaners or cotton strips are removed and the "dread" is tightly palm rolled and coated with wax.
  5. Owner must keep rolling and waxing a couple of times a week. This service can be done at the salon for a further cost.
  6. Owner must be careful not to wet dreads for at least a month or they will get very loose and fluffy.

The end result is a style that looks somewhat like dreads, but the hair isn't actually locked underneath all that wax! It's the continuation of the rolling that will help the dreads to eventually lock. This generally takes at 6 to 12 months before the dread is tight.

**The perm solution chemical can cause long-lasting dermatitis of the scalp and other health issues. 

 

A REAL LIFE RESULT

AND THE REALITY:

 

TIME TO MAKE: 4-8 HOURS:

COST: $80-150/HOUR... $320-$1500.

TIME TILL DREADS FORM: 6-12mths

PROS: Dreads are soft and flowing. Method is fast to make the dreads.

CONS: Very expensive, chemicals used, wax is sticky, dreads take ages to become tight, lots of rolling involved, lock accelerating products needed to speed things up.

 



BACKCOMB/TWIST & RIP/WAX/ROLL (DREAD SALON) METHOD

 

  1. Hair is sectioned.
  2. Strands backcombed or matted by twist & rip method.
  3. The twist and rip method is a way of matting up the hair without using a comb. The strand is split into two and then each side is pulled backwards towards the head till it knots up. It can hurt.
  4. In some salons, Locticians are catching onto the idea that hook work can be a good thing and a hook is passed through quickly. This is still quite rare though & can't be expected.
  5. The strand is tightly palm rolled with wax (or lock peppa may be added before the wax is applied or instead of it) 
  6. Owner must keep rolling and waxing a couple of times a week. This service can be done at the salon for a further cost.
  7. Owner must be careful not to wet dreads for at least a month or they will get very loose and fluffy.

The end result is a style that looks like dreads, but the hair isn't actually locked properly! It's the continuation of the rolling and adding products like lock peppa, that will help the dreads to eventually lock up into tight dreads.

 

A REAL LIFE RESULT

AND THE REALITY:

TIME TO MAKE: 5-10 HOURS:

COST: $80-160/HOUR... $320-$1600.

TIME TILL DREADS FORM: 6-12months PROS: Dreads are soft and flowing.

CONS: Expensive, sticky wax used, dreads take ages to become tight and only if lots of rolling is involved, lock accelerating products are needed to speed things up.



TRADITIONAL AFRICAN METHOD FOR afro hair

When Ema was living in Swaziland in Africa she met a local woman who made African dreadlocks. She inquired as to how she made dreadlocks in  African hair and continued inquiring with many other African dread makers. This is what they told her.

 

  1. Hair is separated into sections, often by ripping afro apart (sometimes they section with bands).
  2. A split and pull method is used to knot up each strand (like twist & rip).
  3. Each dread is tightly palm rolled or twisted for a minute.
  4. Wax is rolled into the dread and palm rolled again . (She mentioned some tribes use ash to roll dreads.)

 
Ema asked her if these dreads were permanent or if there was any maintenance and she said - "they will open if they get wet. They must not wet or wash their hair for 6 months and continue to roll each day, they usually wear a head scarf or bandana, to protect the dreads from dirt getting in and keep them sacred."
 
This fact was surprising as it is contrary to many westerner's beliefs that afro hair is super easy to lock. Even African hair needs a lot of work to become permanently locked using these methods! Most Africans' in Africa had their dreads made by family members and confirmed that they were often worked on daily for up to 6 months before they locked tight.

A REAL LIFE RESULT

AND THE REALITY:

TIME TO MAKE: 5-20 HOURS.

COST: In Africa family made dreads are free or a trade is made. In salons in South Africa the cost is about $300.

TIME TILL DREADS FORM 6 months with no wetting, a lot of rolling and wax.

PROS: Free or cheap. Traditional. Super nice neat dreads eventually. Soft and flowing. Wax isn't needed as the hair will matt well with rolling alone.

CONS: This method still takes time to get nice tight dreads. Can't be wet or dreads will loosen, involves a lot of maintenance or dreads will get messy & start joining.



a sad truth ABOUT THE WAY MOST PEOPLE MAKE DREADS.

 At least 40% of Divine Dreadlocks clients are people who have had their dreadlocks created elsewhere and the result has been far from satisfactory. With ALL non hook methods, if you don't wax or regularly roll your dreads they will loosen, fluff up or even open up completely. Weekly rolling with wax or locking products helps to stick them together, but it is like putting a band aid on a big gash that really needs stitches! The dread wax is just sitting on the surface of the matted strand (or dread), sticking the hair together, it's not helping the hair underneath to actually lock up. And having all that wax in them all the time is sticky, messy and horrible! Pillows and clothing gets ruined and dust, fluff and lint stick to the dreads.

 

When such people find us they are usually disliking their dreads and desperate to get them sorted. Our work or that of other Divine Hand & Hook Locticians, can totally repair, re-lock and tighten these types of not quite formed dreads.

 

While she finds it a blessing to be able to solve peoples' dreadlock issues, Ema would prefer to be able to educate everyone who is wanting dreads about the choices, options and consequences of the different methods available, so that people can choose the best one for them and be happy and satisfied with their new dreadlock hairstyle from the very beginning of their journey!

 

This page provides that education through concise factual information on the various other methods of making dreadlocks. None of these ways involve thorough use of a crochet hook and NONE of these methods really LOCK dreads properly short term! Even though the initial result can often look great, it can also be very deceiving. If very regular maintenance work isn't done buy the wearer or a Loctician,  the result after a few months is generally a loose fluffy dreads.  If the wearer has very regular maintenance done (such as every 4 weeks) or rolls their own dreads at least twice a week then they can achieve very beautiful soft flowing dreads this way. Our Locticians have found that most people don't wish to do the hard work though, so the resulting dreadlocks are generally not looking the best. 

 

To understand how you can make instantly well formed, neat, tight dreads without ANY products at all, read more about the Divine Hand & Hook method or grab one of Em's courses in natural dreadlocking.

Happy dreadlock Journey!