What first began as a cultural signature of black civilization has now become a fashionable pop culture hairstyle. From women to men to young adults, dreadlocks have become part of a global hairstyle.
Whatever your hair type, you can have dreadlocks. In this guide, I’ll take you through starter dreads and everything you need to know.
What are dreadlocks?
Dreadlocks are hair that naturally forms mats and knots when left to its own freely without detangling or brushing. A knot develops when hair strands are knotted together or deliberately styled as it grows tighter and encompasses more hair.
Depending on your hair type and how fast it grows, starter dreads can last three months to six months.
Dreads can be started in a variety of ways, including braids, two-strand twists, comb coils, and palm rolls. The starting dreads are the foundation of dreadlocks, so you must pay attention to how they part at this point.
Depending on your preference, you can either choose small, medium, or large threads or let the dreads grow at their own pace.
You can expect your hair to grow for about three to six months during this stage. It depends entirely on your hair type and how fast it grows. It will look pretty neat and uniform when your locks are neatly arranged. At this point, I recommend just letting them grow on their own.
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Basic guide for growing dreadlocks with short hair.
1. Assess your initial hair length.
You can grow dreadlocks at any minimum hair length. The variety of ways you can begin developing dreadlocks, though, ultimately relies on the length of hair you have when you first start.
If at all possible, hold off on starting to twist and manipulate your hair into dreadlocks until it is at least three to six inches long.
2. Consider your hair texture.
Additionally, when growing dreadlocks, you must consider your hair texture. Typically, black hair is curly, wavy, kinky, and easily entangled in natural coils. You can work with your hair more effectively if it’s a bit longer.
3. Analyze the visual appearance.
Take into account aesthetic factors too. When you start developing dreadlocks with short hair, you won’t have lengthy dreadlocks for months. It may take a year for your dreadlocks to reach a reasonable length. Your first dreadlocks will be short, spiky, or thick hair knobs protruding from your scalp.
Do you want to wait for a few inches for your natural hair to grow before you lock it? Or you don’t mind? The choice is yours.
4. Consider the sacrifices.
You must also consider the time and grooming sacrifices that are required when beginning dreadlocks with short hair. Instead of transforming your current hair length into dreadlocks, you will grow and twist dreadlocks from the scalp.
How to get started with dreadlocks
1. Use a soft bristle brush pad.
You should start brushing your hair with a soft-bristled brush pad. Using the soft pad, brush your hair into small entangled and curly hairballs.
Using a soft pad brush to prepare your short hair follicles for dreadlock twisting could take a few hours or a few days. Exercise patience.
2. Apply Dreadlock Gel
Apply a natural and organic cream, gel, or oil to your hair to create dreadlocks. Your hair will naturally coil and entangle into dreadlocks with the aid of dreadlock gel.
Additionally, dreadlock gel keeps the intertwined hair follicles naturally set as dreadlocks while also organically moisturising and hydrating dreadlocks.
On your hair, only apply natural and organic dreadlock cream, oil, or gel. Likewise, avoid beeswax. Products for dreadlock gel that contain decomposing beeswax might become clogged and lodged inside the dread follicles.
3. Create Dreadlock Component
To make small, inch-sized separate portions in your hair, use an ordinary comb or rat tail comb. The centre of each component is where you will start twisting your hair into dreadlocks.
Rubber bands can be used to keep the hair segments in place for a few hours. However, if you use the rubber bands for an extended period, they may become irreversibly entangled in your hair follicles. Furthermore, tugging or cutting rubber bands may destroy or damage your hair follicles.
And, because you’re starting with a small amount of hair, you’ll want as much healthy hair as possible.
4. Let It Dry Out.
Allow your hair to dry for one to two hours after it has been damped with dreadlock gel. To speed up the process, use a hairdryer on the lowest power setting.
5. Start Finger Coiling
You can then start finger coiling the previously produced hair segments.
Backcombing is an option if you have three inches of hair to deal with. Backcombing is the practice of holding a length of hair and combing it towards the scalp rather than away from it. Backcombing your hair gently encourages the follicles to become organically mixed and intertwined.
If you have extremely short hair, the finger coiling method is the way to go. The use of a brush should thoroughly entangle the short hair follicles. Begin by coiling and twisting the hair at the centre of each section with your thumb, pointer, and index finger.
Move on to the next one until the hair is sufficiently coiled for your liking.
Wear a silk or stocking hat to bed to protect your new dreadlocks. And start finger coiling your hair every day till it grows longer.
Tools for Creating Dreadlocks
1. Dread Sponge
A dread sponge is a necessary item for all methods, particularly the sponge/brushing ones.
A dread sponge is a useful device developed for dreading tough or rough hair. This tool is highly recommended for quickly dreading short hair. When it comes to short hair, a sponge brush is preferable to a bristle brush.
2. Dreadlock Cream
This cream is essential for locking the dreads successfully. It helps in holding the hair together and keeping it knotted.
3. Rattail Comb
This rat tail comb is designed for the twisting method of dreadlocks. This can be used to comb through, twist, part, and pull hairs.
Techniques for Creating Short Hair Dreadlocks
1. Brushing Method
This method allows you to achieve dreadlocks with hair that is less than 3 inches long. A dread sponge or a soft bristle brush is required. Make smaller portions or little balls with your hair. The sponge holes will aid in hair gathering and parting.
Use the terrible sponge in small circular motions. Brush small, inch-sized circles clockwise until the hair begins to form balls. This should take no more than a minute or two. Once a ball of hair has formed, move on to the next segment of hair to continue generating dreadlocks through the hair.
