What Are Dreadlocks? How Dreadlocks Work?

Dreadlocks, commonly known as locs, are a hairstyle that comprises of rope-like strands created by braiding or interlocking the hair. Some dreadlocks styles are formed by simply leaving textured, uncombed hair to bunch and organically knot together over time, eventually developing into locked shapes While others are created by braiding and twisting hair together.

Dreadlocks are prominent in modern fashion, music, and beauty for religious, cultural, and spiritual reasons. Dreadlock goods and procedures have evolved over time as well.

Learn about the history of dreadlocks, the various types and styles, how to make them, and useful maintenance recommendations to keep your dreadlocks looking their best in this tutorial. So, for all your doubts, trust Teeanime!

A brief history of dreadlocks 

Dreadlocks have been seen in pop culture and everyday styles for many years, from Bob Marley to Lisa Bonet. Dreadlocks, on the other hand, are much more than a fashion statement; they have significant historical significance, both culturally and religiously. Although the actual origin of dreadlocks is uncertain, it is a hairstyle that has existed throughout the centuries and in various civilizations, having roots in ancient Egypt, Africa, India, Scandinavia, and South America.

Holy men in India wear them on top of their heads and only remove them for rare occasions or rites. These locs are considered sacred and a religious ritual. Some Buddhists will also wear dreadlocks instead of shaving their heads.

The Rastafarian movement 

Most people know that dreadlocks have a lot to do with Rastafarianism and the rise of reggae music. People know that Bob Marley is the one who made dreadlocks popular in popular culture.

The Rastafarian movement started in Jamaica in the 1930s as a way to connect to Africa and turn away from the West. Dreadlocks are seen as a symbol of the Lion of Judah, and the locked texture is thought to trap good energy to help strengthen the body, mind, and spirit. These locs are meant to look like a lion’s mane, which is a sign of strength, courage, and power.

Dreads vs. locs: What’s the difference?

The terms “dreads” and “locs” are sometimes used interchangeably, although they are not the same thing for those who wear this hairstyle.

The term “dreads” has a bad connotation in history because it pertains to when colonists and slave masters dubbed coiled hair “dreadful” – because of this link, many people prefer the term “locs.”

What are the different styles of dreadlocks?

Dreadlock hairstyles for men and women include crinkle, twisted, rasta, and high-top locs, among others. Some people also choose “faux locs,” in which extensions are put in and then styled in a way that gives them a short-term look. You can also add a pop of color to your dreadlocks by dying them or tying them up into buns.

Learn more about some of the most popular styles below:

Crinkle dreadlocks  

To get crinkle dreadlocks, you braid wet hair and use rubber bands to keep it in place. Once the braids are dry, you just take them out and you’ll have wavy hair. This style is great for women and men who are just starting out with dreadlocks and want their hair to look curly.

Tip: If you want your crinkle dreads to be even curlier, use pipe cleaners to curl your hair while it dries.

Rasta dreadlocks

Rasta dreadlocks are a traditional, freestyle type of locs that are made without any unnatural help. This means that they grow naturally, without pre-braiding or other manipulation, just like Bob Marley’s did. Since locs are formed naturally, it takes longer to get them than with other styles, but they are very easy to take care of.

Tip: You can’t cut or palm-roll this style like other styles, but you can wash it as usual.

Twisted dreadlocks

If your hair is thin and long, you should twist it into dreadlocks. To get this look, take two separate loc strands and twist them together to make a new, bigger loc. By doing this, your loc hairstyle will look like it has more hair.

Tip: If you want to twist your hair without hurting your locs, make sure they are as moist as possible.

High-top dreadlocks

A more modern way to style your locs is with high-top dreadlocks. This is when your locs are piled or sit on top of your head and the sides (both or just one side) are very short. You can grow out the dreads at the top of your head to any length you want.

Tip: To give your high-top dreads more movement and structure, let them grow out a bit longer and sweep them forward.


The only difference is that microlocs are smaller than dreadlocks. Microlocs are for you if you don’t want the bulk and weight of traditional loc styles. They are made the same way as regular locs, but smaller sections are used to twist them. This size is perfect for people who want to be more creative with how they dress. Sisterlocks, which are also small, are not the same thing.

Tip: Microlocs need to be retwisted every four to seven weeks in order to keep the strands uniform and small.

Bohemian dreadlocks 

Bohemian dreadlocks are a style that is made by putting together different styles of locs. You could, for example, have both braided locs and locs that grew on their own in your hair. This makes you look more interesting and worn.

