Natural Dread Guide

There are many ways to grow/create dreadlocks, such as twisting & ripping, backcombing, chrocheting, and there’s the natural/free form method.  All of those methods have there positives and negatives, but I personally love the natural way.  I wouldn’t choose any other method and I advice you to use that method as well, but if you don’t it won’t make me think less of you.  It’s your hair and you have the freedom to grow locks the way you want man!  If you’re considering going 100% natural, I suggest you go for it! It does take about 6 months – 1 year to grow full on locks, but it’s worth it.  Also, everyone’s hair texture is different so there’s a chance that you may have locks forming around the 4 month mark.

The natural/neglect method is the healthiest way to grow dreadlocks and there is very little maintence involved!  It’s healthy because there are no harmful chemicals and you don’t need to damage your hair in any way.  All you need to do is separate your hair into sections when it starts locking up.  It’s important that you section in the early stages of dreading because your hair will want to lock up in to huge congos (Congos form when 2 or more dreads lock together)!  Congos aren’t bad for later on in your dread journey, but if you don’t want them you don’t have to have them.  Separating is pretty simple, all you have to do is grab two sections that are locking together and rip them apart.  Only separate the ones that you think are too big for your liking and make sure you separate them down to the scalp.  You may here a ‘ripping,’ ‘breaking,’ or velcro tearing sound, but don’t worry man, that’s completely normal.  How often you separate is different for everyone, but it really helps to do it after you wash your hair.  Once you get further along in your journey there will be less separating needed, but it’s always useful.  (I separate about twice a week)

Some people think that in order to grow natural dreads it involves you to stop washing your hair, but that’s NOT the case!  You always need to wash your hair and keep it healthy and clean. You must avoid shampoos that leave residue behind though. I’ve never used this, but a popular dread shampoo that lots of dreadheads use is Dr Bronners.  What I really like to use to wash my hair is baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and a drop of tea tree oil.  It does wonders man!  It’s a very natural recipe and it cleanses your scalp/hair like crazy!  It’s best that you wash your hair every 3-4 days at the most, because you gotta give your hair time to dread.  I honestly wash my hair about once a week, and in doing that it has really made my hair stronger.  If you want the baking soda recipe, this is what I use.  >–> *Wash my hair with 1-2 tbsps of baking soda (BS) in a sink full of water, wait 10 minutes, and then rinse my hair with a cap full of apple cider vinegar and water. You may also use a drop of tea tree oil in the BS wash if you have dry or itchy scalp, it really helps.* <–<

I have put a few beads in my hair, but i’m waiting for my tree roots (dreads) to become more mature.  I do suggest that if you plan on putting beads in to help with the sectioning, to not put them near the root (close to the scalp.)  I suggest this because if you do that, it’ll just prevent your roots from locking up, so try to place the beads in the middle or near the end!  You can pretty much use anything you want for dread decorations!  All my beads are ones that are used for bracelets and nacklaces.  Your locks are yours, so make them unique and your own personality man.  Honestly, you don’t even need beads, wraps, or decorations to make your locks unique and beautiful.  Just do whatever you’re comfortable with.  Your tree roots are a reflection of who you are and never be afraid to express it man.

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27 Responses to “Natural Dread Guide”

  • Hello man! I completely agree with your thoughts. I really value what you’re doing here.

  • Courtney Webb says:

    This is awesome! i have about 6 or 7 dreads right now and i lllooovvveee them! its hard to brush the rest of my hair around them so ive been considering just doing my whole head, but i want it to be a spiritual journey, so i might take your advice and do it the natural way! thanks for putting your thoughts and experiences out there for the world to read! PEACE :)

    • naturelover says:

      Aww thank you so much! You won’t regret dreading your hair naturally :) You’re more than welcome! It makes me happy to help others :) Take care love!

      • Courtney Webb says:

        youre welcome! :) im happy to see that there are such kind awesome people out there! I think im going to DO IT! haha have a beautiful day wherever you are!

  • Blair Ripperger says:

    Hey man! i have been growing the natural dreads for about 7 months now and u said that u should have fully formed locks by 6 months – a year. it still looks the same as of when i started? Mines straight as heck though but I seldom touch it, just to scratch my hair. and i used to wash it daily but the past month or 2 ive been doing it 3 times a week. what could be the problem?

