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Dread Beads: Our Guide to Choosing Sizes & Decorating New Dreads

One of the most exciting things about getting dreads (as if that’s not exciting enough!) is decorating them. And the great thing is that you can start wearing dreadlock beads straight away. Yay! From new baby dreads to mature dreads, you can pop some beads in to add colour and style to your locs without any permanence. Not only can you get dread beads for any size dread but you can swap and change them as you change your outfit!

One of the most asked questions we get about dread beads is “What size bead should I go for?” and “Can I wear beads on my new dreads?”. The answer is yes, you can wear them on new dreads but there are a few things to consider to get the perfect beads for you. Here goes!

Can I Wear Beads on New Dreadlocks?

You can wear dreadlock beads on your new dreads but there are a few points to consider first. When your dreadlocks are new they need time to mature and tighten up. In order for dreads to tighten up, they need friction. Friction such as palm rolling, rubbing on your pillow, putting on your clothes (basically any rubbing of the dreadies!) will help to tighten up your dreadlocks and aid the locking process. So, when you put on beads, these will be covering certain areas of your dreadlocks and the hair covered up will lack friction on that area.  When a part of your new dreadlock is consistently covered by a bead it could cause damage in the long run such as weak spots as that area has not had chance to mature. Give each part of your dreads a chance to mature properly by regularly moving the bead to a different part of the dread or swapping the beads to another dreadlock.

Which Hole Size Should I Choose?

When searching for dreadlock beads your first consideration should be the hole size. The hole size you choose depends on the thickness of your dreadlocks.

When choosing the correct hole size for your dreadlock beads you will need to measure the width of your dreads. Grab a ruler and a dread and measure your dreadlocks’ width from one side to another. It’s absolutely normal to have some dreads thicker than others so measuring a few dreads and choosing a variety of hole sizes if necessary is a great idea.

An ideal dreadlock bead hole diameter should be 1-2mm shorter than the thickness of your dread.  So, if you have 8mm thick dreadlocks, a 6mm-7mm hole size should fit perfectly. This method should result in the bead sitting comfortably in your hair without falling out.  It must be tight enough that it doesn’t fall off when you flick your dreads around yet loose enough to be able to slide it up and down your dread

You may find that you will need a larger hole size further up your dreads but a smaller hole size will sit nicely nearer the end.

Make Sure Your Dread Beads Aren’t too Tight!

It is important to not wear a dread bead that is too tight for your dreadlocks too.

One reason being is that if a bead is too tight you may not be able to take it off again. Too small a dreadlock bead can also cause damage to the hair underneath the bead.

As your dreads grow and mature they will become slightly thicker and denser over time so you may notice that the beads that fit perfectly when you had them done are now too small. We recommend that you remove the beads when they start to get too tight because if they are left in there your dreadlock may start to mature around the bead and you will be unable to get it out.

Do I Need to Take My Beads Out When I Wash My Hair?

When you wash your hair we would recommend taking your beads out if you can. When your dreads have been washed we cannot stress how important it is to dry them properly (to get your technique mastered, read our guide on washing your dreads and mimising breakage). If your beads are not removed when you wash your dreads, the hair underneath the bead may not get the opportunity to dry properly which can cause problems such as mould. If you keep your beads in when you wash your hair ensure that you move them to a different position on your dread while they dry properly.

Looking for Some Unique, Handmade Dreadlock Beads?

We have a wide range of dreadlock beads here at Hippy Happy Dreadlocks that have been sourced from around the world. There is so much choice from including ceramic, metal, polymer clay as well as wooden and gemstone dread beads. These come in a range of different colours and sizes from 5mm-14mm. Can’t see what you’re after? Send us a message and we may be able to source/ create what you're looking for!

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