How to Add Dreadlock Extensions

by Cheri Pearson ; Updated September 28, 2017

Dreadlocks are a fashionable and versatile hairstyle

man with dreadlocks image by nutech21 from

Dreadlock extensions are a versatile way to get an new look instantly. You can choose to use the extensions to start new permanent dreadlocks, or just for a temporary look. The dreadlocks can be made of either human or synthetic hair. For the best results, dreadlocks should be started on naturally kinky or curly hair, which is untreated with chemical relaxers. It is recommended that all chemically relaxed hair be cut off before starting dreadlocks. This may leave you with short hair, when you may prefer a longer look. Consequently, dreadlock extensions are a great way to get through the “short hair” period.

Part the hair into sections. For medium-sized dreadlocks, part the hair into 1-inch by 1-inch sections. Adjust the size of the sections accordingly, depending on the preferred look.

Make parts in wet hair, starting at the back of the head. There are two methods for making parts. The stylist can either make parts as he goes, or he can make all the parts ahead of time. If the latter method is chosen, use small rubber bands to separate the sections.

Apply a generous dab of the gel to the first section of hair to be dreadlocked. Smooth the dreadlock gel throughout the entire section of hair.

Take a section of the afro-kinky hair that is equal in width to the section of hair where the extension will go. Hold the section of hair in one hand, and place the piece of kinky hair perpendicular to the section of hair. This configuration should look like the letter “T,” with the extension hair making the top part, and the sectioned hair making the trunk of the “T.”

Grab the left side of the extension hair and add it to the middle section of hair. This should leave a section of hair on the top-right side, in addition to the middle section of hair.

Wrap the section of hair on the right side clockwise around the root of the middle section of hair three times. Be sure that wrapping is done as close to the root of the hair as possible, so that the dreadlock will be tight.

Braid the hair for two rounds, and then continue wrapping clockwise down the length of the hair three times. Continue the pattern of wrapping three times and braiding two times until the desired length is achieved, or until there is only about an inch of unwrapped hair at the end. If additional hair is needed to achieve the desired length, continue to Step 8. Otherwise, go to Step 10.

Add an additional piece of extension hair to the dreadlock by repeating Steps 4 and 5, starting about an inch above the tip of the hair. Continue this process until the desired length is achieved.

Take the last inch of hair at the tip and begin wrapping back up the dreadlock (toward the root of the hair) until all of the hair has been integrated.

Apply a dab of the gel to the finished dreadlock and begin smoothing any loose pieces of hair. Either roll the dreadlock between the palms in a clockwise direction, or use a twisting motion to accomplish this.

Repeat Steps 3 to 10 until the entire head is complete. For best results, use a bonnet dryer on the hair until the dreadlocks are completely dry throughout.


  • The best way to fully understand the wrapping technique for dreadlock extensions is to watch a video tutorial (see links in the “Resources” section).

    If the dreadlock extensions are added to start permanent dreadlocks, human hair is recommended. Human hair costs approximately $30 for two packs, versus about $6 for synthetic hair.

    Some stylists use weave glue to attach dreadlock extensions. However, this approach is not recommended for dreadlock extensions, due to the messy nature of the glue as well as its visibility.

    Many people use dreadlock beeswax to hold the hair together. The wax can be visible, and difficult to remove from the hair. Therefore it is not recommended when applying dreadlock extensions.

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About the Author

Cheri Pearson is a professional writer/marketing professional, with experience in copywriting, technical and marketing communications, articles, and ghostwriting for private and corporate clients since 1994. She has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Illinois, and a background in medical device marketing/product management in the renal industry.