How Long Does it Take for Dreads to Grow?

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Dreadlocks grow as fast normal hair does. But because of the nature of the dreadlocks procedure, you may not notice that your dreads grow at all for the first year or two.

During the first few months, your hair is likely to shrink significantly. That’s because your hair is adapting to the knots formed to make dreads. Once this phase is done, you should notice that your dreads are growing fast. 

One of the most significant lessons that having dreads can teach you is the importance of “waiting”. Fantastic dreadlocks demand patience. No matter what the product label says, any individual with dreadlocks will tell you that you have to allow your hair a great deal of time to form and mature.

How Long Will Your Dreads be in the First Year?

During the first year, you should expect that your hair will shrink (oftentimes a significant amount). Your hair will go through a back and forth movement until it achieves its mature matted stage.

The looping, irregular knots, and shrinkage are just part of the process that your hair needs to form properly. After the first months, they will start to thicken and shape up. In the meantime, your hair will grow at the same rate but it will go through the motion of knotting so you won’t notice them get longer. After a year or two, you’ll notice that your dreads are growing faster than usual.

I should also note that locks don’t grow evenly. You will surely notice that some are longer and some are not.

There is no accurate detail to show how much your dreads will shrink since everyone’s hair is different. But don’t be discouraged. Instead, get excited for the growth that is yet to come.

Do Dreads Grow Faster or Slower Than Normal Hair?

There’s a lot of debate on whether dreadlocked hair grows any differently than normal hair.

Well, there are rumors that mature dreads grow faster than usual. Logically, though, it makes no sense that your dreads will grow like normal hair. On the other hand, it is common that people whose locks have reached maturity will notice that their hair is gaining length more rapidly.

The normal person gains around 6 inches of hair each year. People with undreaded hair tend to wash and brush it every day. Chemical and drying treatments are also commonly used and have it trimmed in a salon after every couple of months.

But if you have dreadlocks, the new growth is essentially preserved and wrapped to the dread that it’s forming into. Not only are you not trimming dead ends, but you are also not treating nor messing with it constantly. In other words, you get to hold all 6 inches of growth!

The hair that you shed every day also gets trapped into dreads, giving the appearance that you have more hair than before.

The speed and amount of hair growth being produced rely on these key factors:

Type of Hair

Hair texture is unique to every person but certain qualities have been observed in different ethnic groups.

African-American hair is typically coarse and tightly coiled, which is an advantage to the matting procedure. African-American dreadlocks can become mature within the first six to twelve months.

On the other hand, Caucasian or Asian hair textures are commonly straight or curly but thinner. With this type of hair texture, you can expect dreads to achieve their maturity between a year or two.

How You Section Your Scalp

Dreads will shrink during its first months. How much they shrink really depends on how you started your dreads and how thick the sectionings are at the roots.

Thinner dreads will grow faster because the hair has a thinner strand to knot itself through. The opposite happens to thicker dreads, of course. If you made them extra tight at the start of the process, they may shrink less than if you started with free-form dreads.

In some cases, you may dread your hair with a crochet method but you will surely lose 40% of its original length in the first year. Some individuals start with their hair length around their waist but end up in the shoulder once they’re done.

Once the dreads have matured, the shrinking will stop altogether and you will certainly notice that they are getting longer.

Your Health

The quality of your hair, strength, and growth will tell a lot about your health.

Long periods of stress can cause your hair follicles to temporarily stop producing the cell responsible for hair growth. Hormonal imbalances can also be the reason for such interruptions.

If you are experiencing this kind of issue, consult a doctor and get diagnosed and treated accordingly. 

How to Grow Dreads Faster?

Dreadlocks can be made for a fun look, but people often worry about their hair growth when it’s knotted. Dreadlocks can grow as fast as regular hair but demand some special care.

If you want your hair to grow faster, consider having a healthy diet. Doing so ensures that you’re consuming the right vitamins and minerals that can boost hair growth. You should also wash your hair frequently to keep it healthy.

Changing Your Diet

Looking for another motivation to commit to a healthy diet this year? Well, wanting to grow your dreads faster can be one.

A diet loaded with Vitamin E and A will promote hair growth, not to mention all of the other health benefits they will have on your skin and nails. Foods abundant in Vitamin E are Almonds, Spinach, Sunflower Seeds, Avocado, and Wheat Germ.

