how to dread naturally

How to dread hair naturally

Dreading hair naturally is easy as can be. However some tips will make your natural dreadlocks journey easier and faster.

Dreading hair naturally tips:

  • Clean hair dreads best– wash your hair often but not every day. use a non residue dread friendly shampoo or the baking soda deep cleanse, and wash at least weekly, at most every 2 days.
  • Dry hair dreads best– dry hair dreads faster, however african hair gets brittle if too dry so should be moisturized throughout the process, other hair types it helps to reduce oiliness and dry the hair out somewhat, sea salt sprays and soaks can help. baking soda without acv afterwards will slowly make oily hair less oily, also, washing slightly less often will also reduce oiliness slowly.
  • Longer hair dreads best– if hairs too short it is harder to hold in knots, (african textured hair however will dread short) the longer the hair the faster it can dread typically, but longer hair also shrinks more, and may try to congo more as it dreads.
  • let it dread don’t make it dread– try not to play with it much, don’t twist roll or mess with it. when washing, if you use shampoo just scrub the scalp ignoring the hair. if you use the baking soda soak dont scrub. when drying shake it out and air dry.

 

Phases of hair dreading naturally

When hairs allowed to dread naturally it goes through fairly predictable stages.

  1. Sectioning stage: the hair separates into sections, groups of hair begin to cling together in groups typically this happens within days to a couple weeks of stopping combing.
  2. baby dread formation stage: the sections begin to get tangled and knot, loose knots but still the sections are held together by many knots forming baby dreads. This can begin in days, but more often in weeks, sometimes it can take longer.
  3. Looping wild teenager stage: the dreads will get loops, bumps, kinks, and change dramatically day by day. this stage is fun and exciting if you dont worry about your teen dreads misbehavior. this is the stage where they develop personalities that make them unique, typically in the 3-8 month stage.
  4. shrinking stage: as loops become tighter the dreads shrink drastically, longer hair can shrink from hips, to ears, shorter hair will lose about 1/2 the length typically or more.this is also the tightening stage leading to maturity
  5. mature stage: they change less noticeably over time
  6. growing stage: once mature they will begin to grow, slow until fully mature then faster.

Natural dreading dos and don’ts

do wash them

don’t force them

do enjoy the journey

don’t worry

optional seperate as needed to prevent congos (dreads combining)

tips sea salt sprays and soaks help sea water is 3.5% salt content. don not leave it on too long, it only needs to be in the hair 10 minutes to 2 hours  then can be rinsed out, any longer and you over dry the hair and scalp.

Wool  tams, wool sweaters or blankets put over your pillow will help encourage knotting.

feel free to post questions in the comments.

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1,221 Responses to how to dread naturally

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  1. Celle says:

    Hello SE. My question is simple but my problem is big.
    I started neglect locks for several times, but after about 2 months my hair (thick and wavy at the ends….about 17 inch long) tends to turn out in one big mess after a regular wash (organic shampoo). The dreading goes really fast, in my opinion a little too fast. Seperating in this stage is frustrating. And i mean really frustrating. To do that every day or at least 2 times in a week after a shower isn’t what i’m looking for. Combed them out for at least 5 times now. But hey…..I love dreads and i wan’t them so bad in the natural way. What can i do ? What will happen when i seperate it ones in two weeks ? I don’t wan’t big and massive dreadlocks.

    What do you suggest ?

    • soaringeagle says:

      which shampoo exactly some are meant to speed dreading
      some light oils jojoba or something will slow it too
      shampoos made for more mature dread might be better

  2. Joshua says:

    I’m wanting to do Dreads but I have no job or source of income at the moment so Natural is the way to go my question is will my dread look nice and neat is I Neglect them or will they look all crazy and ratty looking like some I’ve seen on the interweb I have dark brown hair that is about 3-3 1/2 inches right now it’s very thick and very straight I haven’t combed it in three days just to see what it will do but I’m definitely wanting to dread it it’s getting unruly and I’ve decided hell let it do its think and stop trying to take the wild lol anything I should look forward to or expect if u need a pic to see wat I’m working with I can post one

