Every now and then as a hairstylist, you have clients who want dreadlocks and you have

to caution them:  manage your expectations before deciding to get dreadlocks.  They are usually the ones who have done extensive research before coming to see you.  However, they have done this extensive research in the wrong area.  I would love to say it is only young people who have this challenge, but unfortunately, quite a few adults too.

There are many people that you do not have tell manage your expectations before deciding to get dreadlocks, but there are others who you definitely have to give a good talking to.  Because they see others who apparently look effortlessly cool on Instagram, Pinterest and various other social media, they feel this look happens with a snap of the finger.  

Let us remove some of that mystical cool that seems to ooze from these fabulous posts/pins:

  • Many of the pictures are done professionally and in others, the model had to take several million shots before they decided on that special one.  I exaggerate but you get the picture;
  • The model’s hair is locked, meaning they have had that hair for over a year in most cases.  If you decide to use extensions to achieve the look, it will look “similar” but most times you will not get the same movement they have.
  • If the model’s hair reaches mid-back, they have had locks for several years. You can achieve this look but it s going to take you many hours.
  • The look of the dreads, is dependent on the hair texture of the model.  It is best to get extensions that look like your hair so the look is more natural.
  • Most of those styles that they do need really long dreads to achieve.  
  • One drawback of doing intricate styles in your dreads is that it will weaken some of them and sometimes thin them out if kept too long.  

Here are some other stuff you need to know so you can manage your expectations before deciding to get dreadlocks:

  • Having extensions on your dreads is going to cost you.  The person making them will charge you for the time.  It is not a matter of how small they will be, extensions take time–adjust your budget accordingly.
  • Although a stylist has been doing dreads for quite a few years,  they can only guesstimate how long your faux locks will take but it might go over so be flexible.  I have had a few instances where people have yelled at me for not giving a firm price but this is kinda impossible since I have never done it on “your” head before.   In most cases I overestimate just to be on the safe side but sometimes even I am wrong!
  • Telling the person making your faux locks that you will only pay a certain price and pressuring them to agree to do it for that figure might work with your regular hair person, but try not to do this with someone new.
  • In most salons, the price of the extensions are not included in the cost of the hairdo.  To prevent any misunderstandings, most stylists prefer you bring your own. 


Managing your expectations before deciding to get dreadlocks will help you figure out a budget for the installation and the upkeep.    Just like any other hairstyle, dreadlocks needs to be maintained if you are going for that super cool look so do your homework and talk to a few people who either do dreadlocks or have had them done and you like the look.


By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design

Buy my e-book:  Dreadlocks:  A Hairstylist’s Manifest (silkielocks.com/Amazon.com)

Call (613) 789-2179 For An Appt. If You Are In The Ottawa, Ontario Area.