It can be quite hard to find infomation about dreadlocks and sometimes certain infomation can contradict each other. Here I have come up with some frequently asked questions and answered them based on my own experiences with dreads. If you have any other questions or need advice, please feel free to contact me. Also every hair type varies slightly, so if you have any helpful hints or videos feel free to post them for others to see on my facebook page :)
What are Dreadlocks?
Dreadlocks are matted sections of hair. The sectioned hair fuses together more and more over time forming a tubular shape. They come in many different widths and shapes varying on certain hair types. Dreadlocks are intended to be a permanent hairstyle, so the longer you have them the harder they are to take out (although possible) so research thoroughly; as the first step of the dreadlock process is being 100% certain they can fit into your lifestyle.
What should i consider before getting dreads?
As dreadlocks are intended to be a permanent hairstyle, it is a good idea to be sure that you have done your research. Think about how it may effect your day to day life, will your boss mind? parents? you may get a few more looks in the street and people asking you questions about them, (people can be quite inquizitive :) ) Maybe if you are someone that changes your hair style alot and dyes it a different colour every other week they may not be for you. Although you can dye dreads and can alter them, it is alot of time invested to create them if you change your mind.
All i can suggest is think about it for a good period of time, check out different information websites to try and get all the facts and look at different pictures and consider all the factors so they can fit into your lifestyle.
How are dreadlocks created?
There are a few different ways of creating dreadlocks, I use a small crochet hook as well as backcombing the hair, I find this the quickest and most effective way of getting neat dreadlocks instantly, with an almost mature feel and look straight away. Some other techniques are rip and twist, backcombing, waxing and neglect. These techniques take a lot of time to process into dreadlocks, and too much wax leaves the hair slimy and damaged. Many websites will promote these techniques so you buy the products from them that they suggest, I do not recommend these techniques.
Why choose crocheting method?
As well as having instant dreadlocks straightaway that won’t come apart, crocheting manages the sections of hair that dread together. I have seen natural dreadlocks which have many dreads that join together forming one big dread, or big dreads that have formed creating to big a section of hair from your scalp. This can cause tension on your head by pulling the hairs from different directions, which results in pulling the hair out. Crocheting manages this by forming dreads with small sections starting from the scalp, which 1: is less painful when getting a touch up and 2: less strenuous on the scalp so the hair doesn’t pull out.
What does dreadlock maturing mean?
Dreadlocks get better with age. Maturing means when the matted sections of hair fully bond together leaving the dreadlocks solid and almost smooth looking. The dreadlock will act as one bit of hair rather than a lot of hair knotted together. It can take anything between 6 months - 18 months to mature fully, It will be different for everybody depending on your hair type. Once dreadlocks are matured they need little work doing to the bodywork.
How do I wash my dreadlocks?
When washing your dreads it is important to use a non residue shampoo and no conditioner. Non residue shampoo can be found in Lush, health food stores and online stores. It comes in either liquid or soap bar form. Conditioner is built to untangle knots so it will undo dreads and all the hard work that has been created to make them.
Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp, leave on for a couple of minutes if desired, then let the water run the shampoo through the dreads. Rinse for longer than you would with normal hair to insure no shampoo gets trapped inside the dread.
Wash your hair once every one or two weeks as a guideline, this can vary depending on personal lifestyle.
How do i look after my dreadlocks?
Dreadlocks do take some looking after, especially in the beginning stages as you are teaching your hair to behave in a certain way. Here are some things you can do to get the best possible outcome.
Palm rolling and root rubbing (videos can be found on you-tube)
Looking after your scalp by washing regularly
You may feel inclined to make an appointment for a tidy up a month or two after installation to ensure the hair is bonding nicely. This is not compulsory however, as some people like to go for a messier look, (if you do leave your hair naturally make sure you cut sections of hair at the root if they start joining together)
Once your hair has matured, your dreads won’t need that much attention, your hair will grow straight at the root and it is common to get the straight hair dreaded.
How do i sleep with dreadlocks?
I personally place my dreads over the back of my pillow so I am not sleeping on them. I find this the most comfortable way leaving me free to move around in the night. This can be difficult with new dreads or dreads that have just had a root touch up as they can feel rigid and tight on the scalp. They will loosen after a few days and it has been known to put tights or silk scarves over dreads to prevent them from getting fuzzy.
How Long does my hair need to be to get dreadlocks?
I would recommend your hair to be at least 6 inches long. Bear in mind you lose about 1 and ½ inches when the straight hair is dreaded so try and imagine your hair this length. Dreads also stick up more a bit like sonic when the hair is short as there isn’t the weight pulling them down, but again as the hair loosens the dreads will fall naturally in a matter of days. If you simply can’t wait for your hair to grow, consider the option of extensions. Extensions can be created with about 4inches of straight hair.
Can i dye my dreads?
Yes you can dye dreads; if you haven’t already got dreads dye your hair just before you get them done. This will insure an easier application and will create even coverage throughout each dread. If you already have dreads apply as you would straight hair, you may need more hair dye than normal, gently squeeze the dye into each dread, you may feel you need to do a couple of applications if patchy. Make sure you rinse thoroughly as the dye can easily get trapped inside. Wash again the next day to insure all the dye has gone; this will eliminate the chance of damage. Take extra care with bleach.
I want messyier looking natural dreads. What shall i do?
I would suggest having them installed with a crochet method then leaving them to grow naturally, using the 2 rubbing methods at home. I have had clients do this in the past and are happy with the outcome. Another option is to have just a few dreads installed so you still have some straight hair or leave a fringe or the front part of your hair straight.
How do i remove dreadlocks?
Newer dreads will be easier to remove as the hair isn’t fully matured yet. Combing, conditioner and a lot of time will be key! If you have loose ends start combing from the bottom in little strokes and finally work your way up to the root undoing all the knots bit by bit. If your ends are blunted and you cannot find a starting point to comb from, snip a tiny bit off the end. If your dreads are mature and this method isn’t working, cut the dreads half way up and do the same process. You should expect to lose quite a lot of length.