Do Dreads Thicken Hair?

Do dreads thicken hair? The answer to that burning question is a resounding yes! When it comes to dreadlocks, many people wonder if the process of twisting and knotting their hair will actually lead to thicker locks. Well, fear not, because dreads do indeed have the ability to thicken your hair. The tightness and weight of the dreads create a natural “padding” effect, making your hair appear fuller and more voluminous. Not only that, but the process of forming and maintaining dreadlocks can also stimulate hair growth, resulting in a thicker mane. So, if you’re looking to add some thickness to your locks, why not give dreads a try?

Do Dreads Thicken Hair?

When it comes to the question of whether dreadlocks can thicken hair, the answer is a bit complex. While it is true that the process of creating and maintaining dreadlocks can have an impact on the thickness of hair, there are various factors to consider. In this article, I will delve into the different effects that dreadlocks can have on hair thickness, as well as provide tips for promoting hair health and debunking common myths and misconceptions surrounding this topic.

Understanding Dreadlocks

What Are Dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks, also known as dreads or locks, are a hairstyle characterized by matted strands of hair. This style has been around for centuries and is deeply rooted in various cultures and histories. Dreadlocks can be achieved through different methods, such as the natural method, backcombing, palm rolling, and interlocking. They can vary in size, length, and thickness, depending on personal preference and hair type.

How Are Dreadlocks Created?

Dreadlocks can be created in various ways, but the most common method involves allowing the hair to naturally mat and form into locks over time. This is achieved by refraining from combing or brushing the hair, which allows the strands to tangle and eventually interlock. Other methods involve manipulating the hair to encourage the formation of knots and tangles, such as backcombing or palm rolling.

Why Do People Choose to Get Dreadlocks?

People may choose to get dreadlocks for a variety of reasons. For some, it is a way to express their cultural or religious identity, as dreadlocks have significant meanings in many cultures. Others may opt for dreadlocks as a form of self-expression, embracing a unique and bold hairstyle. Additionally, some individuals find that dreadlocks require less maintenance compared to other hairstyles, making it a practical choice for those with busy lifestyles.

Effects of Dreadlocks on Hair Thickness

Do Dreadlocks Actually Thicken Hair?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. While dreadlocks can create the illusion of thicker hair, they do not technically make individual hair strands thicker. What happens with dreadlocks is that the hair strands become interlocked and matted together, which gives the appearance of a thicker mane. However, the actual thickness of each strand remains unchanged.

Can Dreadlocks Cause Hair Thinning?

In some cases, the process of creating and maintaining dreadlocks can lead to hair thinning. This is mainly due to factors such as excessive tension on the hair and improper care. If dreadlocks are created or maintained too tightly, they can pull on the hair and cause breakage. Additionally, neglecting proper hair care routines and using harsh chemicals on dreadlocks can also contribute to hair thinning.

Factors Affecting Hair Thickness with Dreadlocks

Several factors can influence the overall thickness of hair with dreadlocks. These include:

  1. Hair type: Different hair types have varying levels of natural thickness and volume. Individuals with naturally thick hair may find that their dreadlocks appear fuller, while those with fine hair may notice less thickness.

  2. Locking method: The method used to create dreadlocks can also impact their thickness. Some methods, such as backcombing, may result in thicker-looking locks, while natural methods may yield a more natural and varied thickness.

  3. Maintenance routine: Regular maintenance and proper care are essential for maintaining healthy and voluminous dreadlocks. Neglecting proper maintenance can lead to hair thinning, while routine maintenance can help retain thickness.

Maintenance and Care for Thickening Hair with Dreadlocks

Maintaining and caring for dreadlocks is essential for promoting hair health and thickness. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

Proper Hair Care Routines

Establishing a regular hair care routine is crucial for maintaining thick and healthy dreadlocks. This includes regular washing with residue-free shampoos or specialized dreadlock shampoos, as well as conditioning the hair with products designed for dreadlocks. It is important to strike a balance between cleanliness and not over-washing, as excessive washing can strip the hair of natural oils.

