So there is one particular person who wanted to know more about my hair. She demands pictures as well. I told her not much has changed (though the day after that things did change, isn't that how things work?). She was surprised. She thought my hair would have been covered in perfect dreads, and was surprised to find out that that will not be the case for the next year or so. So here I am to spread some truth about dreadlocks.
:: Dreadlocks should be, and are encouraged to be washed. For some reason people think that they can not be washed, but this is not true. That being said, there are a few rules to adhere to when washing. For starters you need to wash with a residue free shampoo. Otherwise residue will build up in the locks, and that will not be pretty. Two, you can not use conditioner, for the reason that it leaves a residue, and that you do not want your hair to be that slippery. The hair needs to be able to move around, but still be 'dry' enough that it will lock up. Third, you have to wash your hair with plenty of time for it to dry before you go to bed. You can not go to bed with wet hair. Dreadlocks take much longer to dry than regular styles.
:: There are a few ways to start dreadlocks. Some are encouraged more than others since there are some methods that are damaging to the hair. Backcombing, twist and rip, and neglect are the most popular. Some people use a crochet hook to tidy up their hair, which does a lot of damage. Therefore, you will see that my hair looks very, very messy right now :-) I may at some point try to tidy it up by wrapping the loose strands around a dread, or using a blunted needle to pull the hair into the dread. But hair has a mind of its own, and I need to wait to see what it is planning on doing. Some peoples' hair will tidy up in due time.
:: Baby dreads (the ones you start) are not true dreads, they are your attempt to start dreads. Neglect dreads can take two years to form. Those who use backcombing or TnR take about a year for dreads to form. This definitely takes patience. Especially when your head looks like a mop :-) Mine definitely looks like a mop!
:: There are various ways to dress up your dreads. In the beginning it is not recommended to do so as it can either hamper the locking process, or weaken the dread. But leaving something (a bead or wrap) in for a day or two is usually fine. Some people will leave rubber bands in their hair, in an attempt to get the hair to form properly, however the hair will 'eat' up the rubber band.
:: Salt water helps with the locking process, and I intend on trying some spritz sometime soon. You spray your hair with salt water and leave it on for an hour or three. It needs to be washed out or it will dry out your scalp and hair too much. But the drying is what helps the hair lock up faster.
:: My hair in particular has a bunch of 'paint brush' ends. My hair is short in the back, and as such some of it refuses to stay in a section. My ends come unraveled a lot and sometimes I will do some TnR on them, but only time will take care of them. I try not to do much with my hair, but it can be fun to fiddle with!
Those are just a few truths about dreads, I am sure there is a bunch more that I could write about, but those are the basics. I took some more pictures the other day. My dreads are now a month old. I have a *ton* of loose hair, especially in the back. Most of the lower 1/4 of my head is undreaded. It is too short and keeps coming undone. Oh well. I'll just keep trying, and eventually it will stay dreaded. Since I wrote the above information I tried the salt spray. It definitely does the job. I have loops and bumps all over now. Without further ado, here are the photos: