How to… Fake Dreadlocks

fake dreadlocks on girl


Let’s face it: Dreadlocks on girls look SO cool.

And it seems to be a big trend too these days, with actresses Zendaya and Zoe Kravitz all sporting dreadlocks.

However, dreadlocks – the real kind – can be a major commitment, and so here’s the next best thing: faking dreadlocks.

Yep, you can totally fake dreadlocks; as you can see actress Jennifer Aniston once did it on the red carpet (below) and it looked great! Here’s how:

How to make fake dreadlocks

fake-dreadlocks-hair-gel1. Get the right products. First and foremost, you gotta get the right products. And the first thing is a good hair gel. The men in my life all recommend Gatsby for the best hold, which the original, Gatsby Wet & Hard Styling Gel, being the best. If you’d like your dreads to look more matte (which I prefer) then try out the Gatsby Mat Type Styling Wax.

2. Preparation. Start by dividing dry hair in half, from your ear downwards and clip, leaving one section – the section that you will start working on loose. Clip the very top section of your hair up and away from your face.

3. Load up on hair gel. With the loose section ready to be ‘done’ up, take 1 inch sections of the hair (or if you want smaller dreads, 0.5 inches) and apply a quarter coin size of strong hair gel.

Jennifer Aniston fake dreadlocks4. Teasing it up! Once that section of hair is full of hair gel, roll it between your palms, as if you’re making a play doh snake (you remember how to do that from your childhood, right?). Roll them until they are fairly stuck together. Allow to dry for a split second (maybe 10 seconds) and with a fine-toothed comb, gently tease the rolled up pieces of hair going upwards, tip to the root of your hair, to messy the style a bit more – this technique is called “backcombing”, which is very damaging to hair, so you might wanna read How to… Backcomb Hair Without Damaging It.

Let it dry, and do the same with every section of hair until your whole head is full of your lovely fake dreads.

5. Finish off with a light mist of hairspray. You will need a gentle hairspray that holds, yet doesn’t interfere with the hair gel. L’Oreal’s Elnett  Satin Hairspray is a hairstylist’s favorite and a “cult” product for a reason – in my opinion, it’s the best hairspray ever made.

And that’s just it; 5 easy steps. It’s a long process and can be quite messy, but this works temporarily. To remove your dreadlocks, in the shower, completely saturate your hair with conditioner first (conditioner loosens it up much better than shampoo), then use a wide tooth comb to gently go through the tangles. Next shampoo, condition and rinse off.

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  • Nayla Khatib

    So glad I’m not the only one who is obsessing over dreadlocks. I want to, but…the commitment is scary. I would like to get some fake hair to add on as volume though so im still thinking about it hahaha

    • Renee / Beautifille

      I love dreadlocks too, they look super cool – but same, there’s no way I will get it done “for real”, it’s just too much commitment. That’s I love doing “fake” ones :)

      • Nayla Khatib

        Weird. I thought I’d get an email notifying me you replied but I didn’t….hmm I just came back to re read this though lol.
        Ive been saving dreadlock photos and I wanna do a few art pieces on it soon! I’ll try doing fake dreads this weekend and if they’re successful I’ll send you a photo!

        • Renee / Beautifille

          Oh that’s strange, sorry! Did you click “subscribe” underneath this comment box? I think you can subscribe to comments when clicking that.

          Oh gosh, PLEASE send me photos if you do get them done, I’d love to see (and I am sure you will look awesome). Good luck! If you need any more help let me know x

  • Julia

    A lot of other tutorials recommend using a straightening iron over the dreads. Do you recommend doing this?

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey Julia! I suppose a flat iron could help in making the dreads look more “rounded” (since my instructions are for backcombing, and a more messy-dreads style), but I would choose either one – either backcomb (like my method) or use a flat iron… both is way too damaging for the hair, I’d think!

  • Julia

    Also do you reccomend doing this on clean hair or hair that hasn’t neen washed for a few days

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Great question! I never thought of that. If you do it on clean hair, you might need to use more hair product and do more backcombing, which is damaging.

      If you do it on hair that hasn’t been washed a few days, that might work better as there is more texture and grit, so you can probably use less hair gel and backcomb less, so overall that could be less damaging. However, if you do do it on “dirty hair” – I’d recommend to get the fake dreads out within 1-2 days, don’t leave it on too long – it’ll be very dirty!