Dreadlocks, also known as dreads, are matted, coiled hair, that can be made by twisting, or backcombing the hair. In certain cases, when the hair is left on its own to grow, without regular washing or brushing, it twists together to form freeform dreadlocks.
The history of this hairstyle is as interesting as the style itself. Although its origins can be traced back to North African tribes and West Africa, existence of the hairstyle can be seen in Ancient Egyptian and Hindu Cultures as well. The dreadlock hairstyle is also closely associated with the spiritual and ideological Rastafari movement. The popularity of this hairstyle in Western culture grew with the rise of Reggae music in the 70's. In the 90's the hairstyle was associated with hippies, goth and other counterculture movements.
Over the years the simple dreadlock style has evolved, and a number of styling techniques have come up. It can be made by the 'neglect method', or done in salons using styling techniques like dread perming, or using tools like a crochet hook. Here is a look at some of the dreadlock styles for women.
Dreadlock Hairstyles for Short Hair
Unlike popular notion, short dreadlocks are just as striking as long ones. Although they are difficult to create, these hairstyles can look very pretty. From simple, loosely twisted dreadlocks, to sisterlocks (thin dreadlocks) with colored ends and twists, short dreadlock hairstyles are easy maintenance as they dry faster, and last much longer.
Dreadlock Hairstyles for Medium Length Hair
If you have medium length hair, then there are a number of dreadlock styles that you can experiment with. Dyeing the hair blond or some other color, and twisting it into locks can give you a simple, medium length dreadlock hairstyle. To add a touch of glamor, dye the ends of the hair a different color, and then twist them into dreadlocks. Adding quirky and colorful extensions, and tying them into pigtails or ponytails is a great styling technique for medium length hair.
Dreadlock Hairstyles for Long Hair
Long hair is best for styling into dreadlocks, and there are a number of styling techniques that you can experiment with. Allow the dreadlocks to hang down the side of the head, or create a side parting, so that the hair cascades on one side for a much neater appearance. Add hair accessories like pretty, colorful beads, or dye your hair a cute pink or purple for a spectacular look.
Long or medium length hair can easily be piled on top of the head for a quick updo. To create a simple quick dreadlock updo, scoop up the hair, and tie it with a ponytail or ribbon on top of the head. It is easy to create an updo if the dreadlocks are thin. Extremely thick dreadlocks can make styling difficult, or even lead to hair breakage.
Braided dreadlock updos are also beautiful and easy to do, especially for formal events and weddings. To get this hairstyle, you would first need to section the hair into two parts on either side of the head, and then braid the dreadlocks. You can pin up the braids at the back of your head to create a simple, yet gorgeous updo.
Dread Pigtails and Ponytails
Pigtails and ponytails are a cute and fun way of styling the dreadlocks, especially for kids and teenagers. To make casual pigtails, part the dreadlocks in the middle. Gather the hair on each side to the height that you want the pigtails to be. Secure the dreads with elastic band, and then repeat the steps for the other side. Tie your hair into a ponytail with colored ribbons or large bands, at the back of the head.
Long dreadlocks can be twisted or coiled into a messy bun at the back of the head. The dreadlocks are often thick and heavy. It is thus impossible to style it into a neat bun. However, even a casual dreadlock bun looks can help in keeping the locks out of your face, and make the hairstyle look much neater. Dreadlock buns are extremely popular as an elegant updo for weddings and formal events.
To get this hairstyle, tie your dreads at the back into a ponytail with a loose rubber band. Hold the bottom edges of the dreads in the hand, and then wrap them around. Finish the bun by tucking the hair underneath. You can also wrap the bun in a scarf or a ponytail holder to secure it in place.
Dread Side Bun
Long hair that is fashioned into dreadlocks can be coiled, and made into side buns. This style not only looks quite playful and cute, but is also easier to style than a large dread bun. Unlike a heavy dread bun that tugs your hair in front, causing hair breakage, side buns are relatively easy on your dreadlocks. Gather the dreadlocks into pigtails before wrapping them around to create side buns.
Partial dreadlocks are popular with people who want the hairstyle, without having to get into the trouble of styling, and caring for it regularly. Leave the front portion of the hair plain, and style the back into dreadlocks. Pile up the dreadlocks into a messy updo at the back of the head. The front portion of the hair can be straightened, and cut into bangs or fringes to create a nice contrast.
There are many other styling techniques for dreadlocks such as braids, elegant chignon, and even a funky dreadlock Mohawk.
You do not need to get these styling accessories from the market. Empty your jewelry box or rummage around the house to collect stuff like colored nylon stockings, necklaces, strings or pearls, colorful sashes from old clothes, or plastic-coated wire. These bits and pieces can make your dreads look equally beautiful.
Dread extensions are extremely popular, as they are an easy way of getting the dread hairstyles, without having to wait for the natural dreads to form, or damaging the hair. They add length and volume to the hair. The single or double ended extensions are clipped on, sewn, or twisted with the natural hair. The extensions can be the same color as your natural hair.
Candy Cane Dreadlocks
The best part about synthetic dreads or hair extensions is that it can be styled just the way you want it to be. Create a candy cane effect by twisting two colors of hair extensions. Alternately you can dye your hair in sections before twisting them into dreadlocks. Twist the two solid colored dreadlocks together to create a two-toned candy cane effect.
To make synthetic candy cane dreadlocks, you will need two different colored synthetic hair, along with a dread comb, a hanger and scissors. Take two equal sections of the synthetic hair and loop it at the top, around the hanger. Use the backcombing method to make dreads for both the hair sections. Now take the two dreads together, and twist them around to create synthetic candy cane for your dreads.
Cyberlox are tubular crin that are used by cybergoths for accessorizing their dreadlocks. Available in various sizes and colors, these tubes make great dreadlock falls. Choose bright and colorful crin for the look. Before using them, measure the length that you want your falls to be, and then cut and attach them to an elastic. Add craft foam to add some texture to the cyberlox. Put your hair up in pigtails or side buns, and use the elastic to secure the buns.
Covering your head in wraps made of cotton, satin, polyester, rayon or silk is a great way of keeping the dreadlocks looking neat and chic. Rasta-style cotton and woolen tams are also quite popular among people as they are extremely light and perfect for short dreadlocks. Other than this you can try tube hats and basket hats, available in stores and online.
These wraps keep the hair out of the face, and also protect your newly formed dreads till they set. In many cultures, wrapping the hair is done for religious and spiritual reasons as well.
Dreadlock hairstyles for women can be fun and quirky at the same time. They are not just restricted to hippies and members of counterculture movements. In fact, many women have adopted these styles for an offbeat look. Before choosing the hairstyle, it is best to consult a stylist. Getting a particular dreadlock style, and its maintenance is certainly not an easy job. With expert advice however, it would be easy to choose, and care for your hairstyle.