hippy hairstyles dreadlocks

Everything You Need to Know About Freeform Dreads + 3 Styles to Try

The only loc how-to you need now.

Thinking about locing 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 that can easily be taken care of at home. They allow women to embrace their natural hair texture without having to deal with heavy products or common styling tools like combs and brushes.

Everything You Need to Know About Freeform Dreads

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
Freeform dreads are a great protective style to try.

Now that you’re reeled 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 provide 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.

We ran a survey among our readers about natural hair and how much is embraced. Not surprisingly, 89% of our survey takers expressed that they indeed embrace more their natural locs today than they did in the past. We also asked how natural hair representation could be improved, and the answers are in the graph.

BHM 2022 survey

Semi-freeform Dreads

semi freeform dreads how to guide
Give for semi-freeform dreads a try.

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.

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 flip side, 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, 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.

How to Get Freeform Dreads

Step 1: Cleanse your hair and part strands into sections.

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.

Get your hair prepped for freeform dreads.

Editor’s tip: In need of a good wash and care duo for the job? We love the SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo and Conditioner because they help to deeply moisturize your hair while adding shine. Expect curls that are gently cleansed and wholly hydrated.

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

freeform locs how to guide
Time to install the braids.

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
Your hair will naturally take form in this process.

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. While letting your hair breathe, try using Love Beauty and Planet Sandalwood & Grapeseed Natural Oils Infusion to keep your scalp moisturized 

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.

1. Layered Dreads

freeform dread hairstyle ideas
Add extra dimension with layers.

Use hairpins to create a layered look. This style is simultaneously unique and dimensional and adds a ton of visual interest to your look. 

2. Long and Flowing Freeform Dreads

Let your locs down.

Leave your freeform dreads down and show off your intricate style. We love the idea of pulling your dreads over to one side for a unique take on a classic style.

3. Half-Up Freeform Dreads

freeform dreads half up half down
Show off your face by creating a half-updo.

Wear half up, half down to show off your face. It’s easy to fall into the habit of throwing your hair up into a messy bun to keep your strands out of your face but this half-up, half-down style allows you to wear some hair down without any interference. 

Will you be trying any of these loc styles? Show us by tagging @AllThingsHairUS, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter below for hair more inspiration.

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