    • soaringeagle says:

      good going to a salon paying for dreads is the worse mistake you can make ..so in this case its a blessing in disguise to be broke!
      3 inches is pretty short it will get messy (which looks awesome btw) but won’t even begin to dread till 6 inches
      even starter methods require 5 ..unless they do the most harmful things to force it.
      at 5 you can twist and rip or backcomb (tnr is better less damage)
      if you stop combing at 3 wait 4-6 months it might begin to dread under 6 but will be slow going
      i would tart taking biotin daily (its a vitamin) after a couple months growth rate doubles or even triples when it gets 2-3 inches longer it will dread easily
      so either way your going to have to get it a bit longer before dreads start..biotin will just decrease that time a lot.. keep taking it till they are well dreaded cause the longer it gets the faster it dreads

    • soaringeagle says:

      just now a member of http://www.dreadlockssite.com had a 1st dread form in 1 week with hair just like yours same length too so..though 6 inch is the norm its not the rule

  3. Zatonia says:

    I have been locking for 10 years now. I’m just learning about freeforming and I think it’s beautiful! Do I have to cut my mature locs and start over from scratch if I want to freeform?

    • soaringeagle says:

      well.. that depends 1 you say “locs” which is a purposeful misspelling of locks by the salon dread crowd, salon dreads tend to have a lot of harm done
      it depends on their condition but most likely that shouldn’t be an issue and they will recover
      next freeform has the word form in it technically freeform or natural dreads are allowed to form freely or naturally
      however as more and more embrace that way of dreading its common to transfer to the freeform way..
      i started off more ‘organic’ with separating dreads then transitioned to more freeform by just stopping most separating.
      i call mine natural not freeform exactly because they didn’t start completely freeform
      the point being that its a personal choice you can embrace the freeform way let your dreads recover and freeform from here
      but if your very drawn to the idea of being pure freeform you might want to start fresh
      10 years however is a lot to let go so id be more inclined to just keep going..but in a healthier way
      could you join http://www.dreadlockssite.com post some photos if they are in decent condition you can just keep the years of growth and let it freeform from here on out
      1 thing though for precision of language (many salons call natural dreads anything that’s real hair) you should, when asked bye honest and say how you begun then transitioned to freeform
      its just a pet peeve when ppl call their crocheted backcombed waxed interlocked etc dreads natural just cause they didn’t get a dread perm
      and that misuse of language is why most people don’t even understand that dreads do form by themselves and don’t require a salon to ‘install” them

  4. david says:

    when I shower and run my hair under water is that causing to not freeform cause I don’t wash it I just run it under water.

    • soaringeagle says:

      you should wash it clean hair reads best just use a good dread shampoo http://www.dreadlockshampoo.com is the absolute best use liquid till mature thenbar, unless your African American then go straight to the bar
      don’t use additional oils and greases etc unless absolutely needed the bars should eliminate that need, if you wash at least weekly 1-3 times a weeks recommended
      when washing mostly scrub the scalp try not to disturb the hair much by running fingers through or moving it around
      after washing don’t towel dry shake it out and air dry or gently blow dry in winter

  5. Samuel.s says:

    hello, I’d like to as some questions and advice please. I started interlocking my African/curly hair about 5 months ago and most of them are about around 10cm long, I was wondering if I wanted to let it free form as it grows while trimming of the interlocked parts over time, would that work or do I have to cut off everything and start from scratch, I am a bit concerned as I noticed some mould in 2 of my lock at such early stage. thank you for your time

  6. Samuel says:

    hello, I’d like to as some questions and advice please. I started interlocking my African/curly hair about 5 months ago and most of them are about around 10cm long, I was wondering if I wanted to let it free form as it grows while trimming of the interlocked part over time, would that work or do I have to cut off everything and start from scratch, I am a bit concerned as I noticed some mould in 2 of my luck at such early stage. thank you for your time

    • soaringeagle says:

      -interlocking is horrible, but no need to cut them off interlocking might make them break off..if not they will be ok just have weak points and maybe holes or weird crinkles
      mold in young dreads would be from most likely wax or gel use
      or wearing hats while wet or damp.. rot knot from dreadlockshampoo.com will kill the mold though
      what are you washing with..and how often
      what products were used
      if wax (a lot of mango lime products contain wax, petroleum even plastics ..don’t use them!)
      but if wax was used you should also use wax b gone from the same site
      he bar shampoos are also best for your hair and should e washed 1-3 times a week

  7. Jamar says:

    What would happen if I dye my hair? Will the dye damage it or make my scalp extra dry? Would you recommend dying? My hair is naturally black, but I want to try blonde.

