Guide: Start Your Journey

Brilliant! You've thought it through and decided dreadlocks may just be for you, but where and how do you start your own dread journey?

Go ahead, grab a book at the library or google the word 'dreadlocks' and soak up the wealth of information. View pictures, read articles, look at videos, politely ask loc'ers you may know or even ones that pass you by. Find out what it is to be loc'ed and what it takes to get there. Never be afraid to pop into a number of salons and load up on knowledge from professional loctitians, you'll be surprised how much they can offer you.

As any good researcher will tell you, one opinion is never enough. Find other sources to backup your findings and avoid taking things at face value. "Yeah, start your dreadlocks with peanut butter and don't shampoo for 2 months". (???) Be wise, consider the information you gain and decide what's what before starting your journey.

In the beginning maintenance can be time consuming and inconvenient and deciding what's best for your hair may leave you feeling frustrated. But rest assure, for countless loc'ers, perseverance is rewarded with healthy, beautiful dreadlocks. The most important thing for any loc'er is attitude. Having a positive, open-minded attitude at the right time not only gives you the patience required for a dread journey but also allows you to enjoy each and every stage and make the most of your progress.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

Dreadlocks are increasing in popularity across the world and reasons for wanting them are almost as plentiful as the people wearing them. Today, dreadlocks can be fashionable, convenient, spiritual, economical, protective and more. Being aware of why you want dreadlocks will allow you to make the right choices to reach your desired hair goals.

Choices, choices. Even in the dreadlocking world their are a host of choices to be made. Do you see yourself with thick, free-flowing dreadlocks or a head full of small and neat sister/brother locks? Maybe you want something in between? Low maintenance dreadlocks? Coloured dreadlocks? Long or short dreadlocks? How about being able to style your dreadlocks or adorn them with accessories? And what about temporary dreadlocks for an event or a season?

Think about the dreadlocks you admire and what dreadlocks mean to you. Once you've decided what dreadlocks will suite you and your lifestyle, gather as much information as you about how to form them, maintain them and improve them. Some dreadlocks are possible for everyone, others may prove difficult depending on hair type, texture, length and the availability of skilled hands. Also, depending on your social and working commitments, one type of dreadlock may be preferred over another. Having a realistic target in mind will start you on the right path of your dread journey and keep you motivated when things get, well, hairy.

Here are a list of common types of dreadlocks to get you started:

     - Temporary (Faux) dreadlocks
     - Braidlocks
     - Traditional dreadlocks
     - Nappylocks
     - Backcombed locs
     - Freeform dreadlocks
     - Sisterlocks
     - Brotherlocks
     - Interlocks
     - Crochet locs

Have a look at Ways to Start Dreadlocks.

For many, the idea of removing dreadlocks can be enough to postpone the start of the journey all together so get informed. Whether they be a temporary hairstyle or a permanent asset consider for a moment how you would remove your dreadlocks if the time came and whether you'd be satisfied with whatever method is used to remove them.

Dreadlocks can be removed by untangling, trimming or shaving the hair. If your dreadlocks are short or in their early stages, untangling can be ideal and relatively straightforward. It involves combing out the knots that have formed. To do this, on either wet or dry hair, use a fine-tooth metal comb or thin metal needle to gently pick out each knot starting from the very ends and working your way up. If the tool you are using gets stuck, start at lower point in the loc closer to the end. This method allows you to keep as much hair as possible but requires time and patience. 

If your locs are longer or more mature they can be trimmed down to the looser new growth (you can grow your hair out to a desired length before doing this) or shaved off completely.

Whichever method you choose, understand that it will drastically change your look and the hair that you are left will need different care to when it was in it's former loc'd state.

Starting a journey is all about timing. Are you ready to look after your hair as it grows and develops? Do your social or work commitments allow for such a drastic change? Are there particular events or occasions coming up in the next 6-12 months that will prohibit your ability to manage the early stages? Will you be partaking in physical ativities such as swimming, on an intensive basis? Do you have access to a reliable loctitian for regular or emergency hair care? Have you prepared to work around your personal changes i.e. having a baby, getting married, illness? Consider how you look after your hair now and ask yourself whether you are ready to change your routine. Even the most hectic of lifestyles can accommodate locs with a little planning and preparation.

Dreadlocks change your image considerably and hold a host of connotations good and bad, past and present. Think about how they will make you feel and how you will be perceived with them. Shrive to educate those closest to you about dreadlocks and the reason(s) behind your choice to wear them.

And finally,

Getting dreadlocks is as personal and preferential as any other self alteration. Be confident in your decision and patient with your results. Not all dreadlocks are instant, but all dreadlocks can be beautiful.


1 comment:

  1. I just started my journey 3 days ago and I am so excited.