Maybe you have seen men and women sporting dreadlocks and became smitten with the laidback style. Thus, you want the same style on your head of hair as well. However, there are some crucial things you need to know about this hairstyling method before committing to one. Get the goods on locs and dreadlock/dread styles for women by reading this thorough guide.
What are Dreadlocks Really?
One of the most common misconceptions about dread style is that they’re “dirty” hair. Hair locks or locs are not dirty in the first place—their boxy, matted appearance comes from various methods used to create the dreads like braiding, rolling and backcombing. In order to keep your dreads healthy and in tip-top shape, you need to keep them clean at all times.
Origins of the Style
There are lots of claims as to where dreadlocks originated. Some say the style first came to fruition in India in 1500 BC due to the braids the deity Shiva sported, which was called “jata.” There are also early representations of people in ancient Greece shown wearing lengthy, braided hairstyles through unearthed Cretan frescoes dating 3600 BC. Exhumed archaeological artefacts in Egypt have also depicted individuals wearing braided hair.
Dreadlock history may vary, but those claims all have a common denominator—the fact that this beautiful style has been sported for centuries in different cultures and civilizations. The Celts were reported to don their hair in snake-like styles while Samson, the famed Biblical legend, was also depicted to sport dreadlocks—some say his “seven locks of hair” were indeed, dreads.
Locs have been donned by the Aborigines, Sufis, Sadhus, Nazarites and the Dervishes. The Maasai Mara wore their dreads crimson, thin and long. Yoruba priests also wore their hair in locs. Dreadlocks are likewise worn throughout centuries by African tribes like the Ashanti, Fulani and the Galla.
The Rastafarian Connection
Nobody popularized dreadlocks as much as the late Bob Marley, an avowed Rastafarian and the most prominent reggae artist in the world. Rastafarians wear this style religiously, and here’s a background on the Rastafari + dreadlocks connection.
Rastafari is a type of monotheistic religion and spiritual movement that focuses on Halie Selasie I, an emperor who served Ethiopia from 1934-1972 and is believed to be Jah or God Incarnate by the movement’s followers.
The religion/spiritual movement teachings are patterned after the Christian faith but with a few modifications. The movement was first established in Jamaica in the 20th century.
Apart from following a strict diet that is free from meat, shellfish, dairy and alcohol, Rastafarians or Rastas also wore their hair in dreads. A specific passage in Leviticus 21:5 states that “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh,” is often taken to mean prohibiting the clipping of one’s hair.
Another section, the Numbers 6:5, also declares “All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow,” further explainis maintaining a longer length of hair to show one’s faith to the religion. Rastafarians follow what is specified in the Bible regarding their hair thus they wash their hair with water and just let the strands lock by itself.
20 Fun Dreadlock Dread Hairstyles the Ladies Can Try
There are lots of reasons why many women are game for dreadlock styles. Apart from the religious aspect, it is also an aesthetic choice. Dreadlocks also serve as a form of natural protection on hair since it does not need any chemical product to style or maintain.
Dreads do require commitment and proper maintenance but if tended well, really presents itself as an eye-catching style. Want to have some fun with your locs? Here are twenty stunning dreadlock/dread styles for women that are a breeze to work with.
1. Short and Chic
If you want something simple yet sassy, you can opt for a short, dreadlock style. It’s easy to care for and it typically grows in just a few months. There is also no need to extend lots of effort in fashioning this specific dread style.
2. Put It in a Bun
Dreads fashioned into a bun is considered an elegant way to wear your locs. Plus, it’s easy to do and only requires a strong elastic for dreads plus a few pins.
3. Graceful, Long Dreads
Dreadlocks can take a while to grow. It will not grow in a straight line either. It will lengthen in various directions. If you cannot wait for it to grow, you can opt for dread extensions braided into your hair.
4. Medium Style
If you have tight, slim locs, you can opt for a medium-length style. This is a nice choice for women who do not want to hide in their locs or need something that is neat and polished. This is also a great style for ladies who want to adorn their locs with accessories like shells and rings.
