Why it is Important to Palm Roll your Locs

The biggest misconception about dreads is that they are all the same or they are all done the same way. The biggest question is how can someone maintain those dreads for such a long period …

The biggest misconception about dreads is that they are all the same or they are all done the same way. The biggest question is how can someone maintain those dreads for such a long period of time especially when they are looking at dreads hanging down someone’s back.

What people do not realize is the immense amount of effort, technique, and patience is required to obtain and maintain dreads over a long period of time, but the most important aspect of dreads is the maintenance they require.

The most important part of dreads is maintaining them and there is a lot of different ways of doing that but only a few that work across the board.

Through the centuries dreads have stood the test of time and become more widespread. Being seen all across the globe becoming synonymous with certain cultures, or religions.

In this article, we will be talking about palm rolling dreads, a technique that is widely known and widely done to help keep dreads looking amazing throughout their duration. We will be answering the common question, giving an insight into the technique, the different variations, and how this technique stands in comparison to others.

What is Palm rolling?

As mentioned earlier palm rolling is a maintenance technique most commonly found when dealing with traditional, and semi-freeform locs. It helps prevent the dreads from going flat and to brings the knots in the hair together by twisting the hair with the palm of the hand into circles to tighten the loc which helps the dreadlocks to stay in form by keeping them round.

Why is it needed?

Again palm rolling is a maintenance technique. Dreadlocks just like any twisting hairstyle can come undone and have loose hair almost immediately afterward, the point of palm rolling is to keep them in tac for as long as possible so they do not have to be completely unraveled and done again.

How often should you roll them?

Palm rolling is a quick, easy way to maintain dreads, but in order to get the effect from it that you are looking for it will need to be done on a daily basis for at least the first two months.

After those initial two months, palm rolling should be done weekly until the dreads have matured and are compact at which palm rolling will not need to be done as often. It’s encouraged to spend 30 to 45 seconds twisting on each dread.

When do you do it (new dreads or old ones?)

Palm rolling is a technique that is most effective after new dreads are put in. This is important because it tightens them before they inevitably begin to loosen.

Should you palm roll wet or dry?

Palm rolling should be done with wet hair but not with drenched hair. The time to do it is after you wash the dreads and dry them with a towel. The hair will still be a little damp and that’s the ideal and most effective time to start the twisting.

What are the two types of palm rolling?

Going back to the introduction there are so many ways to maintain dreads. Even within the technique of palm rolling, there are two different variations on how to go about doing it. Those two variations are unidirectional and bi-directional.

Each seeks to achieve the same goal but to accomplish it in a different way. Below we will go over each type and what makes them unique, and the individual steps in each technique.


This technique requires the dread to be rolled in one direction which should be the direction required to tighten the dread. Also, this technique should only be used when retwisting is the primary way you are maintaining your dreads.

  1. Place the dreadlock in the palm of the hand and hold it with slight pressure
  2. Twist your palm in the opposite direction, allowing the dread to roll. It is critical that the dreadlocks are twisted in whatever direction is needed to tighten them
  3. As you reach the edge of your palm, put the dreadlock back where you started, and continue to roll them
  4. Do this several times then let the twist out and then continue with the process
  5. Each dread should be palm-rolled for 30 seconds. If you are using any sort of dread cream that time goes up to 1 minute per dread.


This technique is the rolling of dreads in a back and forth motion. As opposed to the prior technique this one is not to be used on dreads maintained by retwisting. This is a quick, sometimes seen as the more effective of the two.

  1. Place the dreadlock in the palm of the hand and hold it with slight pressure
  2. Slide the palm in the opposite direction for the dreads to roll
  3. Begin to go in the other direction allowing the dread to begin rolling the other way
  4. Continue with this pattern
  5. Palm roll for 30 seconds unless using dread cream then roll for a minute per dread.

Palm Rolling vs Interlocking

When it comes to palm rolling or interlocking there is both the debate of what makes them different and which is the better technique. Of course, which is the better technique comes with a host of questions that need to be asked beforehand. They are both effective strategies but different and they come with their own set of pros and cons.

Below we will discuss what makes them different and what are the advantages and disadvantages one has compared to the other. The nature of the article is covering what palm rolling is so since that has been covered we need to go over what interlocking is.

Interlocking is having the end of the loc pulled through the root to tighten the nut growth to the scalp. This technique should be used mainly when dealing with sisterlocks or micro loc with either your fingers or a hair tool.

Just like palm rolling it comes with three different variations called the 2,3, and 4 point rotation. Different names and with a slightly different process but all with the same primary goal.

Pros/Cons of palm rolling and interlocking


Palm rolling

  • Palm rolling is typically a shorter process. As palm rolling can take up to 45 minutes, interlocking can take anywhere to 3-4 hours.
  • Even though it should still be done by a professional who will know all the necessary kinks to get it right. Just as it is quick it is also a simple process that if need be can be done by yourself on your own time. 


  • It takes more time for interlocking but that makes a more thorough process thus allowing the dreads to last longer. Up to eight weeks they can last compared to palm-rolled dreads that last typically a month.
  • No matter the texture of the hair, interlocking can be done and done successfully to keep the hair from undoing itself.



  • Interlocking is mainly meant for smaller loc as they won’t have the same effect on larger locs.
  • There is a little bit of caution that is needed for this technique as if one of the steps is not executed precisely it can cause damage to the locs, leaving holes and thinning.

Palm rolling

  • The repetitive twisting can lead to the thinning out of the locs
  • It is not a perfect technique for holding dreads together, they are still susceptible to coming undone at the roots.


Palm rolling is an effective technique that has been used on dreads for a long time, and they have proven to work and many people use this technique to this day. As mentioned in the intro many people believe that dreads are all the same, or you just do them once and that’s all ‘she wrote’.

What they don’t know is the consistent maintenance that is needed, and how even the maintenance needs to be done in a certain way or risk disaster. Dreads are a hallmark in today’s society seen everywhere but what needs to be remembered is the level of work needed to be done to maintain them.

Palm rolling is not the only technique but it can be viewed as the better technique. So if you want to have dreads over a long period of time without having to unravel and them over and over again palm rolling them is the way to go.