One of the most iconic hairstyles of all time is dreadlocks. Eye-catching, easy to maintain and full of attitude, locs are not for the shy types! For natural hair, they are considered a protective style because they don’t require any chemicals to create. They also help the hair retain moisture, and don’t put too much stress on the scalp. Dreads also require lots of patience as they can take years to be fully complete. If you can’t wait that long, then try faux locs. The only limit is your imagination.
1. Long Dread Style
Your patience will be rewarded when it comes to a long hairstyle. It can take years for your locs even to reach your shoulders, as your hair won’t be growing in a straight line. Instead, it will grow in different directions within the tangle of your dreadlocks. If you want the long dread style without the wait, you can have extensions braided into your natural hair.
2. Short Dread Style
Nothing is cuter than a short dread style! These locs have the same sassy quality as a bob cut, but with even more attitude. Chic and simple to care for, dreads of this length will form in a matter of months. The best part is that you won’t need to bother with styling your hair – all the volume, texture, and body you need is built into the hair.
3. Medium Dread Style
Tighter, thinner dreads look great when they’re grown to medium length. This is a polished look that has an elegant feel. If you’re worried about thick, heavy dreads drawing too much attention away from your face, this is the perfect type for you. It’s also a great style for showing off subtle hair accessories, like rings and shells.
4. Dread Braid Style
You can braid your dreads just as you would your regular hair. Your mane will look even thicker and hold the style better! A classic three-strand plait is an easy way to shake it up if you’re tired of the traditional dread look. It’s also perfect for a special occasion like a wedding because it has a feminine feel to it. Braid your locs in sections, rather than trying to plait the individual ropes of hair.
5. Wool Dreads
Wrapping your locs with wool began as a protective step as it prevents frizziness. Wool dreads can also make a serious style statement. Shake it up with different colors or keep it chic with natural tones like brown, black, and white. Just bear in mind that wool dreads will be heavier when wet and take longer to dry, so you’ll wash them less regularly. Use dry shampoo in between washes to keep your scalp and hair clean.
6. Yarn Dreads
Yarn serves the same purpose as wool when it comes to wrapping your locs. However, ‘yarn’ can refer to any kind of material or thread, while wool refers specifically to sheep’s wool. If you’re vegan and don’t wear animal-derived fabrics, synthetic yarn is for you. It will give you hair all the same benefits of wool wraps, and it also comes in a vast variety of textures and colors. It can also be a good option if you have a wool allergy.
7. Crinkle Dreads
Crinkle dreads are a fun and quirky twist on the dreadlock style. The process to get them is similar to how you’d create mermaid waves on straight hair. Start by making your dreads wet, then plait three locs at a time into braids. Tuck all your braids into a hairband and leave to dry. Then, carefully un-braid them. Your dreads will then have cute kinks and waves. This is an excellent technique to try if you miss your curls and coils after growing your dreads in.
8. Cornrows and Dreadlocks
Cornrow is an iconic style that reached the height of popularity in the ’90s and is coming back into fashion now. When combined with dreads, the cornrow is a neat, raised hair with the scalp visible in between the ‘rows’, it looks unusual and striking. It’s also a cool twist on the undercut style.
9. Wavy Dreadlocks
Wavy dreadlocks are a simple way to change up your style, with a playful and romantic result. You can make your dreadlocks wavy using silk or satin-covered hair rollers. Just roll and clip them as you would with regular hair. You can also apply setting lotion to damp dreads and then loosely braid them, leaving them to dry. This technique works best on thin to medium-sized locs.
10. Bohemian Dreads
Calling all free spirits! Dreads are already associated with natural beauty and spiritual vibes, so why not lean into the look and go full boho? Add nature-inspired decorations like shells, flowers, and beads, and let your locs go their own way. This type of style is all about creating a relaxed and earthy feel, so it will suit you if that’s your taste when it comes to fashion and jewelry too.
11. Rasta Dreads
Dreadlocks are a religious symbol in Rastafarianism. This style is all about connecting with African roots and letting your natural hair grow without interference. These dreads are freeform style, as it’s particularly important not to use any unnatural techniques to create them. These types of dreads can’t be rubbed, cut, or rolled either; however, they can be washed as usual.
12. High Top Dreads
High top dreads are related to the fade dread style, except the hair is left longer at the sides rather than shaved down. The locs at the crown of the head can be grown as long as you like, but look especially on-trend when grown out and swept forward. This gives the style movement and structure.
13. Mohawk Dreads
If you want all eyes on you, mohawk dreads are the best way to be the center of attention! This style is similar to a natural hair faux hawk. To get this look, form your locs down the center of your scalp while keeping the sides shaved short. As your dreads can take months or even years to fully mature, you can delay shaving the sides until the locs themselves are ready to take center stage.
14. Soft Dread
Not every dread hairstyle is about an edgy attitude. Soft dreads are delicate, feminine, and understated. This pretty dread look is ideal if you don’t want to go all the way with a bold loc style. It’s also simple enough to wear every day, but stylish enough for a night out. Pair this hairstyle with equally soft makeup for a casual yet glamorous finish.
