5 Tips for Adding Highlights to Dreadlocks

If you have dreadlocks, you do not need to stop your highlighting routine. While you may have to approach your dreadlocks slightly differently than you would approach highlighting loose hair, you can still achieve a deep, textured look through the use of color. 

If Possible, Highlight before Starting the Dreading Process 

If you haven't started the process of dreading your hair yet and think you may want the depth and texture that highlights can give you, you should consider adding highlights before you start the dreading process. Most hairdressers have much more experience adding highlights to loose hair than to dreadlocks. This way, your hairdresser can use their standard techniques to give you thorough coverage. Additionally, once you begin dreading your hair, each dread will have a variety of colors, giving much more depth to each dread than you would get if you waited to highlight your hair after it was dreaded. 

Familiarize Yourself with the Options for Adding Highlights to Already Dreaded Hair

Once your hair is dreaded, you still have several options for adding highlights to your look. Three of the more common approaches are to

  • highlight loose hair. Depending on your method for creating dreadlocks, it is likely that you will have small sections of loose hair between your dreadlocks on occasion. You can highlight these sections of hair and then either leave them loose for a wild, free look or crochet them into your dreadlocks for a tight and put-together look. 
  • highlight the tips. You may choose to highlight just the tips of your dreadlocks. This is especially common if the tips of your dreadlocks feature loose hair as opposed to rounded tips. 
  • highlight entire dreadlocks. Just like with loose hair, you can use the foil-placement technique to add color to entire dreadlocks. With this technique, it is important to cover the entire exterior of the dreadlock, but you do not have to worry about saturating the dreadlock with color as the interior does not need to be colored. 

Whichever method of highlighting you choose, it is important that you follow basic highlighting concepts. For example, adding more than one highlight color or highlights and lowlights will give you a more natural, textured appearance. 

Consider Adding Synthetic or Wool Color to Your Dreadlocks 

One advantage to dreadlocks is that you do not need to add chemical color to your hair if you do not want to. Instead, you can add highlights to your hair by adding synthetic hair or wool directly to your dreadlocks. This method allows you to add color into your dreadlocks or completely cover your dreadlocks with various colors. However, it is important to note that you will not be able to remove the extra material without undoing your dread completely. 

Be Aware of Damaging Your Dreadlocks 

Many people assume that the more they damage their dreadlocks, the more tightly they will lock. While it is true that slightly damaged hair is coarser than most healthy hair, if you damage your hair too much it will become brittle and you will risk your dreadlocks breaking. Because of this, it is important that you follow standard rules for lightening your hair. For example, if you would like extreme highlights, you may need to complete two or more treatments instead of leaving the highlighting solution on for a longer period of time than usual.

Skip the Protective Conditioner 

Most salons offer a protective conditioner after adding highlights. If you have dreadlocks, you will most likely want to skip this conditioner. It can cause your hair to become smooth and stop knotting, especially if your dreadlocks are new. However, if your dreadlocks are fully locked and tight, an occasional conditioning rinse should not harm them. 

If you do not have experience with highlights, it is important to go to a skilled hairdresser to add highlights or any other color changes to your dreadlocks. Contact a representative from a place like Hott Heads Salon to get started.