Starting, maintaining, and caring for dreadlocks is a lifelong process requiring patience – or for as long as you wish to keep them.
Some people are so enthusiastic about getting dreadlocks that they buy faux-loc extensions for hundreds of dollars to sport the style.
And many other people with natural dreadlocks patronize stylists to help them maintain them.
So, how do you go about finding the best hairstylist for your dreadlocks?
Always take care of your dreadlocks with organic loc products from Lion Locs.
Related: How Long Do Butterfly Locs Last?
Starting Dreadlocks Basics
The most optimum way to begin searching for a hairstylist specializing in starting and or maintaining dreadlocks is first to understand how dreadlocks are naturally formed.
After all, how can you judge the professionalism of a hairstylist that you will pay to care for your dreadlocks if you don’t know how dreadlocks are formed?
There are multiple methods for starting and developing dreadlocks, not just one. So, let’s discuss the relatively simplest method, the so-called twist and tie method, for starting dreadlocks and how to maintain them.
Also, don’t believe stereotypes when it comes to growing dreadlocks. While dreadlock formation is naturally easier to form with black hair, anyone from any race or ethnicity can start forming their hair into dreadlocks.
However, locking methods will vary according to the coarseness or straightness of the hair.
Let Your Hair Grow
The more hair you have to start with before you start forming your dreadlocks, the easier it will be for your dreadlocks to form.
Let your hair grow out for a few weeks before you begin forming your dreadlocks. Think of this initial hair growth stage as a loc pre-stage. You should have at least two inches to three inches of hair to start with before you begin forming your dreadlocks.
The more hair that you have during this loc pre-stage, the better they will form.
How thick do you want your dreadlocks to be as they form? Do you want thick strands of dreadlocks on your hair? Or do you prefer having thicker, matted strands of dreadlocks?
Maybe you prefer dreadlock stand thickness that straddles the middle between thin and thick?
Look over various dreadlock hairstyles online before choosing.
Choose the dreadlock strand thickness you prefer. Once your dreadlocks begin twisting, matting, and locking hair strands in place, you can’t change your mind.
Wash Your Hair with Clarifying Shampoo
Contrary to stereotypes and biased opinions, your hair must be clean to form natural dreadlocks. Dreadlocks twist and form faster and easier on hair that is dry, clean, and maintained with natural products.
Before you start forming and locking your hair, you should only use clarifying shampoo to clean your hair. Clarifying shampoos are designed to thoroughly clean any kind of hair without leaving trace residue like regular shampoos or soap usually do.
Also, refrain from using conditioner until after your hair begins naturally locking. Conditioner softens your hair significantly, which can delay the natural locking process.
Always dry your hair completely after each washing.
Divide Your Hair Into Sections
Use a comb with a long pointy end to begin sectioning parts of your hair. The smaller the section, the thinner your dreadlocks will be.
And the larger the section, the larger your dreadlocks will be.
Consider each hair section on your head like a bricklaying design on a wall, and in the center of each section is where you will begin twisting and forming your dreadlocks.
Tie and Twisting
You can start by applying a rubber band to the back of each divided section and then twisting each band of hair centered in each area.
You can then apply a rubber band to the end of each burgeoning loc.
The easiest way to begin twisting your dreadlocks is to roll and twist your hair between your palms.
Or you could twist your hair and then begin backcombing it to get the hair strands intermingled. Backcombing is the process of combing towards the scalp instead of away from it.
This intermingling will enhance the dreading process and help get your hair to loc faster.
Twist or palm roll the entire length of the dreadlock, not just a portion.
Beeswax and Locking Gels
Some people prefer to use natural beeswax or dreadlock gel products to help them with the locking process.
If you don’t want to use such products, you can simply use the palm rolling method on your washed and dry locs instead.
Instead of beeswax or locking gels, you may use organic aloe vera or coconut oil.
Patience and Maintenance
You should make a daily routine of twisting or palm rolling your dreadlocks once or twice a day. Use tweezers to tuck in loose growing hairs back into the locks.
You may need to keep applying rubber bands to the end and base of your dreadlocks for three weeks until they initially form. However, stopping the use of rubber bands is only the start of the dreadlock formation process.
Dreadlock formation can take several months or two years, depending on the type of hair you have, the formation process, and your maintenance regimen.
And like with any kind of hairstyle, taking care of your dreadlocks is a lifelong process. So, you can opt to take care of them yourself or to get a stylist.
If you want to get a stylist that specializes in dreadlocks, here is what you need to do.
Study the specialties of local hairstylists that live near you. And you should not necessarily look for “locations” or anyone who ham-fistedly incorporates the word “dreadlock” into their job title.
Such hairstylists may know nothing about dreadlock styling and are just looking for extra business.
The hairstylist may specialize in dreadlocks or call themselves a “dreadlock professional.” Look up hairstylists who have experience styling dreadlocks.
And don’t set your heart on visiting one stylist—schedule consultations with a few to find a stylist with skills that matches your needs.
Treat the consultation as a job interview process. After all, you may be patronizing this stylize for months or years to help you maintain your dreadlocks.
Ask them if they specialize in starting or maintaining dreadlocks. Ask them how they start dreadlocks for a customer.
And then ask how many styles of dreadlocks if the stylist is versed in starting or maintaining.
Now you know how dreadlocks are formed, you have a point of reference.
Ask the potential stylist if they have pictures of clients and the hairstyles they create for you to peruse.
Ask if you can sit in the salon and watch the stylist at work. Many stylists allow potential customers to sit nearby and watch the staff work before making an appointment. And they can’t say “no” unless you ask.
Ask About Credentials
Your potential stylist should have hundreds of hours or years of professional work experience styling and maintaining dreadlocks.
Why would you trust your locs with an amateur?
Many hairstylists who specialize in styling and maintaining dreadlocks have credentials, certification, and training in dreadlock styling. Ask your potential stylist if they have any such credentials or professional training.
And while you are asking them questions, ask them if they use natural and organic hair products like those sold by Lion Locs.
Always maintain your dreadlocks with oils, gels, and grooming products made by Lion Locs.
Related: How to Take Down Soft Locs