    • soaringeagle says:

      ofcourse dying (except with henna) damages the hair which can be very mild to severe
      henna actually is good for the hair but hard to rinse out of dreads
      bleaching to go from dark to blond is by far the worse, as to accomplish this it must penetrate several layers deep into the hair shaft where the pigments are. and destroy the pigmentation.
      bleached hair damage/
      this is the extreme level of damage caused by chemical treatments like bleach (multiple times most likely) and straighteners/relaxers
      the chemical treatments can completely break down the structural integrity of the hair
      the worse salon disaster i ever saw was over bleached hair that then the salon said was “too healthy to dread’ and used a dread perm on 2 weeks later she had 3 “dreads” left dangling from about 19 hairs each
      the rest had fallen off at 1/2 inch from the scalp
      i’m locked for life so i wouldn’t risk dying but ding with henna is safe enough to risk if your not planning on dreads for life
      even some over the counter dyes are probly safe-ish
      bleaching you can maybe get away with for awhile without very severe damage but everytime yiu bleach it is damaged more
      dry brittle feelings is a vey common complaint after bleaching

      • Jamar says:

        Would the same thing occur if I just dyed half of the dreads (Half of the lock, not to the roots)? Would it be safer to do since [I don’t think] I am not damaging the hair follicles? Or does the dye make the locks unravel?

        • soaringeagle says:

          henna is conditioning so might loosen them
          bleach will damage the hair no matter if its just the tips or not
          tying them up during summer heat the sun naturally lightens the tips anyway
          dying just the tips is a better option because if there is severe harm youd only lose the tips
          usually 1 time bleaching or dying wont cause severe harm and therefore the tips are a ok idea since you wont need to redo it every couple months so the roots match
          dying the tips is a 1 time then done thing .. so the damage wont be cumulative

  8. Chris says:

    Hello. I started Growing my dreads about 3 months ago. I backcombed and then did nothing. Mind you I only started with about 3 inches of hair. I am African american. It’s been 3 months and the back of my head is all matted and little pointy baby dreads are showing in the back. But the top of my head isn’t so tight so the dreads are alot looser looking and messy. Is this normal? I wash about once or twice every two weeks. I’m guessing it’s cause I sleep on the back of my head. Would wearing a Sleeping cap at night help to compress the top of my head? Or should I just let it be? How long until the top looks as tight as the back? Thanks in advance.

    • Tonga says:

      Hi Chris,

      Just wondering if you received an answer to your question because I’m experiencing similar occurrences. I have the matting from where I sleep and sometimes from wearing a hat to cover my hair during my workday. Any update you can provide regarding your journey is much appreciated.

      • soaringeagle says:

        i almost never miss a question so glad you commented so i could answer him, and you
        when you sleep it compresses it and it tightens more
        wearing hats however interferes with the movement needed for new tangles to form (fitted hats that is tams and loose hats for dreads alow movement within them but also add a tiny bit of compression)
        the side of your head you sleep on will dread a lot faster then the rest, the rest will just be a couple months behind in progress and will catch up and be indistinguishable when matured

    • soaringeagle says:

      why did i miss this? this is totally normal, the part you sleep on dreads fastest the rest is a couple months behind
      its all because sleeping on it compresses it making it tighten faster

  9. Jarren says:

    What kind of oil would be good for my scalp ? It gets really dry right now I’m using tea tree tingle shampoo once a week ? Thank you

    • soaringeagle says:

      stop using hot water first of all hot water dries out the scalp
      if your dreads aren’t mature (does not apply to African americans) don’t use oils on them till mature
      the 3 best options are
      jojoba oil- the closest thing chemically to yournatural skin oils
      argon or morocan oils – these are excellent conditioning oils
      pure aloe vera – this has to be really pure even if the bottle says 100% aloe vera read the ingredients, there should be 1 ingredient only. aloe vera nothing else at all (solsd as a food additive lily of the valet i think ids the only company i know of that makes it pure (might be lily ogf the desert or something i forget) the best way is buy 3-4 large plants, harvest 1 leaf everytime you need to. aloe plants are hardy easy to care for and don’t need watering often, cut off a leaf, split it in 1/2 the long way rub the gel on your scalp or scrape it out add to water in a blender to thin it (very little water)

  10. gnostic mole says:

    hi, i have a problem i had before with two baby dreads forming into one on opposite sides of my head on top. I tried to tease out the renegade strands (not too many) but they are really kontted sat the ends – can i just snip them with scissors so they should grow back into the other? I very rarely check if they are knitting together with wide spaces – once got one and was able to get all the one lot out by gently easing it out, but this time these are firmly knotted! If i cut, the bits of hair should just stay embedded in the other knot right? im about 6 months in btw, hair is not so long, maybe 6 – 9 inches longest locks. lots of cool loops now tho 🙂 what is the best spacing for locks? thanks!

