How to Get Rasta Dreads

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Give yourself rasta dreads at home.
Give yourself rasta dreads at home. (Image: Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

If you want to achieve a free-spirited, casual hairstyle, you might be considering dreadlocks. Dreadlocks are symbolic of a particular cultural statement involving carefree music, dance and life philosophies. Rasta dreads are more about presenting a lackadaisical attitude, and less about winning a fashion contest. Regardless of your race or ethnicity, or whether you have straight or curly hair, you can get rasta dreads to form in your hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Residue-free shampoo
  • Rubber bands
  • Dread comb
  • Petroleum-free dread wax

Backcombing

Wash your hair with a residue-free shampoo. There are rumors that people with dreadlocks neglect washing their hair; however, dreads are commonly washed with residue-free shampoos that get rid of the resin and other oils in the hair. Residue must be free from your locks in order to achieve dreadlocks because hair that has residue will tend to slip out of the dreadlock formation. Avoid using conditioner, as conditioners add residue back into the hair by making it shiny and soft.

Section your hair into 1-inch squares. Use small rubber bands to hold the sections in place and separate them from other sections. Work the sections from the front of your head to the back.

Remove the rubber band from the section of hair you are starting with. Use a dread comb to comb the sections back in a process known as backcombing. Place the comb close to the scalp and brush the hair up and down, forming a nest next to your scalp. Continue this motion with the dread comb working away from the scalp and toward the outer ends of the hair. Keep moving the dread comb back and forth to pack the hair.

Backcomb each individual section of hair. Secure the ends of each section with the small rubber bands to keep their formation.

Apply dread wax to each section of hair that you dread. Dread wax should be free of petroleum for a better wax that tames loose hairs.

Maintaining

Grow your hair out to at least 10 inches.

Neglect brushing or combing your hair for at least three years. This is about how long it takes for hair to form rasta dreads on its own without any tools or products.

Wash your hair regularly with a residue-free shampoo during the course of the three years. You still want your hair to be clean.

Tips & Warnings

  • The maturity of your dreadlocks using the backcombing method can take up to three to four months to achieve.
  • Avoid blow-drying or towel-drying your hair when growing it out for dreadlocks. Doing so may separate the strands of hair that you want to knot together.
  • Ask a friend to help you backcomb the sections of your hair, as your arm can become tired from the constant process.

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