Whether you’re new to the natural hair game or a veteran, you already know that there is no shortage of chic hairstyles to try. If you love semi-permanent styles that are low maintenance, dreadlocks are a solid pick. This style is all about flaunting matted, rope-like locks of hair with your natural texture. While the idea of knotty hair can be daunting, this style allows you to maintain a chic, uniform look. If you’re ready to step into the world of dreadlocks, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn everything about dreadlocks, including how the style is created, the cost, and nine dreadlock styles to try.
WHAT ARE DREADLOCKS?
Before we dive into what exactly dreadlocks are, it’s important to know the right way to refer to the style. The term dreadlocks has a negative connotation attached to it because of different beliefs, so many people who wear the style ask that it’s referred to as locs. Locs are rope-like strands of hair that are created through various methods, such as forgoing combing and brushing your hair (the neglect technique), twisting, backcombing, or rolling your strands.
One of the most popular techniques for creating locs is the backcombing method that involves a stylist parting your hair into small sections and combing your hair toward the scalp (this is the foundation for the style). Your stylist keeps backcombing while moving down the length of your hair to the ends. Then, they'll twist the backcombed hair with wax to form a tight circular shape. You’ll want to discuss your desired thickness with the stylist before they begin twisting your hair to achieve your desired results.
DREADLOCKS VS FAUX LOCS: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Now that you’re more educated on the topic of locs, you should know that there is a way to score the look without committing to the traditional technique. We’re talking all about faux locs. Since faux locs bear a striking resemblance to classic locs, it’s essential to know the difference between the two styles. Locs are a semi-permanent style created by either backcombing, twisting, or rolling your natural hair at the root, then twisting your strands to make locs. Since this style is formed with your natural strands, you’ll maintain your length once the look is set. Over time, your hair will start to grow and you’ll have to touch-up your locs to keep them neat. You also have the choice between thin or thicker-looking locks.
On the flip side, faux locs are a protective style variation of dreadlocks that uses loc extensions to create the look. They’re installed by braiding or twisting your natural hair, then wrapping loc extensions around the hair's shaft to create the appearance of locs. Dreadlocks experts can simply build locs by skipping the twisting/braiding method and wrapping the extensions around your strands. You can also swap out traditional loc extensions for multi-colored extensions to add a unique spin to your mane.
HOW LONG DO DREADLOCKS LAST?
Locs are a hairstyle that’s meant to last. With the proper care, you can keep your loc styles intact for a few months or a lifetime. That requires making sure to visit your stylist to get your dreadlocks retightened every four weeks to maintain a neat and uniform look. You should also take the appropriate measures to cleanse your strands with nourishing hair-care products (more on that below).
CAN DREADLOCKS BE REVERSED?
Since locs are known to be a semi-permanent style, you may be wondering if they can be reversed. The answer is: Yes, they can be undone. While most people think that you have to completely cut off your dreadlocks, you can comb them out. Of course, you should note that combing out your locs takes a lot of time and patience since the process can range between a couple of days to a week. So, your best bet would be to book an appointment with your stylist.
HOW MUCH DO DREADLOCKS COST?
Dreadlocks are a style that takes skill to create. Depending on the length you’re starting with, you can expect to pay between $200 to $1,000 for locs. You should also note that the price can vary based on your location. That said, you shouldn’t allow the cost to be a determining factor when you choose a stylist. Always make it a point to get your hair styled by a licensed stylist that specializes in locs.
HOW TO CARE FOR DREADLOCKS
You may think that your work is over once you have your locs installed, but there is more that needs to be done to keep your mane in shape. Below, find a step-by-step routine to help you learn how to cleanse your strands.
1. USE AN APPLE CIDER VINEGAR RINSE TO REMOVE BUILDUP
An apple cider vinegar rinse is a no-brainer for cleansing dreadlocks, since it can help to remove buildup and boost shine without disturbing your style. Apply the apple cider vinegar rinse to your twists and carefully rub your scalp. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and rinse it out with lukewarm water. You should use this rinse bi-weekly or monthly to keep dirt and debris at bay.
