Traditional dreadlocks require a person to stop combing, brushing, or washing their hair, allowing it to clump and mat together. Over a period of time, sometimes years, various sizes and lengths of dreads form. Several ways of creating dreadlocks exist, but the quickest way to a full head of dreads is backcombing. Of the methods available, backcombing will ensure you get the dread look almost immediately as well as mature, locked dreads in three to four months that are uniform and clean.

Things You'll Need

Wash hair in a residue-free shampoo and allow to air dry. Residue-free shampoos are without conditioners, fragrances, and moisturizers, which allow dreads to remain tight and not slip out.

Section hair into 1- to 2-inch squares and loosely tie them off with rubber bands. Square sections form round dreads, and the size of the section depends on the desired width of the dread.

Comb each section backward toward the scalp, starting an inch from your head. Continue to tease the hair down until you have reached the length of the section.

Secure the dreaded hair section tightly with a rubber band at the end of the piece.

Apply a small amount of dread wax to the section to smooth out the frizz and moisturize the dread.

Repeat Steps 3 to 5 until all sectioned hair has been dreaded.


  • You must have at least 3 inches of hair for backcombing to be successful.

  • This method is time consuming and could take 4 to 15 minutes per dread. Having a friend help could speed the process.

  • To help lock your dreads quicker, wash the hair three to four times a week.

  • If the dreads start to slip, tease down toward the scalp with comb and apply dread wax to reset the dread.

  • Once dreads are in place, roll them between the palms of your hand to help dreads keep their shape.

  • Remove rubber bands after dreads have locked.