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Having dreadlocks can be a way to express your beliefs or a lifestyle choice for managing your hair. While there are misconceptions about dreadlocks being dirty, this isn’t the case as dreads are managed cleanly. To get your hair started down the path to true dreadlocks, you’ll need to know how to do a dreadlock twist. With the basic step-by-step process of twisting dreadlocks and applying wax you should be able to complete your whole head in two to eight hours depending on hair length.

Wash your hair with shampoo, but do not apply any conditioner. Allow the hair to air dry or blow dry it until all of the hair is completely dry. Comb out your hair thoroughly with a fine-tooth comb to make the hair as frizzy as possible.

Select a section of hair along the back of the neck with a base size of a 1/2-inch to a 1 1/2-inch square. Thicker hair will need larger sections than thin hair. Clip all of the other hair out of the way, leaving only the selected section out.

Backcomb the section if you have long straight hair by holding the tips of the section in one hand and starting at the base combing the hair in short, 1/2-inch brushes back toward the scalp. Do this multiple times to thicken the area you are working with and bring in stray loops of hair that extend away from the section.

Grab about half a teaspoon of wax between your fingers and allow it to warm slightly in your hand. Apply the wax to the base of the dreadlock and give it a twisting motion. Work the wax toward the end of the dreadlock, twisting as you go. Add more wax for long hair if you run out of wax on your fingers before you reach the tips of the locks.

Place the dreadlock between your palms after it has wax mixed in evenly throughout and roll it between your palms up and down the lock similar to rolling a “snake” with modeling clay. Do this multiple times to twist the lock fully.

Select the section of hair directly next to your finished dreadlock and start again with step 3 through 5. As you continue to select sections, avoid making a grid-like pattern on the scalp by staggering the squares in a brick-laying pattern.


Treat your new dreadlocks after each washing and drying by reapplying the wax twice a week to keep the dreads developing for the first three to four months after starting them.

For very straight hair, crimp or braid it to give it more texture for backcombing.

If possible you’ll find the task of making dreadlocks goes smoother if someone else does your hair because of the amount time you would spend with your arms over your head unable to see exactly what you are doing.


Initial discomfort after making your dreadlocks is normal. Use your preferred treatment for pain relief as needed.