My beautiful friend Elizabeth from Life of Liezel has decided to drag me closer and collaborate with me.
We have done some video clips on these questions but sadly they are too large to share here. I will be posting them on social media Stories over the next while so do keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram business pages for updates.
What is the point of dreadlocks, why have them?
I think its fair to say that the answer would be different to most of us. However, unlike any other hairstyle, dreadlocks is a journey of self discovery.
I found that it is about being true to oneself in a world where we are often expected to fit in without question. We might feel as if we need to comply to be accepted.
Dreadlocks has brought me as well as my many of my clients newfound freedom. Learning self love, self acceptance, learning patience through the forming months, teaching reward after putting much effort in.
The biggest part of this to me personally is developing the courage to be authentically exactly who we are. Where ever we go, others see something different in us which in turn inspires them to climb out of their shells and become their true and authentic selves too.
I feel that dreadlocks are a statement of non-violence, acceptance and solidarity, creativity and freedom of expression. Being individuals who powerfully stand out, instead of sinking down to conform to the demands of who others say we should be, what we should look like, never discovering our true selves.
Do you use your own hair or what hair is used?
Yes. It is all our “own” hair. Only when we do extensions, other hair will be added but it will still be human hair. Since the client pays for the human hair being used, that too is their “own” hair 😉
Are dreadlocks dirty?
I have a simple answer to that. Yes and no.
Lets draw an analogy.
Lets say I am a crusty person. Dirty as all hell. My personal hygiene is up to 💩 and I’m pretty much just lazy to groom myself. So now my thing is, lets say, acrylic nails in dark red. I’m crusty remember? Regardless if my finger nails are covered by neat looking red acrylic – underneath, the truth still lurks, dirty finger nails that look as if I just dug a grave.
In short- if you are a dirty person, the rest of you will also be dirty.
Think about this. How regularly do we see people around town with gross, filthy looking hair that is clearly uncared for? Personally, I see that very often. Its sadly an assumed norm that when we have dreadlocks that it would somehow be far worse than straight hair what cleanliness is concerned, as if the general anti-dreadlock public would hold their breath waiting for an entourage of flies to be following us around. All which is of course furthest from the truth.
Soap and water people. Soap and water. This is not the 1800’s – wash that mop and you will have no problem 😉
Do they stink?
That depends on you. Do you stink? 🧐 Sies man.
Generally, absolutely not, no. Mine smell like shampoo and essential oils. Then again, not all dreaded darlings are described as above. We are not all crusty homosapiens yo.
The reasons they ‘could’ stink, however:
- if hair washing days are not as regular as it should be
- if you go to sleep with wet hair
- if you use waxes and funny things which create a build up
- if you forfeit those bi-annual deep cleanses for too long
- if you are a strange cretin, a storm water drain dwelling troll who appreciates grease and grime 😉
I need to add however and this I am asking nicely – if you have dreadlocks – please, please do not be one of those people out there who make the rest of the world think that dreadlocks are disgusting. For the life of all things worth while, deep cleanse your glorious mop, make yourself proud. Self esteem starts on the inside and self love goes a long way.
Do you wash dreadlocks and how?
Heck yes! See in your mind how I’m looking at you with large eyes right now. They need to be washed exactly as you would with “normal” un-dreaded hair.
I highly recommend that a good wash happens at least once every 10 days. Emphasis on “at least”, okay? Don’t be lazy now. The movement of the water between the hair greatly helps the matting process as well so we have a win-win situation. I can clearly see between my clients who washes / surfs / swims often vs who does not. The dreadlocks “settle” and “lock” much faster.
Rinsing your hair thoroughly after every wash and swim is a very important way to make sure that chlorine, sea salt and residue from any soap is washed out. The aim is to have well maintained, well moisturised, beautiful and healthy, long lasting dreadlocks for many years to come. For this to be a reality, dry and brittle dreadlocks is not going to work.
What shampoo do you use?
There are various shampoos that one could use but I recommend using a shampoo that’s clarifying. My own recommendation would be a product that is free from SLS, SLES, Parabens etc. Some examples of brands would be Enchantrix, Earthsap, Victorian Garden, Oh so Heavenly, Iwori etc.
The added great thing about these well known names is that they are ‘not’ tested on animals, they are biodegradable and contain no ingredients derived from animals or insects.
I have it in mind to start carrying some products to make this part a bit easier so watch this space.
Can I use conditioner?
Please no. That would create a build up inside the dreadlocks that would help the problem of stink along nicely. Just don’t. Also, it could make your dreadlocks come apart as it can be used to brush out locks. All and all, nope.
When will my dreadlocks look like dreadlocks?
