Dreadlocks leave an everlasting impact no matter who wears them. People simply love the look and feel of dreadlocks. Before delving deeper into various dreadlock styles for men, let us explore the history, origin, different methods to make dreadlocks, and how to take care of them.
What are Dreadlocks?
Dreadlocks are made by sculpting the strands of hair into a rope-like structure and left to lock naturally without brushing or combing them. Upon closer inspection of a dreadlock, it appears to be made of interwoven fibers. Dreadlocks are also called locs, but the two terms hold different historical and spiritual meanings. The following section looks at the origin of dreadlocks in detail.
History and Origin of Dreadlocks
Holy Hindu texts called Vedic scriptures dating back to 1500 B.C. consist of the earliest references to locks, where Lord Shiva’s hair is defined by the Sanskrit word ‘jata,’ meaning twisted locks of hair. Visual depictions of Lord Shiva show him to have his hair tied above his head or flowing down his shoulders in what is called the ‘jatamukuta,’ meaning crown of matted hair. Lord Shiva’s devotees believe the sacred Ganges river flowed down his matted hair.
The mummified remains of Ancient Egyptians and pre-Columbian Incan civilization in Peru contain the earliest archaeological evidence of locks.
Some South Asian and Middle Eastern cultures believe the transformation of uncombed hair into matted hair to be a rejection of materialism and vanity. Religious monks with locks are known as ‘Sadhus’ in India. Dreadlocks are symbolic of a spiritual connection to a higher power. The Akan people of Ghana refer to locks as ‘Mpɛsɛ,’ typically reserved for Akomfo priests. Aztec priests also wore their hair long and matted in Mexico.
Locks are associated with strength in many parts of Africa, and only warriors can wear them. Warriors of the Fula and Wolof peoples of West Africa and the Maasai and Kikuyu tribes of Kenya are all known for their locked hair. In Nigeria, locked hair is considered suspicious by the Yoruba and Igbo people when worn by adults. They use the word ‘Dada’ for children born with naturally-matted hair and view them as spiritual beings. They are revered as wealth bringers, and only their mothers are permitted to touch their hair.
Although people of Africa, Asia, and the Americas have worn locks since ancient times, they only become popular in the West in the 70s. And the credit for it goes to Jamaican-born reggae artist Bob Marley after he converted to Rastafarianism.
The origin of dreadlocks within the Rastafari tradition is a debated topic. Leonard Howell, dubbed “the first Rasta,” was known to have connections with Indo-Jamaican Hindus and even had a Hindu-inspired alias, “Gong Guru Maragh.” Many believe Indian indentured laborers brought traditions to Jamaica, inspiring dreadlocks and cannabis smoking. Others credit the locks of Mau Mau warriors during the uprising in Kenya in the fifties for inspiring Rastas.
Although Leonard Howell wore short hair, his guardsmen at the Pinnacle Commune wore locks to project strength and terror. Another legend attributes dreadlocks to the House of Youth Black Faith (HYBF), a group of radical young Rastas who formed in the late 1940s. They grew their hair into locks as an affront to Jamaican society and to distinguish themselves from the majority. Dreadlocks quickly became so contentious that the House was divided into two factions: the “House of Dreadlocks” and the “House of the Combsomes.” The latter was eventually disbanded, and dreadlocks became the well-known symbol of Rastafari that they are today.
The term “dreadlocks” was not coined until 1959 when a group of Rasta friends met in their yard; the original Rastas called their locks ‘zatavi’ from the Hindi ‘jata.’ They proposed the term ‘Fear locks’ but quickly rejected it. The reasoning for using the word relates to a fear of God and believing that the locks would deter potential threats. Whatever their origins, dreadlocks are unmistakably associated with Rastafarianism in the modern era.
