Starting Dreadlocks: What Method Is Best for You?

There are a variety of methods used to start dreadlocks. The method and size selected mostly depends on the texture and length of the hair. Other variables that affect the lock starting technique include hair’s thickness, fullness, and versatility desired. The methods discussed in the article give you insight into the most popular methods used and what works best on various hair lengths and textures. The methods discussed include: two-strand twist, three-strand twist, comb coil twist, palm rolling, latch stitching, and individual braids.

In the palm rolling method, the hair is sectioned and rolled between the palms. This is usually achieved on hair that is longer than 2 inches. For best results, you should not wash your hair until it has started to lock. As the hair grows, the new growth is twisted using a palm rolling or similar twisting method. Alternatively, the new growth can be groomed using the interlocking or latch hook method discussed below.

The comb coils is a method where the hair is sectioned and is twisted into coils using a (rat tail) comb or by hand. This is usually achieved on shorter hair. For best results, you should not wash your hair until it has started to dread. As the hair grows, the new growth is twisted using a palm rolling or similar twisting method. When hair starts to lock, it will begin to not look like comb coils and may start to get fuzzy or begin to poof. However, this is not a cause to create worry because it is all apart of the dreading process.

Two or 3-strand twist is an alternative method of starting locks. The hair is sectioned and is twisted using a two or 3-strand method. This can be achieved on hair of any length (as long as it is grab-able). However, it is best achieved on hair the is at least 3 inches. You should not wash your hair until the twist start to hold, which usually takes about 6 weeks. The new growth is twisted using a palm rolling or similar twisting method.

Unlike the methods mentioned above, interlocking or latched hook locks are done using a latching tool. The hair is sectioned and a piece of yarn or thread is placed on the end of section to be locked. The section of hair is then interlocked using a 2, 3, or 4 point interlocking pattern. The locks can be made as small as desired. The thread (or yarn) used to secure the bottom of the section will eventually loc into your hair. With this style you are able to wash your hair whenever you desire, however, it is recommended that you don’t wash your hair for four to six weeks. The new growth is groomed using the interlocking or latch hook method. Alternatively, the new growth can be twisted using a palm rolling or similar twisting method. This method of locking takes a considerable amount of time to complete due to the extensive nature of the interlocking technique.

Another method of starting locks are braid-locks. For the best results, you need to have 5-6 inches of hair. With this method, you are able to wash your hair anytime. Micro-braid-locks can also be achieved using this method. Micro-braid-locks utilize only your hair. Both Braid-locks and Micro-braid-locks will lock. New growth is twisted using a palm rolling or similar twisting method. Alternatively, the new growth can be groomed using the interlocking or latch hook method.

The easiest method to start locks is Freeform Locks. With this method, you do absolutely nothing to the new growth of the dreads (think Bob Marley). There is nothing you do to your hair or the new growth at all, no maintenance, no twisting, NOTHING! You leave the new growth to its own devices. With this method, locks usually end up marrying or joining at the root. This method is not the neatest, but it is the easiest.

Lock extensions is a method of starting locks that gives you instant locks in less than 24 hours. In this method, hair is (usually) braided and extension hair is wrapped around the braid to resemble a lock. You can keep the extension in or trim it as your locks grow out. New growth is twisted using a palm rolling or similar twisting method. Alternatively, the new growth can be groomed using the interlocking or latch hook method. Many people like this method because it gives the look of a matured loc instantly.

The last method we will discuss is back combing. Back combing is a common method on hair that is a straighter, less kinky texture. Back combing (also known as “teasing” or “ratting”) means repeatedly combing the hair towards the scalp, causing the hair to tangle. For best results, the hair should be at least shoulder length. With this method, the hair cannot be washed until it starts to lock. Because of the straighter texture, it may take 4-6 months for the hair to start to lock. During this time, the hair should NOT get wet. Some type of product, like wax or honey, is usually added to the hair to help facilitate the locking of the hair.

No matter the method you choose to start your locks, understand the commitment you are taking by locking you hair. Happy Locking!