Meanwhile, you can naturally improve your vitamin A consumption with carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, and beef liver. Sweet potato carries both vitamin A and E.

Consuming these veggies raw drastically improves the number of vitamins your body gets to enjoy. That’s where a juicer or eating some salad could come in handy.

Bonus Tip: Add a small amount of Flaxseed oil for those Omega-3 fatty acids that can spur your hair follicles.

Get more vitamin A. Vitamin A can help make your hair grow faster. If you’re looking to grow out your dreads quickly, find some way to include more vitamin A in your diet each day.

  • Liver, fish oils, milk, and eggs are great sources of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin A can be obtained in fruits and vegetables like leafy greens, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, carrots, squash, apricot, and broccoli.

Up your vitamin E intake. Vitamin E can also assist with hair growth. Try combining extra vitamin E into your diet and see if your dreads grow faster.

  • Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are a few of the best sources of vitamin E. It is also obtained in leafy green vegetables and fortified cereals.
  • Sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, corn oil, peanut butter, and peanuts are also great sources of vitamin E.
  • You can also get vitamin E in spinach, kiwi, tomato, and mango.

Add flaxseed oil to your diet. A small amount of flaxseed oil can boost hair growth. Try picking up some flaxseed oil at a local grocery store and add them to your diet.

  • Sprinkle ground flaxseed over various foods throughout the day. You can also sprinkle it over fruits, vegetables, yogurts, and cereals. Try adding it to hummus recipes and butter.
  • Look for things like bread, muffins, and other wheat items that are enriched with flaxseed oil at your local supermarket.

Increase your protein intake. Protein supports hair health. If you want to grow out your dreads faster, look for protein-rich foods and include them into your diet.

  • Fish, whole grains, nuts, and beans are great sources of protein.

Take a biotin supplement. Biotin and other B vitamins help enhance the overall look of both your hair and skin. Add more biotin to your diet by consuming more nuts, eggs, and cauliflower, or just simply include a biotin supplement once a day with one of your meals.

Caring for Your Hair

If your dreadlocks are new, your stylist has presumably told you to stay away from washing them for the first month or so. And that’s excellent advice.

When new dreadlocks suck up all that water, your newly done dreads can puff up and go fluffy, ruining all of your hard work. There is also what we call “dread rot,” which results in leaving your hair damp often.

But it’s not just the new dreads that require this proper care. Water can damage and wreak havoc on any kind of hair type, causing the fibers to dilate and weaken, which can lead to breakage.

If you desire to maximize the long-term fullness of your dreadlocks, you need to make sure they’re going to last. This involves keeping them dry and strong after each wash.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Wash your dreads early in the morning, so they have enough time to dry.
  2. Begin ringing out your dreads at the end of your shower to eliminate any excess water.
  3. Wrap your dreadlocks in a fast-absorbing microfibre hair towel to seep the water from inside your dreads.
  4. Leave your hair uncovered for the rest of the day to let it dry naturally.

Microfiber towels dry twice as fast as a normal towel and help you avoid the damage caused by rubbing and hair dryers.

Here are some tips on how you can take care of your growing dreads:

Wash your hair once a week. Many people think dreads should not be washed. However, it is something you should do at least once a week.

For the best results, scan for shampoos specially designed to wash dreads. Be sure to rinse your hair completely for 2-5 minutes so the shampoo won’t leave residue in your dreads. Shampoo that is not correctly washed out can produce flaking and drying.

Care for your hair at night. Preserving your scalp at night can help your dreads grow quicker. Wrap your dread with a scarf, blanket, or hair cap. Silk caps work particularly great.

Do this every night to keep your dreads secure as well as promote growth. If shedding is the problem, wrapping your hair before bed can also help catch loose hairs.

Massage your scalp. Lightly massaging your scalp for five minutes once a day can keep your hair healthy, stop dead skin cells from building up, stimulate blood flow, and support growth. This will also make you feel relaxed.

A scalp massage will improve blood flow to your scalp, spurring your hair follicles for faster growth.

Apply castor oil or coconut oil to your hair. Once a week, before shampooing, combine castor oil and coconut oil then apply the mixture to your hair. Let it rest for about 30 minutes and then rinse it out. This can make your dreads grow faster in a couple of weeks.

Get More Blood Running to Your Luscious Locks

Just like any other part of your body, your hair requires a constant supply of nutrients to grow and flourish. And without healthy blood flow to provide those nutrients to the hair, your dreadlocks could end up starved and less likely to grow.

