Dreadlocks have been around for thousands of years and are worn by cultures all over the world. The earliest depictions of dreads were seen on the deity Shiva in what is now India’s Vedic scriptures, but today, we often associate dreads with Rastafarians in Jamaica who wear them as a symbol of unity and spirituality. 

By wearing dreads, you can celebrate your multicultural identity. We’ll give you ideas for both dreads and faux dreads hairstyles so you can get creative and experiment with a style that best suits you.  

1. Double buns with yarn dreads

woman with double buns with yarn dreads

Dread styles come in many variations, and unique textures and colors can add a creative touch to your look. Yarn dreads are faux dreads that don’t require long hair to install. Choose your color of yarn and braid it into your hair at the scalp, then wrap the yarn down and around itself to create the dread formation.

2. Dreads with highlights

person with dread highlights

Adding highlights to your dreads hairstyle can give your hair dimension and a subtle pop of color. An experienced hairstylist will work carefully to highlight an assortment of dreads evenly throughout your hair so they look balanced and blend well with your natural hair color. You should consider the initial cost of dreadlocks to make sure other extras, like highlights, still fit in your budget.

3. Dreads with metal cuffs

person with dreads and metal cuffs

Photo source: Amia Mykale, a dreadlocks Pro in Severn, MD

Accessorizing your dreads can be a great way to add a personal touch to your look. Incorporate metal cuffs or clips in your dreads hairstyle by finding jewels slightly smaller than your dreads and sliding them onto a handful of strands. The texture of your dreads will keep the accessories in place. You can also tie rubber bands under each jewel for extra security. 

4. Messy bun

You don’t have to conjure up an intricate hairstyle every time you leave the house with your dreads. Because dreads are already stylish, you can wear them in a messy bun and they’ll look great. A messy bun takes under a minute to create. Simply gather your dreads and twist them up with a hair tie. 

5. Dreads with colored thread

woman with dreads and colored thread

Photo source: Sabrina Swann, a dreadlocks Pro in Missouri City, TX

Colored thread is a great way to add a pop of color to your dreads without chemically dying your hair. For a stripe effect, change thread colors in the middle of your dreads. You can easily remove threads from your hair and switch to a different color when you’re in the mood for something new. 

6. Side-swept dreads

woman with side swept dreads

Side-swept dreads give your hair a pinned-up look while still allowing your dreads to cascade to one side. To achieve the side-swept look, braid your hair on one side before installing your dreads. You can also use pins to keep your dreads pushed over. For a casual side-swept look, throw your dreads to one side and let them fall naturally. Different types of dreads can also create different looks.

7. Braided dreads

person with braided dreads

Braided dreads are small dreads braided together to create a unique texture and feel. These dreads resemble microbraids and may require an experienced stylist to install. Braided dreads are great since they usually stay intact through regular washing. You can also create various hairstyles with them.

8. Tousled ponytail

woman with palm tree dreads

A tousled ponytail is a practical yet fun way to play with your dreads. To achieve this look, flip your head over and bring your hair slightly toward the top of your head. Tie your hair up using an elastic band, then pull out some of the shorter pieces of hair to create a bang and a more messy look. Customize your ponytail by adding colorful hairbands or jewels. 

9. Dreads with curly ends

dreads with curly ends

Photo source: Imani Wright, a dreadlocks Pro in Chicago, IL

Thanks to faux dreads, you have a lot of freedom to decide what you want your dreads to look like. You can install faux dreads with curly ends if you want a unique look for your dreads. Having curly ends also makes updos interesting when you want to throw your dreads up. 

10. Dreads with a fade

man with dreads and undercut

A fade is a style where the sides of your hair are cut while the top of your hair stays at the length of your choice. Dreadlocks with a fade will give the traditional locs look with an added edge, but it’s absolutely essential to find a stylist to help you achieve this specific look. You can style fades with either short or long locs.

11. Faux hawk

man with faux hawk dreads

When you have dreads in your hair, you can style them in the shape of a mohawk by using a hair tie and pulling them forward. A faux hawk is easier to create if you already have an undercut or short hair on the sides of your head. With long dreads, you can braid or pin your dreads on the sides to create this look. 

12. Dreads with headscarf 

woman with dreads and headscarf

A headscarf is one of the best accessories to wear with lots of dread styles. You can wear a headscarf in many ways to keep your dreads back and upgrade your look. Tie the headscarf in a knot and wear it as a headband or gather your dreads and wrap them up in the headscarf. You can also try wrapping a headscarf around your ponytail to accessorize your dread updo. 

13. Freeform dreads

man with freeform dreads

Freeform dreads are the original type of dreads before we had the tools and products to form and style the many styles we see today. They have become much more popular recently and can be seen on today’s most notable music artists, like Jay Z, J. Cole, and The Weeknd. To achieve this look and embrace your natural hair texture, simply allow your hair to naturally lock and form, without manipulating it into any pattern or direction.

14. Low ponytail

man with low ponytail dreads

When you’ve made the effort to grow out long dreads, the low ponytail is a great dread style that can keep your hair tied back while showing off your length. Use a hair tie to hold your low ponytail in place. If you don’t have one on hand, use one of your dreads and wrap it around the rest of your hair to create a hair tie. 

