Hair: Geneva Cowen
Makeup: Lorina Alailefaleula (photo credit: Shalem Mathew)
Hair: Geneva Cowen Makeup: Lorina Alailefaleula (photo credit: Shalem Mathew)Shalem Mathew

There's a false perception that dreadlocks are easy to maintain when in actuality, they're anything but. 

Proper maintenance can be time-consuming and tedious; keeping dreadlocks clean and healthy is a lot more work than most people might be up for. On top of that, the removal process requires either cutting them all off entirely or painstakingly picking them out, which can take several hours.

As an alternative, Geneva Cowen, artistic director for Sam Villa, has crafted a way to manipulate wool into dreadlocks for less of a commitment than authentic dreadlocks.

“I’ve been obsessed with fiber for the past year, and when working with different kinds of wool, I realized how beautiful it looks when incorporated into human hair," Cowen says. "The above dreads were created with wool batts produced on a drum carder. When the fiber comes off the drum, it creates a blanket or fabric esthetic which is traditionally used for spinning yarn."

Cowen suggests searching Etsy for "art batts" or "wool batts," looking for local fiber retailers that might customize so you can create your own color patterns, or investigating local weavers or spinners.

How to make the dreadlocks using fiber batts

STEP 1: Peel fiber length-wise for desired length.

STEP 2: Roll fiber between hands to create a dread-like rope.

STEP 3: Pin pieces into hair to create texture and dimension.

Cowen has used the above steps to create dreadlocks and jumpstart clients who do what authentic dreadlocks. Having the well-formed fiber-batt dreadlocks from the start makes an easier transition to real dreadlocks.

How to incorporate faux dreadlocks into natural hair

STEP 1: Take a 1/4- to 1/2-inch section of hair.

STEP 2: Apply Redken Powder Grip 03 at the base of the section. Back-comb and twist the section for the first two rotations.

STEP 3: Take a section of the wool and begin back-combing and twisting the section into the hair section. Roll the two sections between your palms as you go down the length of the hair to compress the fibers.

STEP 4: Apply Redken Powder Grip 03 continually until the end of the dreadlock.

Pro tip: Wool repels water and shrinks in heat, so these faux dreadlocks would only be a temporary style for a client or model. If they try to shower and dry them at home, they will become very difficult to remove.

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