Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dreadlocks ~ how we do it

I'm a hair lover in all it's shapes, forms, colors, textures, realness and fakeness.  I have had the pleasure (and hope to continue) of starting dreadlocks for some of my customers over the last few years.  Since I don't wear dreads myself - tho I have considered it an may do so one day - I am always checking out the Internet to make sure I'm giving my customers good advice on the care and maintenance of their hair.
One of the first sites I came across with abundant and well put together information was Dreadhead HQ. I followed the tutorials and used the recommended products and have had what I believe is good results. I have never gotten any negative feedback about the wax. People that come to me for dreadlocks usually want the look of smooth, neat and even locks as opposed to the more organic look where the locks are different sizes. They also typically have straight or wavy hair textures. Loc-ing of ethnic hair is a whole nother story. This is what I do for my customers:

1. I start with clean, unconditioned hair.
2. I section the hair per the customers request for thick or thin dreads and back comb each section so the hair is tightly packed.
3. Once the entire head is back combed, I apply a finger tip amount of Dreadhead HQ wax and palm roll the new dread. Sometimes I twist the dreads just to imitate the look of the mature dread. I apply heat with either a blow dryer or hooded dryer to melt the wax into the dread.
That's it and the process takes anywhere from 4 - 6 hours depending on the length of the hair and thickness of the dreads.

The instructions I give to the dread owner are as follows.
You will want to keep the dreads covered until you wash them the first time. Wait about a week before washing. Beeswax has antibiotic properties so germy-ness is really not an issue. Then, as the dreads begin to tighten up the need for waxing goes away. As with any hairstyle where the hair is bound together such as dreads and braids, you always want to make sure the hair is COMPLETELY dry between washings to avoid the moldy nastiness that comes with perpetually wet hair. If you have an oily scalp you can get dry shampoo that really works to avoid wetting the hair repeatedly. Once or twice a week is enough. Within a month you may not need the wax at all but I leave that up to the individual to decide. Palm rolling on the regular as well as root rubbing are recommended. I leave the frequency of these maintenance practices to the discretion of the individual whether they want to do it or not.

As for maintenance that I will provide; again the type of clients I have like the neat and uniform look, so as needed I will tuck in any loose hairs they may have, apply any product they may want applied  such as lock pepa to the roots and crochet the dreads if they want that done. This may take an hour. In over 4 years I have never seen anyone's dreads fall out or be damaged by these techniques. I have had people not need or want to do this maintenance on a regular basis, just occasionally as they felt the need.

Now, that's I what I do. I realize there are many, many other opinions about how dreads can be done or how they SHOULD be done. There is a HUGE furious debate about whether or not wax should be used to make dreadlocks and if you use wax (and Dreadhead HQ wax in particular) that you are some how doing it WRONG. In fact theres a gi-HUGE-ic forum thread going on now on dreadlockssite.com. I wanted to put my two cents in and joined the forum, but before I could post anything this guy sent me this crazy message telling me how crappy Dreadhead HQ products are and how he would NEVER buy anything from them because they do so much HARM.  I was like REALLY? First off I didn't ask your OPINION and second off its HAIR dude, not your immortal soul. I have honestly never seen anyone more engrossed in their own ego and their desire to be right instead of happy. The Dalai Lama says that people like this have deep seated issues, problems perhaps related to an unhappy childhood.
ANYWHOO I digress...
I always admired my dread clients for their desire to be different from the status quo and for making a choice to embrace their own self image as they saw fit. So I'm really confused by the hullabaloo over who's right and who's wrong in the wax or not wax debate. I always tell my clients that how they want their dreads to look and how they want them done is up to them. There is no right or wrong way, just that works for you. If the end result is you got dreads you like who cares how you got there. The fact that some people seem to have a superiority complex attitude about not using any products to start or maintain dreads is comical and a little disturbing. By wearing dreads they are choosing to be different and yet not accepting the freedom for others to choose their own way. They presume that everyone who wants dreads is just like them and must therefore want to do it their way. Ironic. Although our hair is an expression of who we perceive ourselves to be, You are not your hair. Be Happy.

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