For Rastas, dreadlocks symbolize a connection to Africa and rejection of the West. Dreadlocks symbolize rediscovered pride in Blackness and African physical characteristics, consistent with their outlook on maintaining things as they are. Dreadlocks are thought to bind wearers to Jah (God) and “earth-force,” his mystical power that permeates the cosmos. It creates a deeper spiritual connection. Some people go so far as to say that this power is kept in the body by the hair’s knotting or locking, preventing it from escaping through the head. The Biblical account of Samson, who lost his strength when Delilah cut his seven locks, attests to the notion that dreadlocks have physical power. The Bible’s Book of Numbers describes Samson’s Nazirite vow, which forbids drinking alcohol and refrains from having one’s hair cut. Rastafarians adopted this vow as a core principle of their religion.
There is also visual evidence of Ancient Greeks with braided hair and locks. However, one could argue that the Greeks were much more influenced by their darker-skinned Eastern and Mediterranean neighbors than by their Northern neighbors.
Today, Black Americans and other people of African descent proudly wear dreadlocks, but they still face racist and ignorant comments regarding their hair.
How to Make Dreadlocks?
The first step to learning how to make dreadlocks is learning how to be patient. It takes eight months to a year or more to form dreadlocks. Hair strands grow and mat into each other during this time, similar to the formation of a tangle. It may take up to two years to loc straight and wavy hair.
Here are three techniques to help you sculpt your hair into dreadlocks:
Your hair must be freshly washed and free of any hair product before you allow your hair to form into dreadlocks. Use the simple combination of shampoo and conditioner to rid your hair of products and moisturize your hair. Ensure to dry your hair to prevent any hair damage. Before starting the process, you can either wait for it to dry or blow-dry it to achieve as much volume as possible.
You can start the process by dividing your hair into sections. At the nape or front hairline, divide the hair into square sections with a comb of your choice or your fingers. Each section’s dimensions can range from 1 ½ inch areas or bigger.
Section by section, start two-strand twisting your hair to start the actual dreadlocks. The most crucial step in learning how to create dreadlocks is this one. To hold your sections in place, use a rubber band or hair tie at the root of each section.
Use a fine-toothed comb to gradually tease each twist upward if you prefer a messier look. Pull the hair ends apart as you tease each twist (i.e., split the very end of the twist into two). Reverse the ends into a two-strand twist after that. It can hasten the locking process and give the appearance of dreadlocks immediately. Use a rinse or dry shampoo to soak up the oil between washes.
Twist and Rip
Make individual, inch-thick sections of your hair. Use rubber bands or tiny plastic elastics to keep them in place. Rub all your in one direction when you wash your hair to begin dreading formation and texture. Then air-dry your hair until it is completely dry.
You can make dreads by yourself using this technique. Break apart each tied-off section of hair, apply dread wax to the sections and roll the section between your palm until it forms a dreadlock. To maintain defined dreadlocks, palm-roll your hair once a day, but avoid overdoing it to prevent the hair from becoming susceptible to unraveling.
Similar to the above two techniques, start by washing your hair. Then air-dry or blow-dry your hair. Start with a 1-inch section of hair at a time to create dreads. Tie sections of hair with rubber bands at the roots. Put each section in braids and secure them at the ends with more elastic. After applying wax to the braids, roll them one at a time until it forms dreads.
After some days or months, your hair might begin to loosen. To maintain your dreads, twist loose hair strands around your locs-to-be. Avoid performing locs maintenance on dry hair to prevent damaging your hair.
How To Wash Dreadlocks?
To maintain good hygiene, wash your dreadlocks at least once a week.
Prepare containers of shampoo and apple cider vinegar.
Add three tablespoons of shampoo and ten drops of essential oil to the first container. Then add a cup of water to the container. Then take another container and add half a cup of apple cider vinegar and two cups of water.
Shampoo your scalp and dreads.
Wet your hair from the top of the scalp to the tips of your locs. Shake the shampoo conditioner, and pour it over the crown of your head and around your scalp. Keep the shampoo solution from getting into your eyes since it contains essential oils and makes your eyes sting. Then massage your scalp gently with a brush or fingertips.
Make sure to leave no residue build-up in the hair, and rinse your hair thoroughly after five or so minutes.
Condition your scalp.
Pour apple cider vinegar from the second container, and get it deep into the scalp by massaging it. Before rinsing, let it sit in your hair for five minutes. Keep the solution from reaching your eye because it causes a burning sensation.
