Dreading One Section of Hair

Dreads are just strands of knotted hair.
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You don't have to be a hippie to make dreadlocks look good. Even serious business professionals wear this hairstyle with ease. No matter how cool they are, the changeover from straight locks to a knotty commitment can be daunting even for the most daring. If you’re not ready to marry to a fully dreaded head, start with a smaller section. There’s no need for a pricey salon visit when you use these at-home dread techniques.

Dampen your hair with warm water and apply a quarter-sized amount of dreadlock shampoo to your scalp. Massage the shampoo over your scalp with your fingers to work up a good lather. Rinse the suds out thoroughly. Shampoo two additional times to make sure all styling residue and oil is removed from your hair.

Turn on a hair dryer to the medium heat setting. Flip your hair upside down and dry your hair. Don’t brush through your hair as you dry. Instead, tousle it with your hands to really fluff it up.

Decide where you want to create the dreads and separate out that section of hair using your fingers. Gather the remainder of your hair up and clip it out of the way using a hair clip.

Gather up a section of hair as thick as your index finger. Insert a dreadlock comb into the hair section 1 inch away from your scalp. Push the comb up until it reaches your scalp, getting the knots as tight as possible.

Insert the comb back into the hair section 1 inch away from your scalp and push it up again until it reaches your scalp. To ensure a round appearance, roll the hair in a spiral direction by one turn each time you remove the comb. Continue this process until you reach the end of the hair strand.

Grab the end of the hair strand and twist it to the right until the entire stand is twisted.

Open a jar of dread wax and scoop out a pea-sized amount. Roll it in your hand to soften it up and spread it over the hair strand from the roots to the tips. Don't use too much wax, or the dreads will look greasy. You only need enough to tame the small hairs that stick out from the sides of the dread.

Set a hair dryer to medium heat and turn it on. Hold the hair dryer 6 inches away from your head and move it up and down each dread to melt the wax. Continue until you can no longer see the wax on the outside of the dreads.

Place the strand in between your palms and roll your palms back and forth. Start at the roots and work your way down to the tip.

Wrap a rubber band around the root of the dread -- near your scalp -- and wrap another around the dread a 1/4 inch from the bottom.

Repeat the process to create as many additional dreads as you like.

  • Only use dreadlock shampoo, as other shampoos have ingredients which will prevent the knots from forming properly.
  • New dreads are puffy but will shrink down as the hair compresses through washing and regular maintenance.
  • Fine hair is harder to dread than courser hair. If the knots won't stay put, apply a dime-sized amount of dread-tightening gel throughout your hair. Dry completely with a hair dryer and then repeat the knotting process.

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.