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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1,378 Responses to how to dread naturally

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  1. Devon says:

    hey soaring eagle my hair is pretty short is that a bad thing when starting dreads and hen i tried to twist them they were puffy at th roots what do i do

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      do u have african hair type if not then dont twist but african hair dreads shorter then any other its not bad to start short if you have any hair type but if u dont have afrocan u might not see dreading till 6 inches 1 thing the roots should be puffy twisting isnt dreading and whatever you do do not retwist! i know salons say to retwist monthly but thats why all salon dreads are going bald twisting causes traction alopecia and balding wether u start naturally (freeform) or twist after day 1 just wash and seperate and nothing else

  2. Justin says:

    Oh my apologies theres one more question i forgot to post.Is it ok i get my hair wet when in the shower on the days that i dont wash my hair and if so do i folliw the same steps in drying daily even if the hair wasnt washed that day? I highly appreciate the assistance!

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      u can but when dreaded they can take longer then a day to dry so you might want to get into the habbit of not wetting every day

  3. Justin says:

    I have about 7mnths worth of very thick course african american hair, do i follow these same step or do they change? Also if i seperate the knots as the form wikk that effect my dreads?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      well its the same except african hair requires more moisture to prevent over drying
      well u seperate 1 dreads from another u dont want to seperate knots that would be a dread unless its forming to big

  4. Dread joe says:


    I’m an african American. I have had my dreads for about 8 years. They won’t grow pasty my shoulders. I am Guitly of the salon wax gel twisting. Is it to late to fix my hair and go all natural

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      you can save them but u must follow these steps
      1 remove wax
      2 stop twisting
      3 stop going to the salon
      now heres where we might have to take extra steps going to a salon and twisting causes traction alopecia and balding that scalp showing look they sell as “tidy” is actualy a medical condition that can make u bald
      if you have alot of scalp showing thats most likely why you have zero growth
      you need to follow these extra steps
      1 massage the scalp daily with oils (panterra will tell you wich oils see below)
      2 take all tension off the roots no tying them up tight no pulling back tight no braiding twisting etc
      3 join
      4 after joining click members then you will see member category links at top click hair and scalp health experts click panterra caraway
      consult with her on how to best recover from traction alopecia

  5. Jaydub says:

    Hello everybody! I have some questions and concerns. I just started dreads about three weeks ago. I definitely should have read up a little more before stating this whole process. Well I wanted to know if I should start over or keep it rolling from here. I stated by palm rolling…i know, bad idea. I have a bunch of baby dreads that the roots aren’t locked up on but most of the hair was forced into locks. I stopped messing with them about a week ago and just have been dancing working sleeping with them and they seem to be doing a little better. hair close to the scalp is all puffy and dry and seems like ot wants to dread. just a little worried that this may alter the whole process becaise the ends of my hair are all tangled but the roots are not.I wondering if I I should comb it all out and just let them do their thing from day one or just keep them in and let the roots and rest of my hair nautically dread up. Also I have been hearing from a couple of ppl that by doin it this way and not having done by someone who knows that they are doin, that I will eventually go bald and or have bald spots. Is this true?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      ypur fine letting them go from here and no thats the oposite of true if you went to a salon youd be bald in a hurry they force the roots to be supernaturally tight wich causes traction alopecia and balding by letting them dread naturaly your hair will be healthy as can be
      do you see any bald spots on me? ofcourse not but look at every salon that does dreads they all look like they are going bald from day 1

    • Jaydub says:

      Thanks soaring eagle!! You have really releaved a lot of second thoughts about this life journey i am undertaking. I have had a lot of ppl with and without dreads giving me mixed advice. I’m glad to hear that every little thing is gonna be alright! I always knew it would…intuition never lies! Have a blessed and beautiful day filled with happiness, light, and love!!