Apple cider vinegar conditions your dreadlocks and rebalances the pH. It also prevents itching. However, apple cider vinegar can loosen your dreadlocks, so avoid using it for the first two weeks after the formation of the dreadlocks. And only use it once every two weeks afterward.
Rinse your dreads.
Rinse your hair properly to get every bit of shampoo out of the hair. Leaving apple cider vinegar can cause your hair to become smelly.
Dry your dreadlocks.
Get all the water out of the hair, and wrap it in a microfiber towel. It takes eight hours or more to dry your hair thoroughly. Avoid going to bed with wet hair, as it can cause your dreadlocks to rot.
Your hair will appear puffy after washing them. Palm-roll your hair to give them back its shape.
How To Maintain Dreadlocks?
To maintain your dreadlocks and keep them healthy, you must follow a proper regimen:
You must maintain moisture in your dreadlocks. You might discover that your dreadlocks need less moisture than your loose natural hair. If you don’t moisturize them properly, your dreadlocks risk becoming dry and fragile. You don’t want your dreadlocks to be fragile and break easily. You can also spray leave-in conditioner on your hair to keep it moisturized.
You must deep-condition your dreadlocks once a month. If you have just started to allow your hair to form into dreadlocks, avoid deep-conditioning until your dreadlocks have correctly formed.
Wash your hair once a week once your dreadlocks have matured. If your dreadlocks have developed recently, wash your hair once every two weeks or monthly.
Avoid retwisting too much.
When it comes to your dreadlocks, you can cause them to break if you retwist them too frequently, which is something you don’t want. Try protective dreadlocks hairstyles to reduce your need to retwist them frequently.
Oil your scalp.
Oiling your scalp keeps it moisturized. You can oil your dreadlocks once every three days.
Keep your dreadlocks protected at night.
When you have locs, you must protect your hair at night, just like a loose natural. Sleeping with a satin scarf or on a satin pillowcase is crucial to avoid breakage. You must protect your edges and dreadlocks. Ensure you wear a satin cap, scarf, or pillowcase to bed every night.
It’s easy to want your dreadlocks to look like everyone else’s when you have just started your journey. You’ll find out that some people’s hair develops into dreadlocks more quickly than others. So, be patient; your dreadlocks will eventually reach the desired length and thickness.
What Are Some Dreadlocks Styles for Men?
There are various dreadlock styles for men:
Dreadlocks are a concise, time-tested hairstyle. You don’t have to put much effort into achieving this look. Just let your gorgeous hair hang naturally, and you’ll look stunning.
Hip Hop Dreads
If you like the genre, you may have considered trying out the dreadlocks that hip-hop artists favor. Dreds of medium length fall freely about the head. Add an ombre effect to the tips to further boost the style.
Long hair can be very exhausting to dreadlock. There’s no telling how long you’ll need to spend in the braider’s chair, and the result isn’t always guaranteed. But don’t be alarmed. There’s no need to shave off all of your hair. Simply choose twists over conventional locs, and you’re good to go.
Dreadlocks with a Fade
The most well-known variation of the style pairs high bald fade haircuts with freeform dreads on top of the head. The best option for a short dreadlock hairstyle with a fade is if you want a cool, trendy, but well-groomed look.
Dreaded Bun with Undercut Fade
Start with a traditional hairstyle if this is your first time wearing locs and you aren’t yet ready to experiment with too many wild men’s long dreadlocks. Simply style them in an undercut bun to flaunt your thatch’s length and thickness.
Undercut with assembled Twisted Locks
An undercut dreadlock hairstyle is best for guys who want to wear dreadlocks effortlessly. In this situation, you will only need to deal with the top hair, which requires much less time and effort. Choose twisted locs and arrange them in an elaborate pattern to give your hairstyle an intricate twist.
Men who choose dreadlocks get to flaunt their impeccable sense of fashion. Try natural and understated dreads if you want to be one of them. Complement them with a line-up along the forehead and temples for added enhancement. And success, of course, depends on making a confident impression.
Short Spiky Dreads
This dreadlock style is striking and different. Do you not expect to see dreds spiked up? It’s an excellent option for men who want to wear dreadlocks but don’t like long hair. You can choose a high skin fade haircut on the sides and back to add more contrast.
