How To Start Dreads on Any Type of Hair in 2023

If you don't brush your hair often, it will form little knots or locs, which is how the process of forming dreads begins. It is the simple science of interlocking your strands of hair.

Since it is a naturally occurring process, to do it professionally and make sure you end up with tidy dreads, all you need are a few products and patience in the beginning stages.

This article will explore the different ways to start your installation process without worrying about your hair type.

1. Free forming

With free forming, you wash your hair and leave it to lock on itself. With this method, you're going to abandon brushing your hair; just keep it clean, and the knotting process will begin.

While it's ultimately the most effortless dread locking process, it could also be the slowest, and you could end up with uneven dread sizes. During the early stages of your loc journey, you can also expect your hair to look unkempt, so it's best you don't have any appearance-demanding events for well over a year.

Maintaining this hairstyle can also be a problem in the initial stages because shampooing and conditioning often can cause any knots to fall apart.

2. Interlocking

This method is ideal if you have short hair.

  1. Shampoo your hair.
  2. Once it has dried, divide the hair into smaller sections to develop your ideal dread sizes.
  3. On each section, divide the strands of hair that will form your final dreads, and on each section, twist the tips several times. Then, divide the remaining hair so you can interlock the hair all the way to the scalp. You may decide to use a crochet hook to run the dread through the strand of hair until it tightens at the root.
  4. You stop forming the dread when it is tight a the base and creates a Y-shape.

It is a simple method that does not require any unique products or equipment. Once you've interlocked your hair, maintaining it is easy since you don't run the risk of the dreads falling apart. You may shampoo and condition as many times as you want.

3. Comb Coils

The comb coil method, also known as the comb and twist method, is a dreadlock starting method that involves you using a comb to twist a section of hair until it is tight on the scalp.

  1. Wash and dry your hair.
  2. Section your hair to smaller sizes so you can form a dreadlock pattern, keeping the sections together with rubber bands.
  3. Divide further strands of hair to form your desired dreadlock sizes, and apply dreads lock-in gel on each section.
  4. Once you have a dreadlock section ready with the gel, you insert the comb and twist the strands with it until you reach the tips. Once done, you will have well-formed, uniform dreadlocks that are tidy.

Caring for comb coil dreadlocks involves a lot of patience because they can take long before knotting. Thus, you may need professional care when you want to shampoo your hair lest it all falls apart.

4. The Two-Strand twist Method

Strand twists are not very permanent, but if you are looking to start dreads on a child or want to have dreads for a short period, you should definitely try this method for your starter locs.

  1. Shampoo and condition your hair.
  2. Once the hair has dried, section it into smaller sections from the nape following your preferred dreadlock system, i.e., the grid system.
  3. For every section, you prepare, apply some lock-in gel, and divide the strands by half. Twist these by passing each on top of each other.
  4. Once twisted, you can leave them as they are for a temporary look, but if you are looking to start your dreads here, use a hook to knot the dreads at the root of the scalp.

Taking care of these dreadlocks requires extra caution, especially when washing. However, since they are knotted at the base, if they fall apart when you clean, you can use the palm rolling method to re-tighten them.

5. Waxing

This method is one of the oldest used to start dreads. It involves the following steps;

  1. Apply dreadlocks waxing gel onto your ideal dreadlock-size strands of hair.
  2. Twist the sections with your bare hands, starting from the root to tip.
  3. Repeat the process on each dreadlock section.

While it is easy to start your dreads this way, they will take longer to lock together, and caring for them will be more complicated as well. If you want to wash your hair, it would be best to visit a hair salon where a professional can wash and re-twist it for you.

6. Backcombing

This method is ideal for all types of hair, straight hair or textured hair. It is also an ideal starter loc method for any hair length from 3 inches and more.

The method needs a metal comb. To backcomb your hair for dreads, follow these steps.

  1. Clean and dry the hair.
  2. Divide hair into dreadlock sections starting from the nape.
  3. Take each section into your hand, and comb the hair backwards to the root. Ensure to stack the hair from the roots to the tips, and then backward from the tips to the roots.
  4. Once you have formed enough knots on the dread, you can palm roll the strand to give it a dreadlock shape and look.

Caring for these types of dreads is easy. You can clean them without worrying they will fall apart. The best thing is that the more you wash without combing, the faster the hair will tighten around the knots.

7. The Crochet Method

Crocheting your hair is the fastest method to start dreadlocks. However, it can be more time-consuming and painful the first time. The method requires using a 0.6mm crochet to interlock hair strands for permanent dreads.

  1. Wash your hair, but do not condition to make the process easier.
  2. Section hair into dreadlock sizes, and use a rubber band to keep each section in place.
  3. Backcomb the sections of hair to form dreadlock knots.
  4. Insert the crochet inside the backcombed dreads, pulling the hairs and interlocking them together to thin the dread and achieve an instant look of mature dreadlocks.

Caring for these dreadlocks is very easy as what you get are mature dreadlocks.

8. Braiding

Using a braid pattern to start dreads is another way you are guaranteed an easy dread locking process.

  1. Wash, but do not condition your hair.
  2. Divide dreadlock size strands of hair.
  3. For each strand, part your hair into three sections and start braiding.
  4. After you've braided 2-3 steps, put aside one of the sections, and divide another from the two remaining strands. Braid with these up to the halfway point. When done, wrap the strand you had put aside over the braided hair, and you will get instant dreadlocks.

After you've braided your hair to start dreads, you need to take care of your locs when cleaning so they don't fall apart.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Start Dreads

1. Are dreads suitable for all hair textures?

Yes. All hair textures can install dreads with any of the methods mentioned above.

2. Is caring for dreads difficult?

No. After the dreadlocks installation process, you can decide to consult a hairstylist to help you clean and style your dreads until they lock together.

3. How long will locs take to form?

The duration your hair takes to lock depends on the starter dreadlocks methods you use and the hair texture. 

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