  6. Chris says:

    Ive been reading a lot of your info on how to dread my hair and from wat I’m understanding all you are saying I have to do is wash my hair every 3 days with non residue shampoo and let it air dry and the dreads will form by themselves?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      you see we have always done it that way always knew how it happened (although in Shakespeares day they believed elves tangled the hair in your sleep and it was bad luck to untangle it)
      it wasnt untill recently that certain greedy unscrupulous companies realized the potential in profiting from mns seperation from nature and desire to reconnect to naty-ure that other methods were creatted to imitate what nature does alone
      now lets examine 1 companies approach
      agressive backcombu=ing then coating in wax then rubber bands palm rolling root rubbing crocheting interlocking felting powders butters waxes etc
      now lets examine natures way
      a breeze tangles the hair
      sleeping tightens the tangles
      washing tangles the hair wich tightens as it dries

      so the companies hacked away at the hair damaging the cuticles then those knots are sealed in place in wax unable to move (or have more knots form) palm rolling compresses the hair in wax wich hardens making them seem more mature (but you still have only the tangles u had on day 1) then rubbing rolling and brute force knot creating year after year anerd then u end up with a style resembling readlocks but hardly locked at all wich require constant maintenance and repair

      naturaly dreads require washing..and seperating..thats it

  7. Damian says:

    Irie Bredren, InI just had one question? Have your locks been at a certain length for a while? like do they stop growing at a particular length? I have a lot of new baby locks that just started on their own, I would say about 8 to 10 new ones. All InI do is just wash and go, that’s it. Maybe it’s just I, but my mature ones seem to have hit a certain point and just been at that point for sometime. Perhaps you can give i some tips or feedback and tell I what the case may be. Thank You! Peace and Love!

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      how long are they? i know jah levis were as long as mine when i met him long ago now they are 14 feet mine had reached a certain length then the ends broke off often from being stepped on etc but hasnt happened in a long time some grow slower some faster some reach a certain length and dont want to grow longer 1 friend started his same time as me and his arent even mid back how old are yours too assumming they are mature they should keep growing as long as theres no vitamin deficancy

      • Damian says:

        My front is at middle of chest, a few goes past that, my back is at shoulder blade, a few slightly longer. I’m a vegetarian and I take mi vitamins. Like multivitamin,biotin,fish oil, Vitamin D3, Very health conscious. InI believe in the body being a temple and must be taken care of to have maximum life upon earth. I’ve had my Locks 5years. Please Let I know your opinion, InI would greatly appreciate it. Thank You!

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          fish oils not vegatarian its pescatarian you can get b12 from nutritional yeast i see no reason it should stop growing so short unless possibly if your letting the roots matt all up and congo at will that matted roots can get dence and limit growth i think i almost never seperate anymore except the alreadty thick ones but often when i would seperate id gain a 1/2 inch or more just from seperating the rioots

  8. Ras Khalil says:

    Hi, eye a an afro teen. My afro is medium in size and eye am a rasta . I’Freeformomg and eye was wondering what shampoo eye should use? Eye would like to keep in touch weekly if possible . My email is and my number is 7044334428

  9. Philip says:

    Hello Soaringeagle–
    Hope all is well with you. I wrote you back in May, and thought I would give an update.
    My freeform journey has continued, and some kinking has begun to set in! They fluff out with washing, and are still a bit frizzy, but after all these months, it’s starting to happen! All I do is wash in a clockwise motion. Have others used this method? Thanks for your advice.

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      well, the whole clockwise/counterclockwise things a myth 1/4 of all heads the hair spirals the other direction and a spirals only a spiral at the crown everywhere else a curve so 1/2 is still rubbed against the grain plus any rubbing can create or destroy knots its better to use fingertips to just scrape at the scalp ignore the hair and then rinse thru

  10. says:

    I started to dread naturally for about four days now. So far I have baby dreads coming out.
    I wash my hair about every three to four days.
    My question is when showering in the days that I don’t wash my hair can I still get it wet?


    • soaringeagle2 says:

      absolutely they love getting wet but
      the only reason not to wash or wet every day is dreads take a long time to dry if they dont dry they get musty at 4 days thats not an issue but 1 day will be
      also if you dont shower every day you wont have as much dry skin issues showering every 3 days is plenty..unless you have a real poor diet eat alot of meat and processed crap that cause alot of body odor issues but for general heigein and skin hair health a few days betwen is optuimum

      since your dreadin so fast pop on over to and post a timeline

    • says:

      Thanks for the quick reply! I live in Puerto Rico and work outside all day, so showering is essential!

      • soaringeagle2 says:

        understood as they get tighter tho u wont want to set em every day well actualy the hot sun dries em faster so if yoir out in the hot sun its not as much a risk

        • says:

          Thanks again for your knowledge!
          I’m developing tons of skinny dreads and I would like to have thicker
          Dreads. Should I do something about it? Or do they group together
          Eventually? I do play with my hair a lot… Meaning I take the palm of
          My hand and go in a circle motion all over my head. Should I stop doing that?

