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A beautiful black woman with long dreadlock styled into a bun smiling into the camera.

How Long Does It Take For Dreads To Lock Up?

One of the vital life investments you can make is always to take care of your hair. Your hair is like a natural crown that you will never be able to take off unless you shave it off. So, it is always up to you to make your hair as presentable as possible.

And "presentable" is a very relative term depending on who you are and precisely what you want in a hairstyle. Think about it – how long does it take for you to shave, comb, primp, coif, and style your usual hairstyle?

How much maintenance and styling time are you willing to sacrifice from your life to wear the hairstyle of your choosing?

The average time it takes to get a haircut and shave for most men is between 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the length of hair and the complexity of the hairstyle.

And most women will spend anywhere between one to five hours in a hair salon to get or maintain their hairstyles.

There are only 24-hours in a day. So, depending on your length of hair and the complexity of the hairstyle, you must sacrifice a few hours a week to maintain your favorite hairstyle.

Oddly, many people aspire to wear dreadlocks as a hairstyle without appreciating the time sacrifices involved for follicle locking, styling, and maintenance. 

Once a hairstyle exclusively connotated with black culture, dreadlocks have become widely popular with people of all races and ethnicities. 

One unmistakable influence in the widespread appeal of dreadlocks as a pop culture hairstyle is legendary rap star and business mogul Jay-Z. From 2016 to 2022, Jay-Z began growing short-haired and stringy dreadlocks into long and wide-width congo locs, or individual dreadlocks that have merged in one massive dreadlock. 

In recent years, celebrities and pop stars like Zendaya, Laday Gaga, and Justin Bieber have also been chronicled for rocking faux or traditional dreadlocks.

Unfortunately, the hype of celebrity influence may blind people to the intensive time and maintenance sacrifices required to grow dreadlocks. 

Anyone who can grow hair can grow dreadlocks. But unless you want faux dreadlocks, you have to wait months or years to grow traditional dreadlocks, depending on your length of hair and the method by which you develop them.

Buy the best organic, vegan, and organic hair products for the best dreadlock maintenance care at Lion Locs.

Related: 4 Ways to Moisturize Your Locs

How Long Does It Take For Dreads To Lock Up?

 A young black with short dreadlocks sitting at a desk.

If you want to rock dreadlocks, then you will have a very long wait ahead of you. Dreadlocks are an ancient and traditional hairstyle that can take months or years to years to grow and aesthetically manifest to your liking.

You need at least three inches of hair to start growing dreadlocks. And even then, it could take you up to two years to fully grow out your dreadlocks.

The longer your hair is when starting your dreadlocks, the better they will lock up. You should have at least six inches of hair when you start growing dreadlocks. In this circumstance, your dreadlocks should manifest within six months to a year.

Dreadlocks are hair follicles that have locked and fused either naturally or via intense finger and palm rolling manipulation.

Think of a dreadlock as a cylindrical mane of hair. The exterior of the dreadlock has a matted texture and appearance. The exterior walls of the dreadlock are hair follicles that are so fused that they seem fabric-like. The hair at the tip of the dreadlock will be more locked and fused than at the scalp.

The interior of the dreadlock can be called the interior follicle matrix. And you can imagine it as a crisscross, latticework, and labyrinthine network of locked and fusing hair follicles.

Growing dreadlocks takes time, work, and effort. They don't just appear overnight. An inelegant way of contextualizing dreadlocks is to compare to hair that has been pressured and calloused like skin.

The scalp's hair will always resemble twisted hair follicles than the fully fused and follicle-locked matted hair at the tip of the dreadlock.

And it takes months or years of finger-twisting, palm rolling, and more of the same to manipulate your hair follicles to lock up. You can also employ the freeform method, which allows your hair to naturally lock by ceasing to brush or comb it, besides using the backcombing method. (More on that later.)

And this all means that you will have to wait anywhere between six months at the minimum to at least two years before your hair follicles appreciably lock up and become dreadlocks. 

Basic Dreadlock Growing Method

A beautiful black model sporting faux dreadlocks.

We want to stress that unless you employ the freeform method, your hair follicles will not lock up into dreadlocks on their own.

With at least three inches of hair, you can start with twisting and coiling your hair. You will essentially be creating faux dreadlocks for a few weeks until the hair follicles begin locking up on their own.

However, when you start finger-twisting and coiling short hair into dreadlocks, it will look more like dreadlock stumps and short spiky growths than dreadlocks. This is the style price you will have to pay while waiting for your dreadlocks to grow.

And while it can take at least two years for short hair to grow into dreadlocks, you can at least watch your style grow and control aesthetics with finger-twisting.

If you are starting with long hair, at least six inches or more, you may be able to transition to dreadlocks within six months to a year. 

But that won't happen without regular palm rolling, twisting, and the application of natural and organic hair oils to aid follicle locking.

You can start the follicle locking process using the backcombing method. Instead of combing your hair away from the scalp, you start by grabbing a hair length from the end and combing backward towards the scalp. The backcombing method encourages hair follicle locking and growth.

The freeform method is to just stop combing and brushing your hair and allowing it to become dreadlocks naturally. While this method is proven to work, it takes a long time. Even with long hair, it could take a year or two.

Order the best dreadlock maintenance and care products from Lion Locs today.

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

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