What Gel to Use to Start Dreads: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on what gel to use to start dreads. Dreads, also known as locs, have been a popular hairstyle for centuries. People are drawn to dreads for various reasons, and for some, it is a spiritual journey. If you are interested in getting dreads, you may have come across the question, “What gel should I use to start my dreads?” In this guide, we will explore the different types of gels that exist in the market to help you make an informed decision.

The Different Types of Gel for Starting Dreads

There is a myriad of gels on the market, each with its unique qualities. The type of gel you use on your hair will influence the durability and overall health of your dreads. Below are the top three types of gel for starting dreads:

1. Locking Gel

Locking gel, also known as dread wax, is a type of gel formulated to promote the locking process of dreads. It is made of natural ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, and jojoba oil. This type of gel is popular because it gives the hair a polished and well-groomed finish. However, excessive use of locking gel can cause buildup, which can make the hair heavy and difficult to manage.

2. Residue-free Gel

Residue-free gel, also referred to as locking cream, is a type of gel that is designed to promote the locking process without leaving any buildup. It is made of plant-based ingredients like flaxseed, aloe vera, and coconut oil. This type of gel is preferred by many because it is easy to apply, and it does not leave any sticky or greasy residue on the hair.

3. Gel-free Method

The gel-free method involves starting dreads without using any gel or wax. This method involves using a process known as palm-rolling, where you roll the hair between your palms in a specific direction to create dreads. The result is dreads that are free from any product buildup. However, this method is time-consuming, and it can take up to six months to achieve fully matured dreads.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gel

When choosing a gel for starting dreads, there are several factors you need to consider to ensure that you get the best results. Below are some factors to keep in mind:

1. Hair Type

Every hair type responds differently to different hair products. As such, you need to consider your hair type when choosing a gel for starting dreads. Certain gels may be better suited for thick and coarse hair, while others are suitable for thin and fine hair.

2. Degree of Locking

The degree of locking you desire will also influence the type of gel you choose. If you want tightly formed dreads, locking gel would be the best option. If you want dreads that are loosely formed, you can opt for residue-free gel.

3. Durability

You want your dreads to last for an extended period, which means you need to choose a gel that promotes healthy hair growth. Residue-free gel is a better option if you want durable dreads as it does not leave any buildup on the hair.

4. Affordability

Gels vary in price, and you need to consider your budget when selecting a gel. Locking gel is usually more expensive compared to residue-free gel, but it is worth the price if you want to achieve a polished look.

How to Use Gel to Start Dreads

Now that you know the different types of gels available and factors to consider when choosing a gel, you need to know how to use the gel to start your dreads. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use gel to start dreads:

  1. Start by washing and conditioning your hair. This helps to remove any dirt or oil buildup.
  2. Apply a small amount of gel on your hair.
  3. Using a rat tail comb, section your hair into small parts.
  4. Twist each section of hair in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction until you reach the end of the hair strand.
  5. Repeat the process for each hair section until you achieve the desired number of dreads.
  6. Once the hair is twisted, use a hair dryer to dry the hair. This helps to set the twists in place.
  7. Use a silk scarf or bonnet to wrap your head and protect your hair while you sleep.
  8. Repeat the above process every two to three weeks to maintain your dreads.

Tips on Maintaining Dreads

Maintaining dreads is important to ensure that they remain healthy and well-groomed. Here are some tips on how to maintain your dreads:

1. Wash Your Hair Regularly

Washing your hair every seven to ten days helps to remove any buildup and keep your dreads fresh and clean.

2. Protect Your Dreads While Sleeping

Use a silk scarf or bonnet to protect your dreads while you sleep. This helps to prevent any frizzing or damage to the hair.

3. Use a Moisturizer on Your Dreads

Use a moisturizer on your dreads to keep them hydrated and prevent them from drying out. Be sure to use a moisturizer that is specifically designed for dreads.

4. Avoid Overusing Product

Overusing products can cause buildup, which can make your hair heavy and difficult to manage.

5. Visit a Professional Stylist

Visit a professional stylist every three to six months for maintenance. A professional stylist will help to tighten any loose roots and keep your dreads looking neat.

The Bottom Line

Deciding on what gel to use to start dreads can be overwhelming, but with the right information, you can make an informed decision. Remember to consider your hair type, degree of locking, durability, and affordability when choosing a gel. With proper maintenance, your dreads will remain healthy and well-groomed.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Can I start dreads without using any gel?
  • A: Yes, you can use the gel-free method to start dreads without using any product.
  • Q: How long does it take to form fully matured dreads?
  • A: It can take anywhere between three to six months to fully mature dreads.
  • Q: Can I use any type of gel to start dreads?
  • A: No, not all gels are suitable for starting dreads. Be sure to use a gel that is specifically formulated for locking the hair.
  • Q: How often should I wash my dreads?
  • A: You should wash your dreads every seven to ten days to avoid any buildup.


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