I’ve recently delved into the world of dreadlocks, and trust me, if you think you know the first thing about dreadlocks, you’re probably mistaken.
Myths & Legends
You have to shave your head to get rid of them. They stink. You can’t wear them if you’re fair skinned/Asian/have straight hair/want a decent job. Everyone will think you’re a hippy*
*open to interpretation.
It’s important to realise that when it comes to dreadlocks, misconceptions abound. Whether it’s second hand information that’s been Chinese whispered into fallacy or people assuming left, right and centre, it’s important to get your facts from a reliable source.
However, let’s not confuse fact with opinion. In many cases, you’ll find a variety of answers to the questions you’re asking, including “is it ok to use products?”, “how should I care for my dreads?” and “what’s the best way to start dreads?”. In this case, it’s up to you to do some research, try out a few different approaches if you’re unsure, and see what works for you.
A Rich History
Dreadlocks may be a fashion choice for many, but their roots (excuse the pun) lie in historic and even ancient cultures, include the Rastafari movement, the Maasai of Kenya, the Sadhus of India and even Greece’s Spartan warriors.
From practicality, to symbolism and even as a religious statement against vanity, the wearing of dreads has emerged for a rich variety of reasons.
But don’t let that make you feel like you’re not entitled to wear them! You’ll have your own reasons, whether they be bucking social norms, returning to a seemingly more natural hair style or just try something a little different.
A Beginner’s Guide
First of all, I feel that it’s my duty as a fellow lock bearer to inform you that, in the beginning anyway, dreads are not low maintenance.
Whether you get your dreads done in a salon (yes, they do exist, and you can find them in places like Newtown) or DIY, baby dreads need TLC to get settled in, especially if you have a hair type which is not particularly fond of staying put.
If you choose to make your own dreads at home, I can tell you from first hand experience that it saves a lot of money, but it’s definitely time consuming, so be prepared to spend a weekend on your hair. Get as many people helping out as possible and you’ll be a dreadhead in no time…(well, 5-10 hours).
Depending on your hair type and personal preferences, you can choose to use products such as locking accelerators and dread wax. I personally went with dread wax, to keep my baby dreads together and smooth down the frizz.
After the initial birthing, there’s maintenance, with some guides suggesting palm rolling each dread for 30 seconds every day for the first month…which for me, with shoulder length dreads, would take 2 hours. It really becomes a case of what works for you and becoming intuitive about your dreads – when they’re dry, when they need a wash, when they’re too loose.