How do dreadlocks work?

Must read What are dreadlocks?

Many of us follow the same routine for providing nourishment and maintaining hygiene for healthy hair. The most commonly found schedule is as follows: You wash your hair every day, comb it, apply a clip, or a rubber band. We would even use some products in our hair.  But have you ever imagined what would happen if you leave your hair untouched? What would happen if you don’t follow the routine? What would happen if you stop caring for your hair? You and me, both of us know the answer.

Human hair forms knots if not treated properly. The perfect example of this would be a child’s hair which has been left uncombed for some days. If the hair is left in the same way without any treatment and allowed to grow, that hairstyle can be referred to be dreadlocks. 

Dreadlocks can certainly be caused by sheer neglect of hair, which doesn’t mean they’re dirty or messy compared to other hairstyles. Many of them who have styled their hair in dreadlocks achieve this look through adequate styling and maintenance. The locks strand by strand is made on their own or with the help of a “loctician.” Thus, do not believe in the standard misconceptions that are usually associated with dreadlocks. They are not messy or unhygienic. All you need to do is take proper care, maintain a schedule, and give your dreadlocks the nourishment that it needs.

While dreadlocks became popular in the Western world in the 1960s with the spread of Reggae musicians like Bob Marley who intentionally wore their hair in long matted strands.

Let us try to understand the sequence of locks. Knotted hair is formed when hair is allowed tangled and forms knots, thus becoming matted. Dreadlocks can be classified as a huge number of knots. The dreadlocks when observed resemble tightly woven threads.

It is frequently misinterpreted that once you create dreadlocks, you don’t have to wash them or do anything else! Well, let me tell you dreadlocks require a lot of care and need to be cleaned, especially in the initial few days. It is very important to ensure your dreadlocks stay clear of breaking, split ends, and frizziness by using a shampoo. It is better you wash your hair at least once a week for the first 2-3 weeks and always sleep with a nightcap to ensure the dreadlocks don’t open up.

If your locks go wild, then put less amount of wax (considerably those which are available in the market) and rub it in your hair. This can be done for n number of times a week, considering your hair should be dry.  Later use a hairdryer so that the wax hardens and settles. You could continue visiting a reputed hair salon for dreadlocks at least every few months so that your hair stays in great condition.

So, let’s go through some of the frequent doubts that any individual would have before going for dreadlocks:

Effects of dreadlocks on different hair

Almost any hair can indeed be styled into the dreadlocks fashion. But some types of hair would need special care and more attention than others. Some would face disadvantages also if not styled properly. 

The most commonly used method for dreadlocks is the “neglect method”. Here, you just have to ignore your hair. You have to allow them to form knots and tangle among themselves. But this can probably not suit you. This method is very slow and could sometimes take 14-18 months. Moreover, there is a probability that your hair could be weak. There are chances of your hair not able to handle dreadlocks. The most dreadlock friendly hair type is curly hair.

Texas school district bars black student from graduating with dreadlocks |  US news | The Guardian

How to begin with dreadlocks?

Even though you just have to “neglect” your hair, there are certain prerequisites. These are the steps that could be followed to form dreadlocks.

Step one 

Wash your hair. 

Step two

Dry your hair completely.

Step three

Make partitions in your hair.

Step four

Plate or form any hairstyle in which you wish to create dreadlocks

Step five

Take care that you apply a product that would support your hair in between.

Step six

Put a rubber band, clip, or any other accessory that would make sure that your knots or pleats don’t open.

Step seven (optional i.e. only for those who have applied wax)

Dry the dreadlocks with a hairdryer. This process will melt the wax into each of your locks, and thus will provide the complete use of gel.

Banning Dreadlocks at Work Is Still Legal - Racked

Tips to maintain hygiene in dreadlocks

The following are certain methods that, when adapted will help maintain hygiene and would also groom your locks.


Most people have a misconception that having dreadlocks could give them the leisure to not care self’s hair anymore. But it is not true. You need to maintain a proper schedule and use appropriate products for your locks.


Dreadlocks tend to get crushed at the time when you toss in your bed. To prevent this, use a pillowcase, bandanna, or any other covering.


Dreadlocks can sometimes become sticky while you exercise. Just cover them with a hat or any other covering to prevent this.


If your locks are too tight, then they may strain your scalp. So, try keeping a few loose hairs.

Wash your locks

Once you feel that your dreadlocks are mature, you can wash them. Try using products that are suitable for dreadlocks. Wash your locks every alternate day. 

Types in which dreadlocks can be styled

You can form dreadlocks in many forms. Some of them are as follows:


You just have to twist your hair strand in a clockwise direction.


This form is most suitable for those who have short hair. just simply neglect or ignore your hair. they will automatically form locks.


Form braids (preferably at the bottom). Leave them untouched.

Dreadlocks are still not accepted among many people and there are many people who even now see this style as being dirty or associate this with radicalism.  But with time passing by, and people accepting and adopting the new trends, a dreadlocks person will not be looked upon differently. 






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