Dreadlocks are becoming increasingly popular, but unfortunately, not everyone knows how to properly care for them.
In this post, we will teach you how to identify if your dreads are locking and how to fix them if they are. From detangling to conditioning, we will cover everything you need to know in order to keep your locks looking beautiful and healthy.
How Do You Know If Your Dreads Are Locking?
If you have dreadlocks, it can be tough to tell if they are locking. Dreadlocks can become locked in different ways, but the most common way is if one dreadlock pulls on another one.
If this happens, it can cause the dreadlock to tighten and eventually break. There are a few ways to tell for sure which include:
Increase in length
The first indication that your locks are locking is an increase in the length of your hair. As the dreads begin to form, you’ll notice that they start to grow faster than before.
This is because each individual strand of hair is being pulled together and twisted around itself into a locking pattern, so each lock gets tighter and tighter as it grows, making it harder for the strands to slip out of place.
Another sign that your dreads are locking is when you can’t pull any individual hairs out of the dreadlock. The ends of each lock should feel sealed tight against your scalp — if you can easily remove them by tugging on them, they’re not yet fully locked.
Difficult to unravel
The final test for whether or not your dreadlocks are locking is simply trying to unravel them. If they’re fully locked, there should be no way for you to pull them apart without cutting them with scissors — and even then, they’ll likely be difficult to separate even after trimming them down!
Double its original size
Once your locks have matured enough to double their original size, then you’ll know that they’ve locked completely into place and won’t be able to unravel anymore!
How Long Do Dreads Take To Lock?
Dreadlocks can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to lock. This process largely depends on the individual’s hair type and density, as well as how often they brush or style their dreads.
Generally speaking, thicker dreads will take longer to lock than thinner dreads. Additionally, if your dreads are styled in a particular way (e.g., by being twisted), it can take longer for them to lock.
It also depends on the hair type and the individual. The general rule of thumb is that it will take between one to two years for your dreadlocks to lock up fully.
If you want to speed up this process, you can use a hair moisturizing product like DreadHead Dread Wax or DreadHead Locking Gel right after wash day.
Another option is to use a deep conditioning treatment with protein in it (like DreadHead Deep Conditioning Treatment) once a month or so between wash days.
How Do You Know When Dreads Are Budding?
Dreadlocks can be a great hairstyle, but they can also be a challenge to keep in check. Dreadlocks can become locked, which means they won’t grow any further down the hair shaft.
When this happens, it’s important to take action to prevent them from becoming too tight and uncomfortable. There are several signs that your dreads may be locking:
- Your dreads seem to be growing more slowly or not at all.
- The hair on the front of your head seems thicker than usual.
- You experience pain when you try to pull or brush your dreads.
- Your locks are starting to feel extremely tight and coiled around your head.
- You notice that the knots in your hair are getting harder and harder to remove.
If any of these signs appear, it’s time for you to visit a licensed hairstylist who can assess the situation and recommend a course of action for preventing dreadlock binding.
How Do You Know What Stage Your Locs Are In?
Dreadlocks can take different stages of development, and it’s important to know which stage your locs are in order to decide when they’re ready for a specific style.
The following seven stages of dreadlock development will help you determine when your locs may be ready for a particular style:
This is the initial stage where your locks are still in their natural state, untouched by human hands. They may be in a single section or scattered throughout your hair.
Unbraided locs are similar in appearance and structure to braided locs, except that they are not braided. Instead, the hair is twisted and tied with string or rubber bands, which gives a look its name.
The strands of hair gradually separate over time as the knots loosen up and become looser on their own accord. This creates a more natural-looking style than braiding does and allows for more versatility when styling your hair.
In this stage, your locs have begun to form small braids or ropes around their base. This type of dreadlock development is usually reached after about six months of unbraiding.
This stage is also known as the coiling stage. Locs at this stage are very tight and will not come apart easily. You should be able to grab the dreadlock from the root and pull it out without it falling apart.
You may notice that your locs are smaller in diameter than when you started. This is because your hair is now growing in two directions instead of one, so it takes up less space on the scalp than it did before when it was all growing down.
Your locs will also start to get darker in color as they age and oxidize, becoming richer and more red-brown as they mature into mature dreadlocks.
Double Rope stage
In this stage, your locs have formed two small ropes that hang down from the top of your head together. Double rope dreadlocks typically take around two years to develop fully.
After this stage you will need to start tightening them up and make sure they are not long enough to tangle together. This can be done by using a hair oil or gel to separate the strands.
When you do wash them, it is important not to use a comb or brush as this can damage your locs. You should instead use a wide-tooth comb and gently separate them with your fingers or palm of hand.
Quadruple Rope stage
At this stage, four small ropes have formed along the bottom of your head, resembling a rope ladder. Quadruple rope dreadlocks can take up to three years to form fully.
The top of your head will begin to fill in with more and thicker dreadlocks as well. The overall shape of your head is still rounded, but now it’s starting to take on the triangular shape that will become more apparent in later stages.
At this stage, you should start looking for professional help if you want to keep your dreadlocks looking neat and tidy. Your hair will be at its clumpiest and most difficult to wash and style, so it’s best to let an experienced stylist handle it from now on.
At this stage, your locs have formed several thin plaits that run throughout their length. Plaited dreadlocks can take up to six months to develop fully, but they can look more intricate than other styles.
If you’re growing plaited dreadlocks and you want them to look even better, you can add extensions. These are pieces of hair that are added to the ends of your plaits, which are then braided into the rest of the locs. This adds extra thickness and volume to your locs while keeping them looking neat and tidy.
When it comes to styling them, there are plenty of options available. You can tie them back in a ponytail or bun if you want something simple or leave them loose for an elegant look with lots of movement.
You can also use hair products like waxes and pomades to make your locs look shinier and healthier looking than they would otherwise be at this stage in their development.
How to make your dreadlocks lock faster
If you want your dreadlocks to lock more quickly, there are a few things you can do. If you want your dreadlocks to lock faster, here are some tips that can help.
Wash them less often
Washing your hair too often can dry out the ends of your dreads and make them take longer to lock up. Try washing once every three days or so, especially in the beginning when they’re still forming. Once they start locking, wash them more frequently (about every 10 days).
Use conditioner instead of shampoo
Shampoo can strip hair of its natural oils, which makes it easier for the dreads to lock up. Instead of using shampoo on your locks, use a good-quality conditioner instead — especially when they’re new and haven’t started locking yet.
You can also add a couple of drops of essential oil to your conditioner if you like — we recommend rosemary oil or tea tree oil as they both have antibacterial properties and will help keep your dreads clean and free from bugs!
Use the right products for you
There are different kinds of products available for your dreadlocks. Check out various stores that sell these products so that you can choose the one that suits you best. The product should be easy to use, affordable, and effective in keeping your hair healthy and moisturized as well as locking them up faster.
Do not brush or comb your hair unless absolutely necessary
Brushing or combing can cause damage to new growth and cause it to break off prematurely. This will slow down locking tremendously! If you must brush or comb, use only a wide-toothed comb and never more than once every two weeks (and even this isn’t necessary most of the time).
If you’re worried about having no signs of locking, have a little patience. If your hair is very mature, it may take months to start seeing the early stages of locking. Also, make sure you’re following dreadlock maintenance principles. Those help speed up the process.