Man with red hair and dreadlocks leaning on a railing
Hair Styling | Braided Hair

Getting Dreadlocks: Learn About This Cool & Long-lasting Hairstyle

What are dreadlocks exactly? These are essentially strands of rope-like hair that is made by braiding or matting hair segments. Thought to have existed for more than 2,000 years, dreadlocks are still a hugely popular hairstyle and have been worn by celebrities such as Bob Marley, Lenny Kravitz, Jason Momoa, and Whoopie Goldberg. While these are typically created with a hair length that is long (often past your shoulders or further), some people rock shorter styles of around 3 inches and have absolutely nailed the look. Let us tell you more about how to create dreadlocks.

Preparations for your new hairstyle

Model with black hair and dreadlocks, crouching down.
© Stocksy / Ronnie Comeau

Half up/half down dreadlocks is also a fab looks!

Although many schools and workplaces are becoming far more tolerant to dreadlocks and braid hairstyles nowadays, it would still be prudent to find out if this hairstyle is acceptable where you work or study before you begin. If you want to create dreadlocks, you'll need a few things to get started if you want to go for the DIY approach. Many hair salons specialize in this type of hairstyle, but if you feel like you could handle making dreadlocks yourself, then pick up these items:


How to create dreadlocks using the backcombing technique

Using the items listed above, the backcombing method is perhaps considered the most organic and simplest way to create dreadlocks. Eventually, the backcombed knots will constrict in a way that leaves a smooth, natural finish for perfect dreadlocks (along with proper care). For DIY dreadlocks, try this step-by-step technique:


1.       First, wash the hair with the residue-free shampoo and allow it to air dry.

2.       Begin sectioning your hair into roughly one-inch segments and use the rubber bands to hold the hair in place, using one at the tip, one in the middle, and one near the root.

3.       Once you've got all segments fitted with rubber bands, get the metal comb and start slowly backcombing each hair segment from the bottom to the top, removing the rubber bands as you go. You basically want to use the comb to push the hair towards the scalp and to create knots that will turn into dreadlocks.

4.       After backcombing that part of the hair, place a rubber band back at the tip and at the root, then take some specially-formulated dreadlocks wax (about the size of a cent), lightly rub it into your hands, and begin to roll it through the backcombed hair segment using your palms. Do this from top to bottom and your hair will begin to look solid.

5.       Repeat this on all sections of your hair.

Maintenance and caring for dreadlocks

Brunette woman with dreadlocks and lots of tattoos
© Stocksy / Mosuno

You don't have to dreadlock all your hair, just try parts of it

It's a common misconception that once you create dreadlocks, you won't have to wash them or do anything else! Well, dreadlocks still require a lot of care and need to be cleaned, especially in the first few weeks. You could use the Gliss® Oil Nutritive Weightless Oil to ensure your dreadlocked hair stays in good condition but isn't left with a greasy residue. In fact, it's important to ensure your dreadlocks steer clear of breakage, split ends, and frizz by using the shampoo mentioned above or some of the other best shampoos for dry hair. It's perfect if you can keep washing your hair at least once a week for the first three weeks and always sleep with a silk nightcap to ensure the dreadlocks don't unravel on the pillow.


If it appears like the dreadlocks aren't looking too good, place a small amount of special wax and rub it into the hair using the palm roll technique (the same method you used to create the dreadlocks). You can do this a couple of times a week, but it's important only to do this when your hair is dry. Afterwards, use a hair-dryer to help the wax harden and settle. Over time, you can lessen the maintenance routine as your dreadlocks start to form, leaving you with an awesome and easy hairstyle! You could continue visiting a dedicated hair salon for dreadlocks every few months to make sure the hair stays in great condition.