A Beginner's Guide To Starting Dreads With Short Hair

A Beginner's Guide To Starting Dreads With Short Hair

Did you know that the origins of dreadlocks are so ancient that no one really knows when they appeared, except that they are African in origin?

The word "dreadlocks" itself was probably only coined in the 1940s in reference to the rising influence of Rastafarian culture and politics.

Not a few decades ago, the very act of wearing dreadlocks was seen as a provocative or socio-political thing to do. In many ways, this may still be the case in many places. 

But is it cannot be argued that wearing dreadlocks as a hairstyle has become a wildly popular thing to do now. People of many ethnicities and races like to rock dreadlocks.

And what first started as a cultural signature of black culture has now become a fashionable pop culture hairstyle.

Are you interested in growing dreadlocks? Do yourself a favor and start with at least six inches of hair. Dreadlocks is an ancient hairstyle that requires a lot of attention, grooming, and maintenance.

But if you want to grow dreadlocks with short hair, we got a basic guide for you.

Only use natural, organic, and vegan Lion Locs products to groom and care for your dreadlocks.


Related: Mohawks Dreads: A Cool Way to Rock Your Locs

Assess Your Initial Hair Length

Do you want to begin growing dreadlocks as a hairstyle? Congratulations. 

Are you starting out growing dreadlocks with very short hair? OK, let's tap the brakes for a minute.

Technically you can start growing dreadlocks at any minimal hair length. However, the length of hair you start out with ultimately determines the number of methods you can use to start growing dreadlocks.

If possible, you should wait until your hair is at least six inches in length before you start twisting and manipulating them into dreadlocks.

Just hear us out for a moment.

The Benefits of Starting With Long Hair

If you want to start growing dreadlocks, it's better to have longer lengths of hair. At best, you should start out with at least six inches of hair. 

You will have a wider variety of methods to turn your hair into dreadlocks. And you will see the aesthetic benefits of your hair slowly turning into dreadlocks immediately.

If you have short hair, then your best bet is to wait until you have at least one inch to three inches of hair before growing dreadlocks. You need at least some hair length before you can begin to manipulate it into dreadlocks.

The average hair follicle grows about half an inch per month. So, your hair grows at a rate of about six inches every year. Take the time to wait a few months before starting.

Additionally, you must consider hair texture when growing dreadlocks. Black hair is usually naturally curly, wavy, kinky, and entangles in natural coils easily. It's easier to have a little more length of hair to work with.

Take aesthetic considerations into account as well. You won't have long dreadlocks for months when you start growing dreadlocks with short hair. It may take a year before your dreadlocks grow into an appreciable length. Your initial dreadlocks will be short, spiky, or bulky knobs of hair sticking out from your scalp.

And you also have to consider the time and grooming sacrifices required when starting dreadlocks with short hair. Instead of turning an existing hair length into dreadlocks, you will basically be growing and twisting dreadlocks from the scalp.


You must dedicate a lot of time grooming and twisting your short hair every day. And you will be using your fingertips instead of your whole hand and fingers.

Still, want to go through with this process? OK, here is how to get started.

Start With at Least Three Inches of Hair

A view of the back of the head of a black man with short blond dreadlocks walking in a tunnel.

Patience is a virtue. You need a few inches of hair to work with to start entangling and twisting it into dreadlocks.

Start out with at least three inches length of hair. You can start with a hair length of one inch as well, at the bare minimum. 

Soft Bristle Brush Pad

You may want to start using a soft-bristled brush pad to brush your hair. Use the soft pad to brush your hair into small entangled and curly hairballs. 


Using a soft pad brush to get your short hair follicles could take a few hours or a few days to get your hair primed for dreadlock twisting. Don't rush the process.

Apply Dreadlock Gel

Apply a natural and organic dreadlock oil, cream, or gel into your hair. Dreadlock gel helps your hair to naturally coil and entangle into dreadlocks. 

And dreadlock gel naturally hydrates and moisturizes dreadlocks while also keeping the inter-coiled hair follicles naturally set as dreadlocks.

Only use natural and organic dreadlock gel, oil, or cream with your hair. And steer clear of beeswax. Dreadlock gel products containing beeswax, which decomposes, can get stuck and gummed up within the follicles of the dread. 

Get into the habit of applying dreadlock gel to your hair at least every 48-hours.

Create Dreadlock Segments 

You can use a regular comb or rat tail comb to create small inch-sized separated segments or squares in your hair. In the middle of each segment is the area where you will begin twisting your hair into dreadlocks.

Use rubber bands to hold the hair segments into place for a few hours. But don't use the rubber bands for too long as they could become irretrievably entangled into your hair follicles. And yanking or cutting out rubber bands could break or damage your hair follicles. 

And since you are starting out with a short amount of hair, you need as much healthy hair as possible.

Let It Dry Out

Let your hair dry for one to two hours now that they are moist with dreadlock gel. Use a hairdryer on the lowest power setting to expedite this process.

Start Finger Coiling

Young black man in t-shirt with short dreadlocks.

After removing the rubber bands, you can start finger coiling the hair segments you previously created.

If you have three inches of hair to work with, you could employ the backcombing method. Backcombing is the process of holding a length of hair and combing towards the scalp instead of away. Gently backcombing your hair helps the follicles to become naturally intermingled and entangled.

If your hair is very short, the finger coiling method would be the best way to go. Brushing your hair should have entangled the short hair follicles well. Grab the hair at the center of each segment with your thumb, pointer, and index finger and begin coiling and twisting. 

When the hair is coiled enough to your preference, move on to the next one.

Wear a silk or stocking cap when you sleep to protect your budding dreadlocks. And get into the process of finger coiling your locks daily until they grow longer.

Only use Lion Locs hair products to take care of your dreadlocks naturally and organically.

Related: How To Find The Best Hair Stylist For Your Locs



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