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

  1. Faith says:

    so i want to start dreading my hair. im trying to do this all on my own and naturally. so all i have to do is not brush my hair and just soak it with baking soda? i have really greesy hair, how am i suppose to go 2 days without washing it. im just confused and need help or tips on how to start dreading my hair

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      hairs suposed to have oils when you strip it constantly the scalp rebels and goes into survival mode and pumps out extra oils to compensate..additionally oily hairs more acidic then dry baking soda is alkaline normaly you follow bs with acv (apple cider vinegar) but to reduce oiliness use just baking soda extend how long betwewen washes u go by a day then a week later another day till u can go 3 or 4 without getting oily
      once its more dry slowly introduce acv after the bs to reset the ph to more neutral

  2. Chris says:

    My son has been growing his dreads for about 8 months. Some of his dreads are still puffy tho. What is a good product to use to make the hair stay together?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      please tell mjke u8 never used any products to hold them together! if u used wax..even once its in there forever destroying them u got to remove it agressivly wax b gones the best way its pure evil its criminal they sell wax for dreads now they are fine poofy they just need a lil more time but ..fill me in how were they started what products were used ..any maintenance? what was done include every detail even just palm rolling or twisting the more complete the list the better i can help
      are they natural (assumming u found me here they may be) if so natural dreads will rarely be mature b4 a year a few months more may be all it needs

      • Breanne says:

        Yes wax was put in them:( I didn’t know. I have gotten most of it out. Every other time I wash my hair I do a hot water soak then ACV soak then I wash them. Its really helped a lot!! The person that did them separated my hair, lightly backcombed,waxed, palm rolled. It’s taken a while to get all the wax out. The last time I did a soak, right before I pulled the dreads apart and got a lot of the knots out so that I could get even more wax out. OH MY GOSH, was there a lot! But now theyre doing a lot better. The only thing I do is separate the congos. It seems my hair just wants to form ONE dread!I think after one more hot water/ACV soak the wax will be gone. But I will do it a few more times just to be sure:)

  3. Breanne says:

    Help! So about 3 weeks ago I decided to dread my hair. Upon research I stumbled across dreadheadhq and thats where I got all my info. A friend did it for me (shes a hairstylist and said she studied how to do it) and she sectioned it, backcomed and then waxed. My hair was FULL of wax. She told me to reapply it so I did. Then I started reading about wax and had this HUGE battle of getting it out. I am really disappointed that I didnt let my hair naturally dread. The roots are starting to dread together, not where the sections are. I feel my hair is unnaturally sectioned. How can I fix this? Or is it too late? I truly am so upset I didnt know anythig about natural dreading before I did this, i am regretting my decision to have had someone do them:( Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!

  4. Nat Silberg says:

    Hey soaring eagle. Awesome site…my hair began twisting itself at least 6 Months ago. I never even considered dreads as an option, I’d always just rocked the “jew fro” haha. Now that my hair is dreading naturally, I’m all about it. I seem to have hit a snag though…Everything seems to be going smoothly in the front and on top,but in the back and on the sides, im getting very few twists. I definitely need to stop playing with my hair, but is there anything else I should/shouldn’t be doing? I wash my hair about once a week with “anti-friz” shampoo and conditioner. Can you recommend something better?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      its kinda amazing its dreading with how your washing those are made to prevent dreads so it just proves how badly it wants to dread is by far the best get the pink Himalayan sea salt spray as well as some shampoos and it will dread up much faster

      • Nat says:

        awesome,thanks! Should i start with the liquid shampoo and then switch the bar after my dreads are developed or it doesn’t matter? How often should I use the sea salt spray?

