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.

Incoming search terms:

  • how to dread hair naturally
  • how to make natural dreadlocks
  • how to start freeform dreadlocks
  • freeform dreadlocks tips
  • how to grow dreadlocks naturally
  • how to dreadlock hair naturally
  • how to naturally dread hair
  • how to freeform dreads
  • how to start freeform dreads
  • how to start freeform locs

1,378 Responses to how to dread naturally

  1. Phe says:

    I have to wear my hair in a bun once a week every week , will that affect the forming of my dreads ?

    • soaringeagle says:

      i no longer recommend baking soda (especially not long term it severely weakens hair if you use it too long)
      how long is the hair though (how do you dry it too) (and do you wear hats a lot?)

    • soaringeagle says:

      that little, probably not a lot but the looser it is the better
      if it was most of every day then yes very much so

  2. TJ hubbard says:

    So I havnt brushed my hair since February and my hair is just in the parting stage.i use a sea salt spray and baking soda to pull oils out. Not one section on my hair has dreaded.any suggestions or should I just wait it out and hope for the best

  3. Nicole says:

    How many dreads are enough?? I have about 41.

    • soaringeagle says:

      41 is enough..whatever you have is enough..but 20 is generally a minimum because any less and they are huge and hardtop care for
      41 is average for medium thick dreads

  4. Lakota Wertz says:

    I use head and shoulders
    My free formed dreads are locking up Nicely
    I wash them every 4 days.
    I twist when hair is wet.
    I use No Products
    2nd Journey twist & Rip

    • soaringeagle says:

      head and shoulders is not good for dreads its very conditioning has a lot of residues its toxic ..a teatree rosemaey shampoo made for dreads is way better for dandruff
      washing every 4 days is great! but not twisting! twistinhg only causes traction alopecia and balding
      i would ecomend something to remove the residues from head and shoulders (if they are real thin you might not need anything too severe)

  5. Derren says:

    Can I start from a huge afro?

  6. 64JS64 says:

    Can you towel rub then switch to freeforming?

    • soaringeagle says:

      ofcourse. but towel rubbing should only be done once anyway
      even just drying your air with a towel might make knots more often then not..but then that not time might erase 3 months progress in 2 minutes flat

    • Sammy says:

      Been wondering why im always at the first stage kts been months lmao, tow rubbing never again… Is have my locks by now if i just did a little more research 🙁

  7. Adriel says:

    This may seem silly, but is there something you must do to start them? Like on the first day or first week?

    • soaringeagle says:

      nope well change habits .. wash with a dread shampoo gently don’t towel dry don’t wear hats stuff like that

  8. GlennThe4th says:

    Will straight hair spike up when dreads form like how african hair does when freeformed and short, I mean my hair isn’t short, but I wouldn’t call it long and I like the style of the dreads sticking up.

    • soaringeagle says:

      African hair by its nature grows up that’s how they can get huge afros
      backcombing causes ridiculous dreads that stick up until they lie down (often complicated by thick hardening wax bfore wax use declined by 98%)
      short dreads may stick up till they are long enough to weigh down..but.. and this is important to note
      freeform dreads in non African hair almost always need enough length to hang down before they even begin to dread
      f your hairs not naturally sticking straight up now it won’t when its dreaded either

  9. Tom says:

    When first starting out on free forming dreads, doesn’t washing your hair reset the dreading process? Since you know, when you first start out the first couple days or so, nothing is really locked up.

    • soaringeagle says:

      it causes it, but its a constant flux of like 2 steps forward 1 bak, water running through the hair, washing it gently (mostly the scalp) having it clean free of oils and products that causes it to tangle you sleep on it they tighten next wash loosens but tangles more then tightens ..
      what tends to erase progress is towel drying
      typically the more you wash the faster it dreads but u want to give a few days in between usually

  10. Jax96 says:

    I’m planning on starting to freeform soon, I was wondering if you can style the hair at all, atleast like put my bangs in a certain way or so, or will any type of styling of the hair mess up the process?

    • soaringeagle says:

      occasional wont matter all the time can really slow the process or cause dreads to form the way its styled like a pony dread
      the more they are left free the better.

  11. Jamar says:

    How long does it take for the root(s) to lock up with the rest of the lock(s) that it’s connected with?

    • soaringeagle says:

      usually around when they are close to mature
      but there will always be some looseness
      they wont dread tight to the scalp and shouldn’t
      depends on hair type how close they dread

  12. PJSong says:

    Im mixed race, african and asian, my hair is straight though from my asian side, and I was wondering if it is possible for it to freeform like The Weeknd’s or Amine’s hair.