High Top Dreads
There’s a good reason why high-top dreads are a popular hairstyle. Because of their undercut design, they require very little maintenance—request from your barber to leave the top longer and taper the sides and back. Add a line-up and two symmetrical curved lines as a design element to update the appearance.
Loc retwists are the way to go if you’re a man who’s not afraid to stand out in a crowd. The look is quite tricky to achieve and needs a lot of maintenance. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile because you will only receive compliments.
Highlight and Twisted Dreads into Pony
Simply pull your long dreadlocks into a ponytail when you grow tired of them or when you need your hairstyle to look professional. Depending on your preferences and dread type, you should decide between a high pony and a low pony. However, you can dye your hair a bleach blonde color to give such an understated appearance more boldness.
Men’s dreadlock hairstyles are a surefire way to stand out from the crowd, but you can further emphasize that distinction. You can give them a hint of color by weaving in colorful strands. Don’t be afraid to experiment with vibrant colors, either. If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to pull it off, accent your hairstyle with a complementary piece of clothing.
No matter the style of dreads you choose, both black men and white men with dreads always appear virulent. You can be confident that it won’t diminish your masculinity even if you try the trendy but divisive dreadlocks hairstyle of pigtails.
It is the best option for short, thick, wavy hair. Comb coils emerge bouncy and adaptable, which gives the style a defined but dynamic quality. You won’t, however, most likely be able to create it yourself. Therefore, having an additional set of skilled hands won’t hurt.
Do you feel lost in the big city life? Choose freeform dreads to express your love for the intense rhythm of the megacity. They appear carefree and effortless, but you can see how intricate this hairstyle is up close.
All versions of the mohawk haircut have a cocky, fashionable appearance. Dreads like a mohawk are common. Wear them with the burst fade at a short or medium length. The reason why mohawk hairstyles are so well-liked is that the top has a lot of styling options while requiring little maintenance on the sides.
The short dreads have many advantages over longer dreads, despite not being as noticeable as other loc hairstyles. Short dreadlocks are much simpler to manage, keep up, and style than long ones.
Like any other hairstyle, you can curl dreadlocks in the same manner. You can crochet dreads yourself or have a professional optician or dreadlocks artist do it if you want to add a little texture to your hair before curling it.
Medium Locks with Undercut
It’s challenging to think of a better option than the undercut if you want to draw attention exclusively to your dreadlocks. Do not overgrow your hair; medium-length locks with a tapered back and sides are ideal.
A man bun is an ideal way to lighten the weight of long dreads. Your locs look exquisite and unusual when worn up. It does, however, relieve some of the weight you are carrying.
Dreads in Ponytail
Pony-tailed dreads are a strong competitor to dreadlocks in a bun. The former is slightly more well-liked among men, though. However, the man bun continues to be a very divisive hairstyle because some think it leans too far toward femininity. No stereotypes are as strong as the one associated with the man’s ponytail.
Men’s dread styles can be elaborate and fanciful, like these braided dreads that give the outfit a unique texture and depth. Remember that thinner locks are much simpler to handle because they allow for greater precision.
When you style your black men’s dreadlocks into an updo, it’s effortless to display them. This hairstyle is very adaptable. So, if you enjoy trying new things, use your creativity. Additionally, it’s a fantastic way to keep your hair out of your face, making wearing dreads simple.
Half-Shaved Head with Dreadlocks
Dreadlocks that men frequently choose these days are undoubtedly avant-garde. Although there are many styling options, more keep appearing every day, which is very exciting. So stop denying yourself this hip and fashionable hairstyle and get some dreads.
It is a new, hip dread style that you can do when you grow tired of wearing their natural dreadlocks. Consider this half-updo, where the top portion of your hair is pulled back in a high ponytail while the rest is left loose.
Accessorized Boho Dreads
Add some hip dreadlock accessories to your hairstyle to bring an extra twist. There are numerous options, including bands, rings, and beads. Your personal preferences and sense of style will determine your choice.
