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How Do I Get Short Dreadlocks?

By S. Reynolds
Updated May 21, 2024
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Short dreadlocks can be formed on almost any hair texture, from very fine to coarse. Deliberately creating dreadlocks on short hair takes extra time and hair product, as shorter hair tends to want to untangle faster than longer hair. A popular way to create short dreadlocks is to use the backcombing method, which works well for almost every hair type. Rubber bands, dreadlocks hair products, and a dreadlocks comb are needed in order to create short dreadlocks.

To create dreadlocks in shorter hair, one must first use a residue-free shampoo that does not contain any fragrances or oils. Anything that coats the hair shaft and makes it slick is bad for creating dreadlocks. There are specially formulated dreadlocks shampoos that will effectively clean the hair and scalp without stripping away too much natural oil.

When the hair is dry, one should then section it off into tiny squares all over the head. The scalp should look like a grid. Larger squares create thicker dreadlocks; smaller squares create thinner dreadlocks. Each section should be bound with a small rubber hair tie as close to the scalp as possible.

The loctician then grasps a lock of hair and pulls it taut with one hand. With the other hand, she must brush the section in an upward direction with the dreadlocks comb. Rather than combing from scalp to tip, the loctician must go from tip to scalp. With each pass of the comb, a few hairs should cluster and tangle near the rubber band at the scalp. As the hair is turned and twisted, the loctician continues to backcomb the section until it is a compact, tight dreadlock from root to tip.

Once the lock has been formed, the loctician should seal off the end of the hair with another small rubber band. Finally, a dreadlocking wax is applied to the hair section and rolled between the fingers to flatten and smooth the dreadlock. This process is repeated all over the scalp to create short dreadlocks. It takes around three months to get fully-dreadlocked hair that will not easily untangle.

The brush rubbing method is another way to create dreadlocks on very short hair that is less than an inch (about 2.5 cm) long. People with highly textured hair generally have the best results with this method. A soft-bristled brush that is repeatedly rubbed on the scalp in small, circular motions will create small nubs that are the start of dreadlocks. Afterward, one should apply some dreadlocks wax to the nubs to keep them in place.

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