Dreadlocks only used to be a staple for Rastafarian culture in the Caribbean, and one of the most prominent icons who wore them was the late Bob Marley. However, natural dreadlocks take years in the making.
On the other hand, wick locs originated in the United States. And it is related to hip-hop instead of ska and reggae. But aside from its different origins, the look is slightly different as well, compared to natural locs.
If you are thinking about wearing wick locs, you came to the right place—because this complete guide contains everything you need to know about wick locs. But before we get into the history and making of wick locs, let’s talk about what they are precisely.
What are Wick Locs?
Wick dreadlocks are slightly different from natural dreadlocks in terms of their etymology. Wick locks are upright, which is why the term wicks was given to this fashionable hairstyle because each large strand resembles a candlewick.
Even if you have shorter hair, you can start forming wick locs. This hairstyle looks really good, and the longer each strand gets, you can style it in more ways by panning the strands into different directions. However, you will need to get the roots to lock as it gets longer to maintain the hairstyle.
Another interesting thing about wick locks is that you can use them as extensions. Many wick loc services offer extensions made from natural human hair. If you cannot wait for your hair to get longer—extensions are your fashionable solution as long as the roots are long enough to hold wick loc extensions.
Pros and Cons of Wick Locs
If you are still on the fence about getting wick dreadlocks, maybe this pros and cons list will help you make up your mind:
- Wick locs most on almost all hair types. Getting straight hair to lock up naturally is not as easy as getting wick locs.
- You don’t have to wait to grow out your hair as you can use extensions.
- Not many products, such as sea salt water spray, are needed for the process.
- Locs can instantly appear mature and will not easily break apart.
- You can wash and even take a dip in the water right after the crocheting.
- Finding a professional who can do quality work is difficult.
- It can be expensive.
- Each method takes time to master.
- Many people frown upon extensions and unnatural dreadlocks, especially in the reggae and Rasta scene.
- It can be a little painful.
Just like any hairstyle, there are some pros and cons. However, it is up to you to weigh them and decide whether you want to go through the wicking process. Now that you know what wick dreads are, it’s time to find out where it originated.
Where did wick dreadlocks come from?
Wick dreads, also known as wicks, bonks, and globs—is a hairstyle that originated in South Florida. It is a prevalent hairstyle among African-Americans with Afro-Caribbean or Afro-Haitian descent. People who wore this hairstyle back in the day were into hip-hop and other subgenres in the state of Florida.
Nowadays, the hairstyle is everywhere. Celebrities, influencers, musicians, and regular people of any ethnicity are wearing it and making it popular. And you don’t even have to enjoy hip-hop to get wicks. However, it is good to know the roots.
Many people have wick locs these days. Whether they are into hip-hop, pop, metal, rock, or other music—the hairstyle is not exclusive to your lifestyle and hobbies anymore. With that being said, many hip-hop artists are still sporting wick dreadlocks and staying true to the South Florida hip-hop roots.
How long does it take for wick dreads to lock?
The maturation period for wick dreads can range anywhere from 2 months to 2 years. And it will depend on the method you used to lock the dreads. If you are using the crochet needle method, it can lock and appear mature instantly—depending on how well and thorough the job is done.
However, for the rubber band method, it could take a year or two to mature. You can combine both methods and retwist the rubber band strands to create thicker locks.
Also, washing your hair frequently may affect how fast your wick locs will interlock, so for starters—only wash your hair once or twice a month. You can always use sea salt spray to make the locking process faster—but only do it once a week to getting your hair too dry.
How do you start wick dreads?
If you decided to start wick dreads, this section is the fun part. You can do it yourself at home, but it is better to get a little help from your friends. You can also look for professionals to do it, but it can be challenging to find someone who can do it—and it is probably going to cost you.
However, if you do decide to do it yourself, it is not that hard. It will take a lot of patience and hours of your time. There are two methods to start wick dreads, and we will discuss them both—starting with the rubber band method.
Rubber band method
The rubber band method is an excellent way get wicks on people with loose afro hair. Plus, it is pretty easy since all you need to do is group your hair into sections and put rubber bands all throughout the length of each section.
You can choose how thick or thin you want your locs to be, but the locking time will differ depending on the thickness of each loc you create. Thinner locs will take a while to mature, and you shouldn’t wash your hair until after you take the rubber bands out.
You can use products like sea salt spray, wax, gel, and oil to make get the dirt out, but make sure you wait at least three weeks until you remove the rubber bands. Before removing the rubber bands, make sure your hair is locking on its own.
