How to Puff Up Flat Dreadlocks

Palm rolling helps new dreads to keep their volume.
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Established dreadlocks have a rounded, puffy look that stays put without too much trouble. New dreads need time to knot up and stay puffy, and until they do, they flatten out easily. You may notice flattening after you've slept on your dreads or covered them with a tight-fitting hat. If your dreads have lost their puffiness, you can fix them with a quick technique called "palm rolling." Palm rolling works best after wax has been applied -- if you skip it, the dreads will flatten out again fast. This technique is designed for real human-hair dreadlocks, not the synthetic variety.

Feel your dreadlocks for wax. If you previously applied dread wax to your hair and some still remains, you don't need to apply more now.

Warm up a quarter-sized amount of dread wax in the palm of your hand if you need to apply more wax. Let the wax soften.

Smooth the warmed wax over a dread, then rub it in well. Apply a bit more wax as needed. Repeat this for the rest of your dreads.

Grasp a dread between your palms. Apply a bit of pressure, then rapidly roll the dread back and forth between your palms for about 30 seconds. If your hands or arms get tired easily, you're using too much pressure. Repeat this process for all of your dreads.

Blow-dry your dreads with warm air for a few seconds. This melts the wax more, allowing your dreads to absorb it more easily. If you can see wax dripping down your dreads, blot the hair with a paper towel to soak it up.

  • Do not wax wet dreadlocks; the wax will not adhere properly.
  • This process is not designed for use with synthetic dreads.
  • To avoid overnight hair breakage, cover your dreadlocks with a silk wrap or night cap before bedtime. The wrap will seal in moisture and shield hair from frizz-causing friction.
  • For the first month after your hair has been dreaded, palm roll the dreads for 30 seconds each day. After that, your dreads will start to lock up and set in place, so you'll only need to palm roll them every other week. Your dreads shouldn't flatten once they've locked up.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.