THE FOLLOWING DREADLOCK FAQ IS COPYRIGHTED INFORMATION, BELONGING TO & WRITTEN BY JENJA NOT TO BE COPIED WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT.
***this page is for frequently asked questions, please see the gallery for pictures of my work, thank you!
There are several different methods of locking hair, however the most common are, twisting/palm rolling, interlocking, and dread perming.
Twisting /Palm Rolling
Advantages:It is all natural. You have control over the size of the dreads and how they form.
Disadvantages: It only works in African textured hair.
Advantages: It's like instant dreads. Works best for Caucasian clients who want to form dreadlocks.
Disadvantages: It is a chemical process. Dread perms are traditionally used on those with naturally straight hair. With this method the objective is to change the texture of the hair so that it's better able to hold a twist.
Caring for Dreadlocks
Caring for dreadlocks isn't a science, but it does require finessing of your maintenance skills and techniques. Whether you want salon perfect dreadlocks, a maintained look with a bit of edge or dreadlocks that grow and look organic, your technique often dictates your dreadlocks appearance overall more so than products ever will.
You must first and foremost understand that hair needs to be healthy in order to look healthy. Too many people make the mistake of assuming that dreadlocks are maintenance free style, they often engage in practices that are detrimental to the health of their hair, never forget that dreadlocks are and always will be hair. In the end, if your maintenance techniques are unhealthy, your hair will be unhealthy. Once you have secured a proper care routine for your hair, then you can focus on products.
Dreadlocks Stages Overview
Depending upon your hair texture this phase lasts 3 to 6 months. Soft, fine or wavy hair takes longer to dreadlock than coarse, curly or tightly coiled hair.
Baby dreadlocks should be maintained by re-twisting, two-stranding or palm-rolling. It's suggested that you avoid washing baby dreadlocks during the first 3-4 weeks to allow them to set. However, if you have a scalp condition such as seborrhea or feel the need to shampoo sooner, do so. Just do so carefully and be ready to re-twist areas that come undone.
This period lasts anywhere from 3 months to a year. Although this phase tends to overlap the baby dreadlock phase, the time frame largely depends on hair texture, length, method used to start your dreadlocks and maintenance techniques. Teenage dreadlocks are characterized by budding and matting. It’s recommended that you groom your dreadlocks no less than once a month because they have a tendency to bunch or crawl together. Teenage dreadlocks should be washed gently every 2-3 weeks barring any scalp or lifestyle conditions, (such as working out frequently) which may cause you to shampoo more frequently.
Depending on your hair texture, you should expect to reach maturity sometime within 12 months, but this period may take up to 2 years. On average, people with African textures of varying types report to be fully dreadlocked within 16-18 months.
Mature dreadlocks are the strongest and require less grooming; however they are not maintenance free. Unlike baby and teenage dreadlocks, you’ll have more liberty when it comes to maintaining and styling them. How “neat” they appear is really a matter of personal preference and time invested in the dreadlocks as compared to the other stages where “neatness” is far more unpredictable.
Dreadlock Rumors vs Facts:
Rumor: You do not wash dreadlocks. Hair must be dirty to dread.
Fact: If you do not wash your hair it will stink. Dreadlocked hair needs to be washed regularly just like un-dreaded hair. You can wash dreads just as you would wash a sponge, by working the soap in and then squeezing and rinsing repeatedly to get all the soap out. Clean hair will actually lock up faster than dirty or oily hair. Because nearly every soap and shampoo on the market contains residues it was thought that clean hair does not dread quickly, when in fact it is the residues (conditioners, moisturizers, builders and fragrance holders) in the soaps that prevent hair from locking up. This is why we recommend washing you dreads only in residue free soaps and shampoos.
Rumor: Simply not combing your hair is the only way to get nice dreads.
Fact: This is called the neglect method. Under some circumstances simply not combing hair will make it dread. The best example of this is African-textured hair. Left alone, African hair will eventually dread. Unfortunately the results, although technically called dreads, are usually less than pleasing to the eye. The hair forms giant mats at random all over the head. Some Caucasian hair, if it is curly enough, will also dread by neglect but the same problem exists. It takes several years for the hair to lock fully and when it does it generally looks unkempt, kind of like you might expect hair to look after not combing it for a few years.
Rumor: Only black people can have nice dreads. Nice dreads are high maintenance.
Fact: While it is easier for black people to have nice smooth dreads it is completely possible for other hair textures to dread tightly and smoothly. Dreads are difficult to start and the first month is a pain, but as they tighten and mature they become virtually maintenance free. They look great all the time, all you have to do is keep them clean.
Rumor: Natural dreads are those that are made by neglect.
Fact: There are two types of natural dreadlocks. The first type are those that are required by religion to be natural, and natural for you or I, which means non-chemically processed dreads.
If you are Rastafarian, or are a part of some Middle Eastern religious sects, you are required to not interfere with the growth of your dreads. You have probably not seen many truly natural dreads as most of these religions also require that no one, not even your spouse in some cases, see your dreads. These truly natural dreads can be washed but they cannot be cut trimmed or ripped in any way and no combing or products can be used to maintain them.
The second types of natural dreadlocks are those dreads that came to be without the use of any chemical processes. You can wash them, cut them, comb them, rip them, tie them and wax them as you like but they are started and grow naturally without any chemical dread perms or synthetic addition. I believe that dreads should be natural and only natural products and methods should be used to care for them.
Rumor: If you decide you no longer want dreads you have to shave your head.
Fact: It is true that you have to cut dreads to take them out but you do not have to shave your head. You can usually leave at least 2" inches of hair when you cut the dreads, so your hair will be short, but not shaved.
Rumor: Any product you find that says it works for dreads will work for starting dreadlocks.
Fact: Many products on the market that mention they work for dreadlocks are actually intended to add shine and fragrance and to make corn rows look neater but they don't actually help the dreading process at all. The majority of these shine waxes are made with petroleum as the primary ingredient. Petroleum is a lubricant and products that contain petroleum will feel greasy and cause your dreads to slip apart rather than holding them together. I prefer to use all natural pure shea butter to twist locs; it’s full of nutrients and natural conditioners to promote growth and healthy, beautiful locs. Some locs may require the use of a product with stronger holding agents, such as new locks or clients who do not regularly maintain their hair at home or in the salon.