Crocheting is one of the most well known methods for making and maintaining dreadlocks, even though it is relatively new. Most salons use this method for its benefit of instant and super tidy dreads. A large percentage of dreadheads however, advise newbies to stay away from the crochet hook. Here’s a small review to help you decide what’s best for your head.
How it’s done: There’s two ways to make new dreads with crocheting. You separate the hair and slightly backcomb them to aid the locking or you simply crochet without backcombing. To crochet, you hold the dread (or hair to be dreaded) between your index finger and thumb and using a crochet hook of a size smaller than 1mm, you interlock the hairs to form knots. With vigorous repetition, you eventually get something that looks almost identical to a dread.
Take a look at this video to see how you can make crochet dreadlocks.
Why do it: You get instant and neat dreads on any type of hair without losing any significant length (unlike the backcombing method where you lose about half of the hair length).
Why avoid it: It does not give a natural look. The dreads look like woven and they need frequent maintenance to keep looking uniformly. Constant and improper use causes more hairs to break than to lock and this eventually leads to weak and unhealthy dreads. Extremely tight dreads created with crocheting prevent the hair from breathing and moving so it cannot lock naturally and it looks fake.
Here’s a picture of a head blooming with natural dread goodness:
Here’s what a head with crocheted locks looks like:
What I think: Natural dreadlocks look way nicer once locked but for some folks it might take years to mature and achieve neatness. For others it is impossible to lock so some intervention is needed. Crocheted dreads are instant and give tidy results but with frequent and improper use end up damaging the hair. I think that to get the benefits of crocheting without risking your dreads, you should use the smallest hook available (0.5-0.55mm) and you shouldn’t do maintenance work more than 6 times a year at first and 2 times a year later on. Also, don’t let just anyone play with the hook around your dreadlocks.