Luckily, there are loads of natural ways to develop the blood flow to your hair to keep your dreads happy. You could try:

  • Getting more regular exercise. Yoga is exceptionally good for getting more blood to the head, thanks to all of those upside-down poses!
  • Massaging your scalp. Just a few minutes every day can help to produce more blood on your hair.
  • Eating better. Foods that have lots of iron can enhance your circulation, while hot spices like cayenne or chili peppers can cause your blood vessels to dilate. This allows more blood to get to where it’s needed.

Use Natural Oils to Boost Hair Growth

There are loads of drugs and substances available in the market that claim to help your hair grow faster. But there is also an abundance of natural options that have been used for hundreds of years.

Castor oil (made from compressed castor seeds) is stuffed with proteins and beneficial fatty acids. It’s loaded with antioxidants that promote the keratin in your hair, and it has lots of ricinoleic acids, which can help to develop blood circulation in the scalp.

Unfortunately, it’s also a bit dense and sticky. So some people prefer to combine it with coconut oil to make it more comfortable to use.

However, make sure that you are not allergic to castor oil or coconut oil. To do that, apply a small amount on a small area of your skin first. Wait a day or two to see if it has adverse effects.

Protect Your Hair

You won’t reap the benefits of all the growth-boosting tips in the world if you don’t help your dreadlocks to survive once they grow.

You can protect them from damage and breakage by: 

  • Covering them in a scarf or silk when you’re sleeping. This helps to lessen friction and prevent them from drying out. Look for a head covering that works for you and your locks while you sleep. Also, a fabric made of cotton can reduce or eliminate any unnecessary lint, dust, or any other flying particle that likes to nestle in your locks.
  • Looking for a reliable conditioning treatment to help lock in your hair’s natural oils.
  • Getting yourself a swimming cap with lots of space to hold your locks dry and protected in the shower or the swimming pool. 

In general, you should keep your locks covered in a certain fabric for certain situations, especially when you know you will be in a dusty environment. This is to avoid any additional risks.

Don’t Over Twist

There are times when twisting is needed and then there are times where you don’t even realize that you have been twisting your locks for the past 15 minutes. While it’s essential to twist your dreads, too much twisting can lead to hair damage.

Stay Happy and Stress-Free

That’s not just great hair advice – it’s great life advice.

When you’re dealing with something stressful, your body produces extra adrenaline and cortisol. Sure, getting stressed is inevitable. But chronic stress pushes your body to produce DHT.

This stress hormone can make your hair follicles shrink, slowing down hair production.

Trying Other Means

Talk to a hairdresser. If your hair is not growing as fast as you want it to be despite your efforts, see a hairdresser. Go over your hair care cycle to see if you’re doing anything wrong. A certified hairdresser should be able to help you achieve the hair length you desire.

Try a supplement. You can purchase supplements online that are designed to help dreads grow faster. However, you should always consult your doctor before attempting any dietary supplement and do it as a last resort.

Get more sleep. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Poor sleep practices can harm your health, including your rate of hair growth. Also, make sure that you are using the correct pillow. A silk pillow helps stop hair from tangling and breaking.

Don’t Rush It

Growing any type of hair takes time and meticulous maintenance. More so with dreadlocks. So you need to be patient.

In particular, you should avoid:

  • Applying hair-growth drugs that aren’t well-researched or well-tested. There are lots of companies ensuring faster hair growth, but they won’t always have your health as their top priority.
  • Taking too many re-twists too often. Excessive twisting can thin the hair and produce damage. Re-twist your hair once a month instead,
  • Overloading on vitamins and supplements. Some hair supplements help your hair to grow faster. But you should always consult your doctor before you take new supplements.

Make sure that the products you are using to twist, lock, and clean your hair are all-natural products and not loaded with unnecessary junk that will create build-up in your locks.

Many unnatural products may dry out your locks and scalp creating more unnecessary breakage and frizz. Sometimes these products smell, work and seem great at the beginning. But it can cause irreversible damage later on.

Final Thoughts

It’s worth mentioning that there are techniques to speed up your hair growth, influencing the length of your dreads. This includes improving your health, preventing stress, and being mindful of what you do with your hair.

Nonetheless, there are other factors to consider when making your dreads grow. So the best thing you can do is be patient and take care of your dreads well.

Get the right fix if you are suffering from any of these?