What do I need to know about Rubber Bands & Elastics on the Roots of my Dreadlocks? - Dreadlocks FAQ's

How to use rubber bands at the roots of your dreadlocks.

When you first start the dreads you can save yourself a lot of time by putting rubber bands on the roots and tips of each dread. There is a "right way" to use bands, they can actually work against you if you put them on too tight or put them in the wrong area etc.

PS: I'm totally aware that there are some who believe that rubber bands prevent dreadlocks from forming, break hair, "ruin" your dreads. What can I say? Some people believe some crazy stuff... The same people claim that dread wax ruins dreads too. While rubber bands, dread wax and nearly anything else CAN be misused I can assure you that you won't run into trouble if you read and understand this info below and the other rubber band info I have in our FAQ. There are thousands of people that have used bands correctly to help their dreads lock faster and eliminate unnecessary maintenance (including me) and there is no reason you can't enjoy the same benefits.


Rubber bands at the roots of new dreads help in the following ways:

  1. They gather hair at the base of the dread much the same way a mature dreadlock does. This makes it much easier for the new growth to find it's way into the base of the lock and begin dreading.

  2. Because the new grow is locking into the dread it is not free to be loose, so you end up having less loose hair to dread ball or fix with the Loose Hair Tool.

  3. The dreads have far less tendency to grow together when you have bands on the roots. After the dreads mature a bit this isn't so crucial but for young dreads, or dreads in very curly hair this is a huge help.

  4. Knots in the lower part of the body of the dread will be less likely to un-knot into the loose hair at your roots if you have bands there keeping everything together.

  5. Bands at the roots freak you out and make you feel self conscious about your dreads because you look like a rapper with your box-like sections glaring and obvious! Ok, this isn't a bonus but you should be aware that it may happen. You should also know that the first time you wash your dreads without the bands on them the roots of your dreads will puff back out and hide your sections so you won't look like a 90's rapper forever. *pheeeew!!* =]



How to use bands at the roots...the right way.

How tight you wear the bands is very important. You always want to have any bands at the roots snug but never tight. They should be tight enough that they will stay where you put them if left alone but if you try to roll them up or down the dread a bit, you should be able to move them.

The reasoning behind this is that the hair can not form knots or adjust itself into a dread if it is unable to move. However if the hair is held gathered it is much easier for it to form knots and situate itself into a dread with its neighboring hair. If the bands hurt because they are pulling your hair they are too tight and too close to the scalp. You should have around 1/4" to 1/2" of space between the scalp and the rubber band. They will roll up during showers. This works out great because you can clockwise rub the dreads after they dry and roll the bands back down after you do. This will help you keep track of which dreads you've clockwise rubbed.


When to take rubber bands off of the roots

After the body of the dread near roots feels compressed and tight you can take the rubber bands off the roots. If your dreads are locking really quickly some of them may be ready to come off at the end of the first month. Many if not most will be ready to come off at the end of the second month. It's best to take them off the ones that are ready as they become ready rather than waiting to take them off all at once.

Be sure that you can clockwise rub and create knots before you begin taking the bands off of the roots. If you can't you'll have a bunch of straight hair at the roots - eventually the dread near the loose roots will being loosing knots as they flow into the loose roots. This will happen over a couple washings, even faster if the body of the dread isn't very tight yet. You don't want this to happen because it's much easier to create new knots at the roots of the dreads than in the body of the dreads.