  5. Nicolas says:

    I would like to know if its possible to know if I could do dreadlocks, i’m a 20 years old boy from France and I have thin hair which never curl, my hair are approximately 3 inch long but I have still one month before doing it even if my hair don’t grow fast.
    I will he in south Africa in this moment, I heard they have a specialement treatment for dreads, they burn the end (?) is it ok or no, and for my type of hair?
    And can I do something in this month I have left to prepare my hair or something?
    Thank you

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      burn the hair? come on does that sound smart? stay away from any places that claim to “do dreadlocks” thwy are all ripoffs and do extreme harm!
      at 3 inchesits a lil short for any method backcomb or tnr need 4 but 5 is better and at 6 it dreds itself
      its really best to let it dread itself theres no better way!
      at 4-5 though if u want you can twist n rip (better then backcomb) but do not use wax or crochet hooks!

      salons that will burn your hair have got to be among the worse out there only worse salon i ever heard of poured a bucket of black liquid latex (yes..rubber) over a freinds blond hair turning it into a black sticky mess that destroyed every peoice of clothing and furniture she owned

      u got to stay awy from any place that says they do dsreadlocks..dreadlocks do

      • Nicolas says:

        Ok thank you very much for the advice.
        But a problem is that I cannot do it myself… And if I don’t go to a salon.., all of them are piece of shit about dreads or something?
        And are you shure that a kind of hair such is normally never destined to be like dreads will do it itself naturally?

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          all hair dreads naturaly some slow most fast some extremely fast
          salons are the absolute worse mistake u can make
          and if u must do dreads its incredibly easy to do yoirself
          go to read dreaducation read the forums join ask questions therss nearly 12,000 ppl there to helkp you

  6. Taylor says:

    Hello there, I am a Caucasian female with shoulder length hair (give or take half an inch); it’s very smooth/soft, fine, and wavy. I have been DYING to dread at least like three small chunks of my hair (not my whole head) for years now. I want two dreads on one side (near the back of my ear to sort of mix in with my hair — so “accent dreads,” ya know?) and one on the other side of my head near the back of my ear… is this even possible for my hair type and length along with the fact that I want only a few as opposed to my full noggin? If so, how do you suggest I go about this process? If not, take care and keep spreading the love! Thanks 🙂

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      well u can do it naturaly by just finger combing theparts u dont want todread..or u can use twist n rip to get em started
      but once u have a aere going to want more and more

      • Taylor says:

        What is the twist and rip method?

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          take a section..twist it a bit (not tight) split into 2 parts (not in 1/2 split randomly as you can) pull the 2 paerts away from eachother wich pushes knots to the roors (note to ger the 1st base knots started may take several pulls) after u pull them put them back together split in a new location pull every so often retist (like every 10-15 pulls)

          the more random the better it might look slightly braid like at 1st if not random enough but the braided look will go away as it dreads

          use no rubber bands waxes products only a dread shampoo like

  7. Angelica says:

    Hi soaring eagle, I am new to the natural dreading process (just started a week ago) and I just had a few questions. I am Caucasian with fine, wavy hair and I have stopped brushing and I wash my hair every 2 days with baking soda.

    1) The ends of my hair are very dry and damaged. Will this cause problems and make my hair more difficult to dread?

    2) I work in a restaurant and I am required to pull my hair back in a ponytail or bun. Will this cause my hair to dread more slowly? Does hair lock faster when it is up, or down, or does it matter?

    3) I sweat a lot in the spring/summer so I prefer to take showers frequently (once or twice a day). Is it okay to constantly be getting my hair wet in the shower as long as I’m not washing it every time? Does wet hair make it harder for the hair to lock up?


    • soaringeagle2 says:

      1 no that wont matter mighteven help 2 this will matter some typ]\ing them up alot will slow things and will require more seperating as they truy to form a pony dread or bun dread the looser u can tye the better and let them be free soon as your able the greasiness from the kitchen might slow it some too but slows not nesacarily a bad thing. 3wetting..and washing often helps it dread but..u need to be sure its drying completely especialy when dreaded they tke hours even days to dry if they stay damp they get mildew/moldso its best to get used to wetting only every few dys however summer sun dries them fast so if your out in the sun and heat they will dry plenty..during colder months washing/wetting weekly is best 4 oh wait there was no 4 haha so ill summerixze you might dread slightly slower but thats ok be extra careful with seperating leave em down and free as much as u can and..let them dry completely b4 wetting or tyoing them up if u tye em uop damp your adsking for trouble same goes for wering a hart or anything t5hat restricts air flow

