Making Dreadlocks with the 2 & 3 Strand Twist Method
Popular names for this method:
Not to be confused with the twisting methods. Double and triple strands twists are different but because they are executed in the same manner it makes sense to consider them as one method.
- Double Strand Twist
- Triple Strand Twist
- Locking Twist
- Double or Triple Twist
- Strand Twists
The strand twist method is gaining popularity for locking highly textured hair. Strand twists are less delicate than regular twists and not much more difficult to understand or to make with good instruction. Like standard twists, strand twists are really only ideal in highly textured African hair. Strand twists are used in much the same way that braids are used to start locks. The basic idea is that the strand twists hold the hair so that the roots can begin locking. The hair in the strand twist eventualy losens and begins to lock as well.
One advantage of strand twists over braids or plats is that the strand twist are a beautiful style in themselves as you wait for the dreads to lock, while braids tend to be somewhat plain in comparison. Another advantage of starting dreadlocks with strand twists is that despite the strand twists being visible in the finished dread (as with braids), strand twists tend to lock smoother and the finished loc-from-strand twist is visually more pleasing. As such there is no need to trim off the once strand twisted hair since it looks good after it has dreaded. Most report that strand twists also become dreadlocks faster than braids because the hair is not held as securely. One disadvantage is that strand twists are not as durable as braids.
The hair can all be sectioned and secured with bands or clips before the strand twisting to ensure that the sections come out even. Experienced locticians may just grab sections as they go instead of sectioning it a head of time. Because you can section the hair you have control over the size of the dreads you get. Larger sections grow larger dreads etc.
- 1. If you are sectioning the hair first use a comb or your fingers to section the hair. The larger the section the thicker the dreads. Keep sections square so dreads grow round, not flat. Secure the sections with a clip as you go.
- 2. After all the hair is sectioned separate a section into 2 or 3 parts depending on whether you want 2 or 3 strand twists. The basic motion and principal is the same for two and three strand twists, the only thing that changes is the number of strands you are working with. The dread cream should be applied to the hair when you are spinning the strand of the hair. Use enough cream to ensure that the entire length of the hair gets some. Beyond that, extra cream provides no additional benefit. Resist temptation to taste the Knatty Dread cream. (I know exactly how good it smells but you must resist.)
- 3. The idea behind strand twists is that each strand is twisted around in one direction (to the left in this example) and then it's passed around the other strands in the other direction (to the right). The two opposing twist directions push against each other helping the strand twist stay together. To explain this clearly we'll call each strand by name: A, B, & C. All three strands are layed out in order, from left to right. Hold the strands a couple inches from the root. You will keep some tension on them all the time so they do not un-twist. Start with strand A, spin it a couple times to the left (counter-clockwise). Now pass it over (not under) the other two strands so it ends up on the right side(beside strand C). When you pass it over you are essentially twisting it around the other strands in a clockwise direction. Don't worry if this doesn't make complete sense right now. It will soon.
- 4. The next step is to repeat with strand B. Because we just passed A over and to the right we now find strand B on the far left. Spin it a couple times to the left (counter-clockwise) and pass it over strands C and A so it ends up on the far right. In other words we are doing the exact same thing with strand B that we did a moment ago with strand A. Do you see where this is going? It's just that simple. Take each strand in turn, spin it counter-clockwise and pass it over the other strands (clockwise).
- 5. As you continue this pattern you'll begin to see a big fat spiral forming. Continue until you reach the end of the hair. Secure the strand twist at the bottom with a nice tight hair elastic. Finish the rest of the sections off the same way.
- 6. Over time the twists will loosen a bit and the hair will begin to lock. Your new growth will get longer and longer as the hair grows. Because you can not strand twist this new growth you'll need to use clockwise rubbing to help it lock up. You can also use the retwisting method but clockwise rubbing usually leads to dreadlocks quicker than re-twisting.
2 & 3 Strand Twists Step by Step
A wide range of lengths work well for making dreads with strand twists. Hair 2-3" or longer is ideal. Unlike starting from braids, most people do not trim the hair that started out in the strand twist.
To fix this clearly in your mind imagine a big hot air baloon being held down by 3 ropes that are help by three kids below. The kids are standing evenly spaced out on a big circle painted on the ground. If they all begin walking to the left, the ropes get twisted around and around. If they let go of the ropes the ropes would untwist easily. This would be a regular twist. To make it a "3 strand twist" each of the kids would twhirl around to the right (clockwise) while they walk around the circle to the left (counter clockwise). This makes a tighter twist because as the rope tries to untwist itself it holds the twist together. When they let go the twist would stay. This is how a strand twist works.
I recommend three strand twists over two strand twist because they tend to be more durable and they require about the same amount of effort.
What about 2 strand twists? If you can do a three strand twist you can do a two strand twist. Everything is exactly the same with one exception. In a two strand twis you only work with two strands of hair. The strands are still twisted in the same way and passed over the other strands in the same way. The finished result of a two strand twist will look very similar. I recommend three strand twists over two strand twist because they tend to be more durable and they require about the same amount of effort.
The quality of the loc cream used, your activity level and how rough you are with the dreads will determine how long the strand twists will stay tight. High activity level and sweating can cause strand twists to loosen although they will hold up much better than regular twists would in the same conditions. If these activities are part of your lifestyle and you find yourself washing your dreadlocks frequently you may want to cover your strand twists with a nylon stocking cap that holds your twists securely, especially while they are young. Rinse or wash sweaty locks though a stocking as mentioned on the dreadlocks shampoo page. If you can find a loc cream that provides a longer lasting, fresher or tighter feeling than my Knatty Dread cream I want to know about it! For quite some time now I appear to have a leg up on the competition! Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Why spin the strands to the left and pass them over each other twisting them to the right?
Sticking to a set pattern will keep the direction consistent, is 90% of the reason. The direction that the hair grows should match the direction of the body of the twist rather than the direction of the twist of the strand. Clockwise (the way explained in the directions above) is preferable to Counter-Clockwise because more people have circular growth patters that run in the clockwise direction. (Supposedly 70% of us) So this direction works with the natural direction of our hair.
Hair elastics are snag-free rubber bands that are made out of a stretchy plastic.