So, you’re thinking about starting dreads, huh? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Dreads, also known as dreadlocks, have been around for centuries and they’re definitely not going out of style anytime soon. But where do you even begin? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll delve into the process of starting dreads and give you all the information you need to rock those fabulous locks.
Starting dreads is like embarking on a journey of self-expression and embracing your natural hair texture. It’s a commitment that requires some patience and TLC, but the end result is truly worth it. From understanding the different methods of starting dreads to knowing how to care for them, you’ll learn everything you need to kickstart your journey towards dreadlock greatness.
There are various methods to start dreads, including the backcombing method, twist and rip method, and the neglect method. Each method has its own pros and cons, and what works best for one person may not work for another. We’ll dive into the details of each method and guide you in making the right choice for your hair type and desired dreadlock look.
But starting dreads is just the beginning. Once you’ve got your dreads, you’ll need to know how to care for them and keep them looking their best. We’ll cover topics like washing and conditioning your dreads, dealing with any potential issues such as unraveling or lint buildup, and even how to style your dreads in different ways. So stick around and get ready to learn all the ins and outs of starting your very own dreadlock journey.
How To Start Dreads
What are dreads?
Dreads, short for dreadlocks, are a hairstyle where the hair is intentionally allowed to mat and form into rope-like strands. This distinct hairstyle has a rich cultural history, often associated with various cultures and spiritual practices around the world.
Definition of dreads
Dreads are formed by either neglecting or manipulating the hair to create sections of matted hair. These sections, known as dreadlocks, are achieved by allowing the hair to naturally form into thick, twisted strands.
Origin and cultural significance
Dreads have roots in ancient civilizations, including Ancient Egypt, India, and Greece. They have been seen as a symbol of spirituality, rebellion, and cultural pride. In many African and Caribbean cultures, dreads have played a significant role in expressing cultural identity and resistance against societal norms.
Why choose dreads?
Unique style statement
One of the primary reasons people opt for dreads is because of the unique and eye-catching style it offers. Dreads provide an opportunity to showcase individuality and stand out from the crowd.
Dreads require minimal daily maintenance compared to other hairstyles. Once your dreads are formed, you can enjoy the freedom of not having to style your hair daily. This low-maintenance aspect makes dreads a practical choice for individuals with busy lifestyles.
Symbolic and spiritual meaning
Dreads hold symbolic meaning for many individuals. They can represent personal growth, spiritual enlightenment, and a connection to one’s roots and ancestors. Some people choose dreads as a means of expressing their spirituality or as a reflection of their cultural heritage.
Preparing for dreads
Assessing your hair type
Before starting dreads, it is crucial to assess your hair type to determine the best method for achieving and maintaining dreads. Different hair types require different approaches, so understanding your hair’s texture and thickness will help you choose the most suitable method.
Dreads can be started at various hair lengths, but it’s important to have enough hair length to work with. Ideally, your hair should be at least 2-3 inches long for most methods. If your hair is shorter, it may be necessary to wait until it reaches the desired length before starting the process.
Consulting with a professional
If you’re unsure about which method to choose or need guidance on how to start your dreads, it’s advisable to consult with a professional. An experienced hairstylist or loctician can assess your hair and provide expert advice tailored to your specific needs.
Different methods to start dreads
For those who prefer a more organic approach, natural dreadlocks involve allowing the hair to naturally mat and form into locks over time. This method requires little manipulation and relies on proper maintenance to encourage the hair to lock up.
Twist and rip method
The twist and rip method involves sectioning the hair and manually twisting each section while pulling it apart to create the desired dreadlock formation. This method is relatively simple and can be easily done by individuals with varying hair types.
The backcombing method involves teasing and backcombing each section of hair, starting from the roots and working towards the tips. This process tightens the hair and encourages it to form into dreadlocks. Backcombing is often followed by palm rolling to smooth and shape the locks.
The interlocking method uses a crochet hook to pull the hair through itself, creating interlocking loops. This method is commonly used for maintenance and tightening of existing locs but can also be used to start dreads. It provides a neat and uniform look but requires regular maintenance to prevent matting.
The crochet method involves using a crochet hook to pull the hair through itself repeatedly, creating knots and tangles that form into dreadlocks. This method is quick and effective but requires caution to prevent excess manipulation that may cause hair breakage.
Extensions and synthetic dreads
If you desire longer or thicker dreads instantly, hair extensions or synthetic dreads can be added to your natural hair. These extensions are attached to your hair using various methods, such as braiding or interlocking.
Washing and drying
Contrary to popular belief, dreads require regular washing to keep them clean and healthy. Use residue-free shampoos specifically formulated for dreads, and ensure thorough rinsing to prevent product buildup. After washing, allow your dreads to dry completely to avoid mildew or odor issues.
Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your dreads looking tidy and healthy. This may include palm rolling to maintain the shape, separating any conjoined locks, and applying oils or conditioning treatments to keep the hair moisturized.
Keeping dreads clean and odor-free
To prevent odor and keep your dreads fresh, ensure to wash them regularly and thoroughly dry them after washing. It’s also important to avoid excessive use of heavy products that can create buildup and cause unpleasant smells.
Retwisting or interlocking
Retwisting or interlocking your dreads periodically helps maintain the lock formation and keeps them looking neat. This maintenance process involves carefully twisting or interlocking the roots of each dread to encourage matting and prevent them from unraveling.
Styling options for dreads
Dreads offer endless styling possibilities. You can accessorize them with beads, shells, wraps, or jewelry to enhance the look and reflect your personal style.
Updos and hairstyles
Dreads can be styled into various updos and hairstyles, including buns, ponytails, and braided styles. Get creative and experiment with different hairstyles to find what suits your taste and occasion.
Braiding dreads can add versatility and dimension to your hairstyle. Whether you opt for simple braids or intricate designs, braiding can be a fun way to change up your look.
Coloring and dyeing
Many individuals choose to add color to their dreads to further express their style. Dyeing your dreads can add vibrancy and uniqueness to your overall look.
Avoiding common mistakes
Using excessive wax in dread maintenance can cause residue buildup and prevent the natural locking process. Avoid over-waxing and opt for wax-free products specifically formulated for dreads.
Tightening too frequently
Tightening your dreads too often can put unnecessary stress on the hair, leading to breakage or thinning. Follow a proper maintenance schedule and avoid excessive manipulation.
Neglecting root maintenance
Root maintenance is crucial for preventing congo-ing (when two or more dreads combine) and maintaining the overall health of your dreads. Regularly separate the roots to prevent matting.
Using incorrect products
Using products that contain harsh chemicals or heavy oils can weigh down your dreads or cause residue buildup. Choose products specifically designed for dreads and natural hair to maintain their health and appearance.
Starting dreads is not only a hairstyle choice but also a journey of self-expression and embracing your unique individuality. Whether you choose dreads for their cultural significance, low maintenance, or style versatility, taking the time to understand your hair type, consult with professionals, and follow proper maintenance techniques will ensure a successful dreadlock journey. So, embrace the decision to start dreads and enjoy the adventure of expressing yourself through your hair.