Dreadlocks are a unisex hairstyle that takes maintenance and care. Although you might be able to twist your hair at home, some beauticians specialize in the craft of sectioning, twisting and styling dreadlocks. Baby locs are a thinner version of this hairstyle that hails from Africa and the Caribbean. One of the advantages of thinner dreadlocks is versatility — they can be twisted, curled and braided into many styles.
Curls and Waves
Whether your hair is chin-length or longer, curls and waves can help give dreadlocks more body. Dreadlocks curl best when wet, making just after washing the best time to curl them. Once hair is wet, three to four locks can be wound around plastic curlers with the desired barrel width. For big spiral curls use 2 inch curlers, or use a 1 inch curler to produce tighter curls. Keep the curlers in until the dreadlocks are completely dry. An electric hair dryer can be used, as air drying can sometimes take up to 24 hours depending on the hair’s texture and length. If curlers aren’t available, waves can be styled by braiding the wet locks together. Once the hair is dried and the braids are taken out, the hair will retain the braid’s wave pattern. Braiding the hair when wet also helps keep dreadlocks tight and the parting neat — so braiding can be an alternative to twisting and tightening the locks from the root.
Cornrow hairstyles are traditionally done on loose hair, but work equally as well on baby locs. Shoulder-length hair can be braided in one large cornrow, but longer dreadlocks might need to be braided into more than one cornrow to help distribute the hair’s weight. Achieving these unisex styles depends on the parting — just like braiding loose hair. If a beautician didn’t start the initial parting of dreadlocks, you can still section the locks into neat rows. One to four cornrows can be braided depending on the thickness of your hair. The locks are usually braided from the front hairline to the neck’s nape. Although, braiding the locks diagonally across the head and tying them to one side can create a complimentary side swept hairstyle.
Buns and Knots
A big bun can be a quick and effective way to keep dreadlocks away from the face, while achieving a fashionable hairstyle. When it comes to buns and top knots there are many styles that can be fashioned. Top knots sweep the baby locs up toward the crown, before being tied down with the use of a ponytail holder. The dreadlocks are then wound around the ponytail holder and pinned down with the use of large, secure bobby pins. Another, more feminine style, includes bringing the hair down low, to one side of the head and pinning a loose bun for a side swept chignon. Or the dreadlocks can be sectioned horizontally and knotted three to four times down the center, creating a faux Mohawk style. Whether using one or many top knots, there are several creative styles that can be achieved by knotting and pinning the hair.
Pulling dreadlocks up and away from the face can also produce a very elegant hairstyle, which can be fashionable for the office or an evening out. A French roll can be created by pulling the baby locs to one side, before pinning them along the center of the head — this will help secure the roll. Then tuck the dreadlocks under, twisting them inward so that the bulk of the hair is inside of the roll. Pin along the outside edge of the roll, with the use of sturdy bobby pins, to keep it in place. Twisting the hair upward to the top of the head, and creating a chignon will result in a very graceful hairstyle. To achieve a more contemporary or casual look, twist the hair downward, so that all the excess hair spills down the back. The excess hair can then be damped and curled to give the locks more body.
References and Resources"Hair Designing- A Complete Course"; by various authors; 2007
"Doing Business with Beauty: Black Women, Hair Salons, and the Racial Enclave Economy"; Adia Harvey Wingfield; 2009