Today, it’s amazing how people still have a negative belief about braids turning to dreadlocks. Most women believe in dreadlocks and their appearance, which is why it is mostly used by women who don’t want to go to saloons to plait their hair every week. Despite the misconception and falsehood against braids and dreadlocks, the hairstyle still continues to grow in popularity. It gives an exotic look to the wearer of the dreads.

Your braids can turn into dreadlocks but may take time before looking like dreadlocks. You will need a lot of patience, time, and effort for a braid to turn into dreads. When dreadlocks are forming from a braid, they will start wrapping and tangling around themselves.

More than the beauty that braids will give to your hair, they can later turn to dread if you follow the right process. In this article, you will learn about the steps to make your braid turn into a dreadlock, the benefits of braiding your dread, and to know if braiding will make your dreadlock.

How to Turn Braids into Dreads?

The most important thing you need to understand about dread is that it is not for everyone, even though it offers great benefits. If you want to braid your hair and turn it into dreads, your natural hair is the best type to start with. You can also create a lock-in chemical enhancement, but this process may take time. So, it would be best if you are patient. Here below are steps to turn your braids into dreadlocks:

1. Prepare Your Braids

The first step you need to turn braids into dread is to wash your hair with residue-free shampoo and conditioner. However, ensure you don’t wash your hair with too much shampoo and conditioning.

Also, avoid a hard braid. This is essential so that your braid can hold your natural braid very tight. Braids preparation will take a lot of time; therefore, sitting on a chair and watching a television show is best.

2. Determine Your Braids Fall

The next step is to determine how you want your braids to fall. In this case, you can braid your hair or get a professional hairstylist to do this for you the way you will wear it for long hair.

And if you have short hair, direct your braids to fall backward. Ensure you don’t ignore this step because this is what will determine how your braids will fall after completion.

3. Determine Lock Size

The next thing is to determine the size of the dreadlock you want. The size of your braids will determine your dread size. So, if you are doing a small braid, you will eventually have a small dread. Although, there will be an increase in the length of your hair once they are dried.

4. Begin Braiding

The last and most important step is to start braiding. However, before starting, ensure you create the braid you want to keep for a long time because this is what leads to dreadlocks. You will also need to apply natural hair oil at this point, but ensure you do it slowly and carefully.

Benefits of Braiding Your Hair to Turn to Dreads

1. Braid Promotes Growth

One of the major reasons why people use braids before turning them into dreads is because they can promote growth. Braids will help keep your hair tucked and protect it from a harsh environment. It also helps to protect the hair from tagging and any form of manipulation. Braid is also effective as it will prevent your hair from breakage or damage from environmental factors like winds or sun.

Braiding your hair will help promote your dread growth, and if you take care of it using the right hair product, it will provide you with a thriving environment. Braiding is a good choice because it will protect your hair from bedding’s frizz and breakage while sleeping.

Another way braiding promotes hair growth is by moisturizing your hair, keeping it hydrated, and ensuring your scalp has enough circulation. The natural oil such as peppermint oil, castor oil, and rosemary oil are examples of hair products that will help your hair grow for any style of dread you have in mind.

2.   Moisture Retention

Using braiding and later turning it into dreadlocks is also beneficial because of moisture retention. For hair growth and to be qualified for dreadlock, you must know that natural moisturization is essential. You also must ensure you use the right moisturizer products to make your dread look good and beautiful.

An unprotected braid will lead to an unprotected dread and can make you lose moisture more quickly than when you have a protected braid. The reason behind an unprotected braid is when your hair is exposed to rain, wind, or sun. However, braids are a protected hairstyle that will always make your dread moisturized.

How to Wash Your Braided Dreads?

1. Start by pretreating your hair.

The first step in washing your hair or even before installing your braids is to treat your natural hair. Braids are easy to install, but you should get a professional hairstylist to do it for you so that you won’t have too tight braids because that will affect your dread.

So, before installing braiding, wash and condition your natural hair because this will add moisture to your hair and make the moisture last long on your hair.

2. Don’t rub your braids as you wash them.

When it comes to washing your braid, ensure you wash with residue-free shampoo to help eliminate any buildup or dirt in your hair or scalp. Wash your braids from your scalp to the end and ensure you are not rubbing when applying the hair products.

Depending on the type of braids you already installed or you want to install, a small drop of conditioner is okay. Also, ensure you use a natural oil that will penetrate your hair shaft rather than traditional oil.

3. Dry them all the way before styling

The next thing to do is to dry your braids before styling. This is essential because braids that are not properly dried will lead to fungus, dandruff, and mildew. If you are in a hurry, you can sit under a hooded dryer for fast drying.

But if you have the time, it would be best if you allow them to dry naturally, especially if you don’t have a hooded dryer. The point is to ensure you don’t style your braid until they are dry.

4. Make astringents your favorite.

The next thing to do is to make astringent your favorite by adding it to your braids. It helps to remove water from your hair and make it shrink. Most women use astringent products to remove oil and shrink pores in hair and skin care.

However, astringents can dry your braids, making them unsuitable for every hair. So ensure you seek your hairstylist’s advice on whether or not you should use it. Astringents are also great hair products that break down dirt on your scalp and make your braid style last longer.

5. Listen to your scalp.

The last and most important step in washing your braids is to listen to your scalp. This is essential because having a braid that is beginning to sheds; you will need to get rid of it. Listen to your scalp because some scalps require that you wash your braids less often, eat more antioxidants, and use a scalp scrub and a shampoo gently.

Which is Better: Dreadlocks or Braids?

Most people think dreadlocks are better than braids, but that’s not true. It all depends on what you are looking for. The function of the two hairstyles is similar, but they have several differences and pros and cons. Here below are the comparisons between braids and dreadlocks.

1. Required Hair Length

One of the differences between dreadlocks from braids though they lead to one another is the hair length. If you are planning to start dreading, only at least three inches of hair are unnecessary. The grip and twist method are possible if your hair is less than three inches long.

On the other hand, braids require at least 4 inches if you want a braid that you won’t turn to dread later. Braids are much easier if you have long hair, especially if a professional loctician does it.

2. Versatility

Another difference is dreadlocks’ versatility. Dreadlocks allow you to wear different styles, including braids and buns. Especially if you have long hair, there is no style you can’t achieve with dreads.

But when it comes to braids, there is a limit to the style you can do. The first style is the only style you will have even when you turn it to dreads. 

3. Maintenance

Dreadlock maintenance is easier than natural hair maintenance. The time to choose your dreadlock now depends on you. you can choose to do your maintenance weekly or monthly, depending on your availability.

However, it is recommended that you wash your dreads weekly to prevent dirt and buildups. On the other hand, braids are also easy to maintain but they will require maintenance to last long.


If you want to braid your hair and later turn it to dread, it is a good decision because braids are easier to install than dreads. And also braids don’t have as much dread. So if you want to save money and time, you can go for a braid and later turn it to dread depending on your hair type.


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