Dreadlocks, a.k.a. dreads or locs, is a ropelike hairstyle achieved by braiding and matting sections of hair. This style dates back as far as 2,500 BCE. It’s said to be worn by various religions and cultures, but the first written evidence of dreadlocks is in India’s Vedic scriptures. Later on, dreadlock hairstyles were found in Ancient Egypt as well.
Given its rich history and heritage, it’s no surprise that over the years, this hairstyle has evolved with the times and with so many new variations: Dreadlock updos, braided and even colorful locs. Stay with us as we break everything down, from how to create dreadlocks in the first place and how to maintain them, to a slew of inspo of the best-looking styles and products for you. Read on:
Best Looking Dreadlock Styles
1. Short Dreadlock Hairstyles
We love how a shorter dread looks fetching right at the chin or on an angle. Another way to wear your shorter dreads is to enhance this look with a touch for color. Red looks particularly fetching on brown or black hair. Keep your short dreads clean and your scalp moisturized with an anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner duo. We love RE-FRESH Scalp Care Coconut & Soothe Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner for the job!
2. Braided Dreadlocks
Have a lot of hair and can’t bear the big chop? We totally feel you as you search for options to styling your dreadlocks. One look we love is the braided dreadlocks where you can twist and contort your hair into the latest plait. Looks pretty stunning with a fishtail braid, right?
3. Dreadlock Updo
Another way to get your dreadlocks out of your face, while still maintaining the style is to wrap them up. We love the look of a twisted updo where you can show-off the incredible collection of coils and dimension in your hair.
4. South African Dreadlocks
Try this skinnier, more defined dreadlock style!
5. Long Dreadlocks
Long locs make a statement! Try growing them out!
6. Dreadlock Style for Weddings
Need a more formal hairstyle for a wedding? Try twisting your dreadlocks into a high bun.
7. DIY Dreadlocks
Try doing your dreadlocks yourself. This gives you complete control to decide how you’d like them, and you can style them up as formally or as casually as you like.
8. Curly Faux Dreadlocks
Use rollers to curl your faux locs. This adds a unique twist to the style, which you don’t see very often.
9. Dreadlock Ponytail
Need a quick and easy way to keep your dreadlocks out of your face? Hold them back with a ponytail.
10. Two-Strand Twist Dreadlock
Do you want more a stylized dreadlock? Try a two-strand twist version.
11. Fancy Dreadlocks
A unique dreadlock updo is a perfect style for any fancy occasion.
12. Professional Dreadlocks
So, maybe you work in an office setting and need to look professional, but don’t want to sacrifice your precious dreadlocks? This skinnier, tight dreadlocks style is great for a put-together look!
13. Crochet Dreadlocks
Yes, you can literally use a crochet hook to install and maintain this type of dreadlock. Try crochet dreads for a unique approach to this popular style.
14. Dreadlock Weave
If you want to try dreadlocks, but don’t want to fully commit, get a dreadlock weave! This allows you to test out the style, but it can also easily be removed if you end up not liking it.
15. Short Dread Braids
Creating a dreadlock with a braid will make it look a little more put-together. Plus, it’ll add additional texture!
16. Elegant Dreadlocks
Opting for mid-length dreadlocks is a great option when you’re looking for an elegant style. You’re able to do updos still, but the length is still manageable.
17. Layered Dreadlocks
Adding layers to your dreadlocks can help create more movement in your hair. Your hair also won’t feel as weighed down, which is great if you have longer locs.
18. Pin-Up Dreadlocks
Not sure how to style your dreadlocks for the day, or want to keep them out of your face? Try this pinning them up with a top knot updo.
19. Thin Dreadlocks
Do you want a more discreet dreadlock style, or just don’t want to deal with thick dreadlocks? Try a thinner option!
20. Thick Dreadlocks
Creating thick dreadlocks is a great way to amp up the volume of your dreadlocks.
21. Faux Dreads
If you want to try out the dreaded look temporarily, try out some faux locs. This look involves teasing and intertwining your hair to create twists. This Twist & Rip method creates a knotty texture and using a gel, like TRESemmé TRES Two Ultra Firm Control Gel, keeps your temporary locs in place. Check out our full fake dreadlock tutorial for more step-by-step details.
22. Goddess Locs
Goddess locs are a type of faux loc that has an open end. It’s perfect if you want to try out the style without damaging your own hair.
23. Sister Locs
Sister locs are a great dreadlocks look to wear if you want to try out a thinner style.
24. Bohemian Dreadlocks
Add beads or a fun color for a boho twist on a classic dreadlock.
25. Crochet Goddess Dreadlocks
There are multiple ways to install faux dreadlocks in your hair. One way to do this style is with a crochet hook!
26. Short Faux Locs
Looking to try some faux locs before committing to the style? From wait length to a bob, you can wear faux locs at any length. Try a short length for a versatile look.
27. Starter Locs
If you’re just starting out your dreadlocks, it’s understandable that they’ll be on the shorter side. Even with starter locs, you can do so many hairstyles.
28. Blonde Faux Dreadlocks
Want to step out of your comfort zone, but don’t want to fully commit just yet? Try blonde faux dreadlocks to test out the style.
29. Faux Locs Bob
Faux locs come in handy when you want to try out dreadlocks, but don’t want to commit to the style. The great part about this is being able to choose any length you want! So, why not go for the bob you’ve always wanted to try?
30. Faux Locs Wig
The great thing about wearing a dreadlocks wig is having the freedom to constantly change up your style, so your options are endless.