  8. rachelHe says:

    Hello, I was recently going to backcomb my hair and start my dreads that way but when i realized there was an all natural way to get them i decided that would be better. I’m a female and my hair is about three inches long all around. I had it shaved for a long time. Last night was my first baking soda wash. I was wondering will my hair dread? Also do i just let it dry however and let it do what it wants, or can i push it back to get it out of my face and wear a beanie at work?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      for most hair 3 inches is too short (for any method) but some ppls hair will dread that short
      yea just let it air dry a beannie will hurt if tight a tams better

      • rachelHe says:

        I guess its like five inches, will that dread alright. its down to my shoulders in the back and past my eyes in the front.

  9. Katieanne says:

    I have fine soft straight hair. I have short hair, shoulder length in back and to my eyebrows in the front. I’ve been dreading for about 3 months. The back is doing well, the front is still a work in progress. I’m wanting to make a homemade sea salt spray. What should I put in it and the proportions? All feedback appreciated greatly(:

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      hi the fronts a lil short to dread a sea salt spray should have sea salt 3.5% of water volume
      but i wouldnt put it on for longer then 2 hours
      my friend vicki makes a hugely superior himalean pink sea salt (most pure salt on earth) with added proteins and herbs that works way better and is actualy healthy to leave on longer
      its on there

  10. jason says:

    nah i was because i got the dry ichies alott and i thought the moisturize would help the process lol
    do dreads dread any while they are pulled up ? like in a hat for example?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      it really slows things ..wash more add teeareee and rosemary oils olive oil! what are u washing with

      • jason says:

        where could i get some of that teatree an rosemarry at? im washin with the knotty boy residue free soap bar.

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          thats the best place to get the oils
          the knottyboys not as horible as dreadheadhq but i wouldbnt use anything from either site
 is by far best shampoo the teatree rosemary bar is best

          • jason says:

            thanks, any tips? im wanting to bind up one of my dreads or maybe 2 like they did in biblic times. think it would be nice.

            • soaringeagle2 says:

              tips..stay away from knottyboy and dreadheadhq
              to bind em u mean to combine 2 dreads? they will combine if u dont seperate
              if u dont seperate they combine ..u can force it by wrapping 2 together in hempor embroidery thread

              • jason says:

                yeah, mine are only ab shoulder legth and my 4 up front from my bangs are ab cheeck bone length. so i want to wait untill theyre a little longer. once the mature i hope theyl look better, then ends of mine look ridiculous because some of them are well formed from being tucking in and twist and rip and some iv just left alone to tat up naturally.

                • soaringeagle2 says:

                  tucking in the tips wasnt a good idea blunted tips make thenm dry about 5 times slower that greatly increases the mold risk loose tips let the water drain out easily

                  • jason says:

                    so no blunted tips ever?

                    • soaringeagle2 says:

                      i wouldnt sat-y that if they naturaly blunt be it but its silly to force them to blunt cause it holds in water so much longer
                      however theres a racial diference and racial advantage african hair self blunts almost always caucasian hair doesnt usualy africans come from very hot climates si slow drying cools the brain longer with very lil risk of mold cause the excessive heat causes fast drying
                      caucasians tend to come from cooler to cold climates so wet hair for 5 days can be a real hazzard

                  • jason says:

                    so no rounded tips ever?

                    • soaringeagle2 says:

                      didnt say that if they blunt on their own just accept it but forcing them to blunt is silly
                      just leave em to do what they want to do

  11. jason says:

    i work 3rd shift at a processing plant for sandpaper and what not so i keep a hat on the dreads to keep all the pollutents lingerin around from them. sand dust and what not.

