How to Start Your Dreadlock Journey

The Beginning..

Many people over complicate starting their loc journey.

When I started growing my locs 5 years ago I too overcomplicated this very simple process. Hopefully I can shed some light on a few things to make your decision to grow locs a smooth and easy transition.

So before you go purchasing hair products or scouting out the best “loctician” in your area you need to ask yourself some very important questions:

  1. Why I am I growing out my hair?
  2. Do I have enough patience to wait years to get a desired result?
  3. Can I withstand social pressures and opinions?
  4. What type of locs do I envision for myself?

Once you’ve answered these questions you’ve successfully laid out the road map for your loc journey.

By now you’ve realized there are generally 3 directions you can go in as far your loc journey is concerned:

  • Manicured Locs
  • Freeform Locs
  • Semi – Freeform Locs

Each direction has its own set of guidelines and requirements. See my post about Manicured vs. Freeform for more insight.

Freeform Locs

When you say “freeform locs” to some people it means, locs maintained (kept clean and healthy) without manipulation such as twisting. To others it means, locs that are maintained but not twisted, only separated with no additional manipulation.

Either way, the lack of manipulation is key to freeform locs. As the buds of hair start forming you can pull one bud away from another at the root, being particularly careful not to damage the hair. In time, the natural matting process will condense the separated locs to the point they will no longer be able to connect to each other, at least everywhere except the roots where new growth is. If you decide to stop separating you will notice locs starting to combine forming “congos” or what I like to call, dragon tails.

This is by far the easiest direction to go in and the cheapest. All you really need is:

  • Patience
  • A safe product to wash your hair with
  • Optional: a loose fitting tam or beanie to protect your hair from the elements

Manicured (Twisted)

This directions requires a little more, effort and money. However, if you have decided these are the kind of locs you want then it will be worth the money to satisfy your loc ambitions. If you have access to someone you know personally that works with locs I would recommend you seek their help first, they may be able to do your hair for you or if they are busy maybe they can direct to somebody that can.

If you are looking to twist your own hair, here are some different way you could do it and things you could use. Remember, do your research before using any products, your hair is worth it :

Disclaimer: Putting unknown chemicals in your hair can create undesired results. You should not have to put anything unnatural in you hair to make it lock. So I would recommend the most natural alternatives you can find.

Semi- Freeform

This is essentially a combination of the two concepts. Say for example you started your journey twisting your hair frequently but after a while you started going years without a retwist. Your locs will reflect the best of both worlds, the organization of manicured locs but the natural appeal of freeform locs.