After completing the dread balls, secure them using a dread gel. You can also use Jamaican Mango and Lime locking gel to keep your dreads in place. Elastic bands are used to secure the little parts. To avoid discomfort, make sure it is not too tight.
Allow it to dry naturally for about 3 hours, or blow-dry the locks. Following that, you will have short dreads and your hair will continue to clump as it grows.
2. Twisting method
This technique is comparable to brushing, however, it is more manageable. Instead of clumping the hair together with the brush, simply part your hair with a comb. Take a tiny section of hair and divide it into one-inch squares with a comb. Apply gel to the portions you divided and secure these squares using elastic bands or hair clips.
Insert a rat tail comb into your hair at the roots, being sure to hold the hair in the comb teeth. Twist the comb while pulling till you reach the end of your hair. As you twist, make sure the hair is in the teeth. When you’ve completed, the portion of the hair should be twisted into a small dread.
The twisting method works best on short hair. You can make horizontal dreads across your head with an inch between them. Continue until all of your hair is feared. Allow the dreads to dry naturally for a few hours before using a hairdryer to eliminate the moisture.
3. Locking From the Braids or Plats
This technique is best suited to hair that is extremely textured and short in length. Because the plaits or braids serve to secure the hair, this technique is appropriate for active lives. Hair sectioning will assist you in adjusting the dread size and forming clean dreads.
What Hair Type Is Best For Dreads?
Dreadlocks can be worn on any hair type, although kinky, coarse hair tends to look best. Tightly twisted hair naturally develops a coiling shape. Curls readily produce lovely, cylindrical, rope-like dreads when securely twisted and begin knotting over themselves.
Straight hair is more difficult to dread, but it is certainly achievable. It just takes a bit more time. Because straight hair lacks the natural spiral shape, it must be conditioned to form cylindrical knots and mats.
This takes a little more effort, but it is doable. Getting dreads without employing the neglected approach encourages your hair to knot, twist, and tangle faster than it would ordinarily. There are several ways to accomplish this.
Things to Consider Before Getting Dreads
1. Dreads Can Hurt
New dreadlocks are soft and flexible, whereas mature dreadlocks are rigid and tight. Sleeping with dreads can be uncomfortable or even painful, according to people with this hairdo.
2. You May Experience Frizz and Itching
If you have dreads, you will experience frizz, especially in the beginning. Some solutions can help you tame it, but the nature of dreads makes frizz unavoidable. This is critical to understand right away. Itching is another typical complaint among deadheads.
You may feel flakes and itching if you do not exfoliate your scalp regularly. You can treat a dry scalp with moisturisers and oils, but be aware that itching will be a part of the process.
3. They Take Time to Mature.
You’ll be sadly disappointed if you want neatly groomed, uniform dreads from the start. It takes time for dreads to grow and mat into locks. They may appear oddly shaped at first, protrude out at unusual angles, or reflect the pattern of the braid or twist you’re using to begin them.
This is typical and part of the process, but you should be prepared. That way, you won’t be cursing us for giving you lousy directions.
4. You’ll Hear Everyone’s Opinion
Dreads can attract negative reactions, so expect to hear criticism from anyone who doesn’t like your locks. You’ll listen to anything from harsh comments to well-intended queries about whether or not you wash them, why you picked dreads, and so on.
Knowing this ahead of time will help you approach these circumstances with a calm and prepared response.
5. They’re Not Meant to be Temporary.
Dreads are a long-term hairstyle that should not be used for a short period. It takes time for the knotting, tangling, and matting required to develop mature locks.
And once completed, those knots are firmly in place. Combing out dreads is difficult and time-consuming, but it is possible. If you merely want to experiment with your hairstyle, avoid dreads.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long do starter dreads take?
Three to six months. In the lock’s process, the starter stage (also known as the baby stage) lasts roughly three to six months. But how long this stage lasts depends on a couple of things, such as your hair type and how fast your hair grows.
What are good starter dreads?
Braids (or plaits) may be the go-to starter loc style for people with a looser hair texture to prevent unravelling in the beginning loc stages, particularly when the hair gets wet. Keep in mind that braid locks will not be as circular as rolled or twisted locks; since the braid is flat, your locks will be flat too.
How much do starter dreads cost?
How much does it cost to start dreads? Professional-made dreadlocks cost between $200 to $1,500, depending on how much hair you have.
What should you not do with starter locks?
Moisture is important to healthy hair, but skipping this step will prevent locks from unravelling. So, say no to deep conditioners in the starter loc stage and you’ll be on your way to healthy and defined locks in the future. Consider deep conditioning only when your hair begins to lock up.
Why is my starter locks so frizzy?
Frizz is an inevitable part of the lock’s journey and process. Frizz is a sign that your hair is growing and maturing healthily. Your frizz is needed to continue to form the loc as the hair begins to take the shape, form and mat itself together.
Are dreadlocks expensive to maintain?
Maintenance can cost as little as nothing if you’re just washing and separating the roots. It can be expensive if a professional has to maintain or fix them, but that price is up to the loctician to determine.
How thick should your starter locks be?
If you want your locks to be extremely thick, closer to 20 locks will be your best bet. It’s important not to go for less than 20 dreadlocks because that would result in extremely thick locks that don’t get fully dry.
Now it’s your turn…
Starter dreads, which can also be called dreadlocks, are beautiful, long-lasting hairstyles that can be healthy for your scalp. As a beginner, there are different methods to choose from, including brushing, twisting, or plaiting.
Whatever method you choose, make sure your hair is at least three to six inches long to avoid overly rigid strands and pain. Maintenance is key as it will help you keep your locks neat and moisturised.
And you need a lot of patience to see your locks mature and balanced.
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