The Rundown On Dreadlocking Your Hair
If you tried faux locs and loved it you might want to consider going all-in for the real deal! Here are some tips to help you get started and some things to consider before going ahead.
What are dreadlocks?
Dreadlocks, also known as locs, dreads, or in Sanskrit, Jaṭā, are rope-like strands of hair formed by twisting braiding hair and leaving it in this state to grow and mature.
The style is visually similar to braids, but whereas braids can be worn and taken down to free the single strands of hair, dreadlocks are left in a braided or twisted state and require a period of maturation to become locked.
Are dreadlocks suitable for all hair textures?
All hair textures can form “locs” with time, patience, and proper care. All hair textures will go through the phases of locking, but different textures produce different results. Various methods are used to prepare and maintain dreadlocks, often including treatments at salons with a loctitian.
Where did dreadlocks originate?
The Oxford dictionary says that dreadlocks are a Rastafarian hairstyle in which the hair is washed but not combed and twisted while wet into tight braids or ringlets hanging down on all sides. However, historians have a different perspective to teach us. In ancient Egypt, bas-reliefs and other artefacts have been found to show ancient Egyptians donning braided hairstyles (and even wigs). Furthermore, the first archaeological evidence of dreadlocks comes from there, where mummies have been discovered sporting dreadlocks still in good shape.
How long does it take to do?
Depending on the length of your hair and the number and size of locs that will be done, it may take between 3 to 12 hours. Also, for your hair to fully loc it may take between six months to two years.
How are starter locs applied?
There are essentially seven different methods that can be used to start locs with a loctitian. The best method for you depends greatly on the combination of your hair texture, hair length, and desired result/size. Starting locs with Two Strand Twists is most popular. You can also start locs with Braids, Plaits, Comb Coils, Backcombing, Interlocking/Sisterlocks and with Loc Extensions if you want to start your journey with long locs. You can also try out some DIY methods and organically start your locs in several ways, for example, you can shampoo your hair and never detangle it again or use a curl sponge and let your locs form on their own. Freeform locs are free to grow how they please and you don’t separate them from each other, instead, you let the hair dictate the look.
When washing your locs it’s important to clean your scalp as well as remove any build-up, lint, or excess oil. For that reason, use a sulfate-free shampoo and sometimes use apple cider vinegar to wash and clarify your hair and scalp. With regards to frequency, this will depend on you, your lifestyle, and your locs. For example, if you work out a lot you might feel the need to cleanse your locs more frequently.
After washing your locs, drying your hair is a key step so your hair isn’t left over-saturated with water and weighing your head down with the weight of the water. Gently wring out as much water as possible and then take a manageable handful of your locs and again, gently squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Start near the roots and slowly work your way down to the ends. Finally, we suggest wrapping your hair in a microfibre towel. Again, please make sure that your locs dry properly as no one wants mould or mildew to build up in their dreadlocks!
We said you want to make sure your dreadlocks are dry but at the same time moisture is still important when maintaining them, because as we know when hair is dry it’s prone to brittleness and breakage. We recommend using a light moisturizing spray to mist the locs and then using hair oil to seal the moisture in and keep dryness at bay.
When your hair is in dreadlocks your scalp will still need some TLC even if you’ve used the freeform method to start your locs. Just remember to use a lightweight oil that won’t clog your pores.
For your bedtime routine, we highly suggest sleeping on a silk/satin pillowcase or wrapping or covering your locs when you sleep with a silk scarf or bonnet, this will not only help your hair to fully lock but also prevent brittle locs that can break/snap on normal cotton pillowcases.
Can dreadlocks be undone?
Contrary to some opinions, locks or dreadlocks can be safely removed. You will probably experience some hair loss and shedding but that’s perfectly normal. You may even have to cut off a significant amount. But, with patience and the proper tools and products, you can remove your locs.
How to prevent hair breakage
When styling your dreadlocks, it’s important to think about your edges. As your locs get longer (and in turn heavier), this will put more tension on your hair and your delicate edges can be at risk, especially if your locs are styled too tightly. Avoid thinning, bald patches, and traction alopecia by varying hairstyles and considering the tension you’re putting on your hair when styling.
Dreadlocks are a beautiful and versatile way to carry your natural hair. However, there is a common misconception that locs require no maintenance when in reality, locs like all hair require care. So, whether you’re new to locs or just want to know more about how to make your locs thrive save this blog post to refer to later once you’ve committed to dreadlocks.