Are you ready for dreadlocks? Dreads are awesome but, like a pet (that you wear on your head), you really have to commit cause, like a pet, they need lotsa love and time for maintenance when they are new.
BTW, if you're new to dreads and you like videos check out our page on facebook Gems Natural Hair salon and Living, it talks about what you should know before you dread, good stuff...
There are some things you should know and be aware of before you jump into your dreadlocks journey.
First you gotta relax and realize that dreadlocks are more of a process or journey than a one day, do it all at once kinda thing. It's like being in a band, you've gotta do a little work everyday to keep up with it. Dreads have ups and downs as they mature. Some days everything is looking suh-weet and some days they look....well....crappy. The bonus here is that mature dreads ALWAYS look good, so no more bad hair days :)
Even though maturity comes over time a lot of the work you'll need to do happens closer to the beginning. Maintenance is pretty intense at first and then tapers off from there. As you look around the site you'll find A LOT of info and many people tend to get a little overwhelmed. They're like "when do I do this" and "how long until I start doing that?" and "OMFG there is so much to learn". You can relax, here's why: You just need to familiarize yourself with the concepts. When it comes time you can re-read and get the details.
But how do you know when "it's time"? Keeping up with the timing used to be a problem but now it's pretty easy. Our Dread Kits include eligibility for the hella-cool Lock-Up-Dates™ service by which I'll send you emails timed to your dreads development which will let you know:
*If your dreads are on track
*what to expect at this point in their development
*what changes are needed in your maintenance at their current stage
*even some extra tips for the techniques you'll be using at that time
So don't stress, you'll be prepared! Also don't miss the maintenance routine for the first month in the FAQ.
The next thing you should know is that people will probably see your dreadlocks before they see you. Yep, just like judging a movie by the dvd case. (this approach works far better with movies than w/ people) The point is that some people are going to have a preconceived notion of what a person with dreads is like and if that notion is negative it's up to you to change it.
Next, in a lot of places dreadlocks are somewhat novel, you might be one of the few people they've ever seen with dreads. Naturally, they will have lots of really awkward questions, like "Do you wash your hair?". I mean under most circumstances that would be down right rude! So you need to be prepared for this. They will ask how you started them, what you put in them, if it's all your hair, if you take them out at night...etc. You will get better at answering these questions over time. But sometimes it can be really hard not to completely lose it ROTFL at what people come up with.
Another thing you should know is why you are getting dreadlocks. There is no right or wrong reason for dreadlocks, so don't let anyone convince you that their reason is "better" than yours. And there is also no right or wrong way to make dreadlocks, so don't let anyone convince you that one method is better than another.
You're probably reading this site because you realize how crazy awesome dreadlocks are. I couldn't agree more. After ten years I still love having dreads as much as I did at the end of the first year. There were times though, in the beginning, when I wasn't so sure. At some point before your dreads mature there's a gap -- a period of time where your dreads seem to make no progress at all. This is a hard time, especially if your friends and family never really supported your decision to dread up.
Unfortunately not everyone makes it through this time... Some give up and take their dreads out before they have a chance to lock up. They don't ever get to experience what it's like to have mature dreads. This is sad. Had that this period of loc weakness is totally avoidable...just by taking a few easy steps ahead of time it can be avoided.
Since Dreadlocks are a journey that you're starting, a changing point in your life, now is a great time to start other long-term journeys that have been on your mind.
* Get in Shape! Take up yoga, weightlifting or rock climbing.
* Learn a language or get active with a great cause like the FairTax.
* Go Raw! Treat your body to a raw diet, the benefits are huge.
* Quit Smoking! Never Smoke another cigarette as a DreadHead!
Dreadlocks are nothing short of life-changing, but adding a Dread Resolution like this makes it even more meaningful. They are your dreads and they can be a symbol for anything you want. This is a great opportunity to do something you've been putting off!
Ok so your mind is ready, now let's get your body ready. Dreadlocks take a while to put in. You should expect each dread to take around 15 minutes to backcomb. This varies a lot depending on the length of the hair and the practice of the back comber.
Don't worry, complete beginner back combers are the norm, they do fine. Just take your time and check the dreads as you do them to make sure they are coming out tight.
Backcombing can be rough stuff, for you and your much appreciated back combers. We recommend getting some important stuff together for the big day.
All your life you've been maintaining your hair and scalp pretty much the same way. Your scalp especially has gotten used to certain things like how often it gets brushed or combed and your washing routine. To make the transition to dreadlocks smoother there are a few things you can do.