          Thank you again!

          • soaringeagle2 says:

            stop rubbing!
            and be carefull what you wish for
            thicker the dreads the longer they take to dry tge more likely it is to get mold or uneven pulling
            now dreads start off thin as they shrink and tighten they fatten up so judge the mature dread size by the root area
            now its nit recomended to do anything to fatten up dreads till mature cause they may end up way too fat so when mature if you want en fatter just dont seperate and they grow together
            bu stop all rubbing!

            • says:

              Ok thanks!
              I have over 40 little baby dreads that average from a 1/4 of an inch to 1/2 an inch in thickness.
              I just don’t want to end up having to many skinny dreads and also having a Congo dread with three
              Separate skinny dreads.

              • soaringeagle2 says:

                40 is average i had 75 to start i guess at 1 point was nearer to 200 i stopped seperating completely 4 or 5 years ago and now as many as 6 congoed into 1 but i never let any get over an inch

  11. kyle says:

    Also i forgot to mention that my only means of transport is motorcycle and in nz helmets are compulsary. How will the compression of the helmet affect the growing of dreads?

  12. kyle says:

    I see, it literally is ‘free forming’ =) thanks eagle

  13. kyle says:

    Hey all, im a 17yr white boy with a 5 an’a half inch long (average length) afro, when it gets wet it kinda looks like your steriotypical surfers mop that comesdown to just past my eyes…
    I can see the sections of how/where my hair would dread and at times it can get quite notty but i need something to persuade it and to help it kick into gear… Any tips from experiences and advice on the earlier stages of dreading would be greatly appreciated. And thanks in advance for response

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      no it needs nothing to encourage it but how lonbg is it oulled out it probly needs more length only
      however sea salt sprays help or swims in the ocean just dont leave it in long a couple hours max
      it will get there as it grows a bit more

  14. Khoral says:

    Thanks so much for putting this up 🙂
    I’m about to start the dreading journey, and I am pretty excited!! 🙂



  15. aunaturel says:

    Hey, I have a few questions.
    I read your how to section.
    I am an Afro-american so my hair is very tightly coiled, my hair is about 8-13 inches in some places.
    Should I just stop combing/detangling my hair if I want to dread…
    I know afro hair dreads the fastest, but I am unsure if I should section my hair off first before I just don’t do anything to it…
    I really want my hair to turn into dreads, but I don’t think my hair will section off.. it will probably just turn into one big knot.
    I just want my dreads to look nice.
    Please reply! 😐 ..TIA
    Should I visit a loctician for advice? And should I cut my hair? (I really don’t want to cut off a lot -_-)

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      absolutely do not go to a loctician worse mistake you can make they will screw u evrry time even make u go balkd while charging you up to thousands of dollars
      your hair wikl section and dread byut will drad fast so will try to congo (combine) all you need to do is rip sections away from eachother that try to connect at the roots join http://www.dreadlockssite look at trina sanders dreads they are natural then look at jay simmons and i cant remember the other 2 all 3 went to locticians for years all 3 were going bald from it the 1 just shaved her 15 year old locks cause locticiabns screwed hee up so badly

      • aunaturel says:

        Thanks for the reply!
        I have been looking at your forum site (FAQ and first 5 months) and I am pretty relieved to say the least. My hair will lock naturally.
        Thanks again! 😀
        And I saw that video about retwisting it was pretty scary.. 🙁
        I want my hair healthy for the long run..

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          well next time your out and about look at 1/2 the african americans u dsee with dreads on 1 hand u see the natural dreads that look healthy but niot all exactly the same size then on the other u see the salkon dreads mot of which u will notice the roots are way thinner then the ends theres wide gaps of scalp showing and they are pulled into extremely tight styles locticians call this a tidy look but its really traction alopecia starting it takes years to gt as bad as in that vid but every single 1 off them that interlocks or twists are headed that way it will get worse and worse till dreads fall off and they go bald

          • aunaturel says:

            Yeah… Now that I think about it.. It doesn’t look healthy..
            And our scalp isn’t supposed to be spaced out.. O.o
            I do see people with retwisted dreads and it seems they have a permanent space there..
            I certainly don’t want to go bald, so however my hair wants to dread. I’ll just let it.
            Thanks again soaringeagle!

