Tutorial: 3 Different Methods to Make Dreadlocks

Create dreads at home with this simple tutorial.

There are a few methods you can use when learning how to make dreadlocks. While they’re all similar, it’s important to figure out which method is best for you. What started in Rastafarian culture has now transitioned to the mainstream with an ever-evolving set of “locs” that are adorned by both men and women.

Renowned for the look of having sculpted ropes of long hair that are matted and formed together, this style naturally forms on its own as it creates different looks over the course of time. Whether you’re loc-curious or want to know how to master the roping phase, we can show you exactly how to make dreadlocks.

Check out our super easy tutorials to help you create your very own stylish dreadlocks:

When it comes to learning how to make dreadlock hair, having patience is key because this style takes time to form. The formation of the locs can vary from eight months to a year or more. During this time, strands of hair grow and mat into each other, similar to the formation of a tangle. Loc-ing straight or wavy hair may even take up to two years. 

Ready to learn how to make your hair dreadlocks? Keep scrolling to check out these three dreadlocks step by step techniques to help you start this style.

The Backcombing Technique

How to make dreadlocks with charms
Dreads can be also started with braids as opposed to twists. Accessorize your locks with hair charms to add a touch of glam.

Step 1: Start with clean hair.

When wondering how to make dreadlocks, start with freshly washed and product-free hair. Use a shampoo and conditioner duo that will rid your hair from residue while adding moisture to your hair like SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

Ready to learn how to make dreadlock hair? To avoid damage, make sure your hair is dry. Either wait for it to air dry or use a blow dryer to help create as much volume as possible before starting the process.

Step 2: Create your sections to make dreadlocks.

Still unsure how to make dreadlocks? Sectioning off your hair will make the process start to come together. Starting at the front hairline or nape, section-off hair in square shapes using any type of comb or your fingers. The size of each section can vary from 1 ½ inch areas or larger.

Step 3: Start twisting your hair.

To start the actual dreadlock, begin two-strand twisting your hair section by section. This is the most important step when figuring out how to make dreadlocks. You can place a rubber band or hair tie at the root to keep your sections in place.

Step 4: Tease your hair.

For those who want a messier feel, use a fine-toothed comb to tease each twist upward in a gradual motion. As you tease each twist, pull the ends of the hair apart (i.e. split the very end of the twist into two). Then, twist the ends back into a two-strand twist. This can speed up the locking process, resulting in an instant dreadlock look.

If you need something that will soak up oil in between washes, try a dry shampoo like Dove Detox + Purify Dry Shampoo or rinse, like SheaMoisture Moringa & Avocado Power Greens Hair Tea Rinse.

The Twist and Rip Technique

how to make dreadlocks long dreads
Whichever method you choose, make sure you commit so that your dreads come out perfect! Photo credit: Sergi Dolcet

Step 1: Section hair.

Divide your hair into individual inch-thick sections. Secure them with rubber bands or small plastic elastics.

Step 2: Wash your hair.

When washing your hair, rub all your hair in one direction. This will help begin the dreading formation and texture.

Step 3: Air dry your sections.

Let your hair air dry until it is completely dry.

Step 4: Begin palm rolling.

When starting to learn how to make your hair dreadlocks, rip apart each tied-off section of hair. Apply dread wax to the section and roll it between your palms until it forms a dreadlock. This technique is called palm rolling and is the most effective way to create a dread by yourself.

Remember to palm roll once a day to maintain defined dreads. While rolling your hair once a day is key, do not over-roll or it will make the dreads more susceptible to unraveling.

The Braiding Technique for Dreads Hair

how to make dreadlocks braiding technique

Step 1: Wash your hair.

Just like with all the other techniques, begin by washing your hair.

We recommend trying out TRESemmé Botanique Hemp Hydration Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner. This shampoo will give your hair hydration and shine, but won’t over-moisturize, making it perfect for creating dreads on healthy-looking strands.

Step 2: Let your hair dry.

You can blowdry your hair or you can simply let it air dry.

Step 3: Section hair and braid.

Create dreads hair by starting with 1-inch sections at a time. Section off your hair by tying them up with rubber bands at the roots. Braid each section and secure them at the ends with more elastics.

Step 4: Palm roll.

Apply wax to each braid and roll them one at a time between your palms until it dreads.

how to make dreadlocks final product
All of that work will lead to beautiful dreads! Photo credit: Jazmin Quaynor

When it comes to how to make dreadlocks, patience is key. As the hair begins to loosen throughout the days and months, simply twist the loose strands of hair around your locs-to-be. Only perform your loc-maintenance methods on damp hair as dry hair will lead to damage and breakage.

Dreadlock maintenance is also key to keeping your style on point. Learn how to maintain dreads with our detailed guide. Happy dreadlocking!

Prev Article
Next Article

Stay inspired

Sign up to the newsletter and get exclusive hair care tips and tricks.
Hair Quiz
All Things Hair
All Things Hair US
Need some style inspo? Let's chat! I'm Athena, your personal Hair Assistant.
Chat with All Things Hair in Messenger