    • soaringeagle says:

      don’t now who or what those are. but yes all hair will freeform
      the fastest i ever saw hair dread was Japanese..and that was in 1 single night, a handful of hours.
      every hair type can freeform, most rather fast a rare few kinda slow
      as long as its long enough and you wash properly it will dread

      • PJSong says:

        As in their hair, I mean will any hair type start to form random shapes, or is it only solely african curly hair, I will look up freeformed asian or white hair and they look like standard dreads, but when I look up African freeformed hair I see not just typical dreads, but dreads in weird formed shapes. If you could, search up The Weeknd’s Dreads, that is what i’m talking about.

        • soaringeagle says:

          all depends on whether you separate or not
          my 1st set i had 2 horns on top and a wide flat pillow in the back
          if you separate they are technically organic not freeform.
          but, this is important to know, dreads that form too thick dry very slow, and are very hard to keep clean and sanitary. they are a high mold risk, and the scalp can even get pussy sores under them. they can cause painful uneven pulling.
          many enjoy this wildness while short, but only those who feel religiously bound to not separate bare the burden of huge often painful hard to care for dreads.
          people with real thick dreads usually only wash 1-4 times a year and avoid swimming and getting them wet
          a real thick dread can take 5 days to dry

  13. shulai says:

    My hair is short/medium, it is curly in the front (bangs) and the rest is kinda straight, can I freeform or should I grow out my hair longer firs?

    • soaringeagle says:

      you can start at bald
      straightish hair usually won’t dread though till its about 6 inches. f you start at bald though it might dread at 4 but that’s because of how long it takes to grow those 4 inches.
      longer hair dreads faster but theres no reason to wait to start.
      takin biotin every day after 3 months doubles or even triples the growth rates though

  14. KP says:

    Will asian hair freeform?

    • soaringeagle says:

      absolutely! in fact the fastest i ever saw hair dread was Asian hair, literally it dreaded in a single night
      the biggest lie in the dread ‘industry’ is that Asian hairs hard to dread or won’t dread on its own.
      it is so unfortunate that these lies are spread and asias are forced to believe they need salons and crochet hooks to dread.
      as long as the hairs long enough ..all hair will dread freeform,, without exceptions
      some rare individuals dread slower then others,often more due to how they handle the hair and not the hair type.
      your hair might dread fast, or slow but it will dread, and its moe likely to dread fairly fast then it is to dread very slow

  15. Jamar says:

    Hello, I have free form dreads, but a couple of my dreads had extremely skinny roots, so I cut them off. Like they were holding on to one strand of hair. Some of my other dreads I can see through the roots (if I pull them away from my scalp). Like I guess what I’m trying to say is that some of my roots aren’t as thick as the locks that they are attached to. Why does my hair grow this way? Is it common for free form dreads to do this?

    • soaringeagle says:

      why would you cut them off/ instead if they were truly thin just let them congo with neighboring dreads.
      but what your describing is perfectly normal for every single dread.
      the hair doesn’t grow out of the scalp dreaded, it has an undreaded area before the dread begins
      early on (under the 1st year) in Caucasian hair this can be 3 inches in African hair an inch or so
      in mature dreads, any type hair you have 1/2 inch about undreamed
      this looseness at the roots allows them to move and knot and continually dread.
      now here is why i get this exact question pretty much daily.
      dreads are thick, solid firm and unable to be seen through
      the same exact amount of hair that makes up the dread, in its undreaded state is thin, you can see through it (between hairs) you can pinch it and feel no resistence, the distance between fingers the width of a single hair.
      so many think its thinning or hanging on by a few hairs when in fact its e exact same number of hairs that make up the dread.
      think about this. if you have long straightish hair and you pull it all back into a pony tail, the entire ponytail is about 3/4 of an inch thick, the size of 1 single dread.
      now let the entire head dread and make a pony tail and its 8 inches thick..
      what your describing is just that the roots nearest the scalp are undreaded so seem thinner since they are not thick firm matts, they can be seen through and pinching them it feels like a hairs width holding it on.
      unless the scalp shows severe thinning from traction alopecia (either from transitioning to freeform from twisting or interlocking, or from something you did prior to dreading) then you have nothing to worry about and certainly no reason to cut off any dreads.
      besides, if there really was a serious issue why cut it off when it might just fall off?
      however when there are cases that are truly thinning (stress and hormones or maltnutrition can cause that) in that case instead of cutting simply let them combine into thicker stronger dreads.

