How To Make Dreadlocks

Punk girl with dreadlocks

Dreadlocks are a hairstyle developed and worn in the warmer Caribbean climates, generally in Jamaica. Followers of Ras Tafari, or Rastafarians, generally wear dread locks. Bob Marley, the late lamented reggae singer and songwriter sported dreadlocks. And while it may be easier to create dreadlocks on African Americans who have the desired hair texture, curlyness and thickness, dreadlocks can be created on almost any type of hair. Of course, you can pay to have your hair styled into dreadlocks, but that would go against the purpose, concept and tradition of Ras Tafari, whose message was simplicity and self-expression. 

Here is a list of steps to follow to create dreadlocks in your hair. You must be aware that dreadlocks do require some time to create, and that once in, you will need to leave them in for a while. Also, if you do a very thorough job, you may not be able to get all the dreadlocks out without cutting them out.

  1. Massage some baby oil or mousse into your scalp and hair. This will facilitate the process and keep your hair from getting damaged.
  2. With a fine tooth comb, separate hair into one inch square sections. If your hair is thicker like mine, you may need to make smaller squares.
  3. With your non-dominant hand, grasp the lock of hair you've separated out and hold it out to its full length.
  4. With your dominant hand, begin at the end and comb downward toward the scalp. This is called 'teasing' the hair. (Teasing is a term that dates back to the 1950s and up. Women wore complicated buffonts or beehive hair styles which were achieved by teasing. Today's backcombing styles employ the technique of teasing.)
  5. Pull out the tangled lock straight.
  6. Twist the lock as you go also.
  7. Repeat this downward combing several times.
  8. Alternate the combing and twisting.
  9. This repeated teasing and twisting will knot and tangle the hair creating the snarly, twisted dread lock.
  10. Once you have 'dreaded' each lock, you can wear them down, pull them out to the sides or pull them back in a bandana.
  11. If you find that the baby oil is making the hair too slippery to 'dread', blot out some excess oil.
  12. Repeat this procedure with each one inch lock of hair.
  13. For those with very curly hair, it will be easier to dread. Our son has very tight, thick curly reddish-blonde hair (red hair tends toward curliness by nature). His hair develops dreadlocks naturally; he cannot comb it and has to rinse and condition his hair to comb it.
  14. You will not be able to wash your hair completely with dreadlocks. You can rinse it or go swimming and you will not lose the dreadlocks.
  15. To remove your dreadlocks, rinse with warm water and massage in conditioner.
  16. With your hair wet, comb out the dreadlocks gently.
  17. Keep rinsing and using conditoner.

With your dreadlocks, you will find it easy to manage. They stay in very well. Dreadlocks do not get messy and have to be arranged. I dont' wear dreadlocks, but I do put curl creme in and use my diffuser to dry the curls. It is pretty easy and requires little maintenance. Good luck--'Ja Rule'!


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