Dreadlocks hairstyles: Let’s look at the myths and facts of dreadlocks – from how to make and care for them to how to take them out!
From ‘dreadlocks are only made by not combing your hair’ to ‘dreads are unclean’, the idea behind dreads for many years has been that the person underneath them is low maintenance and cannot be bothered with hairstyles or looking after their hair. I’m here to tell you that is far from the truth! Whether you are considering taking that leap into the world of dread-heads or you have stumbled upon this article out of pure curiosity, I will expose the myths and facts of dreadlocks, and even reveal some tips from my own and others’ experiences. Are you ready to tangle yourself with the truth behind those knotty bad boys?
Dreadlocks are beautiful in their own way. They represent your character and radiate energy. You do not have to be a ‘hippie’ to sport such a do!
Myth number 1: “Dreadlocks can only be made by not brushing your hair”.
I would be very impressed and stunned if not brushing my hair led them to be so organised and artistically packed together in such groomed locks, and not just one big nasty dread – which is in fact what DOES happen if you do not brush your hair for a long time, or wash it.
There are several methods behind getting neat, beautiful dreadies. Some people will recommend using bees wax. Even large companies (including *ahem* knotty boy) will say that bees wax is a good way to get dreadlocks.
However beeswax is not a good way to get dreadlocks, and to explain this I have to tell you about moulding. If residue (soap, products, etc.) is left in or on the dreadlock, it can develop mould from within the lock. This mould cannot usually be seen unless you cut your lock and look in the middle. Mould is a problem – it means cutting off your dreads, which you certainly wouldn’t want to have happen if you’ve spent ages growing them and you’re smitten with them! Beeswax also does this.
There are hair products that are residue free. You can buy these online to help dread your hair and keep your dreads clean afterwards. Or you can make your dreadlocks the natural way. This means getting a strong metal comb and a crochet hook. And a lot of manpower behind those hands! You backcomb the hair from the root, working your way downwards. Then rub the hair together to form a lock and pull those stray hairs together, then you can backcomb again to create a stronger knot, with a lot more rubbing action and using the crochet hook. Put together those stray hairs into the lock and create a neat-looking dread!
Myth number 2: “Dreads are dirty”.
They are not. Simple. Dirt equals mould. Mould equals no dread! You need to keep your dreadlocks clean or else they smell, and believe me, that is not a smell that will impress anyone within 10 yards of you!
Online hair products can help you keep your dreads clean. But read up on those hair care products for dreads first. On a lot of the sites where you can buy dreadlock maintenance products there will be forums where people discuss them – see what they have to say before you buy. I used DreadHead HQ hair soap and had no complaints. There is also DreadHead HQ coconut butter which made my dreads smell delicious. So yes, you have to keep those knots clean, I’m afraid…
Myth number 3: “Dreadlocks are low maintenance”.
I wish! You should wash your dreads regularly throughout the week. Everybody’s hair is different – I washed mine once a week, others do it 2 or 3 times a week. When washing your dreads you need to really, and I mean really, make sure you have washed out all the soap. When you are sure this is done, you should flip your hair over your head and squeeze dry with a towel, flip your hair back, wait a few seconds, then repeat. If you leave your hair to dry by itself, keep it in a towel. You cannot risk letting water sit in your dreads – this will make them weak and can also lead to mould.
Wait until your hair is completely dry before tying it up or putting it up in the hairstyle of your choice. Or you can blow dry it, but make sure you blow dry it correctly and thoroughly. If rain gets on your hair, make sure you at least dry it if not wash it as rain makes them stink!
Also, after having them done you should keep palm rolling them (a technique where you get the dread between your palms and roll it to make it stronger and more compact). A lot of companies will try to sell you hair products by telling you your dreads will become ruined or that you need their hair products to have healthy dreadlocks. Just make sure you do your research before panic-buying and ask around.
Myth Number 4: “If you do not want dreadlocks anymore you have to shave your head”.
Incorrect! I brushed my dreadlocks out the first time, as did a friend of mine who had hers for 6 years and in both cases our hair was in great condition. It requires a lot of time, but if you are serious about it and believe dreadlocks are not for you, then you do not have to shave them. Get a good comb and LOTS of conditioner and make sure you have at least 4 hours free time! Pile on the conditioner onto your dreadlocks and do them one at a time, brushing and brushing until the dreadlock is no more. You will see a lot of hair come out as you do so but this is nothing to worry about. We lose a large amount of hair daily, and from not brushing your hair all those dead sweeties are stuck inside that lock – so don’t panic that you are losing your hair! You’ll be fine!
So there you have it. If you are considering getting dread locks and someone says “they’re so dirty” you can put them straight and you have the facts to back yourself up.
Once you choose to have dreadlocks, take care of those dreadies and love them! Dreadlocks are stuck in a stereotype of messy, dirty hippies – (your dreads don’t have to be dirty even if you are).
Let’s keep those dreads alive and healthy!
Skits Hair Design made these gorgeous dreadlocks the natural way – no chemicals involved.
You can partially dread your hair if you don’t want full dreadlocks. Or even one or two locks, if you prefer. Your hair, your personality.
Miss Jamaica 2007 probably sporting the best and most mermaidy dreadlocks ever. But ooh, how heavy must they be!
Bean’s lovely glossy hair shows that you can still have hair in great condition if you choose to take out your dreadlocks. You won’t need to shave all your hair off – unless you want to.