Dreadlocks Top Knot
You don’t have to cut off your dreadlocks when you need a formal and presentable hairstyle. You can just pull back their top part and tie a top knot.
Dreadlocks with a Twist
Dreadlocks serve as the foundation for many of your fashionable hairstyle innovations. As a result, you can add a trendy haircut or a contrasting color to give your locks a modern twist.
Short Ombre Locks
It is a good idea to experiment with your short hair’s color if you don’t want to try out dread hairstyles but still want to freshen them up a bit. Use ombre, one of the dyeing techniques that are currently popular.
Long Locks with an Undercut
Locs never go out of style, whether you wear natural dreadlocks or fake hawk dreads. Therefore, you are free to wear a hairstyle with long locks if you want to. It can be complemented with an undercut on the sides and back for added contrast.
Half Pony with Undercut
Dreads and a fade are a chic and current combination. Get an undercut on the back and sides, and tie the top portion of your hair up in a half ponytail to emphasize it even more. You can modernize a dread mohawk by undercutting only the sides.
Several hair strands are crossed over one another to form dreadlocks to achieve a criss-cross appearance. With classic dreadlocks, you can achieve this look, which is a great way to switch up your hairstyle.
You can include different kinds of rows in your dreadlocks hairstyle. We all know that variety is the spice of life, so rows can be twisted or braided into your scalp and be as thin or broad as you desire. Finding a new way to style your dreadlocks will be easiest if you work with your hairstylist.
Basket Weave Dreadlocks
Any hair length can be styled into basketweave dreadlocks, but consult a hairstylist or a trusted friend for the cleanest results.
You can encourage thicker, “chunkier” dreadlocks. Mixing thick and thin dreadlocks, you can create this look using various styling techniques.
Half Up Half Down Dreadlocks
Need to get some hair out of your face but still want to wear your dreadlocks down? A very simple everyday look for men with dreadlocks is to pull back as much hair as you’d like from their face and tie it up.
Short Knotted Dreadlocks
These are also known as Bantu knots and are tiny, short knots that you can make with dreadlocks. The Zulu people of South Africa are said to have invented this hairstyle. These knots stand for beauty, strength, and pride. Creating Bantu knots include sectioning off a piece of hair, twisting it, and stacking it, resulting in a small knot.
How to Undo Dreadlocks?
Instead of cutting or shaving your locs off, you can unravel your hair without significantly reducing its length. However, the procedure can be painful and takes a lot of time.
Invest plenty of time.
It will be a lengthy process to unravel your dreadlocks without cutting them. It will take you about four to eight hours to undo short locks that have been in place for less than a year and 15 to 48 hours for longer locks that have been in place for several years.
Untangle your knots.
Remove individual locks and small knots. Pull apart locks that have joined together and any large matted sections at the root. Make sure to get as close to the scalp as possible. If you can’t remove these tangles without severely damaging your hair, it’s best to wait until you’ve finished with the smaller locks before tackling the larger knots.
Wet your hair.
Soak your locks in warm water for 10 minutes. Submerge your locks completely in a sink or basin filled with warm water. Allow your hair to soak for a full 10 minutes.
Wash your locks.
Apply detangling or degreasing shampoo into each section of each lock. Wash each lock in hot water. The hot water and shampoo help dissolve any accumulated wax or grease. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo from your hair before proceeding to the next step.
Condition your locks.
Using your finger, massage the conditioner into each lock section. At this point, do not rinse the conditioner out of your hair. Wrap your hair in a towel to keep it out of your face until you are ready to continue.
Using a metal comb, pierce the bottom of the lock and work the knots apart there. Then gradually work your way up the entire length of the lock. Use a tail comb to pierce the bottom of your lock. You’ll have to work the comb’s teeth into the bottom of the lock using a regular comb. After inserting the comb into the lock, gently pull it apart with your fingers and the comb. Don’t be afraid to exert considerable pressure. Use more conditioner and warm water if the locks are too difficult to untangle.
Comb out the loosened portion.
Comb through the top of the loosened section to the bottom after about 1 inch of pulling apart. Repeat this step after unraveling every 1 inch. Removing tangles and shed hair throughout the unraveling process will result in fewer issues than waiting until the end.
