Dread creation techniques

throughout history cultures have worn dreads

Dreadlocks have been around as a way of wearing hair for centuries. Dreadlocks span all races, cultures and creeds. From the Celts, to Hindu to Africans and the movement of Rastafari, to African american culture. Even my own ancestors here in Aotearoa, NZ- The Maori indigenous peoples have been seen in the history books with wearing their hair in 'locs'.

So what of cultural 'appropriation'?

This is a very interesting conversation, one that I encorouged all potential dreadlock wearers/embodiers to explore. I don't have the answers to this complex discussion other than, do your research, better understand where others are coming from and the reasons why they choose to wear their hair a certain way. there's plenty of interesting view points on YouTube - I personally have weighed in on the topic after being accused myself of 'appropriation'. Another dreadlock creator on YouTube 'Kris Mcdred' (African) also weighs in on the topic - so go check em out before you launch into getting your own! the best way to feel prepared when challenged by others is to best arm yourself with knowledge and be open to hear other views.

So how do you create a dread?

There are many ways dreadlocks can be created, I list a few of the most common ways below. The way I CREATE dreadlocks is by backcombing and using a crochet hook to firm up the hair bundles - I have coined this method comb n hook. I don't us wax, no chemicals, no threads. But I do use bands to section and then remove them at the end of the creation (this is just to help me with clean sectioning)


This method only requires your hands and a comb, and some sectioning skills. The hair gets sectioned, using a comb the creator then back combs the hair bundles from the ends of the hair length towards the scalp. Some creators may even palm roll the bundles to help them look more cylindrical.

Backcombing & wax

This method is essentially the same as above, however the creator may choose to use small amounts of wax palm rolled into the dread bodies after the backcomb process has occurred.

Free form

This is essentially how it sounds. The dread wearer lets their hair go, without any manual creation method, maybe every once and a while separating hair sections, some may even just let the hair mat up without defined sectioning. This method is also known as 'neglect method'


This method is a common one used on African , African American and curly course hair types. Essentially the hair is sectioned, and after the dread has been created the technique is to flip the hair bundles back through themselves at the base of the scalp, creating 'knots' that look like hard bundles over time down the hair shaft. Depending on the hair type, this can contribute to hair breakage, holes, twists in the hair bundles and in general weak spots. ( I personally don't recommend this method but each to their own)


This method uses a perming solution to break the hair cuticles and 'reset' it into a certain shape - in this case dreads. I had this done the first time I got dreads - not the best method for my hair type but I did it and then after nearly a year of big matted hair I chopped them off! The technique is usually done in a salon, the hair sectioned, back combed, chemicals added, rinsed off, setting solution placed,sometimes pipe cleaners are wrapped around the dread - left for sometime and then rinsed and dried. It's a long process and not one that I recommend, especially when the comb and hook is more efficient and effective.

Crochet hook

This is the method I use and from my experience and opinion is the most effective/efficient way of creating dreads that look 'mature', neat and tidy right from the get go. As I mentioned above, this method uses a crochet hook and comb mostly. It does take skill and knowledge to safely use this technique. Depending on the loctician will depend on how they use their hook. The idea is to hook the hair bundle into itself creating a solid dread body, leaving a small amount of movement for the natural locking process to take place. There are many sized crochet hooks out there - most people will use a 0.75 - 0.60 mm hook for best results. the great thing about this method is it can be used on all hair types. I recommend going to an experienced dread maker to do this technique so as not to damage the hair and for the best outcome possible - do your research , read reviews, look at their work and read their content/materials.


This method is predominantly used on Afro/African hair types. The hair is sectioned and using a hair product of choice, the hair is rolled in the palm and twisted at the roots. Creating 'locs'. Maintenance is required frequently 're-twist' ever few weeks for tidy 'locs'.

Twist & Rip

This method is this is a common method used on Caucasian hair types, or straight hair, as it creates a knotted bundle. A good DIY method, however the dreads created can be random thickness in the dread bundle and across the head. The ripping technique can be damaging to the hair. The hair is sectioned at the scalp, then the hair bundle is split in half, 'ripped' apart, twisted and ripped apart again to create a matting effect, the hair gets knotty and sometimes the maker may palm roll to help form cylindrical bodies - this method will take a while longer than the crochet method for example to form solid dreads.

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Every so often I send out dread care tips from the vlog, new dreadhead offers and dreadlock product specials to my Inner Circle Tribe. You can become a part of the inner circle too, just click the link below and it will take you to register for free !