Whether or not you choose to use dreadlock wax on your new, or mature, dreadlocks is entirely a personal choice. There is no ‘right’, no ’wrong’ – only what works best for you and your hair type. The most important things to decide are:
- how much do you care about how your dreadlocks will look?
- how much time and effort you would like to put into their development?
If you have the time, and prefer more “natural” dreads where they form into random sizes and shapes with wispy sections and loose ends, you may easily opt to use no dreadlock wax or products for starting and maintaining your locks. Your hair will still dread; it will simply take more time and you will have less control over the end result. Palm rolling (rubbing locks from the root to the tip swiftly between the blades of your palms) greatly helps to shape them, as does regular washings with a no-conditioner, additive-free shampoo which strips natural oils, allowing knots to form more easily.
Read on to learn how to easily create wax-free dreadlocks!
How to Make No Wax Dreads for All Hair Types – Natural / Neglect Method
Development: 1-3 years
1. Simply wash hair regularly with a no-conditioner, additive-free shampoo, or stop washing hair completely (natural oil buildup will make dreadlock creation take longer). Do not comb or style your hair. Works best in hair that is longer than 12”.
2. As locks form, they can be ripped apart to separate, or be allowed to mat randomly.
Here’s an excellent video that shows how natural dreadlocks look after 2 years.
How to Make No Wax Dreads for All Hair Types – Backcombing Method
Development: 6mo-2 years
1. Using a strong, fine-tooth comb, divide your hair into even sections, depending on how large or small you want your locks to be, and hold sections in place using elastics/clips. For a less even look, simply grab similar sized sections randomly as you work.
2. Starting at the nape of the neck, comb each section backward, starting close to the scalp and working toward the ends, to create a tight rats-nest of hair. Pull the mat of hair out a bit and re-backcomb toward the scalp once again, leaving only a tail of unlocked hair at the tip. For Afro hair, always backcomb gently and carefully to minimize breakage.
3. Take your semi-formed lock between the blades of your hands, and starting at the root, palm roll your new lock swiftly back and forth to create a tighter, more uniform lock.
4. Repeat until all sections are done.
5. Wash scalp, not locks, only after waiting as long as you can stand, minimum 2 weeks but ideally after 4 weeks. While locks are still soft and immature, wash the scalp only every few weeks, as gently as possible with a no-conditioner, additive-free shampoo and always allow to dry completely before wearing a hat or covering. After they begin maturing, regular washing once a week can begin. For Afro hair, wash with a natural shampoo less frequently to avoid over-stripping, and simply twist locks regularly to train the hair into natural dreads.
6. Regular palm rolling will be the best way to continue tightening and maintaining your no-wax dreads.
If it is important to you that your locks form more quickly, all be a similar size, have a groomed appearance and/or be washed frequently, starting and maintaining new locks with the use of dreadlock wax will help ensure your success. Dreadlock waxes, particularly natural ones, can help greatly in speeding up the natural locking process, help tame loose hair and untidiness and are completely safe for hair and scalp when used in sparing amounts, dissolving out of locks over several washings. Rest assured: any build-up that occurs usually has very little to do with products used, and much more to do with how often and well locks are washed. However, overuse of any dreadlocking product can lead to buildup and damage, and be sure to read ingredients carefully. Waxes containing petroleum-based ingredients will not be as safe or effective in locking your hair as all-natural ones.
For easy to follow instructions for creating dreadlocks using wax, watch Knotty Boy’s excellent 2 part How to Make Dreadlocks Tutorial. Note: the amount of wax that is shown used in the models hair is in this video is far too much – use less!
In conclusion: Please beware of any site, forum or person that tries to bully you into believing one method of locking hair is right, or that another is wrong. As long as you make informed choices, hair is resilient and there are very few ways one can really ‘screw up’ dreadlocks. It is a naturally occurring, organic process that can be accelerated and tidied with careful use of natural products, or let grow wild and free of it’s own true will – whichever your heart desires.