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Frequently Asked Questions...and Answers!

These questions and answers are a compilation of many years of dialogue between you and our helpful Knotty Boy Customer Service department. We can say with confidence that everything we know about dreadlocks and their related issues really is here, so please take your time, read thoroughly and get ready to learn so much more than you came for!

Click on a Category to access the Answers within each section.

Starting Dreadlocks

Everything you need to know BEFORE you start locking.

Well, with the backcomb-and-wax method of creating locks, you should be comfortable losing anywhere from 1/3 to half of your length. The harder you have to backcomb your hair (say for fine fine hair) the more length you’ll lose. If you’re worried about keeping your length, or you want to add extra length, contact the KB Lock Shop – the... Read More »

No way! The messier your ends are, the easier they’ll integrate into stubby tips eventually. Freshly cut hair doesn’t play well with others, and you’ll have a tougher time getting it to mat near the ends. Read More »

You will definitely need to backcomb a little tighter if you have super slippy hair, and I’ll share a little trick that we use to dread fine hair in the shop: Before you start your locks, apply some tightening gel to damp hair and blow dry. It adds a little extra grip to your hair, and makes it easier to get a really tight backcomb. When... Read More »

Right away, they will be pretty big and puffy. They'll look like new dreads! But if you’ve used the KB Wax they WILL be neat and presentable. Generally, after the first wash (after the initial two week waiting period) they will tighten up and lay flatter. You won’t need to take any time off work, but you might want to use a bandanna or a... Read More »

Absolutely not. We recommend once-weekly washing because that seems to work best for most people. Twice a week is fine, too. Any more than that and you run the risk of your dreads never fully drying out – and then developing a funky mildew smell. To freshen up between washings and after rigorous activities the Knotty Boy Natural MISTic... Read More »

A little internet research popped up the following info: Though seemingly more associated with supertight cornrows and weaves, there is a condition called ‘traction alopecia’ which is caused by massive tension on the hair follicles of the scalp (and beards too, apparently. Weird!) it seems to predominantly target young women, and it’s... Read More »

No, you don't need another person to dread up your hair. But it REALLY, REALLY helps. It's super tiring to try and reach around to the back of your head for long periods of time, you know? Your locks will also probably end up looking a lot nicer if you have someone help you out because they can see where the next one should be, how big they... Read More »

There are tons of tutorials available online with instructions for making your own dreads out of any number of materials including synthetic hair, wool, jumbo braid, rexlace, crin.. you name it, someone’s probably tried it! if you’d prefer to leave it to us, click here for information. Read More »

Yep, you can – but keep in mind that single dreads get lonely and will try to convince the rest of your hair to play its knotty reindeer games! Pay special attention to palm rolling ONLY the hair you want incorporated into that lock, especially at the root. Read More »

You bet, sport! (sorry, we reeeeeeally like 80’s sitcoms.) here’s a tip: use one of our t-shirt dreadbands to keep the wax off your helmet liner. It’s a lot easier to wash one of those than it is to wash a helmet. Read More »

Yes, bosses have the right to fire someone if they feel like you've done something to yourself that changes the way he/she wishes their business to be perceived. It's their business, and they have every right to ask you to change it back or leave the job. Sucks, but that's the straight dope. Many people have a lot of prejudice against... Read More »

YES. Twists are effective as a starting method for dreadlocks, but usually not for Caucasian or asian hair types. Many salons will tell you that they are, but we end up fixing a lot of these cases, so know before you go. This is different than backcomb-and-twist started locks, usually because most twists aren’t backcombed, which is the... Read More »

You’ll get fat dreads by making larger sections to begin with. Keep in mind, your dreads will be thinner than your sections when you first get them, but will fatten up over time. Read More »

The size of your finished lock depends on a few things: the size of your section, and the density of your hair. If you want skinny dreads, your best bet is to start with smaller sections. Keep in mind that you have to palmroll every single one of those dreads OFTEN – and that’s a lot of little locks to keep from joining up together at the... Read More »

Having layered hair to start is going to end in layered locks. It’s generally flattering to everyone.    Read More »

We’ve had reports of people starting successful locks with as little as three inches of hair. You’ve got to work a little harder to keep those little guys together, but the bonus is that the true dread isn’t the hair you’ve tangled, but what’s growing out at your roots and knotting up – so you’re really getting a head... Read More »