Tip: Bohemian dreadlocks are meant to look like they’ve been worn in for a while. If you don’t want extra frizz, you can sleep with a silk headscarf.

How to start dreadlocks: Tools and other tips

After learning about the different styles of dreadlocks, you may be wondering how to get them. You can make dreadlocks on your own or with the help of a stylist. If you want to do it yourself, you’ll need these salon-style tools:

  • Sectioning clips
  • Residue-free shampoo
  • Fine-tooth comb
  • Loc wax
  • Blow-dryer
  • Rubber bands to keep sections in place

There are different ways to make your own locs, but here’s what the process usually looks like:

  • Washing your hair with the residue-free shampoo
  • Sectioning hair off with a fine-tooth comb
  • Brushing, braiding, and/or palm rolling each section of hair
  • Locking in the braid or twist with loc wax
  • Blow-drying or air drying depending on the style 

Palm rolling is a way to make twists in your hair by rolling the strands in a circular motion in your palms. Loc wax is a product that helps the strands stay where they are.

Before you start making locs, here are some tips and things to think about:

Avoid creating sections that are too small 

Don’t make loc pieces that are too little or too thin; they are more likely to dry out and fall off. Traditional locs are made with at least a half-inch segment of hair, medium-sized locs with sections the size of a pencil, and larger locs with sections the size of a Sharpie marker.

Please keep in mind that these sizes may vary depending on your hair texture and density. Always pay attention to the texture and natural pattern of your hair.

Start out with short hair  

If you’re new to dreadlocks, you might want to start with shorter hair (at least half an inch long). Shorter locs are considerably easier to maintain, and after you’ve nailed down the maintenance and care requirements, you can grow them out.

Ensure you’re prepared for the commitment

Getting dreadlocks and keeping them in good shape takes time, patience, and even money if you aren’t born with them. The best style of dreadlocks for you may also depend on how you live. For example, you might ask:

  • Do I live in a climate with extreme heat?
  • Do I work out or sweat often?
  • Am I prepared to wash my hair less than I’m used to?

Before you start your dreadlock journey, you should think about these things.

Remember that locs aren’t permanent 

It’s important to remember that dreadlocks aren’t permanent; they’re a short-term hairstyle that takes a long time to do. With some patience, you can use a comb and a lot of conditioner to get them out without cutting.

Visit a local salon  

If you want to start your journey with dreadlocks, you might want to think about getting them done at your local hair salon. Unless you have a lot of experience with hair, going to a salon will usually give you results that last longer and are better for your hair.

Read on to learn about the most common ways to start dreadlocks at home or at a salon.

There are four common ways to start dreadlocks.

At first, this hairstyle may seem hard to do, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help you lock your hair faster. Here are four different ways to learn how to get dreadlocks:

Freeform method  

There’s nothing to do here! The freeform method for making dreadlocks is a natural way to do it. If you don’t treat, wash, or comb your hair for a long time, it will naturally form locs. This method takes the most time to develop. Often, it takes years for them to start to take shape.

Backcombing method 

The backcombing method is more natural. You take small pieces of hair and tease them back toward the roots with a comb. This method isn’t as popular as the others because the knots you make at your roots will move down over time. This will leave you with loose, unstyled hair or cause the loc to fall apart completely.

But this method works better on some hair types than on others, because it gives texture to hair that usually doesn’t have any. Rubber bands can be used to help keep the loc’s strands in place.

Twist and “rip” method 

Unlike the neglect and backcombing method, the twist and rip method gives you more control over how big your locs are and how many you make. With this method, you start by taking the section of hair you want, twisting it (it doesn’t matter which hair you twist), then separating the twist into two parts and pulling them apart toward the root. Keep twisting down and doing it again and again. This will make knots, which will hold the sections in place while the loc forms around them.

Dreadlock braiding method 

The braiding method can also be used to make a base for locs. To make these kinds of locs, you will need to braid the pieces of hair you want to use. If you leave the braids in, dreadlocks will grow on top of them over time. It’s important to remember that it can take up to a year for the braided pattern to go away completely and for the locs to look more flat than cylindrical.

If the ends of the braid come apart, you can use loc wax and palm roll to help the loose hairs stick together.

Stages of dreadlocks 

Dreadlocks are a slow-growing hairstyle that goes through four stages: starting, growing, teen, and fully grown. Check out the different steps:

Starter locs (3-6 months)    

This is the start of the loc journey. When your locs are first made, you won’t be able to see any knots, tangles, or mats. In the next few months, this will start to happen in the later stages.

