Everything You Need to Know About Freeform Dreads

Thinking about locking your hair? Good choice. While there are many ways to loc your hair, freeform dreads can give you the authentic look you always dreamed about.

Freeform dreads, also known as freedom or freestyle dreads, are a great low maintenance option. They allow women to embrace their natural hair texture without having to deal with heavy products or common styling tools like combs and brushes.

Best of all, freeform dreads allow you to practically roll out of bed without styling before you head out the door. Yes – that means the messier, the better! 

What are Freeform Dreads?

freeform dreads how to guide

Now that we’ve reeled you in, let’s take a dive into what freeform dreads are all about. This style allows your hair to grow organically without much manipulation. Each section of hair starts out as one twist/braid and then takes a life of its own. 

Unlike semi-freeform dreads, you won’t need to worry about separating your roots or rolling your hair with a product for a more styled or polished look. You simply let your hair do its thing.

Although growing styled dreads provides stunning results, many believe freeform dreads provide cultural significance and spiritual advantages. Since the process involves growing your hair without manipulation or force, these rules go against most global beauty standards. It’s an internal challenge many black people face when choosing to embrace the hair that grows from their heads. Many people see freeform dreads as the freedom to choose and freedom to live life as they please. 

Semi-freeform Dreads

semi freeform dreads how to guide

If you’re not totally committed to freeform dreads but still want the look and feel of locs, there is another option – semi-freeform dreads. This style is a better option for those who would like a slightly neater look. This involves maintaining a parting system at your roots while continuing to cleanse your hair regularly.

Keep in mind that just because most loc styles are low maintenance, it does not mean you should neglect them. You should still continue to care for your hair. 

How to Get Freeform Dreads?

If you’ve decided on freeform locs, you’ll need to know how to get the look. Initially, they take just a short time to install and then you’ll let time work its magic. Here’s a step-by-step on how to create freeform dreads.

Step 1: Cleanse your hair and part into sections


Editor’s tip: In need of a good wash and care duo for the job? We love the TRESemme Botanique Curl Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner because they’re infused with a botanical, paraben- and dye-free blend of shea butter and hibiscus. Expect curls that are gently cleansed and wholly hydrated.


Step 2: Install single braids or twists without the use of hair product

freeform locs how to guide

Doing this step without product will allow the hair to grip better and enable them to stay put.

Step 3: Let your hair breathe and naturally take shape

how to style freeform dreads

You can also start the freeform loc process by washing your hair and from there simply allowing your hair to take its own shape without twisting or braiding to set up your locs.


How long do freeform dreads take?

Typically, your hair texture determines how long it will take your hair to loc. Curlier hair types most of the time will loc sooner than those with a looser curl pattern. On average, your hair should begin to loc within a couple of weeks. On the flipside, it could take a full two years before your freeform locs fully take shape. 

This length of time could help you determine what type of locs you want. If you’re hoping to have more defined locs sooner, styled or semi-freeform locs may be better for you.

How do you maintain freeform dreads?

Freeform locs should be maintained by washing frequently to remove buildup. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your scalp to ensure it stays healthy. Eventually, you’ll find a routine that works best for your hair and personal routine, but it’s often recommended to wash 1 to 2 times per week for the first 12 weeks. You’ll want to focus on the scalp. Wash with hot water and rinse with cool water.

Freeform Dread Styles

Those with freeform and semi-freeform dreads should avoid wearing styles that create tension at the root or around the edges often. Actually, those who rock freeform locs typically do not style their hair at all.

On occasion, women with semi-freeform dreads can wear styles like ponytails, updos, and buns. Oftentimes these styles can cause locs to thin at the root and hairline. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them from time-to-time. Check out the freeform loc styles below and get inspiration.

freeform dread hairstyle ideas

Use hairpins to create a layered look.


Leave them down and let them show their personality.

freeform dreads half up half down

Wear half up, half down.

Now you have the lowdown on freeform dreadlocks, will you be giving them a go? For even more tips on keeping your locs looking fresh, we’ve got some top tips you won’t want to miss…


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