Lock-Up-Dates Backcombing Checklist

Lock Up Dates

The Backcombing Checklist
Start at the front or the back and examine each dread. Make sure the following is true for each of your dreads to be:
  • They should not have any large holes that you can stick a pencil through.

  • The knots should be packed closely together & it should be very difficult to push the comb into the dread.

  • The dreads should appear to have knots all the way down - no parts with straight hair that look "normal" and un-knotted.

  • The knots should continue through the center of the dread - not just on the surface with straight hair inside (occurs with larger sections in coarse hair)

  • The dreads should have lost roughly the same amount of length. If some came out way shorter they may be "poofy palm trees" that will have crazy loops and issues later.


If you have any of this stuff above going on you're going to save yourself a lot of time if you can fix it now! I know, I know - your patience is wearing thin - you've been at this for hours already. I wouldn't ask you to do it if it wasn't really important. You'll thank me later when your dreads lock up fast and don't need to be restarted!! =]


Here's how to fix dreads that have the problems mentioned above. What we're going to be doing is called "Re-Backcombing". You'll here warnings about re-backcombing from me later on. The reason for the warnings is that it re-starts the progress of your dreads. Right now that's not a big deal - they are only a few minutes old. Re-backcombing becomes a problem when people re-backcomb every week. Their dreads never lock up because the knots are never able to compress and tighten for more than a week.

Re-backcombing is best done right now - when the knots are brand new and the hair is easy to knot. You start at the roots of the dread and you backcomb the first inch, packing the knots down toward the roots. You will eventually move all the knots down and you'll create a loose spot above the new, tightly packed knots.

Move up the dread, just a few centimeters above where you started before and begin pushing those knots down toward the roots and packing them nice and tight. The loose area will be larger now as the knots are pushed away from it. You can check and make sure that the newly packed knots are tight enough that the comb can't be pushed through them.

Continue this process until you've re-packed all the knots down nice and tight. When you get to the tip your are done. If you know that you won't be finishing all the backcombing and waxing during this session it's a very good idea to put the rubberbands on now, before you wax. You would normally put the bands on after you wax so the wax can get under the band instead of on the bands but it's more important to have the bands on keeping things tight if you're going to be sleeping on the dreads and finishing them the next day. We'll be discussing the finer points of using rubberbands for dreading later on, for now you'll find three great links about how to use rubber bands for your dreads on this page.

Now you are really ready for wax, you have some sick knots - tight as tight can be and you're ready to work that wax in and begin the tightening/compressing phase. After you apply tha wax come back to the second half of this Lock-Up-Date for your post-waxing tips...