How to Make Dreadlocks

Making dreadlocks is fun! Here we will learn how to make dreadlocks, but remember that these are not the only methods of making them .There are numerous other ways too. But I can guarantee you that these are the surefire and best way to form firm, tight dreadlocks of any shape and size. By applying these methods, you will learn the basic rule of how to make dreadlocks and then you can learn other ways or find your own.

What Will You Need?

While learning how to make dreadlocks, it is important to first collect the things you will need. And in future too for maintaining your great dreads, these items will be a lot of help. Let’s see what they are:

Dreadlock Comb

You will need a strong comb which can pull hard and won’t break. Usually plastic bristles bend and break off long before your dreads are made. Remember that the bristles should be strong and close to each other – they need not be long. You even get dread combs which have a ruler on their handle so as to make sectioning an easy job. The hassle of switching between comb, ruler and hair bands is eliminated with this type of dread comb. The bristles of your dread comb should be smooth and should not have sharp points to hurt hair. Such bristles do back combing quickly without hurting your hair.


While holding hair back while parting and dreading, you will need a lot of clips.

Hair/Rubber Bands

Hair bands are tremendously useful while learning how to make dreadlocks. There are two types of them – one made of rubber which weaken and pop off in the long run and the other are of elastic material and are flat and thin. The latter are more durable. While rubber bands are great for tying hair at roots, elastic bands are great for tips.

Dread Wax

Dread wax has an important role in forming dreads as it makes the knots in the dreads move and tighten during the process of palmrolling but at the same time prevents them from slipping apart. This helps in making the locks firm and mature faster. You get both types of dread wax – Regular and Vegan. Both give your hair the required nutrition to stay healthy by keeping dryness and breakage away. However the Vegan wax washes out from the dreads easily. In a way it is nice, but you have to re-apply it soon again. Like all the other methods of making dreads, waxing is a personal choice. If for some reason you don’t find any of these waxes good for you, make sure to get one that doesn’t have petroleum. (And beeswax is not a dread wax, mind you! you can burn yourself with it; moreover it is hard to remove.) 4 oz of wax jar is enough for you to start with your locks and maintain them till maturity, unless you have very long hair. Some people keep waxing dreads to a small amount to prevent dryness. But you can also use Dread Butta for that purpose which is a nice moisturizer. While using the dread wax, follow the written instructions carefully. It is important that when to use it and in what amount. Don’t go by your own guesswork. If you follow and practice using the product, you will get awesome results.

Dread Shampoo

Dread shampoo is an important product for your dreads. A good shampoo cleans your dreads in a true sense. You might say, what’s the big deal! Every shampoo does that. But the difference lies in the regular hair and the dreads. The shampoos for regular hair have been made to leave residues for different purposes like protecting hair from UV rays, or leaving a nice smell, and other benefits. If you use a residue-forming shampoo however, on your dreads, unfortunately it does bad to your dreads than good. You have to use a residue-free shampoo for your dreads which we will read about in the topic “Dreadlock Shampoo”.

Locking Accelerator

This product accelerates the process of knotting. It isn’t a must, but is helpful in maintaining your dreads easily. One bottle of locking accelerator lasts usually for one month, unless you have a very long hair. If you purchase a dread kit, this product is included in it. After it finishes you can purchase a second one usually for a discount.

Starting Making Dreadlocks

Starting with a Hair Wash – Washing hair before starting to learn how to make dreadlocks is very important. Use a residue free shampoo or soap for this purpose. You can also wash it twice to ensure it is super clean. Clean hair makes back-combing much easier.

As told earlier, residue-free shampoo is important because residues are meant to condition your hair and so, they impede the process of knotting and tangling. If residues remain on the hair, they prevent drying of the centers of your dread, as a result of which the dreads rot due to mildew growth.

Sectioning – Sectioning is very necessary for locks because it determines the size, shape and arrangement of your dreads. It may seem a lot of work, but it’s worth, rather than ending up with awkward spacing between the dreads and irregular size. Some dreaders want the section lines to be visible, but remember mature dreads don’t have visible section lines.

While sectioning, you can either part down the middle or can make a row of dreads falling on one side or the other. But remember to make sections on your natural part too in order to keep your natural part happy.

