FAQ Techniques

Dread Balling | Palm Rolling | Clockwise Rubbing | Tip Rubbing | Finger Rubbing | Crocheting

Dread Balling is a great way to take care of loose hairs!

Here's the problem... loose hairs. It happens to even the most mature dreadlocks.The good news is they are easy to fix.

First you want to gather the hairs and figure out which dread they are closest to, which one they belong in. This can be a tough call. If you have a couple mirrors handy they can be useful. After you get a group of them that you know go together, roll them between your fingers as shown.

Try to fold the wad of hair as you are rolling. This will help them knot faster. In the second rolling picture you can kinda see the ends folded over looped back under the thumb (use your imagination!).

Continue to roll this hair until it knots into a small ball. This may take some time at first but once you get it down you'll be able to do it in less than a minute with your blast shield down. Strong with you the force is...

If you are having trouble make sure the hair is oil free. Wax does not help this process either. You will use wax soon but not yet. Right now clean dry hair is what you want. Clean dry hair sprayed with Locking Accelerator given a chance to dry will make knotting easier.

So after you get your ball, find a place in the base of the dread and stick the ball in. Twist and wrap it around the other hair as much as you can so it doesn't pop back out. Use a little wax to glue that bugger in there. You can also fire on a rubber band for a few days to hold the ball in the dread. As the dread grows the dread ball will dread in with the rest of the hair. Yippie no more loose hairs!

Top of Page

Palm Rolling

Palm rolling is used to help dreads tighten and get loose fuzzies matted into the dread. It works much better than twisting with the fingers. To palm roll you simply grab the dread between the base of your palms and rub it back and forth vigorously. It's a bit like rolling Play-Doh between your palms to make it long and skinny. Rub the dread where it's loose, usually at the roots. Palm rolling works well anytime but the best time to palm roll is right after washing your dreads and spraying them with Locking Accelerator and letting them dry with Accelerator on them. The hair will feel dry and fuzzy and it will tangle really easily. After a good palm rolling session, you can work a little dread wax into them to smooth them out.

Top of Page

Clockwise Rubbing

Finally the key to tight roots!! This seems to be the MOST effective way to lock up roots. Even mature dreads have some unknotted hair at the roots but clockwise rubbing makes an "instant" difference. In 10 minutes of rubbing you will notice results. Just grab a dread at the root about 1cm from the scalp. Squeeze it lightly between your scalp and the tips of your fingers rub it in clockwise circles, switch hands if you need to but remember to stay with the same clockwise direction. Why clockwise? Because nearly everyone's hair grows in a clockwise whirl pattern on their scalp. Rubbing the hair around in this direction works with it's natural "grain" rather than against it.

After a couple minutes the dread should have a little "poof" or wad of knotty hair at the root. This is what you want. After all the roots are like this you can palm roll a tiny bit of wax into each one. These poof's will quickly tighten over the next week or so. Help them along by finger rubbing them and or palm rolling them.

Products can either help or hinder this process depending on when and how you use them so it is important to get this part right. Here are some tips to get the most out of clock wise rubbing and the products:

Clockwise Rubbing is a way of making knots. When you are trying to make knots you want clean hair with as much friction as possible. Locking Accelerator is great for improving friction, especially in clean hair. If you don't have Accelerator, freshly washed and dried hair is much better than dirty hair. You always want to create knots when you have the least amount of wax in the hair. If you try this right after waxing it's not gunna work. The wax can be used after the knots are created to help them lock. Only a small amount is needed.

Clockwise rubbing can be done in the shower as well. For best results wash and rinse your dreads like normal. Then soap them up all over again, you'll get mad suds. Now with the soap all over the hair clockwise rub the dreads...When you're done rinse them well. They will feel tight and fluffy when they dry...shweet!

Top of Page

Rubberbands and Clockwise Rubbing

Rubberbands actually make the clockwise rubbing easier . The hair you are rubbing is usually unlocked growth right at the scalp, and since the rubberbands are about 1cm from the scalp they mark the perfect place to hold it. This will give the hair enough room at the root to form knots easily. You should always have any rubberbands at the roots snug but not tight. They should be tight enough that they will stay where you put them but if you attempt to roll them up or down the dread it should be possible to move the without much effort. The reason for this is that the hair needs a little room to form knots and adjust itself as it's dreading. If it's locked down too tight it can actually work against you.

Tip Rubbing

Grab the dread about 1 1/2cm from the tip (the tip is end that is opposite the root) and squeeze it between your thumb and forefinger. Now press the tip that extends past your thumb and fingers firmly into the palm of your other hand. While pressing, rub the tip against your palm in a circular direction about 50 times or until you get tired. You should notice the hair at the tip start to tangle and tighten and maybe flare out a bit. After you've rolled it and gotten it as tight as you tight and as tangled as you can, roll it in a circular motion between your fingers, much like finger rubbing. This will help tighten the knots a bit. If it doesn't feel very knotted you can go back to rubbing it in your palm and repeat. After you get it nice and knotty it's time to finish it off. Roll it back an forth a few times with a little wax, it will flatten just a little and you'll end up with a nice looking tip. Now you can leave it as is if it feels like it will stay or you can use a rubberband to hold it. The rubberband should be tight enough that it's not going anywhere.

Top of Page

Finger Rubbing

Finger rubbing is great for making knots in the roots, tips and even the body of a dread. It can be used as an alternative to palm rolling in thinner dreads and it's the best way to make dread balls out of loose hairs that need to be stuck back into their dread. Again you're rubbing the hair in a circular motion, clockwise if possible, to create knots. How you hold the hair and the size of the circles will vary and that's fine. You'll figure out what works best for you with some practice. You'll probably do the majority of the rubbing between your thumb and forefinger (pointer finger) and you'll no doubt switch off hands as your fingers get tired. Of course the same ideas apply hear as far as products go. Clean is great, clean and Accelerator is even better.

Top of Page


This is a method for tightening up the loops on mature dreads. Please note that crocheting should not be used for tightening roots. The problem with using it to tighten roots is that the hair at the base of the dread that you have crocheted will be twisted instead of dreaded. Loose hair at the roots can eventually get knotty and dread up but twisted hair will continue to lay twisted since it will be held at both ends. The roots will look much better right after you crochet them but the hair in the twist will never have a chance to get knotted and it will never dread. The long term effect of this will be dreads that look much thinner and bend more easily in some areas than others which makes them appear broken or weak in areas. And it kinda looks like a braid in the middle of your dread. So don't do it! :)

Used correctly however, crocheting is still great for tightening up the slack in dread loops that appear in the body of the dread. Remember that ALL dreads are supposed to have a little loose hair at the root, about an inch or so. This is where the dread will eventually start to dread itself. Crocheting this hair will make the dreadlock look tight but it will prevent it from dreading itself as it grows. The dread needs that area of loose hair to form tangles and knots which will eventually tighten to become new dread.

So how do you avoid these problems and get the most out of this technique? First only crochet mature dreads that are really loose in one area but tight in the others. One sign of this is a loop of hair to sticking out of the dread. Use the crocheting to tighten the loop by sticking the dread through the loop and pulling it tight.

A dread that needs crocheting.

A dread crocheting itself.
Dreads almost never do this in captivity.

You should only need to pull the dread though once to take up the slack in the loop. Over crocheting a dread will also cause it to twist or turn up instead of laying down with the rest and it can thin the dread as mentioned before. I would recommend giving the dread plenty of time to suck in the loop by itself. Only when you are sure that the loop is permanent should you crochet it.

The twist looks way better than a flap or loop of hair any day.

Top of Page