    • naturelover says:

      It take on average about 6 months – 1 year to have a full head of locks, but everyone is different! I actually know someone who has been growing locks for the past 16 months now, and he said he just started getting locks formed around the 15 month mark! Different hair types may take longer. :\ Having straight hair may be the reason why it is taking a little longer, but theres no problem with that! If you have the patience, it will dread. Depends what you’re washing your hair with as well! I think washing with baking soda and water is really good, but thats what I personally think.

  • Dizzy says:

    Hey man! I have started growing natural dreads and this really helped! Your such an inspiration thank you soo much for your help much love and peace :) x

    • naturelover says:

      Ohh I’m so glad that I helped you out! Thank you so much, dove :) You’re too kind! May you have a beautiful dread journey!

  • Christina says:

    Man, you’re awesome. But what do I do if I don’t want to do all my hair? And I’m confused on how I’m suppose to “separate” my hair in sections. But you’re an inspiration.

    • naturelover says:

      If you don’t want all of your hair to be dreaded, then keep brushing or running your fingers through the parts of your hair that you don’t want dreaded! When you stop brushing your hair and touching your hair, it sections itself. I know it sounds strange, but it’s true! In the first few weeks of dreading, you can see your hair separtating into sections. Once knots start forming (dreadlocks) then you start separting. You take two pieces of sections that are starting to dread at the root (the scalp) and rip them apart. Only separate the one’s that you want separated. All depends on how thin or thick you want your locks! I hope i was able to answer your question. Let me know if you have anymore! Thanks so much, dove. :)

      • Christina says:

        So, how do I exactly start? Do i not take a shower for a week, and just brush brush the parts of hair I don’t want to be dreaded??

        • naturelover says:

          Oh you can shower as much as you want! But when you first start, you’ll only want to wash your hair every 3 days or so. As time goes on you can expand the days between where you wash your hair. Most natural-dreadheads wash their hair about once a week!

          And yes, I would imagine brushing your the parts of your hair would work, but I’ve never been asked this question before!

  • Rasta_Man says:

    Dread,

    Im thinking of dreading my hair and I happened to run across your youtube video and it didnt even cross my mind to dread it naturally. Im going to do this and make it a spiritual enlightenment journey. I have one question though. When you say to wash my hair every 3-4days, should i only get my hair wet when i wash and keep it dry in the shower, or is it ok to get it wet in the shower?

    • naturelover says:

      Most dreadheads try to avoid getting their hair wet in between washings. It’s probably best to do that. I still try not to get my hair wet in between washings, I just put my hair up. I’m really glad you chose to follow this natural, spiritual journey. :)

  • Fisherino says:

    Hey there :)

    I’ve had a shaved head for the last 3 years and decided I want to grow it out again, it’s about 1.5″ at the moment, long way to go :( . I decided I’m going to go with dreads this time when I grow it out instead of the big afro/mess it usually turns into. I really want to grow them naturally which led me to your youtube page and this site :)

    I read through your site and watched your videos and everything and just wanted to say that you seem kind of amazing, big inspiration. Your hair looks great too! Can’t wait to start my dread journey. Anyway, not much point to this post just wanted to say hello :) best of luck with everything and keep being your awesome self.

    Much love.

  • Christine! says:

    Hey i’ve been thinking about dreading my hair, and i came across this and it really opened up my eyes to all the different ways, and i decide to do it naturally. I just have a few questions, i want to start of with just like 3 or 4 on the bottom but how would i do that? just not wash the bottom of my head as often? and how long should i wait to start separating them? one more question, if i decided to do my whole head, and in the future dont want them anymore is shaving them off the only way to get rid of them? hope to hear back soon, thanks!

  • JGANDTHEPOWEROF3 says:

    I’m not sure if this guide/blog is still active, but I’ve been frantically searching the internet for help/guidance with natural/freeform dreading. It sounds to me like the best, most spiritual way to go. This site is the first one that’s come up in all the tragic search results that actually seems to have a grip on the whole thing. I really just want to know a few things:

    1. Could you possibly explain what exactly needs to be done or what steps/precautions I need to take to allow my locks to start forming? I keep coming across advice and tips, but I seem to be missing the start up. My hair isn’t locked, right now. I want to know what exactly I have to do/allow to happen so that they will form, if that makes sense? I want to know exactly how to start to neglect it. Sorry if I’m being repetitive, I’m just one of these people that need very specific guidance.

