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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Getting Started: Ways to start your dreadlocks

There are tons of different locking methods one can use to start their dreadlocks. When I first had my set started I didn't really know what the loctician was going to do to my head. I figured well, she knows what she's doing right? She wouldn't have a job here if people didn't want her near their head. In retrospect I lucked out. The loctician started my locks in exactly the way I would have wanted had I known about all the different methods.

Why is it important to know the different methods to starting locks? Don't they all give you the same results? Not quite. The way you start your dreadlocks will (in most cases) determine their overall look. The method you use to start will effect the size, look, and uniformity of your locks. It's good to know, walking in, what type of dreadlocks you want to have. Do you want all of your dreads to be around the same size? Do you want slim dreads or fat dreads? Do you want to have an immediate dreadlock look, or do you want to grow into them? It is also important to know the type of hair you have. Certain methods work better on specific types of hair. Is your hair wavy, curly, or straight?

Most locking methods require at least 3-4+ inches of hair to start. I personally wouldn't recommend starting shorter than that.
When choosing a product to START locking your hair, it is most common to use a heavier wax. The wax helps it to hold longer. As your locks start to mature, you'll want to move to something much lighter. 

Lets start with the most common method of locking your hair. The comb twist/finger twist method.

The Comb Twist/ Finger Twist Method:

What you will need
  • comb (preferably a rat tailed comb)
  • clips/rubber bands for sectioning hair
  • holding product (wax, gel, styling gum, etc...)
When starting dreadlocks with this method you want to begin by taking the comb and parting the hair into squares. 1 to 2 inches squares work well, but it really depends on how big you want your locks to be. Don't worry, squares will make round locks. Some people choose to make very straight, clear cut sections, others don't. Really the choice is yours. Making really clean, precise, even sections will make your locks a little easier to style in the future, and will make it easier to group your locks in an even section when re-twisting, but it really isn't that hard to do if your locks aren't in precise, even sections either.

After creating the squares you will want to start from the back and move up the head. Apply your desired product to the sectioned off square saturating the strand. Wrap the strand of hair around the butt end of the comb and twist until it creates a tight little coil. Place a rubber band or hair clip on it so it holds while it dries. Proceed until you've twisted all of the squares.

If you are hand twisting the strand, saturate the it with your desired product, then, starting from the root of the strand twist the hair clockwise until it creates a tight little coil. Place a rubber band or hair clip just as you would with a comb twist. Proceed until you've twisted all of the squares.

It is very important that you twist all of your locks the same direction. It is easier to keep track of them when you go to re-twist them. You don't want to end up playing guessing games, and possibly undoing all the work you've already done. It's not fun. I assure you. 

The outcome will look something like this: 

Free-Forming/The Neglect Method

The neglect method pretty much speaks for itself.
This is the easiest locking method there is. You literally do nothing except wash your hair from time to time. No tools or products required. The idea behind this is to simply stop brushing/combing your hair. Once you stop that, you're hair will begin to knot and eventually form dreadlocks.

Although this is the easiest method to starting dreadlocks, it also has the most disadvantages. For one, your hair has to be somewhere around 10 inches long to start knotting. It'll take somewhere around 3 years or so before your hair really looks like dreadlocks. The time up until your knotted hair looks like dreadlocks isn't to appealing. It more or less just looks unsanitary. The biggest disadvantage (in my opinion of course) to this method is the lack of control you have over the size of your locks. Some will come out skinny and round, others may come out really bulky. Some may look really flat. Sometimes they'll start to combine and look like a tree trunk of hair (you can rip them apart, but that doesn't sound to wonderful to me). 

The outcome will look like any variation of this:
love ya bob

but you can also make them look like this:
Valerie June (i have my suspicions that they weren't STARTED free form)  

Two Strand Twist

The Two Strand Twist method is another very common way of starting dreadlocks. Thanks to the beauty that is YouTube, I've found a pretty simple tutorial on this method is done.

Along with this method, if you really want to have longer dreadlocks sooner, people have been known to add synthetic hair, and twist it in with their own.

Back Combing Method

The last common method of starting dreadlocks is called the back combing method. This tutorial also brought to you thanks to YouTube (and the same people that are in the above video...hurray!)

As the professional in this video states, back combing is a very nice technique to use to start dreadlocks. It gives the hair an immediate dreadlock type appearance, in conjunction with allowing the lock to mature quicker. This method can be used on all types of hair.

These are the four most common methods of starting your dreadlocks. Here are a few more methods, along with instructions on how to do them. This site also goes into clearer detail on the advantages and disadvantages of some of the aforementioned locking methods.

I hope these lock tutorials help. Choose the best locking method for your hair, and let the lock journey begin!

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