5 Easy Ways To Start Freeform Locs (Freeform Dreadlocks)

Are you thinking of free-forming your locs – dreadlocks? Here are some tips on getting started! And let’s take a holistic approach to this too 😀

The method of freeform locing is a way of starting and/or maintaining your natural hair. Some may say that freeforming should start from the very beginning of your locing journey – But really, it can be done at any stage of your loc progress. Let me share my thoughts on loc labels…

Since I started my locs in 2001, I have heard SO many definitions of what freeform, organic and neglect locs are. (Read This Post!) Personally, I don’t use the definition “neglect locs” for any form of locs or locing… I see organic locs as being locs that start and continue in a way where the hair is left to do its own thing (while still washing and using products) – No starting method, no root maintenance, just washing and allowing the locs to form from day 1. Whereas with freeform locs, I feel that locs can be started in any way (to part the hair into sections) and then left to loc alone (while washing and keeping them clean). So, the only difference is how you start the loc journey and then allowing the natural loc process to continue. In all forms of locing, keeping locs healthy and clean is key… So this is why the word “neglect” feels negative to me – Neglecting our natural hair by not cleaning and caring for it is not an option I reccomend to anyone. 

I’m a huge believer that the way you maintain your locs is a personal choice. Freeform locing does not mean that this method is superior/inferior to other forms of caring for your locs. 

On a personal level, I have always loved thicker locs with no scalp lines showing. Also, for my hair texture, thinner locs and regular maintenance of the roots can lead to my locs breaking off more easily – This method suits me perfectly. so I chose to freeform in my 1st set of locs (2001-2013) and now semi-freeform with my 2nd set (starting it in 2013).

Please check out my post on Loc Care: Freeform Locs ~ Everything You Need To Know! to get more information too.


Let me break this into 5 simple tips:

🌟 Start from day 1…

The most obvious option is to start from day 1 of your locing journey with healthy hair. At this point, all you have to do is wash and go and allow the locs to naturally form over time.

Or, you can start by sectioning off your natural hair in a way that suits you (for example: parting them into twists or braids etc) and then just letting them be.

🌟 Start freeforming at any stage of your locing…

It doesn’t matter what stage of the loc journey or how long you have been locing for – You can start freeforming or semi-freeforming ANY time.

The only thing I would say is that starting at a later stage can change your current loc appearance in general. The main thing most freeform locers will notice in the first months is their locs may become thicker or the pattern of their locs may change. This all depends on how you maintained them before, your natural hair texture and hair growth.

This is a fantastic space to really connect with your natural hair again in another way… You could use the first months to see how this method works for you.

🌟 Seni-Freeforming: Observe the gradual change…

Semi-freeforming is great to give you the freedom to maintain your roots when it suits you. Maybe you’re not ready to jump in straight away? Maybe you just want to have the choice to maintain them once in a while? Maybe you just want to maintain certain parts of your head only (for example: the hairline)?

Everyone’s experience and changes in their locs will be unique to hair texture, previous loc care etc. If you are curious as to how this will change your locs, a great way to start is to leave twice the amount of time between loc maintenance than usual and see how this changes your locs over the next 3 months. For example: If you normal twist your roots every 2 weeks, try to do it every 4 weeks/once a month.

This will give you space to see how your loc pattern/thickness/new growth/etc develop on their own. It will also allow you to see if you like this method and perhaps even want to try fully freeforming.

Semi-freeforming by only maintaining certain areas and keeping the rest fully freeform can also be a good option for some people. For example: Only maintain your roots in the front hairline and leave all your other locs to freeform fully.

🌟 Washing your locs more often is a BEAUTIFUL thing…

Firstly, there is no reason why anyone’s locs should be dirty and unwashed. This is a BIG NO-NO! And a stereotype that I totally hate hearing because it is NOT true. Locs are a wonderfully clean way of having natural hair.

Many locers may have a routine where they wash their locs according to their root maintenance routine. For example: Going to a hair salon to wash and re-twist every 2 weeks. This is all part of having a loc care routine.

The beauty about freeforming is that you can wash your locs anytime without having to maintain afterwards… For many, washing more often actually helps with the freeforming process and allows the roots to form and/or “locate” to the nearest loc naturally.

🌟 Another transition…

In the natural hair care community, we hear a lot about the transition stage between having relaxed hair to natural hair. But I believe that there are many transitions during the natural hair experience… and not just on a physical level too.

On a physical level, the natural hair transitions keep changing: Growing locs (from loose natural hair) is also a transition.  Going through all the different stages on the loc journey is a transition. Freeform locing is almost like another transition from having maintained locs to letting it all just be.

Then there are the transitions that happen internally: In every moment, we are learning about our Self and our Self love, which is another form of transition too… We dive deeper into exploring what beauty means to us. And how those around us also see beauty.

Freeforming can be an amazing tool for Self love! This way of having growing/maintaining your locs (for me) has been a process of really letting go… of my control of my curly-kinky hair, on how I want my locs to look like and on what other people (including those in the natural hair community!) feel about it.

Be open to see what you find along this journey: This is YOUR body, your life and your choice. Be open to what lessons it can bring and whether this is (or isn’t) something you want to use in your life. It’s all good! 😀


Happy Exploring! 💛



This digital journal is ready to download and print!

It includes pages for tracking your loc length, wash days, routines, loctician appointments, DIY and shop products, your health routines, daily and weekly journals, affirmations and more!


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