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Many people ask for small dreads without considering will small dreadlocks break off?  Lots of them choose a size they feel looks better for them and come in with pictures of other peoples’ locks.  There is nothing wrong with wanting them to be small, but there are several factors to consider if you do.  

The smallest dreads I have seen,

that do not break off when they grow pass the shoulders, are found on people with the curliest hair.  When their hair is in its normal state, it looks like a tiny afro very close to the head.  If you should take a strand and pull it from the afro, it can reach to mid back or longer.  This frustrates them though, since it looks like they have very little hair.  In order to have fuller dreads, they get what looks like millions of tiny ones.  If all is well, these dreads grow quite long. People with other textures seeing this feel they should get dreadlocks this size but for you to have your dreadlocks this small, here are a few things to note:

  • your hair has to have a tight curl.  This hair is delicate but it is also strong and will seal and lock very well. 
  • Hairs in other textures mostly do not have the ability to last past the neckline at this size as they get thinner.
  • Those with thick, dense hair that can get this size, will have so much hair to deal with, it is a job in itself keeping it tidy.
  • For those people who still demand the small dreads, I do make them.  However I  am very frank about what happens later.
  • All who ignore my advice about the size come back to have them joined later. 

I have the occasional person who is puzzled as to why I choose the size.  Experience is the greatest teacher.  Will small dreadlocks break off, yes and no, it depends on your hair type.

By Paula Barker,

Buy my e-book:  Dreadlocks:  A Hairstylist’s Manifest (

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