2. WASH YOUR STRANDS REGULARLY TO KEEP IMPURITIES AT BAY
Once you’ve completed your ACV rinse, you’ll want to use a moisturizing hair-care system like the L’Oréal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverCreme Deep Nourish Conditioner to wash your strands. This sulfate-free pairing is formulated with apricot oil and provides your hair with vital nourishment. When it comes to cleansing your locs, conditioner tends to get a bad rep because it’s believed to cause buildup. However, you need to keep your locs moisturized so they can stay in shape. To correctly use conditioner in your routine, concentrate it on your mid-lengths and ends.
3. ADD ADDITIONAL MOISTURE WITH A HAIR SERUM
It’s important to seal your locs with moisture to keep your hair nourished and hydrated. That’s why we love the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Treatment. This lightweight hair treatment is infused with flower oils and helps to provide your hair with 10 times more nourishment and instant shine. Apply four to five drops throughout your mane from roots to ends.
4. DRY YOUR HAIR PROPERLY TO PREVENT SMELLY DREADLOCKS
Now that you’re at the finish line, it’s essential to allow your locs to completely dry so you can keep odors at bay. Let your locs air dry to minimize heat usage, which can help keep your strands in proper shape. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re working with thick locs, you’ll need to use a blow-dryer or hooded dryer to dry your hair. Be sure to smooth on a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BLOW DRY IT Thermal Smoother Cream throughout your strands before applying heat. This hair cream helps to tame frizz and provide the ultimate level of heat protection.
9 DREADLOCK STYLES TO TRY
Now that you have a better understanding of locs, it’s time to choose the best look to suit your style. Below, find nine dreadlock hairstyles that will upgrade your mane.
1. LONG DREADLOCKS
Why we love them: These locs allow you to flaunt your true length with tons of movement that will surely turn heads.
Pro-tip: Talk to your stylist about creating thin dreadlocks to help you achieve more movement.
2. DREADLOCKS BOB
Why we love it: The bob style will always be on-trend, and this twisted look is a cool way to make the hairstyle your own. It also helps to keep your strands on the shorter side.
Pro-tip: Consult with your hairdresser about styling your locs at the chin or just below it to complement your face shape.
3. MOHAWK DREADLOCKS
Why we love them: They keep the sides of your hair shaved short with your locs styled along the center of your head for a rockstar vibe that won’t go unnoticed.
Pro-tip: Since this style requires shaving the sides of your head, it’s best to leave it to the pros.
4. YARN DREADS
Why we love them: They allow you to veer away from classic loc hair extensions so you can choose from a variety of colors. They’re also a smart option for those who want to try faux locs before committing to the dreadlocks style.
Pro-tip: Ask your stylist to create your locs with multiple yarn colors to add a playful touch to your look.
5. CROCHET DREADLOCKS
Why we love them: Crochet dreadlocks are a cool way to give the trend a try without putting too much pressure on your scalp. It’s similar to the traditional crochet technique that uses a latch hook tool to weave locs in your mane. You should also note that it’s different from the crochet locking technique (interlocking), that’s primarily used to build and touch-up micro locs.
Pro-tip: Ask your stylist to create a middle part before installing the locs to help frame your face.
6. DREADLOCKS BUN
Why we love it: This hairstyle helps to keep your strands out of your face while accentuating your features. You should also note that it’s super easy to style.
Pro-tip: Gather your dreadlocks into a ponytail at the center of your head. Wrap the length of your hair around the base of your ponytail to form a bun. Secure loose strands with bobby pins.
7. FAUX LOCS
Why we love them: Faux locs are the protective style remix that allows you to keep your strands tucked away for weeks and months at a time. It’s a smart way to give your natural hair a break from everyday styling.
Pro-tip: Ask your stylist to create the style with loc extensions that match your natural hair color.
8. DREADLOCKS WITH AN UNDERCUT
Why we love it: This style gives your mane a bit of edge and personality since you can cut one or both sides of your head.
Pro-tip: Speak with your stylist about adding a shaved design to your look to add trendy flair.
9. DREADLOCKS WITH A FISHTAIL BRAID
Why we love it: This look combines a woven pattern with twisted strands to create an eye-catching mane. It also helps to keep your locs out of the way without having to skimp on style.
Pro-tip: If you’re a bit rusty on your braiding skills, check out our article, How To Do a Fishtail Braid, for a step-by-step tutorial.