Nutrition and Supplements

Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can contribute to overall hair health and thickness. Essential nutrients such as biotin, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids are known to promote hair growth and strength. If necessary, consult a healthcare professional or nutritionist for guidance on supplements that may support hair health.

Avoiding Excessive Tension on Hair

Excessive tension on the hair can lead to breakage and hair thinning. It is crucial to ensure that the method used to create dreadlocks does not cause too much strain on the hair. Additionally, avoiding hairstyles that pull tightly on the locks and gentle manipulation during maintenance can help prevent unnecessary tension.

Avoiding Chemical Treatments

Chemical treatments such as relaxers, perms, and colors can weaken the hair and potentially lead to hair thinning. It is advisable to avoid these treatments, as they can compromise the overall health and thickness of the hair.

Promoting Hair Health with Dreadlocks

While dreadlocks do not technically thicken individual hair strands, they can contribute to overall hair health. Here are some practices that can promote hair health while rocking dreadlocks:

Regular Washing and Cleansing

Contrary to popular belief, regular washing is important for maintaining clean and healthy dreadlocks. Cleansing the scalp and locks helps remove dirt, buildup, and excess oils that can weigh down the hair. Using residue-free shampoos specifically formulated for dreadlocks can help maintain cleanliness without causing damage or unraveling.

Moisturizing and Hydrating Dreads

Keeping dreadlocks moisturized is crucial for preventing dryness and breakage. Applying hair oils or moisturizers specifically designed for dreadlocks can help retain moisture and keep the locks supple and healthy. Regularly hydrating the scalp and hair strands is important to maintain overall hair health.

Scalp Massage and Blood Circulation

Massaging the scalp regularly helps stimulate blood circulation, which is beneficial for promoting hair growth and thickness. Gently massaging the scalp in circular motions can increase blood flow to the hair follicles, providing necessary nutrients and oxygen to support healthy hair growth.

Protecting Hair from Environmental Damage

Environmental factors such as UV rays and extreme weather conditions can impact the health of dreadlocks. Wearing head coverings or using protective products with UV filters can help shield the hair from damage. Additionally, avoiding excessive exposure to chlorine and saltwater can prevent dryness and brittleness.

Myths and Misconceptions About Dreadlocks and Hair Thickness

Dreadlocks Attractiveness vs. Hair Thickness

There is often a misconception that thicker dreadlocks equate to more attractive or desirable hair. However, attractiveness is subjective, and the thickness of dreadlocks alone does not determine their overall appeal. Dreadlocks can be beautiful and unique regardless of their thickness, as personal style and confidence play significant roles in one’s overall attractiveness.

Influence of Genetics on Dreadlocks

Genetics can certainly play a role in the appearance of dreadlocks, including their thickness. The inherent characteristics of an individual’s hair type, such as thickness, texture, and growth rate, are determined by genetics. While some people may naturally have thicker hair, others may need to put in extra effort to create the appearance of thickness through various methods and maintenance routines.

Can Dreadlocks Grow from Thinning Hair?

Dreadlocks can be achieved even with thinning hair, but caution must be exercised to minimize further damage. It is important to consult with a professional stylist who specializes in dreadlocks and can assess the condition of the hair before proceeding. The stylist can recommend appropriate methods and provide guidance on maintenance routines to prevent additional hair thinning.


In conclusion, while dreadlocks may create the illusion of thicker hair, they do not technically thicken individual hair strands. The thickness of dreadlocks is influenced by various factors, including hair type, locking method, and maintenance routine. Proper care and maintenance are essential for promoting hair health and minimizing the risk of hair thinning. By following a regular hair care routine, nourishing the hair from within, avoiding excessive tension and chemical treatments, and practicing good hygiene, individuals can enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of dreadlocks while supporting overall hair health.

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