15. Goddess dreads

woman with goddess dreads

Photo source: Styles By Elke, a dreadlocks Pro in Los Angeles, CA

Goddess dreads are a faux dread style that have a boho feel to them. These dreads include loose, wavy curls that make the hair voluminous and silky. With the mix of textures between curls and dreads, you’ll have an eye-catching look that you can throw into a ponytail or bun whenever you want. 

16. Long dreads

woman with long dreads

The length of your dreads will depend on how fast your hair grows and how well you maintain your dreads. You can continue to loc your hair as it grows if you want to achieve long dreads that fall down your back. Long dreads are beautiful, but take time and effort to achieve. Try faux dreads to see how you like the length of long dreads.

17. Cornrows and dreads

man with cornrows and dreads

Photo source: Olenda Styles, a dreadlocks Pro in Bellflower, CA

Use cornrows to braid your hair before transitioning your braids into dreads. This gives you a tighter style on your scalp while also showing off your dreads. Cornrows will tighten your hair and pull it back near your nape.

18. Half-up, half-down dreads

woman with half up half down dreads

Photo source: Mixture of Love, a dreadlocks Pro in Missouri City, Texas

This style can be worn in many different ways, like a ponytail, space buns, or a topknot. Depending on the occasion, this look can be dressed up for a more formal look, or you can dress it down for a messy, chic look. This style looks great on medium to long hair and straight, wavy, or butterfly locs.

19. Boldly colored dreads

woman with boldly colored locs

Photo source: Loc N Kei, a dreadlocks Pro in Arlington, TX

Adding bold color to your dreads allows you to customize your look and incorporate your personality. Is red your favorite color? Try dying the tips of your dreads red while leaving the rest of your hair natural. If you prefer a few colors, you can highlight your dreads in various hues for something different. You can maintain this hair color for a while if you wash your hair less and regularly see your colorist.

20. Fishtail braid

person with fishtail braided dreads

Photo source: Styles By Chris, a dreadlocks Pro in Charlotte, NC

The fishtail braid is an interesting dread style that can keep long dreads protected as they grow. This braid involves wrapping the hair using a technique that resembles a fish skeleton. When the braid is complete, you’ll have a look you can sleep on and wear for many occasions. 

21. Rolled updo

woman with rolled updo

Photo source: Malia Stokes, a dreadlocks Pro in Broomall, PA

With dreads in your hair, you can create many updo hairstyles like braids or twists. For this rolled updo, you’ll start with small dreads. Then, you’ll twist the hair near the scalp and roll the dreads around one another to create barrel rolls. Once rolled, you can braid them together.

22. Long bubble ponytail

woman with long bubble braid

Photo source: Elle, a dreadlocks Pro in Charlotte, NC

Pull your hair back into a regular ponytail and use elastic bands or your own locs to tie or wrap different sections of your ponytail until you reach the bottom of your hair. If you want to create even more volume in your ponytail, pull apart your locs within each section. This look is a showstopper on longer hair, but will also look great on medium-length hair.

23. Long dreads with tendrils

woman with long dreads and tendrils

With long dreads, you can get creative with ways to style your hair. Instead of wearing it down all the time, try using hair ties or pins to create a half-up, half-down style. You can also add beads or cuffs to the front tendrils of your hair and let them hang near your face. This brings attention to your eyes and gives you a sultry look. 

24. Beehive dreads updo

woman with beehive bun dreads

The beehive updo is popular when you have long and voluminous dreads. Gathering your dreads and wrapping them into a large bun on top of your head will give you a beautiful and royal looking hairstyle. To make the beehive updo interesting, leave a few tendrils hanging down from your bun. 

25. Twisted braid

person with twisted braid locs

When you want a change from the classic braid, you can gather your dreads in two sections and twist them together down your back. Dreads are thick when gathered, so you have the freedom to experiment with many hairstyles. 

26. Blonde faux locs

person wearing bright red turtle neck sweater and jeans with long blonde faux locs

Who hasn’t wanted to go blonde at least once in their life? Blonde extensions are an easy way to spice up your look without actually committing to a new hair color. You can go completely blonde or use different shades of blonde or brown to add dimension. Faux locs prices are worth it since you get versatility you wouldn’t get with real dreds.

27. Half-Shaved

profile of person with hair partially shaved with long black locs swept on their shoulder, wearing off the shoulder black top

One benefit of a half-shave, besides the edgy look, is that the locs are easier to maintain. If you don’t want to shave your hair but still want to pull off this look, try pinning half of your hair back to achieve the same side-swept effect. Different types of dreads add a different flavor to this hairstyle. For example, Sisterlocks are a little pricey, but they’re versatile enough to create a trendy shaved look.

Dreads hold cultural significance for communities all over the world but particularly for those who feel connected to the Rastafarian culture in Jamaica. There are many ways to wear dreads and express your individuality through hair. When you need help installing dreads, you can find experienced locticians through our stylist community.