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Starting Dreadlocks with Extensions

Yarn Braid Extension

If you want locks and a.) have a perm and don’t want to cut it or b.) think you want them but are not completely sure consider starting your locks with yarn extensions. Yarn braids (a.k.a Nu Locs) are simply extension braids that are braided with acrylic yarn instead of synthetic hair. You really only need an inch or two of hair.

From the beginning the matte finish of the yarn give the appearance of having locked hair and over time the yarn braids look more and more like locks. So you would get a good idea of how you look in locks and if they are for you.

If you decide to lock your hair just maintain (twist or intertwine) until it gets to a length where you are ready to cut off the extension ends.

Washing Them

You can wash yarn braids as soon as they are put in. Because the ends of the hair are burnt you don’t have to worry about your hair coming a loose no matter what type of hair you have.


As your hair grows out you can maintain the new growth by twisting it or by using a tool to intertwine the hair.


You can use this method to lock hair that is hard to lock (straight, wavy and relaxed hair).

There is no worry of locks coming undone.

You only need to be concerned with maintaining the new growth.

You don’t have to go through the short stage. You can leave the braids in as long as you want.

If you know how to put in extensions you can easily do this at home.

If not most natural hair care salons will put in Nu Locs/Yarn Braids.

It usually cost between $120 to $250 to get them done.

If you decide to intertwine the roots the braids will stay neat through washings.

You can wash your hair immediately

The base of your braids will stay neat through washing. You will usually only have to retighten your hair with a tool every four to six weeks.


Depending on your hairs color and texture, when the hair starts growing out you may see a noticeable difference between the lock color and texture and the braids. Just get a yarn that matches or complements your hair.

You will have to cut off the braids with any hair that is in them. If you just have relaxed hair then that is no problem. You may want to think twice about this if you have a substantial amount of natural hair. If your hair hasn’t matted to the yarn by the time you take down/cut off the braids, you could use the interlock technique to intertwine the hair that was in the braid.

Having braids can give you a false sense of security and you may run the risk of not maintaining your hair as well as you would have it you started you locks with another method.

How To Start Locks with Yarn Braids/Nu Locs

You will need:

  • Comb
  • Clips for sectioning hair
  • Acrylic yarn to match/complement your hair’s color, cut to twice the desired length.
  • Scissors
  • Braid sealer/Lighter to burn the end


1. Start out with clean freshly washed hair.

2. Start in the back of your head.

3. Section off a piece of hair of hair.

(Note: you will want to make this section a little bit larger than you normally would for yarn locks. If you don’t , the forming lock will be substantially thinner than the braid. The weight of the braid could cause it to thin and break. )

4. Braid yarn into hair and braid to end.

5. You can either burn/seal your ends as you go or do them all at once to make sure that they are even. If you are going to burn them all at once, tie a knot in the end to keep the braid from coming a loose.

6. Repeat until you are done.


Back to Locks and Locking Page

Back to Natural Hair Care Guide Home Page

Comments (1)add comment
t_solo: ...
with time does the yawn and new growth start to look like real locks?

March 08, 2012
Votes: +1

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