How to Dreadlock Any Hair: The Backcombing Method

Congratulations on your decision to wear dreads! Dreads have been around for centuries and when grown correctly can be worn in a number of versatile styles. The good news is that there are a number of ways to attain dreads. It all depends on the method that will work for you.

In this post, we will cover the Backcombing method. It is also referred to as Comb Knotting or Teasing method. Backcombing allows you to achieve dreads immediately as opposed to twisting your hair.


What Tools Do You Need to Get Started?

What will you need to make the transition from straight hair to dreads? First, you will need hair with a length, at least 3” to 6” in length to be exact, and a whole lot of patience to complete this hair journey.  There are also a few tools that you will need to get going.

  1. Rattail comb
  2. Dread comb
  3. Rubber bands
  4. Hair Clips to hold your hair in place throughout the process
  5. Approximately 4 hours of your time
  6. Scissors


To Achieve the Dread Hairstyle

To achieve a dread style, begin by parting your hair into small, square sections. The sections will be based on the size of the dreads that you are seeking to attain. Smaller sections will be used for smaller dreads while larger sections will be used for larger dreads but ideally anything between 1” to 2” will do the trick.

Apply rubber bands to each square of hair up top to temporarily hold each section of hair in place. Repeat this step until your hair is fully sectioned.  It is important to note that the rubber bands should not be too tight or you may create the risk of breaking the hair due to there being too much tension on the hair.

Some experts will even go as far as not use, however, when applied correctly, they can go a long way in assisting the hairstylist to achieve your look. Another alternative to the rubber band is the silicone band which has the potential to do less damage and maybe a great alternative for those with latex allergies.

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Next, starting with one section of hair at about 2” to 3” from the scalp, using the dread comb the hair backwards towards the scalp until your hair begins to stack up. This usually equates to four or five strokes depending on the length of your hair.

During this process of stacking your hair, you should be rolling the hair between your fingers, tightening the hair with each and every turn until you reach the ends. Make sure your rolling takes you to the root of your hair as well. Your bands should be loose enough to allow for this action.

Once you reach the ends of your hair, the easiest way to secure your ends will be to apply a rubber band on the ends. Repeat this step for each section of hair.

Once you have finished this step, be sure to apply a good beeswax or dread wax so that your dreads hold together. Once you have completed the dread process, go back over each dread using the palm rolling method to further secure those locks.


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What is the palm rolling method? The palm rolling method is executed taking a single dread and placing it between your palms and moving your hands in the opposite direction. Your goal is to roll the dread in the direction that secures it.

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Dreadlock Backcombing Method Pros:

1. No bad hair days. Your hair will always look neat even if you’ve just gotten out of bed. You can forget about bad hair days for a while
2. No maintenance. Once the dreadlocks are ready, they don’t need almost any maintenance. You will need to wash your hair much less often. In fact, it is recommended to wash the dreads once every two weeks in order not to loosen the strands.
3. Faster hair growth. Hair grows faster when it’s knotted into dreadlocks. It doesn’t get damaged by frequent washing and combing.


Backcombing Method Cons:

1. Discomfort. Dreads take some time to get used to. Usually, people have trouble sleeping with the new hairstyle since it is rather voluminous.
2. Long drying. After washing, hair takes a while to dry since it is knotted.
3. Extra attention. People with dreads usually attract a lot of attention. So a person with dreadlocks will need to get used to heads turning his or her way all the time.


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As time goes on and your dreads demonstrate that they have matured and will hold true to the look you are seeking, you will be able to remove the rubber bands. Dreads do require care contrary to popular belief. You will need to wash your dreads and apply wax regularly using the palm rolling method to keep your dreads looking like dreads.

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