As a general rule: If your scalp itches, wash it. Even if it's not a day or two until your scheduled wash. It's much better to wash it sooner rather than waiting and putting up with itches. Sure, you'll have a little extra loose hair to take care of afterward. Not a big deal, especially if you have a loose hair tool.
Soreness or tenderness: Ever worn your hair in braids and noticed your scalp feeling funny when you remove them? Or maybe you wore a hat for too long and your hair "hurt" when you touched it? This is a similar type of thing. Make sure your rubber bands are 1/4" - 1/2" from your scalp and make sure they are not overly tight. Here's some info on how to use rubber bands at your roots properly.
Itchiness: Most people experience a little itchiness when they first start their dreads. Don't ignore it. It usually means your scalp needs stimulation and or washing. Itching left unchecked leads to scratching and scratching left unchecked leads to severe irritation. Avoid all these problems by washing with residue free shampoo at the first sign of persistent itching.
Dandruff: One of the helpful side effects of brushing hair is that it helps the dead skin cells fall away or exfoliate. When you stop brushing these skin cells may begin to build up and fall off in the form of flakes. Regular washing and using a Head Honcho is a great way to prevent these issues.
As you can see our scalp is important when it comes to dreadlocks. If it freaks out on you, it will really throw a wrench into your dreadlocking plans. Keep it happy by following these guidelines:
Decide how often you're going to wash your dreads during the first month. (Every 3 days works well for most) If possible begin washing your hair every three days for approximately two weeks prior to starting your dreads. This will give your scalp plenty of time to adjust to this washing schedule and ease the transition. Because you won't be brushing your hair after you put in the dreads you should allow your scalp to get use to less stimulation by touching it less as you brush your hair. Don't stop brushing entirely because it's much easy to start dreads when the hair isn't already knotted. Just brush without touching your scalp as much.
Some stimulation is necessary for your scalp to exfoliate and remain happy. After you have dreads some of this will come from washing and towel drying and the rest can be done with a Head Honcho. The Head Honcho is a hair pick with a few modifications that works really well for massaging and exfoliating your scalp after you put your dreads in
There are also some things you can do before hand that will make your hair more cooperative in the locking process. Dyeing and Bleaching can be done before or after you dread but if you want to have all the dreads the same color there's no reason to wait until after the dreads are in. In fact the hair will dread slightly easier after these chemical processes. Personally I recommend that you don't bleach or dye unless you are really sure you want to. It's totally your personal decision but I've tried bleached dreads and natural color dreads and I'm a big fan of keeping it natural. Sloan and I are both strong believers in natural dreading and natural, non-chemical dreadlocks products -- that's what we make, sell,and use ourselves, and I think it's the way to go, but dreads are a personal thing and of course it's your decision. =] Fortunately, even the thickest, straightest hair can lock beautifully without prior bleaching or perming -- just by following our tips & instructions -- so everyone has the option of using our natural method.
One thing you'll definitely want to do to help prepare your hair for dreads is to stop using conditioners for at least 2 weeks prior to starting the dreads. If possible you should also begin washing your hair with a residue free shampoo. These will be two changes your hair and scalp won't have to deal with later on. It will also leave your hair ready to knot and lock it's best when it's time to backcomb. If you'll be able to have Dread Soap on hand for this pre-dread washing you'll want to get your stuff on it's way 4 weeks before you'll actually be starting your dreads. This will give you plenty of time to get your stuff and get any questions answered that you might think of when you have your stuff is in hand.
If you're waiting on your hair to grow out because you don't have the minimum 3", or you have 3" and you're waiting on the optimum 6-8" I have some good news for you. You can speed up the growth of your hair by eating well and taking a few key supplements. I'm big fan of eating raw whenever I can. This usually means more raw vegetables, nuts and fruit than usual and way less breads, dairy and other cooked foods. In addition to loads more energy, immune system, brain function etc. you'll also have much faster hair growth. There are a billion great resources for eating raw online. Check Them out when you get a chance.
To get your hair growing as fast as possible there are several vitamins and supplements that allow for epic increases in hair growth speed and strength. After searching and experimenting I found what I believe to be the most effective combination of these vitamins and supplements.
For information on different supplements that can help hair to grow please refer to www.Gemsnaturalhaircare.us/vitaminresource
Please visit us again for more tips and info on starting the journey of locs