    • soaringeagle says:

      you can although its better to try putting a lil olive oil on your fingertips work it into that knot then try to work it out 1st
      only snip as a last resort.
      theres no best spacing theres only whats easy to care for and what isn’t.
      if the dreads are over an inch thick when mature then they are hard t clean and take a very long time to dry (so much more likely to get mildew)
      many people love huge dreads..and that’s cool but they are a lot harder to care for, and in some cases can be painful even.
      so i generally recommend to not let them get too thick unless you feel bound by a vow or religious conviction to not interfere at all in the process.
      even mine that are just a hair over 1 inch (not even 1 1/4) need extra special care to make sure they dry thouroughly

      • gnostic mole says:

        ok cool, thanks for this! i dont really like doing anything to them but i read it can be painful (as you said)so every now and them check them to see how wide they go. I also dont like doing anything cos the knot seens (obviously) to loosen a bit and i dont want to go back rather than forwards. will try the oil, if it doesnt work maybe will leave rather than cut! (tho the most of it is out now). thanks again!

        • soaringeagle says:

          ps a better place to get more help dreadlocks natural dreads

          • gnostic mole says:

            ok cool, will check it out, thanks! i tried oil just now and those hairs want to stay there! maybe i should just leave them…thats where they want to be! and im loathe to take scissors to my hair….is it better to wait and try separating again when they are more solid (this sounds a stupid question i know!. The roots are not knotted, just round the middle or a few inches from roots at this stage. but trying to pull those strands out seems to make the knots looser all round, not the strands i want to get out of it. so maybe i’ll just leave it 100% as the gods intended after all.

            • soaringeagle says:

              post a discussion with photos on dreadlockssite and ill take a look
              if i can see whats going on it helps alot

              • gnostic mole says:

                ok will try to – tried now to take a photo myself but u cant see it properly, i need to ask a friend to take one! weird for me to take a photo of myself…im not of these ‘selfie’-types! 😉 thanks again for help!

                • soaringeagle says:

                  light helps and if its an actual camera not a phone put it in macro mode for close up

                  • gnostic mole says:

                    yeah tried with a real camera (dont have a hi-tech phone/camera!) but its all out of focus even in macro, i think my hand is shaking cos im holding the knots with one hand to make it clear. anyway will try tomorrow with friend, thanx again for all help and info! 🙂

                    • soaringeagle says:

                      i have the same prob.. i got a p900 the lens is kinda heavy and my hands aren’t too steady to begin with
                      try putting it in multi shot mode if it has 1 pressing the shutter button induces movement but if you press and hold and fire off 7 shots in a burst, 1 of the middle shots should have minimal shake
                      also turn on vibration reduction and if your hands not steady maybe even full time autofocus instead of single shot

  11. Nico Troilo says:

    Hey, can u please answer me, I don’t own anything wool and I’m trying to grow freeform dreads, how do u sleep, cus the back of my hair has become flat and not separated. The front of my hair is more thick than the back, which is pretty thin.

    • soaringeagle says:

      wool would only matt it up more, separate anything that needs to be separated to avoid 1 huge dread.
      flats good that’s being compressed and tightening, but you don’t want it forming 1 huge dread
      separatings technically organic not freeform but it is recommended in many cases to avoid massive dreads
      huge dreads are cool. but dry so slow and take extra special care to take care of them

  12. Jamar says:

    In the center (crown) of my head, there is kinda a bald spot. I think that is where my hair parts at. What do think about this? Can it be fixed.

    • soaringeagle says:

      you mea the center of the spiral your hair spirals around?everyones got that but as hair grows out its covered
      just let it be its fine

  13. Jamar says:

    When did the salon styling of dreads come along? What makes people convinced that that is the correct way to dread instead of free forming? I know that hair was dreading by itself before clips and bees wax was invented. Whenever I am debating with someone, I can’t seem to convince anybody that free form dreads is the correct way, and not salon made dreads. They say, “why don’t you get your dreads done the right way?” Then I say, “this is the correct way” but I never back it up tho. (Everyone has their opinion, but free form dreading is a fact, right?