The center of the first section while learning how to make dreadlocks should be in the center of the head. Thus if you are making sections 1” x 1” you can create two parallel lines, an inch from each other, extending from the front to the back of your hair. This is the first row which will be in the center of the head.

It might help if you clip the excessive hair falling outside the section which can leave you with a row of untied hair down the middle. This may irritate you in the beginning because there will a lot of such loose hair.

Further, you should start from the front and divide hair between the parting lines forming squares. Distance between them will be equal to your section size. Hold each section with a rubber band, ½” inch away from the scalp, just tight enough to stay in place until you start backcombing.

After you create the first row, make another line at the back parallel to this one.

After you finish with the sectioning, you can start backcombing.

Backcombing – Hold a section straight up and starting one inch from scalp, put a fine-toothed comb in the section and drag it down towards the scalp. Repeat this technique many times on the same section till it starts puffing and packing up at the roots. Also, keep on backcombing every one-inch part of the section till the entire section is completed. Tie a rubber band at the end to secure.

While backcombing with one hand, gently twist the section with the other hand. This makes the process even and keeps the section in shape.

Backcomb all the sections in this way. Taking help of a friend speeds up the process.

Maintaining the same patience for backcombing till the last section is important when you learn how to make dreadlocks. If you lose patience and rush through the last sections, you will end up in odd-looking dreads.

Securing – Secure each dread with a small rubber band at the end as well as near the scalp. These two bands will keep the dread in place while it matures.

Applying Wax – To prevent your dreads from frizzing or fraying, it is necessary to apply dread wax. Choose a natural wax or tightening gel for this purpose. Apply the wax on the entire length of the dread so as to cover the strand fully. But remember to use as less as possible. Applying wax should be done only every 2 to 4 weeks.

Washing – Keeping the dreads clean is utmost necessary in order to form healthy locks. It will make your dreads tight and smooth. Use a dread shampoo or bar for washing the hair which contains no additives like a perfume or conditioner. The additives build up in your dreads leaving them smelly.

Washing should be concentrated mainly on the scalp and not the dreads itself so as not to disturb them and make them fray.

Choose a time to wash dreads in the morning. Don’t wash them before bedtime. Otherwise mold and mildew will start developing while you sleep.

Moisturizing – Make a mixture of water and essential oil and spray it on your dreads every few days to prevent them from drying and fraying. The oil should be an essential oil, like lavender or tea tree oil. Too much of oil should not be added to the dreads because that can make them greasy.

Never use olive oil, vegetable oil or any cooking oil on the dreads. It will be absorbed in the hair to make it rancid.

You can get moisturizers specially made for dreads online.

Tying Loose Hair – It is inevitable that some hair will come out of your dreads and will make you irritated during your daily routine. You can tuck this stray hair using tweezers or a crochet hook.

Rolling – Rolling makes the dreads smooth. Roll the dreads between your hands from time to time.

You can keep the ends of your dreads wispy or blunt as you wish.

Don’t over-roll, to avoid unraveling of the dreads.

Removing Rubber Bands – Once your dreads are formed, there is no need to hold them in place with rubber bands. So, remove the bands. This can be done after about 3 months.

Rubbing In the New Hair – While your dreads mature, your old hair will go on knotting naturally onto each other. But the new hair that will grow will grow straight and won’t knot with the dreads. Here, you will need to do a bit of work to include the new growth into the dreads. With your fingers, rub the new hair section by section, to induce it to knot up with the dreads.

There is no need to rub the dreads too frequently. While the dreads mature, the new growth will knot up naturally at about an inch from the scalp.

Take care of not overworking at the roots because that will make your hair fall out.

Shampooing Regularly – Oil and dirt built up will make the hair straight and prevent it from joining the dreads. Therefore take care of shampooing regularly to keep the scalp clean so that the new growth will naturally join the dread.

Natural Cleansers – Baking soda can be used as a cheap, natural and safe cleanser for your dreads. Use ¼ cup of it on wet scalp and massage gently.

Another recipe is to rinse your dreads with or submerge them in a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar in the ratio of 3:1. After done, rinse the dreads with water very carefully. Nothing should be left behind in the dreads to cause bad smell.

Learn how to make dreadlocks with patience. It will require a real passion and dedication. But at the end you will get just the dreads of your dreams.