What is a good maintenance routine?
It might vary from person to person, my routine includes re-twists every month, hot oil treatments once a month. When I am doing my re-twists, I only use oil and water. In the beginning of my journey, I would use wax but I have switched to oils and water because this helps to prevent build up with your dreadlocks. I wash my hair once every two weeks and usually I just oil my scalp with extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil. As for the hot oil treatment once every month or 3 weeks when I re-twist. My loctician uses orange oil, lavender and coconut oil mixed. In general, always sleep with a head scarf on, either satin or silk. This goes for everyone with afro-textured hair because our hair is fragile. For dreadlocks in particular, it helps to prevent build up by you picking up fluff that gets stuck on your dreadlocks. Keep your roots healthy. I achieve this by oiling my scalp every week, massaging if I get time. Spraying it with water.
How do I get rid of lumps and bends?
I would say it is almost impossible to have perfectly cylindrical dreadlocks but, depending on the technique you use, you might be close. I use the palm rolling method or finger coiling. The crotchet method makes it more cylindrical and even but if you don’t want to use crotchet method, palm rolling is the next best alternative. Yet again, if palm rolling is done by different people, each person has different intensity they apply or palm roll in different directions in which case you might get lumps and bends. Changing locticians or locking your hair yourself, the technique varies, therefore, achieving perfect lump and bend free dreadlocks might be unattainable to be completely honest. Different techniques give a unique result. If you use crotchet method you are more likely to achieve that perfect look and thickness that you want.
How to make the dreadlocks thicker?
When starting off your loc journey, have your locs partitioned in large sections. I got pretty thick locs, approximately 70 on my head. I naturally have thick hair, so my locs are thick. If you already started your journey and didn’t get thick locks cut, you can either combine dreadlocks (usually obtained by getting two thin locs joined using crotchet) or avoid re-twisting very often. People often times over re-twist. The latter can make your hair weak and you might start to experience breakage. Personally, I am still new on this journey, I am only 10 months in and I re-twist every month but once my locs mature, I will re-twist every 3 weeks.
NB: The thicker your dreadlocks are, the longer it will take for it to lock. Thinner dreadlocks look longer than thicker ones where the hair is actually the same length.
How do you tighten your dreads?
This goes back to the type of technique you use. Some people use interlocking method. But I use the palm rolling method because I think it is the safest and reduces damage to your hair. If you decide to comb out your locs, palm rolling is easier to comb out compared to crotchet, interlocking or sister locs.
How did your loc journey begin?
I first considered locs 5 years ago. At the time, I ‘chickened’ out because I did not have the commitment for it. I have done almost everything you can think of with my hair. I have relaxed, colored, shaved, been natural, shaved half of my head multiple times. At that point, I was concerned that I wouldn’t have the commitment for dreadlocks. I grew out my hair in 2017 December and I decided to loc my hair. I thought I would give myself a year and if I didn’t enjoy the journey after a year, I would comb out the locs and have my afro. So far so good. It will be 12 months in December. And that’s how it begun!
Challenges you have faced?
- My hair took longer to loc than I had imagined, probably because my dreadlocks are thick. It is now locked but not completely mature. Perhaps another 6-12 months to go.
- I struggled with build up in the initial stage because I was using wax. I also braided my hair and that too caused build up.
- I work in a very corporate environment, part of the reason I started braiding. I didn’t quite know how to style my hair in the beginning. When your dreadlocks are baby locs, they look really weird and I honestly wasn’t comfortable going to work like that. So that is why I was braiding my hair for the 1st four months. Even though my hair has now locked, I still need to find styles that are corporate friendly. I will never wear my dreadlocks loose so I often style them for work.
How I dealt with the challenges?
- I have reduced the time between re-twists to give my hair more time to loc.
- I dyed my hair black so that the build up wasn’t visible. It’s been fine so far.
Otherwise, it has been a good journey so far. It requires A LOT of patience. If you are someone who just wants dreadlocks because they look cool, it is not for you because it requires plenty of patience before it starts to look like dreadlocks and you can actually start to work with your hair.
About author: Wamuyu loves all things artsy and outdoors. She has an electrical engineering degree and works for a top strategy consulting firm.