Dreadlocks Styling Guide

Once I overheard a fellow dreadhead saying, “with dreadlocks, I never have a ‘bad hair day’ anymore”. I can only agree, dreadlocks are super easy to manage and offer an incredible variety of easy, quick and beautiful hairstyles. 

Of course, the number of hairstyles you’ll be able to create depends a lot on the length of your dreadlocks. With short dreads you won’t have so much space for creativity, maybe you could tie a few dreads in a small bun or a half ponytail... Headbands, head wraps and dreadlocks decorations can make everything more interesting.

With long dreads, however, the possibilities are nearly endless.

NOTE: you can always make your natural dreadlocks longer by attaching crocheted extensions. That’s what I did, and you can see the result in the pictures below.

On DreadLab there are two guides to help you creating/attaching dreadlocks extensions:


girl with dreadlocks looking away with a hair tie in her hair

I made my dreadlocks extensions using with 4 different colours of the Jumbo Braid Hair: #23-Dark Greenish Gray, #24-Turquoise, #25-Pale Cyan, #27-Cyan. In this picture I’m wearing a pink 80cm “spiral tie”.

To create most of the hairstyles you’re about to see, you’ll need an elastic band or, even better, one of
DreadLab’s Spiral Ties. These spiral ties are made of ethically sourced wool and a bendable wire, which can adapt to any hairstyle and are gentle on your hair. Spiral ties are known in the dreadlocks community as the best tool ever to tie dreadlocks. DreadLab’s Spiral Ties come in 5 different lengths: 30, 40, 50, 60, and 80cm.


Dreadlab bendable spiral hair tie stack 10 different colours

 DreadLab’s Spiral Ties


 1.The ”Helicopter” Bun

Top-head buns are particularly loved by dreadheads, because they make their dreadlocks feel less heavy. The easiest way to create a bun is the “helicopter”: 

  1. Holding your hair upside down, divide them in two halves
  2. Turn one half around the roots of the other half until it’s all wrapped up
  3. Start wrapping the second half on itself. Secure everything with a spiral tie, ideally 60 or 80cm long


girl with dreadlocks walking away down a path with her hair tied up with a spiral hair tie

The helicopter bun, with loose tips, held by a 80cm Spiral Tie (black with green thread).


2.Folded Bun

 A common alternative to the helicopter bun is to just fold your dreads in two at the top or back of your head, secure it with a spiral tie or an elastic, and leave the tips flowing down. You can see the result in the picture below.


Girl with dreadlocks looking to the left with spiral hair tie in hair

 Folded bun with a 80cm Spiral Tie (black with red thread).


3.Half Bun

 For half buns a smaller size spiral tie will be enough, so get yourself a 30, 40 or 50cm long spiral tie. “Half buns” means that you’ll leave half or more of your dreadlocks loose, tying up only the ones on the top and on the front of your head. To create a half bun:

  1. Pull back a few dreads, as many as you like 
  2. Twist them in one big rope at the back of your head 
  3. Start wrapping the “rope” on itself to make a small bun 
  4. Secure it with the spiral tie


 4.Space Buns

 This hairstyle looks a bit like Sailor Moon’s hair, with two little buns on the top sides of your head, and is very common at festivals. To create it, divide your hair in the middle and follow the same instructions for the “half bun” above. To secure it, choose a pair of  30, 40 or 50cm long spiral ties.

5.Full Braid


girl looking away with dreadlocks with her hair braided and tied together with a spiral hair tie

Wearing the white 80cm Spiral Tie.


Creating a braid with dreadlocks is no different than creating it with loose hair. To secure the braid you can use a spiral tie of any of the lengths available: even the shortest spiral ties (30cm) are enough for this hairstyle.


 6.Half Braid

 To create a half braid, the same as for the “half buns” is valid: you’ll leave loose the dreadlocks at the back and work with the dreads from the front and top of your head. The result will look like the picture below. 

girl with dreadlocks looking away towards the sea

 Wearing the brown 80cm spiral tie on a half braid


 7.The “Pineapple”

 Dreadheads love this hairstyle because, similarly to the top bun, it allows the weight of your dreads to sit on your head so that they don’t pull down. It’s probably the easiest one to create, as you just need to hold your hair upside down and wrap them with your spiral tie. 


girl with dreadlocks looking down with her hair tied up with a bendable spiral hair tie

Here I’m wearing the 80cm black spiral tie with blue thread.



To make a ponytail, whether low or high, a shorter spiral tie might be enough. To create a ponytail using a spiral tie:

  1. Place your straightened spiral tie between your neck and all your dreadlocks, at the back of your neck
  2. Start folding the spiral tie around your dreads, pulling them up if you want a high ponytail
  3. Secure the spiral tie by wrapping it around


8.Spiral ties patterns on half ponytails

 The quickest hairstyle with dreadlocks is a half ponytail, where you pull back some of the dreadlocks from the front of your head in any way you like. This hairstyle is practical, because it keeps your hair from coming on your face, it’s quick to create and it always looks good. It can be as loose or as tight as you prefer, as you can see in the pictures below, and it opens the door for a lot of creativity with your spiral ties. 


4 different images of dreadlocks styled differently with a bendable spiral dread tie

Here I’m wearing the black, black with white thread, blonde and light pink Spiral Ties.

Tying your dreads without any accessory

Long dreadlocks can be tied with no accessories at all, so even if you forgot your elastic band or your spiral tie at home, you can pull back a few dreads from your temples, and make a simple knot with them on the back of your head. This is an easy, quick way to fix your hair so they don’t swing over your face, and it looks nice too.

 We hope you enjoyed this article. If you’re sharing your creations on Instagram, don’t forget the tag #DreadLab!


About the author

Margherita Orso Pletti - Italian dread maker, youtuber and blogger living in the UK. Creator of dreadhead.it, website in Italian about dreadlocks.
Girl with dreadlocks walking through trees