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      are u african american?
      olive oils a thicker oil thats extremely easy to over use and it will b hard to remove twice a days excessive for anything.. reaklly if u wash once a week u should be anble to mou=isturize once a week too jojobas a better option..igf your not african american i wouldnt at all unless they are very dry and brittle all that oils going to prevent dreading (african hair will dread no matter how much oils u use practicly but still seems lu[ike twice a days extremely exsessive)

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      srry that reply wasnt to u
      thats a good idea liningthe hat with satin or silk or even a plastic badg will keep very fine particles out

      • soaringeagle2 says:

        or haha actualy was to u but in resoonce to te other question

        and wearing thde hat alot will slow progress bit

  12. jason says:

    what do ido ab new growth that doesnt find its way into dread but just looks ridiculous? lol. im ab 7 mayb 8 months in my dreads. did them from back combing, and the twist and rip, but im wanting to let everything else go fre form now because i dont want to damage hair anymore than i already have. might not be too late lol.

    • soaringeagle2 says:


      • jason says:

        also iv been moisturizing a bit because its winter and i only wash them once a week because of how long drying period takes on thicker locs. iv been moisturizing with olive oil pep oil and water mix i made myself, is twice a day too much you think?

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          are u african american?
          olive oils a thicker oil thats extremely easy to over use and it will b hard to remove twice a days excessive for anything.. reaklly if u wash once a week u should be anble to mou=isturize once a week too jojobas a better option..igf your not african american i wouldnt at all unless they are very dry and brittle all that oils going to prevent dreading (african hair will dread no matter how much oils u use practicly but still seems lu[ike twice a days extremely exsessive)

  13. Philip says:

    I’m almost a year in, and notice little pellets of hair that dangle by themselves an inch or more from the hair that is (finally!) locking. I’ve been snipping them off, because they look like flies swarming me, and I wash regularly. I also moisturize with argan oil, sometimes VO5. Is this the messy-weird stage before things truly start to settle in?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      what type hair are u african american? you dont need to be snipping anything off they will suck in if left alone but if your not african american then the moisturizing has been slowing the dreading alot
      what do you wash with also?

      • Philip says:

        I wash with Dr. Bronners, or homemade soaps that I buy. I’m Afro American, and I moisturize to combat the dryness of it. It gets like hay sometimes.

  14. Dreadhead420 says:

    Great site soaring eagle … Please help ! Have had my locks for 4 years now , with no real sign of growth … I wash once a week with dr bronners bar soap . Is my hair simply to dry n breaking ? Or is there something more ? I have cacausion hair (very straight) and my dreads are natural (no comb or wax).if I start moisturizing with jojoba oil will I maybe finally see some growth ? Please help before I give up all hope …. Peace

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      unusual are u seperating? did they dread very slowly are u deficient in your diet?
      some grow at diferent rates i mean i know a guy who started his the same week as me mine are 6 feet or so his barely 1 or 1 1/2
      sometimes the roots get all bunched uo and u grow almost a hair hem]klmet at the roots if your not seperating when i seperate after a long period i feel like i gain 1/2 inch length just from releasing those hairs at the roots

      try biotin every day for 6 months see if it helps

      • Dread_head_420 says:

        Thank you so much for your quick reply back . I definitely do separate congos as the form, my hair dreaded fairly quick and went threw all the stages you mention on this site . I have always been one to “twist” and play with my locks .. Since realizing this causes dread breakage (last year) I have stopped doing that . I have also started moisturizing my dreads with a water and jojoba oil spray daily . To see if there just to dry and breaking . I also have been trying to make my diet much more healthier as I know these all are factors in healthy hair growth . I certainly will try biotin , do you know of anyone who has personally had good results from it ? Hopefully I’m on the right track now , ill keep you posted with my journey . Thanks again for the advice . Peace ✌

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          the twistings horible it causes widespread balding biotin is very helpful but takes 3 months to see any results on in featured videos theres 1 called twisting interlocking root tightening dangers u see how bald he is but in 3-6 months after finding us haqd 85% regrow by now hes probably back to 100%

  15. Calista says:

    Will I lose hair length when my dreads are done forming? (I started last week)

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      when u take a strentched out string and crumple it into a ball is it not shorter? yea it will get shorter but natural dreads may shrink and grow at same speeds so itd just a zeroo growth period instead…but it varies alot but ofcourse knotted hairs shorter then straight hair

  16. Devon says:

    Hey soaring eagle I have (african hair) have been growin natural hair for a week the sighns i see are only just really bumy nots they some what sectioned.One last question I want some what thick locks how do i form them do i have to wait for more length.

