Dreadlock Rubber Bands Pros and Cons

Rubber Band Dreads – How-to Guide plus the Pros and Cons

Using Dreadlock Rubber Bands can help to manage your loose hair HOWEVER, if used improperly, Rubber Bands can also cause problems! We’re going to discuss everything you need to know about Rubber Band Dreads and how to prevent the problems of misuse.


Different types of Rubber Bands for Dreadlocks


Before we get into the “why and how” portion of this post we must explain that there are two main types of rubber bands you are likely to find.

Neither of these two types of rubber bands are better or worse. Each type is just different and has different pros and cons associated with Dreadlocks.

Rubber Bands

  • Made out of rubber
  • Grips hair well
  • Very flexible
  • Stretches out over time
  • Easier to be consumed by the hair
  • Can easily turn into a gooey substance if left in too long

Elastic Bands

  • Well known for using on braces
  • More of a plastic feeling
  • Won’t turn into a gooey mess like standard rubber bands
  • Less flexible
  • Won’t over stretch like standard rubber bands
  • Doesn’t grip hair like standard rubber bands

Dreadlock Rubber Bands Guidelines


1. Don’t make the rubber bands too loose or too tight!

Elastic rubber bands that are too loose are ineffective and tend to slide off, which is just a waste of time. However, elastic bands that are too tight (especially at the roots) can inhibit the locking process, restricting hair movement to form the knots needed for dreadlocks.

Standard rubber bands that are too loose are sometimes effective due to the “grippy” nature of the rubber itself, which holds onto the hair better than elastics. However, when these rubber bands are made too tight it can also restrict hair movement therefore restricting the locking process.

It’s good to find a middle ground. Experiment with different tightness until you find a happy medium where the hair is held in place without being too tight to restrict hair movement within the dreadlock itself.


2. Do not leave rubber bands in dreadlocks for too long.

Leaving standard rubber bands in dreadlocks for an extended period of time may lead to the dreadlock “eating” or “absorbing” the rubber band into the dreadlock. The hair simply starts to cover and consume the rubber band. This will result in making it very difficult, almost impossible to remove the rubber band later on. It also leads to the rubber band to decompose which will form into a sticky gooey mess within your dreadlock. This gooey mess is very difficult to remove later on and is something you want to avoid entirely.

Leaving elastic rubber bands in for too long that are also too tight will lead to the “hourglass effect”. The hourglass effect is when a dreadlock is constricted with a rubber band or string at one spot for too long. The dreadlock grows out and the area constricted by the rubber band or string does not knot up, leading to a weak section that may break off as your dreadlocks get older.


3. Only use rubber bands if you have no other choice.

We recommend not using rubber bands at all. First of all you simply don’t NEED rubber bands to have dreadlocks, and second they aren’t effective enough to outweigh the cons of misuse. We say just don’t even use them at all. In some cases you can use dreadlock beads in place of rubber bands which will give you the same, or even better results, without the problems caused by rubber bands.

Why use Dreadlock Rubber Bands?


1. To form clean sections during a dreadlock installation.

This is the best use for rubber bands, and it’s the only time we EVER use them.

You simply section off your hair and make small pony tails with tiny rubber bands. Doing this gives you clean and neatly organized sections before you proceed to your installation method.


2. Keeps the loose hair around the roots neat and tidy.

I see this being the most common use of rubber bands in dreadlocks. Since not all the hair that grows out from the scalp is contained in the dreadlock this is a logical way to hold the loose hair to the dreadlock.

While this may be a solution, it’s not necessarily a good one. We’ll talk more about this later in the post.


3. Keeps the tip of the dreadlock closed/blunted/rounded.

Some people use rubber bands at the tips of their dreadlocks to help keep the hair contained and prevent having loose/wispy/open ended dreadlocks.


4. To combine two or more dreads into one dreadlock – aka Congo.

Combining dreadlocks is done by simply gathering two neighboring dreadlocks and grouping them together with a rubber band directly at the roots.

The idea is to hold the dreadlocks close together at the scalp which to encourage them to grow into each other. Over time, as they grow out, they will form one dreadlock.


5. Holds a permanent dreadlock extension nice and tight.

Some people think that using rubber bands where their extensions are attached will keep them tighter for longer. Although this may have some truth to it there is a much more effective way; use beads instead.

By sliding a very tight bead over the connection of your extensions you will have a much tighter result without having to worry about other rubber band issues. We always recommend using beads over rubber bands for dreadlock extensions.

Pros and Cons of Rubber Band Dreads

  • Quick, cheap, and easy
  • No product necessary
  • It’s very easy to do yourself
  • It’s a quick and temporary fix
  • Rubber bands can be very difficult to remove
  • When tied too tightly rubber bands can restrict the dreadlock creating a thin spot which may lead to a weak spot and breakage
  • If left in your dreadlock for too long a standard rubber band is likely to embed into your dreadlock
  • Standard rubber bands often decay into a gooey substance which remains inside your dreadlocks



We recommend avoiding Rubber Bands in Dreads for all of the reasons listed in this article. We simply don’t believe there is any need for rubber bands if you use an effective method from the start. Alternatively, if you need something to tighten your dreadlocks we suggest using beads as a much better solution. We hope this information will save you from the problems associated with Rubber Band Dreads. Be sure to help your friends out by sharing this post with anyone you know who uses rubber bands in their dreadlocks.


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