            • soaringeagle2 says:

              there was a loctician that joined dreadlockssite and the pics she posted were scary there was 1 elderly woman with tiny lil dreads ticking straight up ..with gaps between dreads that were nearly 2 inches wide
              and they use fear and shame based tactics to sell you on this saying you wont get a job if you dont make every loose hair get pulled in weekly or you’ll look ugly and homeless if you dont make every dread look exactly the same..
              i get told daily that my dreads are the nicest they ever saw but every loctician i ever talked to say they look like shit and i should let them fix them
              meanwhile all their clients look like (and are) going bald

              • aunaturel says:

                That’s really scary.
                I don’t know how these people live with doing and letting these people go bald and have these issues..
                It’s really wrong.
                Glad I stumbled on this site before deciding to do anything.

                • soaringeagle2 says:

                  well they are tought wrong if you go to school for cosmotology or do loctician training they never even mention that hair will dread itself they only teach brute force dreading and many still believe wax helps dreading the companies that sell the wax creatted the training material s and it just got worse from there..but most refuse to learn better ways..egos u know the ol ive been doing it this way for x years i know what im doing syndrome
                  then most of their clients find our site only after having problems like dreads breaking off

  16. Mike says:

    hey, so i was going to start off with sectioning the hair, my hair is down to my nose. now when this page explains how to do dreads it doesn’t say much. do i literally just have my hair into sections and just wait for knots and dreads to start?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      theres no need to section it it sections itself perfectly in fact forcing sections often results in the sectioning bein g rejected and the roots trying to split into 2 or 3 dreads so just let it section itself and dread
      just be sure to seperate so u dong have the section try to grow together

  17. Philip Scott says:

    Hello Soaringeagle
    My journey began in late March. I’m in the frizzy bumpy stage at present. Doing the freeform thing. I’m bald in the front, and the frizz has hard knots of hair beneath. They don’t come loose with washing. Should I twist where it hasn’t knotted yet, or use gel to help it along, or just wait it out?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      wait it out twisting is very bad for dreads instead you want to pop them to seperate never twist twisting causes a slow gradual receding of the hairline into the dread making the roots thinner and thinner till they break and can cause traction alopecia and even permenant balding..twisting is just another salon scam thats very harmful and is why african americans have an epidemic of 16 year olds needing hair transplants
      this vid shows you the severe damage twisting can cause

  18. Samson says:

    My hair is very curly, and 4 inches long. can i start my natural dreading process?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      you can start the natural dread journey at bald, however it may..or may not begin to dread till 6 inches sometimes it will dread shorter..often it wont but theresz no reason to wait to start if your ready to start

  19. Dan says:

    Greetings Dude

    My one and only question is what is the best length to start growing dreads? I’ve always had long hair and at the moment its about 6 inches long of non dreaded hair.

    Thanks for your help

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      Sorry I didn’t notice this earlier, if you TNR or backcomb, 4 to 5 inches if you go natural six. Unless you’re African-Amethen it can be shorter

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      the best length is any length we have a few starting from bald, however longer hair dreads faster…and shrinks more..most hair wont dread till 6 inches (some will dread shorter especialy african hair) so 6 inches is great yours will dread fine

  20. Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom 🙂

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      my pleasure ere you the same 1 that joined dreadlockssite like yesterday or day b4?

      • VW says:

        Greetings, I started natural dreads 2 weeks ago. I have very thick, wavy shoulder length hair. I’m using a residue free (squeaky clean) shampoo and my hair is dreading very fast for only 2 weeks! But I’m not sure when to start separating the sections. Do I need to let the hair really dreadlock before separating into smaller sections? When I lift up one section of hair almost half of one side lifts up with it! But the dreads haven’t really formed, so I don’t want to disturb the dreading process – but I definitely don’t want massive dreads either. If I allow the dreads to form will they form smaller sections first making it easier to separate later? Thanks for any advice.

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          usually you wait till theres some knotting going on, but if 1 whole side of your heads knotting then yes separate
          basically, if they are forming too big separate, (try not to over separate and rip apart would be dreads before they can dread unless they will be huge)
          and once your seeing dreads if 2 try to join together then separate
          if its dreading fast u might have to separate extra oftenj

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