Ultimate Guide to Semi Freeform Dreads

Written By Bakes

Avid writer on Men's Hair, Grooming, and Lifestyle!

The true essence of freeform dreads is not separating your hair at all, in other words hair forms and matts together naturally. So what about semi freeform dreads? How would you define this to the untrained eye? While it may be hard to tell there are distinctions between them which we cover!



What are Semi Freeform Dreads

Semi freeform dreads are a type of dreadlock usually started by twisting hair either using a towel, sponge or other method which is afterwards left to form by itself.

semi freeform dreads throughout the years

This essentially is the main difference between those with traditional and freeform dreads.

Traditional dreadlocks were started with a parting system and method such as interlocking or palm rolling which would determine the size of the dreads.

Semi freeform is quite the opposite, though dreads can be maintained by palm rolling the initial start focuses on not creating equal size dreads and letting them form naturally.



Difference between Semi Freeform and Freeform

The main difference between semi freeform and freeform Is that with freeform dreads 0 manipulation is done whilst semi freeform uses a method at the initial start to twist hair which acts as the foundation for how dreads will appear.

In other words you will have a better idea how dreads will form when you semi freeform your dreads but with freeform you will have no idea as your hair will do its own thing.


To better help you understand let’s use Bob Marley’s Dreads and J Cole Dreads as an example


J Cole (Semi Freeform) – From the images we can see that Coles dreads were started with a sponge and then finger twisted which led to his hair maturing with some manipulation at the start.

Bob Marley (Freeform) – From the images we can see 0 manipulation took place hence why some dreads are bigger than the others.



Are Wicks Semi Freeform Dreads?

Yes they are!


Remember to be fully free formed means no manipulation must have taken place prior too which is not the case when it comes to wicks dreadlocks.

Wicks dreadlocks are predominately started in 2 main ways which tends to be the Crochet Hook or Combine Method.

Afro hair is sectioned or dreads are combined, either way hair was manipulated for the wicks dreads look.




Pros & Cons of Semi Freeform

Each dreadlock style will come with its own pros and cons, regarding Semi freeform


  • Dreads and roots will be thicker
  • Retwisting occasionally after every 4-6 months or more
  • Washing can be as little as every 3 months
  • Minimal Breakage due to minimal manipulation
  • Minimal Upkeep



  • Limited Styles (Yes you can still style your hair however you just won’t have as many options as someone with traditional dreads)
  • Potential for loose hair to come out of the dreads
  • More of a unkept appearance (BUT this could be a pro, depending on your personality and preference)
  • The hairstyle comes with misconceptions and judgement which can be annoying



How to get Semi Freeform Dreads

Semi freeform dreads can be started in a variety of ways and we have seen many examples, however we will walk you through how to get semi freeform dreads as if you were a newbie with a short to medium afro as we have seen this to be the most common.


Step 1: Cleanse Hair

Start your hair off with a good foundation! Make sure it’s clean. Ensure you use the right shampoo which is free of harsh chemicals


There are very big misconceptions that dreads aren’t washed and are dirty! This is WRONG!

We would argue that since dreads are more prone to dirt, build-up and can easily latch onto things you must be that much more cautious with them when it comes to hygiene.   



Step 2: Sponge, Towel or Finger Twist

Now that hair is clean you’re going to want to take a sponge and in a circular motion rotate it around your entire head!

sponge twists

In the video below were able to see the starting foundation for this hairstyle!



Step 3: Leave it to Mature

Maybe the easiest and hardest stage simultaneously.

dreadlocks matting

Easy since all you must do is leave it to grow and do its own thing

Hard since most of your life you have been used to styling your hair in different ways or cutting it. Some form of manipulation to your hair has occurred so you’re having to retrain your brain to let go and let nature do its thing.

With that said you will learn to appreciate the journey and appreciate each stage of your dreads.

Ensure you visit a loctitian once every 3 months for a wash and retwist to ensure the health of your hair is in order and growing perfectly.



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