    • soaringeagle says:

      well blame the internet and sites like dreadheadhq and knottyboy who were the 1st to push wax and making dreads
      these sites also made actual dreading sound like a scary process with lies like looking like your homeless the 1st 4 years, not being ale to wash without wax to hold them together
      etc
      then it got to the point where most people didn’t even understand that dreads do happen on their own, they believed they were always made in a salon
      salons invented a new term, loctician that made you believe you needed a technical degree in hair tangling
      then came top secret patented methods .. making it even more misunderstood that they can just dread on their own.
      early on in the internet popularity boom people posted ideas for dreading including toothpaste peanut butter axel grease all types of glues even cow manure..so its easy to see why wax peddlers offering a better option were so successful (even semen was used)

      people also associated every style wiith having to do something to achieve it, almost always involving paying someone to imitatre a certain cut or style from a magazine. salons started getting people request dreads as a style with no knowledge of the fact that dreads just happen, so they learned all the ways to create them by force.
      over time this morphed into excessively maintained locks which were disassociated from locks by dropping the k locks became locs, something else something less shameful (according to those that call natural/freeform locks shitlocks)
      as dreadlocks became popular a expensive imitation market sprang forth with locticians earning more per hour then many lawyers or doctors.

      remember back a couple decades when ripped or frayed jeans were in style and they started selling pre-ripped or frayed jeans/
      it wasn’t enough to wear your jeans till the knees wore out instead you pay twice as much for pre-worn looking jeans with a designer lab;le
      that’s what we got now brother locks sister locks nappy locks etc ..designer label dreads..patented styles.. something that imitates dreadlocks but seperates themselves from the real thing while shaming the real thing at the same time by simply dropping the k off locks.. the implication being dreadlocks are dreadful and locs ..that cost 30,000 over 6 years maintenance are therefore higher class and more acceptable
      its pure shame tactics by the locticians
      true story
      i was at the beach, on the boardwalk, with 15-20 people surrounding me raving about how they never saw such beautiful dreads
      a loctician walks up says your dreads are a disaster i can fix them for you for only 1000 dollars
      they shame you into thinking they are a mess just for being healthy
      and the more balding you have from excessive maintenance the more they praise it as frsh clean and tidy… even if they are only washed twice a year
      in fact your hairs nasty filthy and gross minutes after you wash them but the salon versions that only get washed once a year look nice clean and beautiful…
      its social conditioning, brainwashing even..
      believe me when i say i have seen people spend 10 grand on complete disasters ..and not have any real dreading going on till they stop[ped going to the salon
      when i started dreading was a long time ago..i never knew there was any way but freeform
      it wasn’t till i was 8-10 years in that i ever heard of wax. and a few more years before i heard of backcomb or any other methods
      back then 99% of all dreads were natural 1% were messes made with toothpaste or peanut butter
      it wasn’t till sites like dreadheadhq popped up making a business out of dreading that these other methods started to show up
      every so often i hear about someone who backcombed way back when, but mostly back then you had either rastas, or punk kids who grew dreads
      the rastas just told people to toss the comb
      the punk kids generally had mohawks or whatever that they used stuff like knox gelatin to hold them up and when partying hard they neglected it till it dreaded.. they might have backcombed for the big hair look and used the gels and crap to hold it up.. likely the precursor to wax
      so some of them may have mentioned backcomb and gels then let it do its thing.. it was all workd of mouth back then no internet
      so its likely most were natural but slowly other methods developed mostly from punk kids saying i put eggs or peanut butter or grease in my hair and left it that way and it dreaded
      or i teased or backcombed it then it dreaded
      but your question was specific to salons and the only answer is when they realized they could make insane profits off of people who just didn’t understand that all hair will dread if left alone

  14. Kelby says:

    So I have discovered my hair dreads up really fast. 1.5 months in , all I do is wash 2 times a week and separate daily. My roots are slow to lock up, and I know I’m still very early in the process. What I’m experiencing is a lot of flat spots and loops. Will the loops and flat spots sort themselves out? Or should I use small rubber bands to sort them out? What are your thoughts?

    • soaringeagle says:

      +
      never use rubber bands!
      but yes they are a normal part of the dreading process
      almost all will go away (lots more to come soon) they will be missed when gone
      if 1 or2 stay they will be your favorite dreads
      they build your dreads character and uniqueness nothing to sort out its how they build personality.

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