Finding a hairstyle that you love, that requires little effort to achieve and is easily affordable can be exhausting. Dreadlocks are a great way to start because of the low maintenance and natural ability of the style, especially Semi Freeform style locs.
Semi Freeform locs mix together the art of freeform (all natural) and blending (regimented loc maintenance), by being formed and nurtured by the act of palm rolling.
Semi Freeform locs are formed once, and overtime become tighter and stronger without much manipulation. They are easy to care for, and very affordable since the most common way of installing and maintaining these locs is by DIY. As long as you are committed to them, you can easily achieve locs you will fall in love with.
What Are Semi Freeform Locs?
Semi freeform dreadlocks are dreads that have formed with little to no manipulation or process. Not to be confused with neglect and carelessness, semi freeform dreads have certain techniques used to make them look as natural as possible, such as the ‘rip and pull’ method, and palm rolling. This type of dreadlock has low maintenance, is easy to DIY, and is possible on most hair types.
This style of dreadlock is easily confused with natural freeform locs, however, the 2 are quite different. While both styles give off a more messy and natural look, semi freeform dreads require a little more effort.
Freeform dreadlocks are formed organically and over time the hairstyle will create itself. Semi freeform locs are separated from one another, less matted, and require more personal care and attention.
It is important not to neglect your hair, and pay attention to regrowth and thinning at the root. While short term neglect is good for freeform locs, neglect on semi freeform locs can potentially cause a lot of long term damage and hair loss.
How Do You Get Semi Freeform Locs?
The most important thing to remember when installing any type of dreadlock is to always start with a clean head. Hair is a magnet for impurities from the environment and build up; the dirtier it is, the harder it will be for the dreads to take their shape. Having clean hair will improve the health, strength, and life process of the locs.
Divide your sections, and have each section of hair start as a simple braid or twist. If you have a very thin or coarse hair type, a common way to start a twist for semi freeform dreadlocks is by using the ‘rip and pull’ method. After this, let your locs do their thing and loc naturally.
Using a locking tool, such as a crochet needle, can also be used when first separating the dreads to help with locking and shaping, but adds a lot more time to the process and is more difficult to do on your own head without previous experience.
However, If you are having a loctician install your locs for the first time, it is very common for them to implement the use of this tool.
Frequent backcombing and palm rolling should be done, and maintain a parting system at the root to minimize matting and hair loss caused by thinning and weight.
However, going forward, this type of loc will not require a whole lot of maintenance in the future. Always remember, with freeform and semi freeform dreads, the messier the better!
How Long Does It Take For Them To Form?
The amount of time your dreads will take to form and lock all depends on the type of hair you have and if they are receiving the proper care. Thick or curly hair will naturally lock faster, and usually require less long term nurturing. While hair that is thinner or straight will take a lot longer to tighten and take shape.
On average, semi freeform dreads can take anywhere from 5 weeks – 2 years to form and lock tightly.
Remember, dreadlocks are a big commitment and require a lot of dedication and patience. You must be faithful and attentive to your locs, the healthier they are, the faster they will form.
Can You Make Semi Freeform Locs Lock Faster?
Dreadlocks take time to form, and watching them take shape is a part of the journey! However, if you are wanting to speed up the process, there are a few things you can do yourself to help:
- Sea Salt: mixing sea salt in when washing your hair will help improve the tightness of the locs. A dip in the ocean can also work; saltwater is good for dreads, hence as to why this is a very popular style amongst surfers.
- Maintenance: perform frequent maintenance techniques such as backcombing, palm rolling and twisting. Overtime, this is required less often, but it is very important in the beginning stages.
- Cleansing: wash your hair regularly to reduce build up, and always pay close attention to your scalp and give it the proper care. Occasional detox treatments are also a great way to improve the health of your dreads, such as a sea salt and lemon juice soak.
- Wax: using wax can quickly tighten your locs, but can also cause long term damage to your hair; use with caution! The use of wax is very controversial when it comes to dreadlocks because of the built up and contamination it can cause, so it is important to use your best judgment and know your risks.
How Often Should You Wash Freeform Dreads?
Dreadlocks are often viewed as ‘dirty’ and assumed to be unwashed most of the time by people with little knowledge of the style. However, owners of this hairstyle know that is not quite the case.
Historically, dreads are a strong hairstyle, and strength requires good health and well being. Semi freeform dreads should be cleansed/detoxed and washed frequently to build strength, remove any build up in the hair and to protect your scalp from damage.
For the first 12 weeks of wearing semi freeform dreadlocks, wash your hair 1-2 times a week. After that, find a routine that works best for you and with your type of hair, while always giving them proper TLC.
Be sure to never use extreme heat on dreads, as this will cause dryness and breakage. Instead, let your hair dry naturally on it’s own.
How To Maintain Semi Freeform Locs
As mentioned above, semi freeform dreads don’t require a whole lot of maintenance. That is the beauty and what causes the more natural look. However, there are still certain techniques that should be performed to keep your head happy and healthy.
First of all, if you have decided to commit to semi freeform dreads, you also need to commit to minimal styling and tension. Even ponytail styles can cause a lot of tension to your scalp, and cause your dreads to lose their shape. It is best to leave your hair down the majority of the time, and limit the use of hair ties and rubber bands.
Secondly, be mindful of your dreadlocks thinning at the root. This is one of the biggest issues that can become very problematic over time, and is not easily fixable. Product build up and environmental factors can cause roots to thin, especially with freeform or semi freeform style dreads.
Also, dreadlocks become heavier over time, and it is necessary to maintain strong hold at the roots. Frequent backcombing and proper cleansing will help with thinning and the loss of hair caused from heaviness and constant build up.
Practice self grooming techniques and separate the locs at the root to prevent matting and combing. Frequent separation is the main difference between freeform locs and semi freeform locs.
Both styles of locs are formed naturally, and matting is very common so it needs to be monitored on a weekly basis. Continue to twist and ‘palm roll’ your dreads to keep the locs separated, especially at the base/root.
Lastly, and maybe most important, never neglect your scalp! Be sure to cleanse your hair regularly, and give the top of your head, roots and scalp the most time and attention.
Dreadlocks can cause a lot of damage over time, the earlier proper care is practiced, the stronger your dreads will become, and the healthier they will be long term.
Achieving semi freeform dreads you love isn’t hard, but it isn’t something that is going to happen overnight, and specific guidelines must be followed to be successful with this hairstyle.
However, semi freeform dreads are a beautiful mix of freeform and maintained locs, and a natural all around favorite!