After a few months, your locs will start to get tangled and knotted on the inside. Your locs will start to go through the “budding” stage after about six months.

Budding locs (6-12 months)   

During this stage, buds and knots start to form, and the strands start to wrap around each other. By layering and twisting the hair, a cocoon-like structure is made that will keep growing. The new growth makes the texture more fuzzy and fluffy, and the top will mat or stick together.

At this stage, it’s important to keep up with cleansing and moisturizing to avoid weak spots, bumps, and buildup.

Teen locs (12-15 months)

Teen locs, also called middle locs, are when the locs finally start to take shape and get thicker. Most of the hairs will be going in different directions, which could make it hard to control. Find accessories like head wraps, scarves, and headbands to help with this.

These accessories will not only help you get rid of the frizz while you wait for your locs to grow out more, but they will also spice up your look.

Mature locs (15-18 months)  

Your locs have finally reached their full shape. They’ve matted on the inside and outside, and the frizz is gone. Also, the dreadlocks will be strong and long enough that they can lie flat.

Depending on the texture of your hair, this stage can start as early as one year; straighter hairs tend to take longer. You can now get used to shampooing and conditioning your hair regularly, but only with products that don’t leave behind any residue.

Dreadlock maintenance tips

It takes a lot of patience to get dreadlocks. When they are fully formed, it’s a big deal, so you’ll want to do everything you can to take care of them. Follow these tips to take care of your dreadlocks so they look and feel their best:

Avoid shampooing in the first week  

You shouldn’t shampoo your hair for the first week or two after you start making locs. If you don’t wash your hair right away, it will have more time to come together and tangle, which is important for the locking process. Also, the hair will be finer after it has been shaped. If your scalp is dry and you don’t make as much oil, you might want to wait a few more weeks.

Tip: If you want to tighten your locs, take some salt water and spray it on the spots that need it. Make sure to use a better salt, like Himalayan pink salt, instead of regular table salt. Himalayan salt has more vitamins and minerals than table salt, like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which can be good for your hair.

Stick to residue-free shampoo 

To keep your dreadlocks in place, use natural hair products as often as possible. Residue-free shampoo is especially significant since it helps avoid the excessive buildup that ordinary shampoos leave behind.

Too much residue in your locs might prevent them from drying properly, creating a breeding ground for mildew, commonly known as rot. If your dreadlocks decay, you must cut them off.

Tip: Avoid hair products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate or make promises of “softening” ingredients, as these are likely to cause buildup in your dreadlocks.

Keep your locs and scalp moisturized 

Because dry hair is prone to breakage, it’s critical to keep your locs hydrated. Consider applying a moisturizing spray and hair oil to keep not only your hair but also your scalp healthy and nourished. Just make sure the hair oil you chose is mild and won’t clog your pores.

Tip: After using your hair oil, wear a silk headscarf over your locs at night to help prevent fuzz and lint gathering from your bedding.

Apply loc wax with the palm rolling method regularly 

Your dreadlocks’ best friends are palm rolling and loc wax. As previously said, palm rolling is a maintenance technique in which you use your palms to roll and twist the strands of hair into tighter locs. Using this approach on a regular basis can assist your locss compress and mat faster.

Combine the palm rolling technique with loc wax. While palm rolling, loc wax helps to give a cleaner look and soothes frizz. Never use petroleum jelly or beeswax since they will cause accumulation and collect dirt and lint.

Tip: If you notice loose strands of hair coming out of your locs, roll them into a ball and insert the ball into the closest loc with a crochet needle. Continue palm rolling to ensure that the loose hair is secured into the new loc.

Pay attention to what you wear

Watch what you wear to keep your locs appearing as clean as possible – sweaters or other knit items that shed quickly can be picked up by your locs and caught in them. To avoid lint balls in your strands, avoid wearing this type of clothes, or if you do, knot your locs into an up-do. If lint does appear in your locs, gently remove it using a rat tail comb.

Tip: Don’t make a habit of picking your locs. Overdoing it can lead to thinning and holes in the strands.

Change up your look with dreadlocks 

With this guidance, you can get the ideal dreadlock style while also ensuring that your hair receives the necessary TLC to look and feel its best. While starting your loc adventure, keep your hair and scalp as hydrated as possible.

If you’re ready to switch up your hairstyle, explore through our loc stylists to locate someone in your area who can help you attain your desired look.