Hair is truly one of a kind. Over the last few decades, social media has allowed a multitude of hair trends to develop across the world! Hairstyles from the 80’s are even making a comeback.
One of those trends have been dreadlocks or ‘locs.’ Dreadlocks aren’t really a trend because they’ve been around for centuries, but more and more people have been able to learn about dreadlocks and fall in love with their beauty.
Something that makes dreadlocks truly special is the fact that they are worn by both men and women. Even more special than that is the many ways that individuals can obtain these locs. Freeform, comb coils and two strand twists are three of the ways to begin your locs!
And you better believe that once you get them started, you’ll wonder why you didn’t dreadlock your hair sooner!
Timeline for Locking Dreads
One of the top questions is “If I start dreadlocks, how long will they take to complete lock?
What does it even mean for dreads to lock? If you are thinking about when you’ll reach the final and most mature stage of your locks, you better sit tight. That could take a while. But no need to panic. That “mature” stage happens AFTER your dreadlocks have officially locked. Honestly, there isn’t one size fits all when it comes to locs.
Once each individual loc has matted together and there’s no more unraveling at the tips, you can consider yourself locked! How long that will take will mostly depend on your hair texture.
How you maintain and take care of your locs will also determine how long it takes your hair to lock. If you have a 4C hair texture and you don’t manipulate your dreadlocks much (keep styles to a minimal and try not to drown it with shampoo or oil), you may be looking at 3 months before you begin to see matted locks.
If you have a finer texture of hair, you may be looking at upwards of 5+ months to see those dreadlocks begin to mat together. Don’t be discouraged if it takes even longer than that.
When you decide to lock your hair, you must know that this is more of a journey of patience and self-love than it is the journey to a new hairstyle. This is a new lifestyle, so you’ll have to embrace it. Unraveling dreadlocks and all, you got this.
You’re probably wondering if you can choose one method over another to get your locs to lock faster. The short answer is yes, but it still depends on the texture of your hair and how you take care of your dreadlocks.
Different Loc Methods
The beauty of dreadlocks is their versatility. A quick image search will show you all of the amazing styles you can put your dreadlocks in once they have some length to them.
Before you start thinking of the unique styles you can give your locs, you have to decide on the method you’ll use to start them. Each method is unique and has its own pros and cons, especially when it comes to the amount of time it’ll take to loc.
Two-strand Twist Method
If you choose to go with the two-strand twist method, you can expect your loctician to create your dreadlocks by literally twisting two strands of hair together at a time. It is exactly as it sounds – a twist.
So, technically, not a traditional dreadlock to start. Over time, these twists will develop into fully locked dreads. The twists have a greater chance of unraveling, so it can take a while for them to lock.
You are looking at 6 months – 2 years to reach locked hair with the two-strand twists. The more the hair mats, the less it will look like a twist and begin to look like a dreadlock.
Comb Coils Method
The comb coils method is the traditional method for starting dreadlocks. We can’t really call it the most popular anymore for the simple fact that individuals are embracing the many varieties for starting their locs.
To create these locs, your stylist will use a comb to form a spiraled lock of hair starting at the roots. When your hair begins to mat and your dread begins to lock, it will look exactly as such.
If you have hair on the thicker or kinkier side, your dreadlocks may lock in as little as 3 months.
The braid loc method is started with a braid or a plait. Once you braid your hair, you are leaving these individual braids up until they turn into dreadlocks. This will require your roots, like all other methods, to develop ‘new growth.’
Once enough ‘new growth’ has established itself, you can retwist those roots and those braids will stay in place. You can expect your dreadlocks to form and lock with this method around 4 months. It is likely that it will take even longer than that for the braid pattern to disappear.
There’s a chance that, no matter how much time has passed, your dreadlocks will always look like plaits.
How Can I make my Dreads Lock Faster?
No matter what method you choose to start your dreadlocks, it seems like 4-6 months is a safe number for how long it’ll take for them to lock. But the question has to be asked. Is there any way for them to lock faster? Is that even a possibility? The verdict is out that it is a possibility for your hair to lock even faster.
At even the first sight of you seeing a glimpse of a truly forming loc – like your hair is really beginning to mat together – you are more likely to do a little more manipulating. If none of your locs have begun to mat together, you’ll want to tread lightly with bothering them. So how can you get your dreadlocks to lock faster?
Contrary to popular belief, water will help. You’ve been told to stay away from shampooing your hair so much in the early stages because there will be product buildup that you’ll need to get washed out. You don’t want your hair washed so much because your locks have a greater chance of unraveling.
But what if you used a spray bottle to mist your roots with water only? By doing this, you’re keeping your ends safe from unraveling and you’re allowing the water to establish more new growth. The more new growth you have, the better. Dreadlocks are established with kinky roots as the foundation.
The dreadlock journey is one of patience. No matter what, you’ll have to be patient as you wait on your dreadlocks to lock. Making sure you keep them tied up is a simple tip that could result in faster locking dreads.
That satin cap is going to protect your hair and keep your locs from unraveling. Any sort of unraveling is going to slow down the locking process. One more way to see faster locking dreads is to style them after they’ve been retwisted. By placing them in a style, there’s less chance of unraveling.
How do You Know When Your Locs have Locked?
You’ll know that you’ve reached the finish line of fully locked dreads just by touch. When you place your fingers on one of your locks and you can feel hard lumps throughout the dread, it is time to celebrate.
You will be able to visibly see that there are very few sections of loose hair going down the dreadlock. The loose hair will be sitting at your roots waiting for you to retwist it. You made it.
Maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum and can’t figure out why your dreads are nowhere close to locking, even after 6 months. I’m here to tell you that your dreads absolutely can and will lock.
If your locking process is way slower than it should be, you probably need to change up a few things in your routine. If you are overusing oils, that may be one reason. The product buildup is likely to create dandruff and the dandruff interferes with your locking process.
Figuring out the right amount of time between shampoos is going to be critical to handle any product buildup. If you are deep conditioning, that may be another reason that they are slow to lock.
Figuring out the right level of maintenance that your dreadlocks need is also critical. If you’re not doing enough maintenance or too much maintenance, that could explain why your dreads aren’t locking.
Like I said, the dreadlock journey is one of patience. Sit back and buckle up. And make sure you are figuring out the best way for you to care for your locks.