How Long Does Your Hair Have to be for Dreads?

Growing hair for dreads comes with its challenges. You might assume you need long hair for dreading, probably because many with this hairstyle have long hair. So, you want to know how long does your …

Growing hair for dreads comes with its challenges. You might assume you need long hair for dreading, probably because many with this hairstyle have long hair. So, you want to know how long does your hair have to be for dreads?

Your hair should be at least 15 cm or about 6 inches long in an ideal setting. But you can start with a shorter hair length if you have the time and energy required to maintain it properly. Aside from the hair length, there are other factors that determine how ready your hair is for dreadlocks.

Read on to know the factors that influence the hair length required for starting dreads.

What Determines How Long Your Hair Must Be to Start Dreads?

Dreads require a little work and attention to detail to be beautiful. Before dreading, hair length and appearance are major considerations, but some factors determine the ideal length your hair should be before dreading. Below are some of these factors;

Dread Method

The method one chooses to develop dreads play a part in determining the hair length needed. The major methods for dreadlocks formation include;

  • Two and Three strand twist: This hairstyle is common among people who love wearing their hair naturally. It involves twisting two or three hair stands together. It is like starting dreads with braids or plaits. Here, the roots lock first, and dread often thickens over time. This method is ideal for individuals looking for thick dreads. Dreading hair using this method requires hair of considerable length (braiding length).
  • Backcombing: Also called teasing or knotting, this method involves combing the hair towards the scalp. Hair packed at the root creates a knotted rope, tying the root and tip of each loc with a rubber band to ensure it does not loosen. The minimum required length for this method of dreading is 3inches, but 6 inches or longer is ideal.
  • Crochet: This method requires at least 6 inches of hair. Also called instant dreadlocks, this method involves using a crochet hook to install and maintain dreadlocks. This method works on all hair types and causes less pain than twisting and interlocking.
  • Freeform: This method involves letting hair form dreads on its own, and there is no length requirement here. Separating the roots early helps ensure the whole hair does not form a massive knot.

Hair Type

There are different hair types which include curly, straight, and coarse. The hair type also determines the required hair length you need for dreads.

  • Curly Hair: The minimum hair length required for curly hair is 3 to 6 inches. The reason is that this hair type holds dreads in shape better.
  • Coarse Hair: This hair type could form dreads freely when left naturally. The minimum length for dread formation for this hair type is 1 to 4 inches.
  • Straight hair: Minimum length for starting dreads is 4 to 8 inches. The reason is that the hair is thin and might be difficult to stay together if the length is not ideal.

The appearance an individual wants is the major determinant when choosing dreadlocks over conventional hairstyles. The rule of thumb to remember when forming dreads is this; the longer the hair, the better the knots it would form.

How Long Does It Take For Hair To Grow Long Enough For Dreads If You Are Bald?

A clean haircut is sometimes necessary to grow healthier hair, which means starting hair growth afresh. Hair grows about half an inch every month, and the advisable minimum length for dreading is 6 inches. Waiting 6 to 12 months before dreading is ideal for a bald head.

Aside from having bald hair, below are some other hair lengths and how long you might have to wait before dreading.

Short Hair Length

This includes hair less than 10cm. Depending on the hair type, hair could be dread naturally when you avoid combing it. Separating the hair into sections as it grows ensures it does not form a knotted mass at its base. This method is ideal for hair lengths of at least 7cm or 2.8 inches.

But howlong does it take to grow dreads from short hair? Thisdepends on how long you want your dread to be. You can start dreading hair comfortably when it reaches 6 inches or 15cm.

Medium Hair Length

This includes hair lengths ranging from 10cm to 35cm. To not waste time and money, do not dread hair. The reason is that hair that is several inches long is easier to loc irrespective of the dreadlocking style used.

Long Hair Length

Hair lengths longer than 35cm is the best length to start dreads because locking long hair is easy to make and maintain. The only challenge is that it tends to shrink before visible growth.

Irrespective of hair length, it is important to note that growing dreads requires time and patience. The initial hair length only helps reduce the total time to reach an ideal dreadlock length.

Dreadlocks are becoming rampant amongst children, especially those with full hair that experience pain when combing. But at what age should a child wear dreads? We often recommend 8 years old because children at this age usually know what they want.

The child’s gender is also a factor to consider for dreads. While boys might not be too concerned about their hairstyle, this is the opposite for girls, as they often know what hairstyle they want early on.

Allowing a child to grow dreads is a tough decision and should be well thought out by both parents and child. Below are factors you need to consider before deciding to let your child wear dreads.


Dreads for children vary from free to a few hundred dollars, depending on how you want it done. Freeform dreads are free, as they involve letting the child’s hair grow unhindered. On the other hand, other methods of dread formation would cost you money as they require the services of a professional.


One responsibility that comes with dreadlocks is maintenance. For a child’s dreadlocks to look good, proper maintenance is necessary. This involves brushing leaves and debris off the hair after playing in the garden.

So how do you maintain a child’s dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks require maintenance, and as children, it would be impossible for them to maintain such mass of hair properly, and this is where the parent steps in. Below are the steps in maintaining children’s dreadlocks.

  • Find a professional specializing in children’s Loc’d hair: Before starting the process, consulting a professional in the field is important. They are in an excellent position to offer you better advice on starting the process as well as recommending hair products ideal for your child.
  • Regular locs cleaning: When sweat and dirt build up in hair, it causes the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. These growths of microbes result in scalp itching and irritation, hair breakage, and dandruff. To prevent this, wash the child’s dreads regularly using a clarifying shampoo. Allow the hair time to dry out as wet hair allows the growth of harmful microorganisms.
  • Moisturize scalp: An adequately moisturized scalp supports healthy hair growth. Massaging dread oil into the scalp often helps achieve this. It also helps improve blood circulation in the scalp, resulting in stronger, healthier hair that does not break.
  • Avoid frequent retwisting: Try as much as possible to prolong the time in-between retwists. Twisting hair frequently results in hair breaks and thinning, which leaves the child’s dreads looking scanty and malnourished.
  • Do not leave the hair open at night: Always try to cover the child’s hair at night to prevent breakages and help retain moisture on hair and scalp. Using satin material is advisable to protect hair from too much friction and rubbing.

Time Consumption

Time is another factor to consider before allowing your child to wear locks. The reason is that hair takes time to lock and mature, and maintaining the dreads properly also takes time. So before initiating dreads for your child, ensure you put this into great consideration.

Dreadlock is a protective hairstyle that is beautiful when maintained properly. People often think you need long hair to consider dreading it, which is untrue. All you need is a minimum of 6 inches or 15 cm and a skilled loctician (If you are not using freeform).