5. Dreads with Undercut
One of the most adventurous dread styles that you can go for is the undercut/dreads combination. Have the sides shaved and allow your dreads to show up prominently on the top and rear part of your head.
6. Bangs and Dreads
If you have straight hair, you can give bangs a whirl. Whether choppy, floppy or blunt, pairing them with locs is always a cute look. This is also a great style for those with colored dreadlocks.
7. Faux Hawk Dreads
Not really a mohawk but sort of looks like one, this is a style that allows dreads to be wrapped over and drawn on the middle part of the head. The locs are gathered in a roll from the nape up to the forehead. The ends of the locks must remain loose for this style.
Ideal for women with smaller dreadlocks. To achieve this, the locs are braided into fine, straight cornrows completely all over the hair’s edges, to reach the crown and hung loose as a ponytail.
9. Technicolor Locs
These days, the unicorn hue style is all the rage in hair coloring. Why not combine it with dreads for an even more distinctive and attention-grabbing look? Experiment with different color combinations and gradients for an exciting take on dreadlocks.
10. Half-Up Style
The best dreadlock/dread styles for women include this classic style This is great for ladies with long or medium hair. This style is also recommended for those hunkering for more volume.
11. Dreadlock Puffs
You can still achieve those cute Afro Puffs with locs. Just braid your hair into ponytails, curl your dreads then wrap them securely into neat, pretty puffs.
12. Put It in a (Side) Bun
To achieve this style, start by wrap-braiding the locs from one side of your head, then to the other. The ends should be in lengthy braids and styled into a sophisticated bun. You can also add accessories on it for good measure.
13. Fishtail Locs
Add some class in your locs by braiding it fishtail style. You can also highlight some dread strands to further set off the whole style.
14. Wooly Dreads
One of the more colorful ways to embellish your dreads is by incorporating wool in it. Wool initially was not used for aesthetic reasons but served as some kind of protection for the locs against frizz. Level up your loc style by using classic colors like black, white and brown or opt for more trendy choices like pastels and brights. Remember though that wood dreads must be cleaned frequently, are heavier once wet and it will take a while to dry.
15. Yarn Locs
If you are after the colorful looks of wool dreads but aren’t keen on using animal products, synthetic yarn is a great alternative. Yarn is available in a wide range of textures and colors as well.
16. Crinkle Locs
Included among the most unique and striking dreadlock/dread styles for women is the crinkle style. The procedure used to achieve this style is the same as mermaid waves. To do this, begin with wet hair. Interweave three dreadlocks into braids separately then tuck those plaits into a hairband. Allow the braids to dry. Once they’re dried, undo the plaits and marvel at those glorious waves and curls.
17. Wavy Locs
Romantic dreadlock waves are always a nice sight. Achieve those waves by using satin or silk rollers. Roll your locs and clip them like as you do with normal hair. This is great for women with thin or medium dreadlocks.
18. Boho Locs
Pull off the laidback, artistic look with a smattering of decorative accessories on your dreads. Add rings, beads, flowers or shells for that wonderful earth girl look.
19. Wrapped Locs
To get this, the dreads are bound all over themselves in the same fashion as the Chiney bump in order to acquire sizable, braided drop curls. You can leave the knots as is or release them after a few days to achieve tight curls.
20. Mohawk Locs
Catch every eye in the room by sporting this look. To pull off this style, keep the sides of your head shaved short then fashion the dreadlocks on the middle of the scalp. Keep in mind though that it takes a while for dreadlocks to mature completely thus you can hold back shaving the sides of your head till your locs are downright grown.
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Basic Dread Updo
Here is a simple tutorial on one of the most beginner-friendly of dreadlock styles; the updo.
