Methods for Making Dreadlocks
There are many methods for creating dreadlocks. I've selected some of my favorites. Done correctly these are all effective techniques that achieve consistent results but they are not all right for everyone's situation. Choosing a method is pretty straight forward.
Several things will influence your choice of dreadlocking method:
- Your Hair Type
- Your Hair Length
- Your Lifestyle
- The size dreads you want
The following list provides information regarding these factors. The methods further down towards the bottom of the list are more resilient so they are better suited to those that need to wash their hair frequently or who engage in more physical activity.
Spin and PinAka: Finger Twists, Twist and Pin, Comb coils, etc. Only works in highly textured hair types such as African hair. Can be started in hair as short as 2". Works best if the hair is 3"-6" long. New Spin & Pin dreads are very delicate. Frequent washing and active lifestyles make them very difficult to maintain. Dread size can be adjusted by sectioning. Neat, even dreads are possible.
Brush Rubbing Dreadlocks
Only works in highly textured hair types such as African hair. Hair can be as short as 3/4". Will not work in hair longer than about 2.5". New Brush Rubbing dreads are very delicate. and easily disturbed by heavy activity and washing. Brush rubbing creates smaller sections and therefore smaller dreads.You don't have control over dread placement or size. Brush rubbing is often chosen by those who have very short hair and would rather start dreads now than wait for it to grow out.
Dreads from 2 & 3 Strand Twists
Works best in highly textured hair types. Hair should be at least 2" long. Three inches or longer is easier to work with. This style works well for long hair as well as short. Strand twists are a bit less delicate than Spin and Pin twists but washing and heavy activity still pose risk and cause loosening. Dread size can be adjusted by sectioning. Neat, even dreads are possible.
Works in straight and textured hair. Because it doesn't rely on hair texture it works well even if the hair has been relaxed. Works best if the hair is 3? or longer. Backcombed dreads are more durable than twists right from the start. Until they mature a bit you'll still want to be careful with them when you wash them but they are ideal for active lifestyles. Dread size can be adjusted by sectioning and a wide range of dread sizes can be created. Dreadlocks done with this method look very decent and much like dreads as soon as they are put in.(Rather than looking like twists or braids) They look fuzzier than mature dreads but they compress and get smoother after a few months. One of the most noticeable long term benefits of dreadlocks formed with backcombing is that the hair which was backcombed has a texture almost identical to a that of a "true" dread (new growth which has locked as the dread has continued to grow).
Latched locks are not technically dreaded but most people are not deterred by this. Latching works best in African hair types but can also be used in hair types with a bit less texture although it is not ideal for straight hair types like asian or caucasian hair. Latching works with hair approximately 2" and longer. Latching is very durable at all stages. Since they hair is wrapped into knots it's nearly impossible for it to go anywhere. Dread size can be adjusted by sectioning. Neat, even dreads are possible. Latching can be use on larger dreads but when you understand the difference between dreadlocks and latched locks you'll understand why this is rarely done.
Locking from Braids
Locking from braids or plats works best in highly textured hair types. Idealy it should be done with very short hair (as short as you can braid) although some people do it with longer hair. Locking from plats works well for active lifestyles since the plats hold the hair securely. Dread size can be adjusted by sectioning. Neat, even dreads are possible. There are some shortcomings with this method that may not be a problem for everyone but should be understood.