    • soaringeagle says:

      Jamar, do me a favor join post a discussion in the forums with photos
      my last comments accurate in most cases, but without seeing photos i cant say for certain.
      i don’t think you have any real issues but a few photos will verify this

  16. Sam says:

    Hey my name is Sam I’m 15 I’ve been trying to get my freeform dreads for two weeks and I’ve encountered a problem my hair untangles when I wash it plus my hair is growing really slow and I’m kinda still stuck in the sectioning stage. What should I do?

    • soaringeagle says:

      1 your only at 2 weeks! less then 1% see dreads in 2 weeks well maybe 3-5% but no more your expecting too much too soon
      however what you wash with, how you dry, these things matter a lot.
      all hair grows slowly at an average of 1/2 an inch a month 6 inches in a year
      you can take biotin 16,000 mg a day every single day after 3 months it will double or triple the growth speed
      but it does take about 3 months before it even starts to take effect.

    • soaringeagle says:

      ps sectioning in the 1st week or 2 is good progress ..pretty much average, some don’t even see sectioning for a couple more weeks
      so your doing fine
      suggestions use a good dread shampoo (not al are good) and don’t towel dry

  17. Annie says:

    i’m white, have smooth, a bit wavy, really really long hair down to my knees. can i free form this? sometimes i let it go a week or two without brushing and its a tangled mess. will it separate or create one massive beaver tail? thanks!

    • soaringeagle says:

      if you don’t separate early on you will likely end up with massive dreads
      your hair will want to dread very fast so you will have to contril it so it doesn’t over dread into 1 huge dread..beads are your friends!

  18. Carl says:


    I am beginning free-form dreads, and have no one to ask questions. Can you please advise me?

    I have started about 4 months ago, from completely bald/shaved head. I have African-textured hair (not mixed race). I have small lumps and bumps in some sections of my hair, and in few sections I have flat separated sections of hair that are standing out from my scalp. It seems like the top right half of my scalp is dreading more quickly than other parts, and almost nothing on top left half!

    I read somewhere that there is possibility that all of my hair will not dread using freeform method, and I have also seen pictures of this online. Is this true? Because I have sections of my hair that seem as if they will never dread.



    • soaringeagle says:

      you are only 4 months in, just babies. if you used a starter method this is when they would have come the loosest before then starting to dread
      that’s just because of how you sleep
      it will catch up, changing how you sleep might quicken it

  19. DustyRose says:

    I’ve got long hair and always keep it up in a messy bun. I’ve got 2 small kids and hate my hair in my face. Can I still put it up daily? Obviously without brushing (such a pain anyways)

    • soaringeagle says:

      the more its up the slower it will dread it needs freedom to move t dread
      also if its left up enough it can become a dread bun or bun dread whatever.. 1 dread in the shape of the bun
      the more its left to hang free and loose the faster it will dread
      that’s not to say you can’t put it up from time to time just if its all day everyday it can drasticly slow the dreading or prevent it completely

  20. Willy says:

    Hey I love this site… tons of awesome information. Im 1 week into the natural dread process… was wondering can I use a towel to dry my hair if I just pat it down? Obviously rubbing with a towel could undo some of my nice clumps so if I just pat it down I should be good? Also does giving ur hair a shake like a dog a bad thing? Feels good to shake ur long hair
    Also you said you can use beads early on to help start the dreads.. so can I use normal dread beads?
    Sorry for long winded question and thanks for answer!

    • soaringeagle says:

      well patting it down can be counter productive
      those lil hairs sticking up everywhere are prime for forming dreads
      shaking it out is great don’t be too vigerous though just a gentle shake out gets alotta the water out and helps it tangle
      a beads anything with a hole put in it,or any hole with anything wrapped around it
      so you don’t need expensive dread beads when a stick or stone will do

    • soaringeagle says:

      oh and if you like this site for the info check out same good quality info, same ethics, but 1 million pages of it

      • Willy says:

        Thanks so very much for your response Eagle. So one morr question… my bangs are not grouping together very well like the rest of my hair.. if I just take a small clump of bangs and run a bead up halfway along will it be sufficient enough to start a dread? The back is clumping crazy but bangs not soo much. Btw ive stopped towel drying and am getting better results.. your advice is spot on

        • soaringeagle says:

          yes it will but this is absolutely normal, the side you sleep on dreads fastest, the bangs will be a lil behind but will catch up in time. also its possible the bangs are shorter so will need to grow some 1st anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *