What Are the Best Tips for Twisting Dreadlocks?

Donna Tinus

Some people can start deadlocks using the twisting method. Straight hair cannot hold a twist, so twisting dreadlocks can only work for people with textured, curly hair, such as African Americans. Having a friend or a stylist twist the dreadlocks can be helpful. It is also important to choose an appropriate twisting method and use the right materials and tools for that method of twisting dreadlocks.

Visiting a loctician is recommended for those seeking to style their hair into dreadlocks.
Visiting a loctician is recommended for those seeking to style their hair into dreadlocks.

A person who attempts twisting dreadlocks on her own may find she has some trouble with the back section. It can be difficult for the person who is twisting her own dreadlocks to see what she is doing with the hair in the back. Having two mirrors can help to see the back of the head. Some people will have a friend they trust to do a good job help them do their dreads in the back.

Twisting dreadlocks only works with textured, curly hair.
Twisting dreadlocks only works with textured, curly hair.

Many salons, especially those that cater to African Americans, will make twisting dreadlocks for their clients. This can be a good option, since having a professional twist the hair into dreadlocks is easier, and the dreads tend to look neater.

Twisting dreadlocks are started with a rattail comb, parting the hair into sections. The sections can be secured in place with clips or rubber bands. Starting with one section, the person doing the dreadlocks will apply a small amount of dread wax or beeswax along the section of hair. She will then twist the dreadlocks using one of a few methods.

One method of twisting dreadlocks is with a comb. The person who is making the dreadlocks will place a comb at the end of the hair, and twist the hair in a clockwise manner. Another method involves twisting the dreadlocks around a finger, then sliding the finger out, and letting the dreads hang in that twisted manner. If the twists are coming undone, a rubber band or hair pin may be placed at the end of the twist.

After the hair is twisted, people will often roll the twist between the palms of their hands. This causes the hair to knot up, and is the beginning of locks. Depending on how well the twist is holding in place, this rolling may be skipped, and the person may just allow the knots to form naturally.

A third method of twisting dreadlocks is to twist the section of hair clockwise, and continue to twist until the hair curls up against the scalp. A large clip is then placed on the twist to hold it against the scalp. When the whole head is done, hot air is applied using a hair dryer. The hot air melts the wax into the hair holding the twist in place.

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Discussion Comments


I've heard that some people can make dreadlocks simply by twisting hair with a little bit of water. I personally don't think it's a good idea to do this. The great part about using wax or some other product like aloe vera is that these protect hair and keep it from drying out as the dreadlocks form. And they do help dreadlocks keep their shape.

I prefer to use beeswax because it's stickier than regular hair wax. I have friends who use wax specifically for dreadlocks or things like aloe vera as well though. Those seem to work just as well.


@ysmina-- Yea, people with straight hair need to rub or back-comb their hair to make dreadlocks. The twisting method doesn't work. It's unfortunate because twisting is easier. In order for the hair to lock, it's necessary to twist or rub them regularly in the beginning. Otherwise, they will loosen up with time. Since most people can twist their dreadlocks at home, they don't have to go back to the salon during this time to make sure that their hair locks properly. Those with straight hair will have to put in more effort to keep their locks in place.


I think that hand twisted dreadlocks are the best because they look very natural and neat. So it's a good style for people who may want to wear their dreadlocks in a neater, more professional manner. Some people twist dreadlocks and then put them up in various ways so that they can wear the look to school or work.

The only issue is that people with straight hair cannot use this method at all. It just doesn't hold.

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