15. Soft Dread Crochet
The term ‘crochet’ gets used a lot when it comes to dreads. Crocheting is a technique to tighten up dreads quickly and pull in any loose hairs. This makes the locs themselves look thicker and smoother. When it comes to getting a soft dread look, the crochet hook is used to attach dread extensions to braided hair. You’ll get beautiful locs instantly!
16. Dread Twist
This style combines the protective powers of both twists and dreads. You can leave the locs long or twist them into an up-do. Twisting is also one of the ways to encourage locs to form – although it works best with very textured and longer hair types. It’s also slower than other methods of creating dreads.
17. Dread Pin Up
There’s no end to the versatility of dreads – you can even have an old-school pin-up inspired look! Create a Victory Roll style by twisting a section of your locs around a foam hair roller for the signature shape. Then, slide the roller out and secure the hair with bobby pins. If you have braided sides, this look is even more elegant. Otherwise, pull back the rest of your locs and secure them at the back of your head.
18. Dread Updo Bun
It’s no secret that dreads look amazing when styled in a bun. You can go for a half-up, half-down look, a full bun, or leave statement strands hanging down. Like any bun hairstyle, this look draws the eye up so try pairing it with statement eye makeup and bold brows. It’s also the ideal way to show off earrings, which will balance the top-heavy hairstyle.
19. Faux Locs
Faux locs, or ‘fake dreads’, will give you the look of dreads without committing years of your life to grow them. You can get this look by having a hairdresser braid your real hair, before wrapping dreadlocks around it. The faux locs can also be crocheted into cornrows. Faux locs will give your hair all the benefits of other protective styles like weaves because your natural hair is covered and therefore protected from heat, pollution, and chemicals.
20. Dread Fade Style
Combining dreads with a fade isn’t just for the guys. This on-trend look is just as striking on women. Whether you opt for a low, medium, or high fade, keep your dreads fairly long to create a cool contrast and give you more versatility. This is a great look for summer too, as it means you’ll have less hair to deal with!
21. White Girl Dread Style
Non-Afro textured hair can develop freeform dreads – they’re often called ‘neglect dreads’ because they take next to no effort, just a lot of patience while they ‘loc up’ and grow over time. While Caucasian hair doesn’t form dreads as quickly as natural hair due to its different texture, locs will eventually occur. Often, the dreads will only form on certain parts of the hair, with the rest staying loose and separated.
22. Dyed and Coloured Dreads
You can dye your dreads with the same products you’d use for ordinary hair. The difference is that you don’t need to comb the color through. Instead, the dreads need to soak up the color, so use a tint brush to paint on the dye. It also takes longer for the color to develop. If you’re thinking about changing your shade, go bold – primary colors like red, green, and blue look fantastic on dreads and give the style an Afropunk feel.
23. Fishtail Dreads
There are so many ways to style your dreads, and a standout option is the fishtail braid. It’s easier to braid dreads than normal hair because it’s already separated into sections and has lots of texture. This is a classic, feminine braid that has a romantic feel – and it’s a speedy way to change up your loc style from day to night.
24. Fishbone Dreads
As opposed to fishtail braids, fishbone braids involve braiding the hair at an angle, close to the scalp, to create a pattern. It combines the artistry of braiding with the cool factor and attitude of dreadlocks. This style looks beautifully elaborate and sophisticated while still maintaining its uniqueness.
25. Freeform Dread Style
Otherwise known as ‘freedom locs’, freeform dreads are the most low-maintenance dreadlock style. It’s all about accepting your hair’s natural texture with no intervention. You won’t need to get them retwisted or detangled, and there’s no product required either. You do need to wash your hair regularly, however, as clean hair forms dreadlocks faster.
What do Dreadlocks Symbolise?
Dreadlocks are often associated with many different meanings. In certain cultures, dreadlocks represent purity and act as a constant reminder of goodness. Locs often resemble a lion's mane, which is affiliated with courage, strength, and power.
Do dreadlocks damage your hair?
When preparing for dreads, it's essential to make sure you take good care of your hair. While dreadlocks don't cause damage directly, you have to make sure you treat them regularly and avoid twisting them too tight, as this can cause breakage. For those with thin hair, be cautious when turning the locks, as the closer they are, the more damage it will do to your scalp. That being said, with good dreads comes the right treatment - take care of your hair, and you won't experience damage.
How long does it take for dreads to lock?
There are many factors to take into consideration when preparing for dreads. Depending on your hair type, it can take anywhere from two months to a year before you start to see locks. This also depends on the level of maintenance and care you provide through the lock forming journey.
What is the best hair type for dreadlocks?
While dreads can form in any hair type and texture, certain kinds tend to bind easier. The best type to start dreadlocks is coarse and textured hair. This type tends to bond together at a higher rate, thanks to its wiry feel, making it easier to tangle and create stunning dreads.
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