The dread in some dreadlock work – what to look out for

As we can all imagine, when one works in any particular field you get to see the good and bad, the fantastic and downright nasty. Needless to say that working with dreadlocks is no different.

After seeing the same disasters over and over during the course of the last few years, I have decided to put some images and information together to perhaps help the next person to not land in the same situation.

To see and fix a slight mess or total disaster from a person who is not a professional or to bring order to free-formed locks is understandable. However, when it comes to shocking work done by supposed “specialist salons”, a hard, thick line needs to be drawn.

The beautiful art that it is . .

Understand that dreadlock artistry is not cheap. Reputable dreadlock specialists are few and far between here in South Africa and it is very much a form of art.

It takes hours and hours. It takes skill which needed to be developed over years of experience and when it comes to adding human hair extensions – the human hair comes at a price too. All which is good and fair if the product offered and the work being done is of quality.

Do not be ripped off

In cases such as the following, we have quite the opposite. Instead, we have an individual who usually has been wanting dreadlocks for a long period of time. They have been looking for someone to make this dream a reality and then out of shear ignorance falls for this.

Its upsetting to see how some carry on as if it was completely normal and acceptable, not knowing the difference. They may even carry on going back for more useless maintenance and bad advice as they simply know no better. Others cannot live with the disorder on their heads, they feel even less with the low self esteem they have already been struggling with and resort to cutting it all off after forking out thousands.

A waste of money. A waste of time. Instead of investing in the creation of that royal disaster, those Rands and hours could rather be spent on a long list of many other useful things.


The following images are from a recent case I had – not the first and sadly one of many.

This “dreadlock job” was done by “professionals” who have been doing the same shocking work for years already. The style is always the same and is very recognisable from miles away. This client’s hair was completed, a sad excuse for terribly made extensions installed in a sloppy way – two maintenance sessions later – and still – this was the result.

The actual extensions:

The way it looks in the area where the extensions joined with her natural hair:

Some more . . .

Work such as this should not be tolerated. This is what gives dreadlocks, loctitians and dreadlock artists a bad name. It sets a low standard. Even if it was the efforts of an apprentice – how does the teacher / salon owner allow this ?

How her locks turned out after some hours of fixing, correcting and replacing some extensions

How to avoid the same mess:

  • * Do not just go by referral. People will still refer you to terrible salons / loctitians if they don’t know any better
  • * Ask the artist for close up images of their work. This would include whole dreadlocks / the roots / dreadlock extensions as well as the area where the joins have been done.
  • * Do not easily be impressed or swayed by their social media following. It is not difficult for some people to fool followers. Photos of work at a distance can also be very misleading.

If you have landed in the same situation:

  • Firstly let the salon / loctitian know if you have any concerns or if you are unhappy with the work they did. If they are teachable and interested to have the best outcome with their clients, they will hear you out and make an arrangement to make right.
  • Do not fall for “its your fault, you should not have washed your hair” – absolute rubbish. You SHOULD wash. Washing cannot make dreadlocks completely fall apart, in fact its a necessary part of the process of locking.
  • If you have no luck with them actually properly fixing their mess, head over to the ratings on Google / Social Media pages / Hello Peter – go nuts. Please just do not remain silent – its unacceptable how many people get taken for a ride like this.
  • After that – never go back. Yes, they know their work is substandard. Yes, they are exploiting you, willingly. Don’t fool yourself into thinking they are innocent in this. After so many years in a certain industry, one knows full well what great work looks like and one also know full well their own mess is abhorrent.
  • Find someone who is passionate about the work they do, where you and the outcome matters. Not where its only about scoring the next client, exploiting them too.

I have seen lots of messes. I have fixed a lot of messes and I myself have had to learn too. Please, be very picky where you go. You deserve to have an outcome with your time and money well spent. To walk out with a work of art. You deserve to look good and feel beautiful. You deserve to have a dream come true.

Eva xx

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