Of course it’ll work! Speaking of coarse, that may be your one stumbling block to starting out locks. Coarser hair tends to be a little more resistant to knotting up, so it’s going to require more palm rolling than usual to keep it cylindrical and locking neatly. It will dread up beautifully, so don’t get discouraged by pieces working... Read More »

Absolutely NOT. Natural oils that develop in your hair will hamper the dreading process, not to mention the buildup on your scalp can cause discomfort. Washing your hair immediately beforehand will make starting your dreads SO much easier, then once you get dreads, we recommend washing your hair once a week, after the initial 2 week waiting... Read More »

It’s best to colour your hair before you dread for a few reasons. 1) It’s almost impossible to fully penetrate the lock with colour, and you’ll never get as even a result as you did before. 2) Most people start their new locks with wax, and you’ll never get through it all with colour. 3) Lightening colours tend to dry out your hair... Read More »

Totally! There are a bazillion different ways of starting locks, and everyone that does them has their own special combo of tricks up their sleeve. There are a ton of testimonials online praising the necessity of starting your locks with everything from toothpaste to honey to pureed fruit. We got an email once from a guy who started his dreads... Read More »

Well, no. To get nice blunted ends, you need to be able to backcomb, and by binding them you’ve created a barrier to that backcombing. The best method we’ve found to get the ends going adds an extra step to your regular routine, but it’s worth it: backcomb the loose ends lightly, then scrub them around your palm to get them nice and... Read More »

They’ll certainly try to, but whether or not they succeed is really up to you! Separating your dreads at the roots, and palm rolling consistently will keep them from growing into each other. If combining your dreads is what you're after, check out what we have to say on the matter here. Read More »

98% of them will probably stick up, the other 2% will stick out. Yeah, it's kind of a bummer, but the shorter the hair, the more likely it is they’ll be reaching for the sky. Usually after the first wash they tighten up quite a bit and start laying flat. When you palm roll (because you are palm rolling, right? RIGHT?) you can try gently... Read More »

It’s totally cool to have thick hair! Any hair will dread, it’ll probably just take you a little more time to section and backcomb all the luscious locks you’re going to have. Read More »

Don't judge your dreads by the first weeks! They need a little time to chill out and get with the new program. Usually, after the first wash they tighten up considerably and stop sticking straight out. So if we can convince you to give it a couple weeks after all that work, I think you’ll thank us! But hey, if you’ve rocked them for a... Read More »

Initially, you have a lot of work to do to keep the locking process going. You'll be backcombing the ends of your dreads and palm rolling as often as possible - daily, if you can manage it. Most people will have to coax their dreads a little & this process takes a lot of time and patience. We suggest waiting two weeks from starting your locks... Read More »

Lots of folks opt to keep their bangs out of the dreading altogether. It’s kind of nice to have a little “hair” hair left over to play with, and it lends a softer look to a full head of locks.  If you really want all-over dreads and are missing a little length at the front, we can add some human hair extensions in the salon.  Read More »

Good question! Take a look at our Dreadlock History page! Read More »

If you have blond, red or light brown hair you’ll probably want to use the colourless formula. The dark wax is best for people with brown to black hair. The lighter wax is clear, not “light coloured”. It will be a little cloudy at first on darker hair, but once it’s absorbed you won’t see it.  Read More »

We now have a step-by-step tutorial and how to video which shows you how to start your dreads and what you will need for supplies. Check it out! Read More »

A dread perm can be one of two things: 1) a very kinky perm given to straight or non-afro hair to make it more frizzy - hence, easier to dread, or 2) perm solution that is applied to hair that has just been dreaded to fry the hair into the dread and keep them from coming apart. Dread perms are a tricky thing. If done correctly, they can give you... Read More »

In our humble opinion, the best part is NO part. The thing is, if you install a serious part line when you put your dreads in, you are married to that line as long as you both shall live! Well, as long as you have your dreads, anyways. What if a center part becomes SUPER uncool next year? (as if, but go with me here.) Installing your fresh... Read More »

You just have to smooth the clumps out with your fingers. There's a high beeswax content in the ingredients so it's quite stiff and waxy, but it's better that way than too greasy. And don't use too much! Your new dreads will dry out in a few days, takes a little while for the wax to sink in. As your dreads develop and get more spongy,... Read More »

Yep, your bod’s gonna keep pumping it out as long as you’re eating right and treating yourself right. However, it’s not unusual for it to take a little longer than normal to SHOW the length, especially with brand new locks. For the first little while, your hair is probably going to be winding around and back on itself. But you’ll... Read More »



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