How Do I Choose the Best Dreadlocks Comb?

Kay Paddock

One benefit people who wear dreadlocks enjoy is the easy maintenance of the hairstyle. Regular washing is necessary, but daily brushing and styling are not part of dreadlocks upkeep. A dreadlocks comb is not even usually necessary for maintenance, but it often is used during creation of the style. The only real requirement for a good dreadlocks comb is very close-set teeth so the loops created during backcombing are very small. Additionally, metal combs often work better than plastic ones because metal teeth do not bend and give as much as plastic teeth can.

Dreadlocks combs are used during the creation of the hairstyle but are generally not required to care for it.
Dreadlocks combs are used during the creation of the hairstyle but are generally not required to care for it.

A dreadlocks comb needs to have close-set teeth because of the process of creating the hairstyle. When making dreadlocks, the hair is backcombed to essentially mat it. This involves using a dreadlocks comb close to the scalp and combing toward the head in small strokes. A strip of hair is backcombed this way, a little at a time, working down toward the ends of the hair. This loops and mats the hair so that it can be more easily twisted into dreadlocks.

Bob Marley influenced the popularity of dreadlocks.
Bob Marley influenced the popularity of dreadlocks.

If the comb has teeth that are set too far apart, the loops created by backcombing will naturally be larger than those created with a proper comb. The hair will not mat as easily, which means the dreadlocks may not be as secure. A poorly formed dreadlock could come loose and ruin the hairstyle. When the teeth of the comb are very close together, fewer hairs can fit between them. This means that during backcombing, more hairs are looped and rubbed together, creating a thicker mat.

Using a dreadlocks comb is very similar to the process of teasing hair to add thickness and height. Combing dreadlocks is done with more frequent, shorter strokes than those used in teasing in order to create even more thickness. Usually after the hair is completely backcombed, dreadlocks products such as wax may be applied. The strip of backcombed, waxed hair is then twisted tightly to form the dreadlock.

A good comb typically is necessary for dreadlocks maintenance only in the beginning. For the first couple of weeks you might need to backcomb the hair a little near the roots to help set the style. Care should be taken not to "undread" a lock when doing this, however. Once the hair has started to lock up, which means that the dreadlocks are settling in place and not really in danger of coming out, backcombing should be avoided to keep from loosening the properly matted hair.

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