FAQs About My Dreadlocks

These are some of the many questions I’ve answered over the past year, as well as some all of you asked me recently. Here they are, in no particular order.

Day 4 ~ I'm bringing sexy back. Yeah.
Day Four – Can’t Fight the Funk

Are they real? Uh, yes.

Can I touch them? Um, no. That’s creepy and I don’t know where you’re hands have been. 😉

Can/Do you wash them? Yes and yes. However, it’s not suggested to wash them frequently (more than twice a week) as they are slow to dry and this can increase the risk of stinkiness. Not washing them also increases that risk. lol

How do you wash them? Similar to washing straight hair, although with slight differences. You must use a non-residue soap (which eliminates 99.9% of shampoos) and no conditioner. Regular shampoo and conditioners leave a buildup in your hair, which is nearly impossible to get out of dreadlocks and leads to yucky funk. Most dreadheads use Dr. Bronner’s soap with baking soda and apple cider vinegar as a rinse. Some use soaps specifically made for dreads. The former leaves my hair greasy and the latter usually contains tea tree oil to which I’m allergic. Thus, I use Neutrogena’s Non-Residue shampoo for now until I find a “greener” alternative that won’t leave me in hives.

How will you get rid of them? I’ll ignore the implications that this is a phase I’ll soon regret 😉 and answer by saying, anyone who wishes to remove their dreads can undertake the painstaking process of combing them out. Or they can cut their dreads very short and only need to comb out a small amount. Shaving is not the only option, but most definitely the easiest.

How long will you have them? Until the time is right to not have them anymore. I can’t really know what to expect and I tend to trust my intuition when it tells me to do something, so anything is possible. But I can easily see myself as an old lady with grey dreads done to my ankles. 🙂

Dreadlocks and "Foody" - 7 weeks
7 weeks along – loops and bumps taking shape

Are you Rastafarian? If you mean do they have a spiritual connontation to them, yes. You can read about that here. But no, I am not Rastafarian.

Aren’t dreadlocks on white people cultural appropriation? In my opinion, no. Dreadlocks are what naturally happens to any person of any ethnicity who stop combing their hair. While they are most often associated with African-Americans or Rastafarians, many other cultures and races have them as well. They have been recorded throughout history, dating thousands of years back: remember the story of Sampson and Delilah from the Old Testament and his “seven locks of hair”?

Do you smoke pot/like Reggae/listen to P.O.D./know my dreadlocked friend, Bob? No. Yes, but that’s not why I have dreads. No. Not likely.

Will the roots grow out straight? How do you dread the roots? No, the roots will somehow work themselves into the dread. I have no idea how that happens but no (or perhaps little) effort on my part is needed.

Why I Tend to Wear Them Up
6 Months and craaaazy…but isn’t Zeb’s painted bathroom awesome?

How long did it take you to put them in/what method did you use? My husband backcombed my hair for 14 long, painful hours.

Did you use wax? Do you recommend it? I do NOT recommend it. I made the mistake of using very small amounts when we first put them in and it took months to get it out. I’m sure there is some that will never come out. Keep in mind that the comanies telling you wax is okay are trying to make money from you.

Why in the world would someone ever do that to their hair? Right after I unwrap them and let them fall down in all their glory to freak you out more…I’ll ignore you.

I really want dreads but have no one to help me put them in. What should I do? How close do you live to me? 😉 Search for a “loctitian”; make sure they don’t use wax. Search Craigslist for a dready person to help you out. Bribe your closest friend. Or do them yourself by either backcombing or neglect.

How does one go about getting dreadlocks? Backcombing is one method (sorta like the teasing of the 80’s). Neglect is another. Crocheting is yet another but is more difficult to find instructions on.

1 Year Old Today!!
One Year and only slight less crazy

How long have you had yours? Since May 17th, 2008

How many dreads do you have? I’m not sure. Somewhere around 36 but the count changes nearly every time. Go fig.

What’s with all the loops and bumps? Loops, bumps and flat spots are a natural occurrence with dreadlocks and fix themselves given time. Dreadlocks have a mind of their own and given the freedom they will express that to you. 😉 I could have spent time each day palm-rolling to avoid these but that would defeat their purpose for me.

Why do some of them look crazier than others? The dreads that get the most friction – namely the ones in the back and the right side, where I tend to sleep – lock up the fastest. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to sleep on the top of my head.

Do you know a lot of dready mamas? Not in real life. But here and here and here are just  few I’ve met online. And here’s an awesome Flickr group to scope out more.

Do you believe your dreadlocks to be sustainable? I do, although that wasn’t my intital purpose. However, the fact that my showers are shorter because I’m not washing daily, I only wash my hair 1-2x a week thus use less products, I can only use the most natural of products, and I don’t need a brush or fancy whatever, have convinced me of their “green” factor.

Where can I learn more? KnottyBoy.com has lots of info. Just ignore anything they say about wax.

Phew! Did I cover everything?