    2. The way my hair is cut right now, (mohawk-style, shaved sides, tail and pompador type thing) is obviously wrong to start the locks, I’m sure. I’m assuming I’m gonna need to cut it all evenly and allow it to grow out. How long should I let the hair get before I begin neglecting it?

    Thanks, in advance! Well wishes on all of your locking journeys! B)

    -JG

    • gandalf says:

      Shoulder length+ is ideal for dreading. Dreads can form in shorter hair, it just takes much more time.
      As natural locks form, they will ‘shrink’, ie your hair will become somewhat shorter. The longer it was initially, the more this will happen. Once they are mature your hair will get longer again.
      As for your question on how to begin, simply leave it to its own devices.
      That means: don’t combe it, don’t run your hands through it (esp. whilst washing), and keep it clean. If nothing happens after 6 months, consider washing it less frequently (only once a week) and using baking soda/acv instead of regular soap.
      Your hair will go through some ugly & frizzy phases but they will pass and one day you should have beautiful natural dreads.
      I hope this helps anyone who is confused and stumbles across this page :)
      Peace y’all x

  • Lutrinya says:

    I want to freeform loc my hair what do i cover my hair with when i sleep and how often should i wash my hair

  • Nolan says:

    Do you have to separate? Like if I don’t will I…..Suffer the consequences? hahaha.

  • Taylor Graves says:

    I have been wanting to dread my hair for years, and I am finally at the point in my life that I want to do it. I have been going back and forth on how I want to dread my hair, and I think I have finally come to the conclusion that I want to do it naturally. My only question is how you wash them. Do you put the baking soda in the water and than dunk your hair/dreads in, or do you get your hair wet and put the baking soda on? And the apple cider vinegar thing confused me a little also. Haha. Just a little clarification and I will be on on my way.(:

    • gandalf says:

      Heya, I realise you posted this a while ago but thought I’d answer your questions in case someone else reads this.
      Dissolve the baking soda in a bucket of water. Then pour it over your head, keeping your eyes shut.
      Leave to soak for 10+mins (ie whilst youre having a shower) and finally condition with apple cider vinegar. Do the same thing here as with the baking soda….dissolve a small amount in a bucket of water and pour over your scalp. Now rinse out and you’re done! Peace x

      ps. you can add herbal oils to the baking soda mix to achieve a great range of effects, see http://www.dreadlockssite.com/group/extracleandreadsbakingsodawashfans

  • Julia says:

    Hi. I really love your videos. You are so beautiful inside and out. I wanted to know if you could please help me. I have wanted dreadlocks for years and I’m finally starting the neglect method. I’ve only done it for about two and a half weeks but I’m not sure when I rinse the baking soda out of my hair with the acv rinse do I just pour it over my hair and that’s it? Or do I stay in the shower and rinse out the acv rinse? I’ve been rinsing it out because I thought it’d be better to rinse it out then to let it stay in my hair if there’s a chance I’m not supposed to. I’ve been trying to figure it out but I can’t find anything that really explains in detail on what to do. I’m scared to be doing something wrong and not have my hair dread:( thank you for any help, much love to you<3

  • Lily says:

    Hey man. I’ve asked my mom for permission to get 2 or 3 dreads. She doesn’t want me to do it. And I’m dying to get them. So I’m going to start to use the neglect method and just say, “I just stop brushing my hair, it’s not my fault” So, y hair is 21 inches long. It’s cut in layers. I want to know if my hair will shrink like with some of the other methods. Thanks bro

  • Brittany837 says:

    I really wish I would have started with natural dreads, but instead I used the twist and rip method. I have had my dreads for a little over two months and I have tons of loose hairs, should I just let it be natural from here on out and let the loose hairs just do whatever they please or should I just crochet them? I am just unsure because my hair looks like a fuzzy hot mess. Help please? :D


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