Unravel the rest of the locks.
Repeat the procedure with the remaining locks. Work on each lock one by one until they are all undone. If you’re having trouble separating the locks with a comb, use a metal knitting needle or a long sewing needle. Slip the point of the needle into a loop near the edge of the dread and carefully pull the loop out. Repeat along the length of the lock as needed.
Condition your hair.
After you’ve unlocked your dreads, apply more conditioner to your hair. Allow the conditioner to sit for five minutes before rinsing it out. This round of conditioner should aid in the repair of some of the damage done during the picking process.
Take care of your hair.
Once you have removed your locks, your hair will appear unhealthy. For the first week or so, use a leave-in conditioner every time you wash your hair. Use a low-temperature setting when drying your hair. Straighten your hair with a flat iron to tame the frizz.
Dreadlock hairstyles are classic when it comes to men’s hairstyles. Rocking your dreadlocks is the ideal way to express yourself because of their complexity and uniqueness. There is a multitude of ways you style your dreadlocks. However, you must provide your hair with adequate care and hygiene to keep your hair from damaging. You can keep dreadlocks for as long as you want, and get rid of them when you want to rock an entirely different hairstyle.
What are the 3 types of dreadlocks?
These are microlocs because the installation process is time-consuming and very small. The small size of sisterlocs makes them versatile and easier to style because they resemble small strands of hair. You must retighten them every four to six weeks.
These are typical locs that are no larger than a medium-sized box braid in size. Because traditional locs don’t require much maintenance, these locs are among the most common.
These locs are formed naturally, so you must wash and clean your hair before allowing it to gradually create locs. Freeform locs are probably the lowest maintenance and require little twisting or manipulation.
How do I style my dreads?
You can get natural dreadlocks by letting your hair lock up on its own. Dreadlocks can also be made by twisting strands of hair around each other. Dreadlocks look great in a ponytail, a bun, or just hanging down your shoulders.
Can a barber give you dreads?
You can get dreadlocks at a barbershop or hair salon, but you should first make sure they specialize in them and have experience with Afro hair. Additionally, their method can differ depending on the location, so you might want to inquire before getting them to do your dreads.
How much do dreads cost?
Professional dreadlock installation will run you $250–$800. Your hair’s length and volume will affect the number of dreadlocks you get and how long it takes, affecting the cost.
How many dreads should you have?
It depends on the volume of your hair. The average person has 40 to 75 dreads on their head.
What are thick dreads called?
These are called wicks. Wick dreads are so thick that some people only have as few as 4-10 wick dreads on their heads. The name of the hairstyle drives from the candle wick.
How long does it take for dreads to grow?
It takes about 10 to 24 months to grow mature dreads depending on the length of your hair and how tight your dreads are.
Can dreads be undone?
You can comb your dreads out if you have properly cared for your hair with regular shampooing and conditioning, you can comb your dreads out. However, it’s a process that requires you to be patient. You will need to trim a few inches to remove the damaged ends. Saturate your hair with oil to keep your hair flexible. Then wet your hair so you can untangle them easily. To separate the hair from its accumulated knots, use a highlighting comb to gently pick and poke into the end of the freshly cut lock. Then braid each section and tie it with a rubber band to keep it under control while you work to remove dreads from the rest of your hair. After that, give your hair a gentle shampoo and deep conditioning. Then dry and iron your hair.
How long should my hair be for dreads male?
Your hair should be at least 6 inches long before you get dreads.
Are dreadlocks permanent?
No, dreadlocks are not permanent. You can comb them out or cut them off, no matter how long you have kept them.
Are dreads and locs the same thing?
Dreadlocks and locs differ significantly in that one is a hairstyle, and the other is a lifestyle. You can cultivate dreadlocks, but not locs. Dreadlocks are a consequence of Rastafarian belief systems, which use fashion to set followers apart from the rest of society.
How long do locs last?
Traditional locs can last a lifetime, but faux locs only last for about four to six weeks.
What are free-form locs?
Free-form locs form naturally, are low-maintenance, and require minimal twisting or manipulation. You must wash and clean your hair before allowing it to form locs gradually.