While dreadlocks require minimal touch-ups from day to day, the key to their success is in the preparation. Once knotted and backcombed into the desired style, dreadlocks need to be sealed in order to maintain their shape. Synthetic dreads respond well to heat and can be locked in with a flatiron, while wax does the trick when working with your natural hair. Take the time to properly seal your dreads and enjoy your wash-and-wear style for months to come.

Synthetic Dreadlocks

Step 1

Fold the top inch of the dread over a wire coat hanger and tie two knots to secure it. Hook the coat hanger over a railing that is at eye level.

Step 2

Turn a flatiron on to the medium heat setting and allow it to heat up. A mid-level temperature will evenly heat the inner and outer portions of the dread without burning it.

Step 3

Spray the dreadlock from the visible edge to the tip with water from a spray bottle until 70 percent damp.

Step 4

Twist the dreadlock tightly from the root, moving it to the right. Stop when you reach 1/4 of an inch down the dread. Hold the end of the twist with one hand to keep it in place.

Step 5

Grasp the top of the twisted portion between the plates of the flatiron, and hold the base of the twist taut with your other hand. Twist the iron to the right, and all the way around the root of the dread. Move the iron slowly in order to produce steam and completely seal the dread. Repeat four times and move down to the next portion of the twist. Continue until the entire twisted section has been ironed.

Step 6

Spray one more coat of water over the bottom portion of the dread from 1/4 of the way down until you hit the tips. Twist the dread tightly from base to tip. Hold the end of the entire dread taut, and grasp the top of the unsealed portion between the plates of the iron. Repeat the process, twisting the dread to the right between the plates four twists at a time until you reach a 1/2 inch away from the end.

Step 7

Press the bottom 1/2-inch portion between the clamps of the iron for two seconds, and release. Repeat 10 times to seal the tip. Repeat the entire process with each of your synthetic dreadlocks.

Natural Dreadlocks

Step 1

Place one thumb above each ear and drag the thumbs toward the back of your head until they meet. Clip the dreads that land above your thumbs to the top of your head with a hair clip. Start with dreads that are completely dry to avoid locking in moisture and causing mold.

Step 2

Pick up a dime-sized amount of dreadlock wax with your fingers, place it into your palm, and rub your palms together to distribute it. Only a small amount is necessary to keep hair in place. Using too much wax will weigh the dread down and cause buildup.

Step 3

Lift a dreadlock from the bottom of your hairline that sits closest to the left side of your face. Place the root of the dread between your palms and roll your palms back and forth to coat the section completely. Move your hands down to the next unsealed portion of the dread and repeat. Continue until the entire dread has been waxed.

Step 4

Pick up more wax as necessary, and repeat until all dreads in the bottom section have been coated, moving around the back of your head to your right side. A dime-sized amount of wax will be suitable for sealing between one and two dreads, depending on how thick the dreads are. Release the top section from the hair clip and repeat the process until all of your dreads have been coated.