It could take a while depending on the products you use, the thickness of your locs, and your hair type. But it would usually start locking up in 3 to 6 weeks.
The crochet method is probably the fastest way to get clean and mature looking wick dreadlocks. Plus, you can use this method to get extensions too. Not only will you get the dreadlock look you always wanted almost instantly, you don’t even need to wait for your hair to grow out.
Here are the steps to create instant wicks with the crochet method:
Step 1: Gather a lot of rubber bands and a crochet needle.
Step 2: Make sure you wash your hair and let it dry before this process.
Step 3: Section your loose hair using rubber bands to the number and thickness of wicks you want. You only need to put one rubber band on the roots of each wick, unlike with the rubber band method where you need to tie them up to the ends.
Step 4: Cultivate your wicks by holding your hair in between your thumb, index, and middle fingers—then start crocheting. Just stick the crochet needle through the strands and pull the hair out until they sort of form a lock. It will take hours of crocheting, and it is best to have someone else do it on your hair to make sure they reach the hard-to-reach areas.
For crocheting wick extensions, do not finish crocheting the ends of your wicks. You will also need to undo the ends of your extensions and combine them with your natural hair by doing the same crocheting methods until they lock together.
Other methods include the free from method. It is kind of like neglecting your hair and allowing it to naturally lock up. It is a long process, and the appearance will not be as clean and cylindrical as the rubber band or crocheting methods.
Plus, you will need to use a lot of products to speed up the maturation process and make your hair smell fresh despite not washing it very often.
If you want to grow your locs freely, make sure you separate your hair from the roots to get the thickness and number of wicks you want.
How long does your hair need to be to get wick locs or extensions?
Having the length of your hair at six inches is enough to do any one of the wicking methods above. Six inches is also enough to leave 2 inches for extensions to get a good hold and lock on the extension wicks.
The locs will become tighter and look better over time, but you will need to crochet the roots as your hair gets longer for a cleaner appearance.
Can you turn dreads into wicks?
You can turn dreads or thinner dreads into wicks by combining them using the crochet method. Let’s say you are combining two locs, all you need to do is put them together and start crocheting them together from all angles until the two locks turn into one larger cylindrical strand.
It is probably easier to combine two dreadlocks together instead of forming wicks from loose hair, but it may be a little challenging to form a perfectly cylindrical shape when combining two wicks or two mature dreads together.
How much does it cost to get wick dreads?
Hiring a professional can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 per hour, depending on the rate. It could take 3 to 8 hours of crocheting, which can cost you up to $1000+, depending on how thick and how long your hair is.
If you want to save money, you should probably ask a friend to do it for you. The rubber band method might be a lot easier to do by yourself, but it will take some time before your hair starts to lock on their own.
How do you maintain wick dreads?
If you already got your wicks, the next challenge is to maintain and care for them. Here are a couple of useful tips to maintain the cleanliness of your wicks over time as your roots grow longer:
- You can wash your wicks regularly to maintain its shine and good smell.
- Cover your hair at night with a silk bonnet or scarf to maintain their shine.
- Moisturize your scalp regularly.
- Use a microfiber towel then air dry your wicks after every wash to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
- Use essential oils to keep your locs hydrated.
Is it hard to sleep with wick dreads?
With upright and thick locs, it may be a little hard to find a good sleeping position when you get your wicks. And it will take a little getting used to. Here are some tips to get a good night’s sleep even when you decide to wick locs:
- Use silk or satin sheets to avoid damage and discomfort from friction.
- Tie them upward.
- You can wear a sleep cap, so they don’t go everywhere when lying down.
- Get them out of the way if you do not move much in your sleep.
- Ditch the pillow and lay on your locs if it makes a difference.
Can you undo wick dreads?
Let’s say that you got tired of your wicked wick dreadlocks. You can always undo them, but it can take a while, depending on the length and how mature they are. If your dreads have interlocked together over the years, expect undoing them to be a bloody process.
Here are some methods to undo wicks:
- Cut your hair
Cutting your hair is the easiest way to remove the wicks.
- Saturate with oil
Using hair oil (a lot of it) can help you undo your dreads faster using a comb, your hands, or even the same crochet needle you used to lock them together.
Again, the difficulty of undoing your dreads will depend on how locked they are, so make sure you choose a method that works best—and remember, it will get messy with hair everywhere.