You will need the following:
• A few pins to hold the hair
• Strong hairbands
1. First, you need to gather the locs towards the back of your head and split them into three identical portions.
2. Twist the first portion to the right. To make a bun, flip this portion up.
3. Secure the bun by putting a hairband all over it.
4. Twist the bun’s tail ends all over it. Tuck the ends into the hairband.
5. Go over the same steps for the remaining dreadlock sections.
6. Join the two initial buns by positioning a pin between the buns. Catch the hair from both buns and pop the pin in vertically.
7. Go over the same procedure with a second pin. Position the pin downwards.
8. Put the two remaining buns together by repeating the same procedure.
9. You can leave the ends loose if you wish or tuck it in for a more polished look.
Care and Maintenance of your Fabulous Locs
Dreads look their absolute best when they’re clean and cared for. Thus, here are some of the do’s when it comes to dreadlock maintenance.
Washing the Locs
• Wash dreads with an all-natural, residue-free shampoo that does not contain strong chemicals, sulfates, sulfides and silicones.
• Take care not to use conditioners on your dreads during the first year. Those who are of African descent and have dreads which are prone to drying and brittleness are exceptions. Hair with less oils often have a tendency to dread quicker so forgo the conditioners as much as you can.
• Wash your dreads 2 to 3 times a week since it takes some time for the locs to dry thoroughly.
• Clean the scalp and allow the shampoo to douse all over the hair. Do not rub on your locs.
• Avoid towel drying your dreads. Just allow them to air dry or if need be, blow-dry using the gentlest setting only.
More Loc Care Tips
• Buildup can happen so clarifying your hair is a must. You can use a good clarifying shampoo for dreadlocks or try a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. This mixture is also said to help moisturize hair, boost locking and ease an itchy scalp.
• Prevent lint and other debris from sticking on your locs by wrapping your hair while sleeping or doing activities where dirt can easily get on your hair.
• Do not put too much tension on the scalp since this can lead to traction alopecia and breakage. Steer clear of re-twisting your dreadlocks too often as soon as they have matured. Mind more delicate areas on your head like the nape and the edges.
• Separate the locs frequently while it’s wet so the process won’t hurt.
Are Dreads for You?
Do you think you’re ready for this style? Mull over these considerations first and decide.
• Dreadlocks do take a while to dry and completely mature, and this may be a hassle for some people.
• The style does not suit people with baby fine hair that’s loose in texture.
• Dreads require re-twisting every 2 to 8 weeks so you do have to shell out money for this style.
• Consider your employer. Check if the company’s dress code allows dreadlocks.
• Do you have a stylist nearby who can take on the maintenance procedures required to tend your dreads? Maintenance procedures for this style can take a bit more time compared to typical hairstyles.
1. Are dreadlocks for Rastafarians or a specific culture only?
Dreadlocks are for everybody. Rastafarians typically don their locs matted and leave them be. They only wash their hair, allow it to dry and lock by itself. There are lots of people who are not with the Rastafari movement who wear their dreadlocks. It is an individual’s personal choice.
2. Do I need to go to a professional to achieve dreadlocks?
The beauty of the internet is that you can gather plenty of information about dreadlocks. It is wise that you first do some research about the procedure first before going to a professional. Dreadlocks are available in a multitude of styles—some require the help of a professional while some can be done at home.
3. Is it expensive to get dreadlocks?
The money you’ll spend on dreads will be based on the kind of dreadlocks you’re after.
4. Are styling options for women’s dreadlocks limited?
Dreadlock/dread styles for women are plentiful. Dreadlocks are not limited to long and short styles. You can have plenty of fun with it. There are styles which can suit long, medium and short dreads. You can also experiment with hair color and various hair accessories like rings, shells and flowers.
Dreadlocks have their cultural and spiritual significance. Men and women throughout centuries and various civilizations have donned the style. It is also a fast way to gather charm points. You can fashion it into lots of styles.
Dreads are perfect for women who after a style that’s not fussy, eye-catching and creates an impression of a free, creative spirit. Tend your locs well and it will serve as an extension of your fantastic style.