How to Get Dreadlocks

If you are wondering about how to get dreadlocks, the following step-by-step guide will help you in making the process easy. Here you will have to remember that you may or may not use dread wax. Using wax is recommended by most stylists while you learn how to get dreadlocks, because without wax, you will need a lot of patience for your hair to take the form of true dreads. Also you will have much less control over the appearance of your locks during their formation and at the end. Still, you can go on without dread wax – just skip the “wax” portion and follow the other instructions as they are.

Things you will need are:

Dread wax (optional)

Residue-free shampoo (pre-dreading soap is better)

Fine-toothed but strong comb


Hair bands – elastic, rubber, barrettes or clips

Old towel for cleaning waxy hands

Old spoon

Nailbrush for cleaning

[NOTE: In addition, if you can get one or two friends to help you out, that will be awesome!]


While learning how to get dreadlocks, it is important to wash your hair thoroughly to start with. Use a pre-dreading soap or a residue-free shampoo for washing hair. You can even wash hair continuously for two-three days to make it super clean. A pre-dreading soap is more recommended, because it is designed specifically to wash out any oil and dirt buildup that might interfere with the locking process.


Once you are squeaky clean, it’s time to blow dry your hair. Dry it back and forth, up and down, and sideways – in short, completely. You may not see to it as seriously as I mean, but believe me, it will make your job much easier than otherwise, while you follow the next steps. After it is completely dry, you can proceed with sectioning.


Sectioning is a very important step when you learn how to get dreadlocks. This is because if you learn it properly, you can maintain your dreads much easily in future. I know, this is a quite tedious job and you may love to do it not that seriously, but if you do it seriously you will be glad in the long run.

Section across the back of the head with the help of your comb, parallel to the hairline. Tie up all the hair above this line.

Next section out sufficient amount of hair to make a lock of the size of the index finger. You can start from left or right, whichever is comfortable for you. Pin the remaining section out of the way.

If you prefer to pre-section the entire row, you can do that with clips or elastics. Though it is very convenient for backcombing and applying wax, it is not required. So, it will be okay if you pre-section only the row you want to work on.

Another important step while you learn how to get dreadlocks is learning to make a brick pattern of sections. When you finish with the first row of sections, go on repeating the process upside all around your head. The sections should be in the brick pattern and not just one above the other. That will make the dreads appear fuller hiding the gaps, because they will hang upon the section lines of the rows lying below them and also in between the pairs of dreads below them, making them look thick.

Be extra careful to stagger the sections on top of your head, since this way you can change your part as per your wish. If you set a center part now, you will have to stick with it always!

Backcombing and Twisting

Backcombing means combing backwards! This is also an important step while learning how to get dreadlocks. Take the first section, put your comb around an inch from the scalp and move it downwards towards the scalp. Do it several times to create a puff of hair. Thus, starting from the roots, go up towards the tip, inch-by-inch, till you complete the entire length of the section.

Once the section is backcombed nicely, gently twist it into a cylinder. You will notice that the length of this lock is much less than that of the remaining unlocked hair. But you need not worry. Rest assured that you are doing it just the right way if you find your new lock around 1/3 times shorter than your original hair length.

Applying Wax

Dread wax is special and you will be using only dread wax on your dreads, and not beeswax, which is not meant for making dreads. Dread wax is hard and smooth, so you will notice that it keeps in its place, i.e. your dreads and not flowing down on to your face.

Dig out some wax with a spoon, take it between your fingertips and rub into it to soften it or break out any clumps. Now massage the wax in your sections you have backcombed and twisted. Start from the roots and move towards the tips. Go on taking small blobs of wax whenever required, applying on the lock and twisting it, as you move towards the tip. Keep well in mind that the less wax you need, the better. It is meant only for binding loose hair together. You can use more if you need afterwards, but applying a lot of it in the very starting may create a mess.

Palm Rolling

After you get your dreads backcombed and waxed enough, it’s time to do what is called “palm rolling”. Starting at the root, rapidly roll your lock between your palms till the tip. This is meant for giving the dreads friction they need for their formation. Palm-rolling is also excellent for making the locks strong as they mature. It is just beyond words how important palm-rolling is to develop neat, healthy dreads.

Final Phase

Now, you just have to keep repeating backcombing, waxing, twisting and palm-rolling till you finish doing all the sections on your head. It may seem tedious, but it is doubtlessly worth every second.

Learning how to get dreadlocks is a journey, and as you take some first steps on it, you start enjoying. Wait for 1 or 2 weeks to give your dreads the first wash, so that they will get time to get knotted up in a true sense. Palm roll as many times as you can. After this waiting period in the starting, once a week wash is great for most people.

So, enjoy learning how to get dreadlocks and soon you will get a lovely dread-full mane!