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Dreadlocks originated in East Africa and consist of coils of hair that have been matted. Hair that has not been brushed or combed will eventually tangle and twist, resulting in dreadlocks. Typically, dreadlocks are about the width of your finger, but even dreadlocks that start out skinny will eventually thicken up.

Combine a few thinner dreadlocks to create one thick dreadlock. Gather the thin dreadlocks together at the root and secure with a rubber band. You’ll have to leave your hair like this for a few months, until new hair grows and merges all of the hair in the dreadlock together.

Massage your scalp. This will help your scalp to product natural oils and will maintain the health of your hair. Massage for a few minutes, a few times a week.

Use hair care supplies intended for dreadlocks. Purchase specialty shampoo, conditioner and wax that’s meant specifically for people with dreadlocks. Avoid using chemicals or product on your hair. Some people use wires or rolling at the base to try to force the hair into a particular shape, but this won’t work either. The dread has to collect all of the hair on your head in order to form and thicken.

Wait! Eventually, your dreadlocks will thicken as your hair grows and continues to twist around your current dreads. Growing and thickening your dreadlocks takes time, so the most important thing to have is patience.


Dreadlocks form by absorbing the hairs that usually fall out when you brush your hair or shower. On a normal day, people lose somewhere between 50 and 100 strands of hair. When you’re forming dreadlocks, these hairs don’t fall out but instead mold to the dreadlocks that are already formed.

Skinny dreadlocks will get larger and thicker, but they won’t ever turn into huge dreadlocks.

If you decide that you want skinny dreadlocks after they’ve thickened, you can cut them down the middle. You can also try to simply pull the thick dreadlock apart.


Don’t play with your hair. This can cause the strands to weaken and could eventually cause breakage. If your hair gets too weak, your dreadlocks could even break completely off at the root.

About the Author

Lindsay Pietroluongo

As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.