The Length Myth: Why Dreadlocks Grow Faster Than Natural Hair


Why Dreadlocks Grow Faster Than Natural Hair

There is a common misconception that, in comparison to normal hair, dreadlocks grow out more quickly since they appear to have a faster growth rate. However, is there any basis for accepting this belief? In this article, we will delve into the science of hair growth and investigate the reasons why dreadlocks grow faster than natural hair.

Understanding Hair Growth

Hair growth is the natural process by which hair follicles produce new hair cells. Older cells are pushed up the follicle by these new cells. Eventually, hair will grow out from the head. For most people, their hair grows about 0.5 inches every month, but this can change based on their genes, age, hormones, overall health, and how they take care of their hair.

Phases of Hair Growth

There are three main phases of hair growth:

  • Anagen Phase: It takes the most time for hair to grow during the anagen phase, which is called the growth phase. There are different lengths of time that the anagen phase can last. The hair shaft makes new hair cells during this phase.
  • Catagen Phase: The catagen phase is the phase of change, and it lasts for two weeks. It is during this time that the hair follicle starts to get smaller and separate from the dermal papilla, which gives it blood.
  • Telogen Phase: It lasts for about three months and is called the telogen phase. This is the stage when the hair shaft stops making new hair cells, and the hair falls out.
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As soon as a hair falls out, the hair cell will go back into the anagen phase and start making new hair. A group of hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol, control the hair growth period. These hormones can change how long each stage of hair growth lasts, and they can also make hair loss worse.

Factors That Can Affect Hair Growth

  • Genetics: Hair growth is largely determined by genes. If someone in your family has lost their hair, you are more likely to lose your hair too.
  • Age: Our hair grows more slowly as we get older. This can cause hair loss and thin hair.
  • Hormones: There are several ways that hormones can change the way hair grows. Hair loss can happen because of changes in hormone levels during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, among other things.
  • Health in general: Your health in general can also affect hair growth. Hair loss can be caused by things like not getting enough iron, having thyroid disease, or having an eating problem.
  • Hair care habits: The way you take care of your hair can also affect how fast it grows. Some things that can hurt hair and cause hair loss are harsh chemicals, heat styling, and wearing your hair in a tight style.

Why Dreadlocks Appear to Grow Faster Than Natural Hair

Hair growth is consistent, around half an inch per month, and dreadlocks don’t alter this process. The key is hair retention, not growth rate. For natural hair, loose hair is shed regularly, which is removed by brushing or combing, and for dreadlocks, their intertwined nature traps shed hairs, adding to the overall length of the dreadlock.

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The Illusion of Faster Growth in Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks retain shed hair but still experience new hair growth at the root, just like in loose hair. This adds to the visible length, creating the illusion of faster growth. Other contributing factors include reduced split ends, which are less common in dreadlocks, and a change in texture, which can cause hair to coil and become more compact, making it appear like hair is growing faster than it is.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Why Dreadlocks Grow Faster Than Natural Hair

1. Do dreadlocks grow faster than natural hair?

Dreadlocks don’t grow faster than natural hair; the growth rate depends on genetics, health, and care. However, they appear to grow faster because they show full length without the shrinkage common in curly or coily hair.

2. Why do people think dreadlocks grow faster?

People often perceive that dreadlocks grow faster because the locked hair doesn’t shrink or coil up as it would in its loose, natural state. This makes the length more visible and noticeable.

3. How does the locking process affect hair length?

The locking process eliminates the shrinkage that curly and coily hair types typically experience, making the length more apparent. As the hair continues to grow, it adds to the length of the dreadlock without recoiling.

4. Does the care routine for dreadlocks influence hair growth?

Yes, maintaining a healthy scalp and reducing hair breakage through proper care can promote better hair growth. Dreadlocks can protect the hair from damage, which might give the impression of faster growth.

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5. How can I ensure healthy growth for my dreadlocks?

To ensure healthy growth, maintain a clean scalp, use residue-free shampoos, keep the dreadlocks moisturized, avoid excessive tension or tight hairstyles, and get regular maintenance to prevent breakage.

6. Are there any specific products that promote faster growth for dreadlocks?

While no product can speed up the natural hair growth rate, products that promote a healthy scalp, such as natural oils (e.g., jojoba, castor oil) and residue-free shampoos, can create an optimal environment for hair growth.

7. Can the weight of dreadlocks impact hair growth?

The weight of mature, long dreadlocks can sometimes put tension on the scalp, potentially leading to traction alopecia if not managed properly. Regular maintenance and avoiding excessively heavy locks can prevent this issue.

8. Do dreadlocks require special care to grow long and healthy?

Yes, dreadlocks require specific care to grow long and healthy. This includes regular washing, conditioning, and avoiding products that cause buildup. Proper care helps prevent breakage and maintains scalp health.

9. How does the initial locking method affect hair growth?

The initial locking method affects the appearance and maintenance of dreadlocks. Techniques like backcombing, twisting, ripping, and crocheting influence lock tightness and growth. Proper methods ensure healthy growth without excessive breakage.

10. Can hair type influence how dreadlocks grow?

Yes, hair type can influence the appearance and formation of dreadlocks. Coarser, curlier hair types tend to lock more easily and quickly, which can make the growth more noticeable compared to finer hair types.


Dreadlocks won’t suddenly make your hair grow faster, but they can help you keep the length and show off your hair’s full beauty. Your dreadlocks can grow long and healthy if you take good care of them. They will also give your look something unique and stylish. So, the next time someone tells you dreadlocks grow faster, you can confidently explain the science behind the myth. Dreadlocks are a beautiful haircut, and the fact that they seem to grow quickly is just proof of how well they keep hair length!

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