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      they will always try to get thicker and thicker thats why you shpuld seperate also dreads that start off thin thicken till matur e the root area determines the thickness of the mature dread but the thicker the dread the more problems u might have anything over an inch requires special care

  17. Marv says:

    Hey soaringeagle thanks for the great site. Ive had two year old salon maintained dreads(african hair) but iv had enough of the ‘tidy’ look and want to change to free form dreads. What steps should i take?

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      that depends on alot of factors what was done and used?
      if wax was ever used even once start the wax removal process use wax b gone ad get the wax out next salons cause extreme harm and in african americans especialy..traction alopecia do you have alot of scalp showing between dreads? thinning roots with the hair pulled in painfully tight? what salons call tidy is a medical condition they cause purposely which will end up causing balding if your already showing signs of it u should massage the scalp loosening up the roots and getting blood flow to return so the hair grows back

      next take all that ridiculous amount of money you save and spend it on something useful (ive seen ppl spend 10-15 thousand on dreads only to have total disasters)

      oh and wash them alot more often then the salons recommend and do w clarifying shampoo to remove build up from gels and crap
      as they get more healthy if they try to grow together and u dont want them to ..pull them apart never twist them
      and drop by for more tips theres a salon dread recovery section too

      • julia says:

        hey i was looking up ways to dread your hair last n ight and this way seemed like the best but i wanted one immediatley just to see how it would look so i did the crochet way and now i have one and it looks pretty cool but will it affect anything and do i seperate them or do they do it by themselves whenever they start, i just stopped brushing my hair yesterday 😀

        • soaringeagle2 says:

          the crochet way is 1 of the worse most abusive things u can do to dreads it does extreme damage and delays any progress by 6 months!
          your hair will section itself in a few days to a week then begin to dread as dreads form they will try to re-join eachother and become bigger dreads so thats when you seperate them

          • julia says:

            okay thanks and i read that you get really bad dandruff and have to cutt them off but ive heard bad things about all of the methods and i feel like since this is completely natural its the best but idk

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      any dr4eads no matter the method are prone to dandruff early on due to the lack of scalp stimulation but it gets better and u treat it with teatree and rosemary and it goes away no dreads need to be cut (well waxy dreads often are) u can comb them out even after decades but crocheted dreads u will lose most of the hair since most was broken by crocheting

  18. Roro says:

    Dreading for 7months now going through the shrinkin stage, need tips for my dry scalp, i have a shampoo with tea tree oil, mint, and ginseng, i also poured a little more tea tree oil extract into shampoo bottle, still have some bad scalp i wash hair every month. i got wavy hair not african hair

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      this is a no brainer you wash your hair every month? no wonder wash it 2 times a week no hot water and dont add teatree add rosemary but chabces are thats not a good shampoo to use the teatree rosemarry bar from will take care of it or the patchooli bar (any will but u should use 1 of those till its under control then try the others) dreads need to be washed wayy more them=n monthly..weekly at a minumum 2-3 times a weemks even better

  19. Donaldtitux says:

    Greetins soaringeagle, started my freeform 4 about 3mths now, although i can notice soo many baby rasta my hair seems 2 break always wen i wash and also i do dry rosemary and sage tea rinse with some few drops of apple cider vinegar every week and its makes me feel so bad and i dnt c my hair growing at all. Could it be da breakage dat resist my hair 4rm growing fast. Coy if it pays 4 me 2 cut and grow my fro one again i wud andstart with da freeform again

    • soaringeagle2 says:

      are you washing? if u have more like african hair you need to moisturize too (aloe or jojoba) dreads dont grow in the 1st year they shrink but breakage is a problem its too dry

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