31. Freeform Dreadlocks
When dreadlocks begin to form naturally in your hair over time, you have a freeform dreads style! Take full advantage of this and start showing off a new dreadlock look.
32. Jumbo Faux Locs
Just like a faux locs bob, you might as well go big or go home when it comes to faux locs.
33. Micro Locs
Just starting your dreadlock journey or want an ultra-short look? Try micro locs.
34. Colored Faux Locs
The great thing about faux locs is that you can try any color you want, and don’t have to worry about damaging your actual hair.
35. Red Faux Locs
Getting bored with your locs? Change up your look by dying your locs red.
36. Faux Locs With Curly Ends
Want to embrace your natural texture? Keep the ends of your faux dreads curled for a fancier looking dread.
37. Ombré Faux Locs
Do you have long dreadlocks? Add dimension to your look by opting for an ombré hue.
38. High Tops Dreads Style
Dreadlocks can be heavy. If you want your hair off your neck, but don’t feel like wearing a bun or ponytail, try a high top style.
39. Dread Twist Style
Try twisting thinner dreadlocks for a unique style!
40. Dread Bun Style
Create a bun that stands out, by twisting your dreads into a top knot.
41. Dread Wrap Style
If you’re not sure how to wear your dreadlocks for the day, try dressing them up with a scarf.
42. Crinkle Dreads
If you want to do something a little unique and quirky with your dreadlocks, try a crinkled style.
43. Dyed Dreads Style
If you’re looking for a way to change up your dread style, try dying your hair! Switching the color can make a huge difference in your look.
44. Medium Length Dreadlock Hairstyle
Mid-length hair is actually the best length to use when it comes to creating dreadlocks.
45. Rasta Dreads Style
Dreadlocks are extremely symbolic to Rastafarians. They believe their hair is their strength, and also their weakness if it’s cut off.
How to Do Dreadlocks
When you decide you want dreadlocks, you’re probably wondering, “Where do I even start?” You can achieve this style in a variety of ways: Backcombing, twist and rip, twisting, and brush rubbing. But the most popular way to do this style is by backcombing. Follow the steps below to learn how you backcomb your way to dreadlocks!
Step 1: Wash and condition hair
Start by washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo and conditioner and then letting it dry. We love Dove Nutritive Solutions Clarify & Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner because it deep cleans your hair without stripping away the moisture.
Step 2: Section your hair.
After your hair is all cleaned and dry, section off 1-inch pieces with hair elastics. Continue this step until all of your hair is sectioned off.
Step 3: Backcomb.
Once all of your hair is sectioned off, begin removing one elastic at a time and teasing (aka backcombing) that section of hair. It’s best to start by backcombing 1/2 inch sections of hair at a time, so you achieve a tighter dread.
Step 4: Apply wax.
Now that you have a backcombed section of hair, secure one elastic at the root of the section and one at the end. Next, take about a dime-sized amount of wax and begin to roll the section of hair to form the dread. We love Bed Head by TIGI Wax Stick because it gives you hold and structure without making your hair stiff. After the dread is rolled and set in place you can remove the elastics.
Step 5: Done!
Repeat steps three and four on all sections of hair. Once you’ve completed that, you’ll have a head full of dreads!
How to Maintain Your Dreadlocks
Maintaining your dreadlocks is actually easier than you think. The longer you have your dreads, the less maintenance they’ll require overtime. Keep scrolling to find out how you can maintain this popular style!
Keep ‘Em Clean
Your dreadlocks can easily pick up lint and debris, so it’s critical that you keep your dreads clean. It’s recommended that you shampoo your dreads every 2-4 days. This is also essential because clean hair will lock and tighten faster than dirty hair.
After washing your dreadlocks, they may loosen up at first. You don’t need to re-twist your dreadlocks every single time you shampoo your hair, but re-twisting every other time will do the trick!
To re-twist your dreads, use the same wax as before and begin to twist the dread again. Once it’s completely twisted, pin the dread for at least three hours so it can dry and set in place.
Keep Locs Smooth
The last step for maintaining your dreadlocks is to fix any loose hairs that might come up from either washing or general wear over time. This can be done by using a loose hair tool, which looks somewhat like a crochet needle with a small, dull hook at the end.
To use this tool, insert it about 2-inches away from the loose hair, and make sure it’s through the dread. Next, use the latch to pull the loose hair into the dread and through the middle. Once the hair is inserted in the dread, push the tool forward and out of the dread.
Best Products for Dreadlocks
When wearing your dreadlocks, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right products and caring for them properly. It can be tricky to decide what exactly you should be using on your locs, so keep scrolling to find out the best products for your dreads:
Wash and Condition
Just like you would regular loose hair, it’s important that you wash your dreadlocks on a regular basis. You should be washing them at least every two weeks. We love Suave Sulfate-Free Cleansing Shampoo and Suave Moisturizing Curl Conditioner set because the formula is infused with natural shea butter and coconut oil, which will help keep your locs moisturized and frizz-free.
Keep Your Locs and Scalp Moisturized
It’s important to make sure your locs don’t get too brittle. If they become very dry, they can break off over time. Use a spray, like The Good Stuff Frizz Control Oil to maintain the health of your dreadlocks.
While you’re keeping your dreads healthy and moisturized, you can’t forget about your scalp. Ensuring your scalp maintains its moisture is very important too. Use Love Beauty & Planet Soothe & Nourish Hemp Seed Oil & Nana Leaf Scalp Serum to moisturize your scalp around every three days. We love this oil because it will also help reduce frizz in your hair.