Sectioning and Sizing

As mentioned on the Dread Methods page, sectioning is one of the most important considerations if you are looking in getting dreadlocks. A lot of dread heads run head-long into the process without realizing the consequences of a haphazard sectioning job. Sectioning is the foundation of your dreadlock journey and is a springboard that will determine the ease and ability to maintain them as they grow and mature. So if you want to give your dreadlocks-to-be the best possible start (and lifetime), please read on!

The two patterns we prefer and have always used is the brick pattern and the fan pattern. We used the brick pattern for nearly a year before discovering the fan-pattern which we now use almost exclusively.

There are a couple different tools that you can use to aid you in your sectioning pursuits. Some individuals will use a regular comb (dread comb) to do it. However, we much prefer what is called a ‘rat-tail comb’ which is a comb that has a long, pointy handle. This type of comb allows for the greatest precision when it comes to getting your sections just right. Many people will do all of the sectioning before they get into the dreading portion of the initial placement with rubber bands and then go back and take out each band to dread as they go.

Our experience has been that using rubber bands for this purpose can be just as painful as the process itself. And we don’t need to make it any worse! (Although some methods are much more comfortable than others.) Our preference is to simply section as we go using hair clips to hold the hair out of my way that we are not ready to dread yet. However, if you really want to section everything ahead of time (and if this is your first time, that’s probably a good idea!) consider picking up some tiny hair clips for the job OR pick up some handy nail scissors to cut the bands out instead of trying to pry them out like you would normally. Your scalp will thank you for it!

All of the images in this section are intended only as general guidelines. It bears mentioning that when we, personally, are working on a client I ALWAYS take into consideration the natural part and fall of the hair. We feel it is usually best to try to work WITH the natural part (as in make an effort to place your sections using the parts that your hair falls into already on the top of the head). We will often arrange the sectioning on the crown of the head (this spans from the top of the temple and upwards to cover the entire top of the head) around the natural part. If you feel confident enough to do this you should consider doing so. Dreadlocks that are created OVER an existing, natural part have a tendency to try to grow split and not lock very nicely as they grow out.

Section Sizing Chart

The figures in this chart are based on an AVERAGE thickness hair. Thinner hair will have small sized dreadlocks than given with the corrolating section size. Likewise, thicker hair will have larger-sized dreadlocks than given for the corrolating section size. (How do you determine the thickness of your hair? Pull it into a ponytail. How … Read more

Grab n’ Go Sectioning

We have done the ‘grab-n-go’ sectioning for a few people who requested it because they were looking for something that looked a little more ‘organic’ and ‘freeform’ without actually being that way. It is exactly what it sounds like — grabbing a section and then going with it! The caveat to this technique is that you have … Read more

Triangle Pattern


THE TRIANGLE PATTERN The triangle pattern  generally gives better scalp coverage than the grid pattern and the brick-lay pattern, but a bit less coverage than the fan pattern. The long/bottom edge of each triangle lines up with an inverted triangle in the row above/below. However, any straight line in sectioning with create less organic-looking results. … Read more

Fan Pattern

FAN PATTERN  The fan pattern is, in our opinion, the best in that it allows for the least operator error. Due to the way each subsequent row falls between the one beneath it like fish scales makes for a highly regular pattern that is easy to work with and, even better, makes for the best … Read more

Brick Lay Pattern

BRICK-LAY PATTERN  The brick-lay pattern, as far scalp coverage is concern, takes a huge leap ahead of the grid pattern. In this pattern the square sections are staggered, like the bricks in a brick wall (thus the name) so that the dreadlocks in each subsequent row fall between the row beneath them. However, I have … Read more

Grid Pattern*

GRID PATTERN* Grid sectioning, despite being the pattern shown on one of the more popular dreadlock sites on the web, is generally speaking NOT the best choice. Although this method does allow for easy maintenance, the aesthetic result of this pattern is usually very undesirable. With each row and column stacked like a grid, the … Read more