BEFORE STARTING YOUR DREADLOCK JOURNEY
Before you start your dreadlock journey, sit down and take some time to get to know what it is like to have dreadlocks. Look up other people’s journeys, do a little bit of research about the different stages of dreads, and be realistic when considering what type/style of dreadlocks you would like.
There is a lot of information out there about dreadlocks. There is a lot of do’s and don’ts, and lots of advice. I have put this page together with my thoughts, advice and most commonly asked questions.
At the end of the day, if you stopped brushing your hair you will end up with locks. These are called reformed dreadlocks. That journey can take years and most people don’t like waiting. This is where I come in with my instant pain free method. However, there’s a catch, they may be instant, but it’s still a journey.
Dreadlocks all go through the same stages, but how long and how each stage effects your dreads depends on many things – Type of hair, method used to create locks, lifestyle and style of maintenance and care.
BABY STAGE – New dreads
What’s going to happen? – The baby stage is well you guessed it, when you first get your new baby locks, but just like real babies they don’t stay like this for long. This first stage lasts around 4 months. They will feel tight and you might experience a headache for a few days after, as they have been created right up to the scalp. They are going to get itchy as your scalp gets used to the new constant pulling and the change in your new shampoo routine. Some people experience a dry flaky scalp, others start to produce more oil as a result. Your dreadlocks will stick out all directions in this stage and not look anything like that Pinterest photo you found before your appointment. In the first month as your hair starts to grow they will start to fall downwards and have a little more give near the scalp, be a little more flexible and comfortable.
My advice – During the baby stage my advice is to sit back and watch to see what they are going to do. Try not to worry as they start changing and feeling different. They are just getting to know their new way of life. Start washing your hair once every week or every second week if you can. Go with the flow and see how your scalp responds. If the itchiness is driving you crazy, then wash it, if not, then keep going. The more often you wash your hair, the fluffier it will get during the first year. Add a little product if the fluff is annoying you but don’t go overboard! Only add once after you’ve washed them. Do not add more again until after the next wash. In this stage you might want maintenance done more often. Try and wait at least 2 or 3 months.
TEENAGER STAGE – Locking
What’s going to happen? – The teenager stage is often referred to as the ‘ugly stage’. This stage is where all the dreads personally start to take place. Over the next 12-16 months you will notice a lot of changes. Your dreads are now going to start locking, but at first they are not going to want to stay in this new style. The ends might grow tails, loops form, the fluffy baby hair round the edges might run away and the tight long neat baby dread you once knew will start to pull away, just like teenagers!
There will be unavoidable fluff. How much fluff depends on your hair type and lifestyle. For example, if you are putting on and taking off a hat all day maybe for your job, or if you are out in the wind a lot your locks may become more fluffy than others. Whereas, if you have tight thick course curly hair, your fluff is not going to be as noticeable as others might be. The next thing that starts to happen is loops. These little loops will start to appear out the sides of your locks. This happens because, as the dreads are locking, they will start shrinking, which results in bulges that look like loops. The ends of the dreadlocks, if you have chosen to have closed ended dreadlocks, grow little tails. This is just end fluff. This can happen more often to shorter dreadlocks, as the ends might not have been quite long enough to fold over when creating the dreadlock. This is another reason to grow your hair longer before creating locks.
Lastly, towards the end of the locking teenage stage, the shrinkage is taking place. Not everyone will notice this happen, especially if you have fast growing hair. As the dreads are locking, they are tightening and shrinking. As they shrink, they can change shape, wobble and fatten. How much they shrink and change shape really depends on the type of hair you have. Curly hair tends to have wobbles, lumps and bumps, (like mine used to), whereas, naturally fine hair usually does not shrink much at all.
My advice – Try not to stress too much because at the end of the day, there is only so much you can do for them during this stage. As you are watching them lock over the next 12 months or so, see how they are changing, if there is too much fluff then use some more product. As I said before don’t go overboard with the product or you can end up with build up, which can prevent your locks from fully drying and can become sticky or smelly. If you do not like the look of the loops and the bulges then get your palm rolling on. This is when your are watching Netflix and you put a dreadlock between you palms and roll them. The more often you do this, the tighter and straighter they will lock, and to be honest, not many people can be bothered doing this. Personally, when I had my locks I did a little wax with palm rolling maybe once a month and that’s it. Yes, there was some frustration because I did not always like the look of them, but in the long run it’s worth the wait. Shampooing and keeping your scalp in good condition is important and with this you need to find out what works best for you. Don’t like the dreadlock shampoo? Then change. Find what works for you, because a healthy hydrated scalp means healthy beautiful dreadlocks. In this stage, most people like to have maintenance done about every 3 to 4 months.
ADULT – Maturing
What’s going to happen? – You have now reached the one year mark. Your dreadlocks are nearly fully matured and locked, and are now starting to look like that Instagram photo that made you fall in love with dreadlocks in the first place! You will have noticed that they do not need maintenance so often and it’s mostly just the regrowth now that needs dreading. Now you can sit back and enjoy watching your dreads grow to the ground. This is when I start to only see people maybe 2 or 3 times a year, before big events. There is not going to be much to notice from now on. Maybe a few weak spots start to form but we will fix them in maintenance appointments. As the locks grow, they will grow together, so just keep running your fingers between them and pulling them apart as they make friends with other dreads next to them. That’s it’s time to get creative
My advice – Keep them heathy. If you dye them, just make sure your not making them to brittle. Make sure you get all the dye back out of the lock. Use the right hair ties on them. Continuous, repetitive styles with thin ties can cut into them causing them to break over time. Keep them separated by pulling them apart and palm roll the back dreadlocks where your lay your head at night. Those ones will flatten over time. Last of all, enjoy your beautiful dreadlocks!
LOOPS | ENDS | LUMPS | TAILS | FLUFF |WOBBLES
How often should I be washing them? As often or as a little as you need to keep your scalp in good condition, healthy and dandruff free. Most people wash once every 2nd week but this may vary depending on your job, hobbies and lifestyle.
What shampoo should I use? Ideally try to use all natural shampoos. Natural shampoos have natural oils that will help keep the scalp healthy and hydrated and will also ensure that you don’t get a build-up of chemicals in your locks. Do not use conditioner.
How often should I get maintenance? Now this is entirely up to you, there are no rules, they are your locks and may like them very neat, tidy and tight, others may like the grown out loose laid back look. On average my regular clients ask for maintenance around every 5 months, but more frequently in the first year
Is there anything I can do to maintain them? Yes you can help by pulling them apart, dreads like to matt together so regularly pulling them apart will save time in your next maintenance. Another thing that is easy is palm rolling, Just take one at a time and roll them between your hands, this will help the dread to tighten and keep them straight (if that’s what you like)
Can I cut and dye them? Yea go for it, cut them, dye them, put beads in them make them your own, just bare in mind that if they are cut you might have to close the ends back up and when dyeing them just make sure you get all the dye out of them, especially when dealing with bleach.