Immediately. You will walk in with no locks and by the time we are done your hair will be dreadlocks. I find that some clients who come over for fix up jobs have been told that “it takes time for them to form and look like dreads”. No dear. That is merely a bad excuse for a sloppy job they charge you good amounts of money for.
What you do with your locks once you walk out count for a lot of course – but you need to understand, where ever you go for locks, they need to be “locks” afterwards.
Are they heavy in water and in general?
Depending on how thick and long your hair is, they definitely could be yes. My locks are hanging on my calves and yes, they are definitely heavy! When they are wet it actually hurts my neck, so I either hold them in my hands or I hang them over my shoulder to take some of the weight off while I wash them.
How does one deep cleanse and how often?
I recommend a deep cleanse twice a year. You will need some bicarb and apple cider vinegar.
- fill a basin or some receptacle with nice warm water
- add 2 tbs of bicarb and soak your dreadlocks in there for about 20 minutes
- squeeze out thoroughly
- have a lovely shower with some good shampoo
- mix approximately 1 tbs of apple cider vinegar into a cup of shower water and use that as a rinse to help restore ph.-balance and luster
- dry outside in lovely daylight – and – TADAAA!
Good, clean and fresh trallalaa …
How do I moisturize my dreadlocks?
There are various ways – very importantly is to wash often as we have covered above. When you have a shower, do not cover your dreadlocks with a shower cap but let the mist humidify your hair instead. Please leave all conditioner, synthetic oil or cream based kind of products out your hair care routine completely. Make use of a natural products that aid the locking process and is great for your locks like our very loved Earthy Moisturising Mist – Dreadlock Spray which is available here in our store.
Do you find that you are rejected often because of dreadlocks?
No, not at all. The only ones who look at me with a pulled up top lip and a limp eyelid are old white not-so-darlings. The type that would usually vote for the AWB. Their intolerance, ignorance and misunderstanding doesn’t phase me. Carry on. I throw my hands in the air because I truly do not care.
What if others don’t want me to dread my hair or don’t like it?
Do you like ‘their’ hair? Should this even be a question? Not at all, but it is.
Ask yourself why the opinion of another person is that important to you. Why does it matter?
This has always been something that I find extremely frustrating – how ‘others’ demand and tell us about ‘their’ preferences over ‘us’, hair that grows from ‘our’ bodies, not theirs. I feel that allowing someone that power over us simply isn’t acceptable.
If you’d like to hear more of my own story, please go here.
This topic is a rather big one and its here where you will be presented with the opportunity to dig deeper. My advice is that one should not be shy to put boundaries down. This is ‘your’ hair. Say it. Say it again. It is, YOURS. Not your boyfriends, not your parents, not Joe Soap in the que at the Post Office who twitched when he saw you. That hair is YOURS.
Ask yourself this. Do you ever see people asking the approval and permission of anyone out there when they decide to change from ‘any’ hair style’ to the other? Do you ever see some fossil on social media give his unsolicited opinion when Hair Cuts by Helen posts about the new bob that’s in fashion? No?
However, when its dreadlocks they all have certain ideas because people are weird and most of their brain still remains in the shadows of the dark ages. Please help those poor creatures out by sharing this article with them, it may just help them to evolve a little 😉
I have very recently had a client who could not dread her hair out of fear that it would start trouble where she lives. The governing body is made up of intolerant sour krauts who insist that the devil dwells in dreadlocks. I wish that statement was one of my usual strange utterance of humorous nonsense, but its not – I’m actually serious. She decided to not let their weird, sect-like ideas hold her back and we came up with a plan, so all is good.
What about the work place?
In the times that we live, there will sadly still be times where employers or potential employers will ‘not’ be okay with hair like this and unfortunately work is not easy to find. You could have a discussion to help clarify some misconceptions. If you have dreadlocks already and its creating a problem in the work space, please do your part and make sure your hair is clean, maintained and well groomed. Realistically the ones who walk around careless about their appearance are the ones creating a bad impression for the rest of us too. As I said, don’t be one of them please. Self respect …
How do I handle conflict or negative opinions?
Boundaries. It is an essential part of self preservation and self respect. Practice them and become relentless at them, they are needed. As I mentioned, this is barely ever an issue to me but when it is an issue I simply say “My hair, not yours” and that is pretty much the end of that discussion as I owe no explanations to a single soul. It is relatively easy to have an upper hand in this simply by taking great pride in your hair. Care for them. Love yourself. Your neat dreadlocks that smell and look amazing cannot be less that what ever is happening on that person’s head. You have nothing to stand back for. Fix your posture and wear your mane proudly.
How are dreadlocks created? Do they form on their own?
Well, some people do ‘make’ dreadlocks form through neglect. How this works is that you’d literally just not pay terribly much attention, not brush and when those matted cakes start forming, they celebrate with great joy, dance under the moon and call those things “dreads” :P.
Don’t get me wrong, they ‘can’ form like that but I don’t suggest that. Why? Because this way they tend to form with no order. Not in ‘where’ they form on the head and also not how thick and in what shape they’d turn out. Some will be thick ass cigars, others will be a quarter size of a pinky finger. In my opinion, not a great idea at all. Regardless ‘if’ or ‘if not’ this is your preferred method, for the sake of all the gods, lets at least maintain and tame down those beasts on your head so it doesn’t look as if you have been dragged through a bush backwards.
The more ideal ways would like methods like “twist and rip” or backcombing and crocheting. Twist and rip is far more gentle than it sounds – nobody will rip your hair out, don’t run to a trauma counsellor just yet.
The method that ‘I’ personally work with is the latter. The idea with crocheting is to work as carefully and skillfully as possible to prevent damage to the hair as far as possible. The “crochet” part is exactly that. I gently ‘knit’ your hair with a crochet needle. Emphasis on “gently”.
Is it your own hair?
Yup. All of it.
How long do they take to mature?
That would largely depend on how they are cared for. If you wash, gently palm roll, mist them and regularly maintain them when they need it, you are on the right track. Generally speaking, I’d say anything from 6 months to 2 years. In that time you do not need to look like you crawled out from under a bush. Just, do your part.
Are they suitable for all hair types? What about curly hair?
Oooh curly hair works beautifully! Absolutely yes! And yes, all hair types work for dreadlocks. Some types are more stubborn than others but they all work well with dreadlocks.
Do you have to dread all of it?
Not at all. You can start with one row of dreads right at the bottom. The hair there is thinner and finer usually and about 4 dreadlocks on average will fit in there. Its a good way to start and see if you’ll like the way they feel, the thickness they create etc. From there we could do a quarter head, half a head, three quarters or full head.
How long does it take to dread hair?
That would depend on length, texture as well as thickness of the hair, how many dreadlocks you want as well as the thickness that is preferred. To have a full head done, I would say anything from about 6 hours onwards. I usually meet up with clients to have a good look and then give an estimate from there.
Does it hurt?
That depends on how sensitive your scalp is as well as how rough the loctitian works with you. I don’t do plucking and yanking as it creates damage but some of my clients still say that it hurts. It is very normal for your scalp to feel tender for a day or so afterwards.
Do you get headaches?
As a general thing, I would not say that no. If its very thick, long and heavy I’d say, sometimes yes. This too would depend on person to person. Headaches can of course be caused by various factors such as hormones, eyesight problems, the need to detox etc which all are unrelated to dreadlocks. If you find that you have headaches though, try letting your hair loose and pay attention to how its styled. It may just be too tight. Very importantly, make sure you drink enough water as it cures many troubles including something like a headache.
Do they itch?
Sometimes they do yes, especially at the beginning and its merely because the scalp is adjusting. Please don’t be rough with your hair. Wild scratching will cause breakage and eventually that will create weak spots. Instead, make sure that your scalp and roots are moisturised. When and if your scalp itches, rather tap gently (or tap hard if you deserve a proper ‘klap’ for some or other reason 😛 ). It also helps to make use of a suitable scratcher to get into those finer places. A pencil. A little twig, since we are bush dwellers. Your great grandmother’s rusty old fork if you may 😉 .
Do they grow faster?
Heck yes they do. The reason for this is more scalp stimulation which positively affects blood circulation. ‘If’ you want extensions, I do not suggest adding extensions that are too long if you have some good length already. They will get too long too soon and you’d have to trim the human hair extensions, or remove them all together.
Is it okay to burn off the loose hair around them to make them neater?
Look at me as I stare at you with large eyes. For crying in a bucket – please keep the candles, the lighters, the flame and the subsequent “burn” for the second last question why don’t we? Haaahaaaa. Ooh cho cho.
I’ve seen on YouTube how they grow mold on the inside, is that true?
It can indeed be true. If you’d like to be one of them mold growers, I suggest you go sleep with wet or damp dreadlocks, use conditioner, don’t wash often, skip that part that says “deep cleanse every six months” (hear my moron voice) and oh yes, do some wax and honey treatments as we’ll cover next 😀 and then leave it to grow nicely (all very kind sarcasm)
Will dreadlock waxes or honey make my dreadlocks form quicker?
See how I pinch my eyes shut and inhale a deep frustrated breath. Just, NO! Hell no. In short, you will stink. Your dreadlocks will be gross and tacky. Ants might attack you (it might be Karma, and if it is, oh well). Your dreadlocks will pick up all the dirt, dust, gunk and everything resembling anything giff and cringe worthy. Don’t. The potent pong that will smolder out of you will be incurable. If you have committed such a near unforgivable sin – I suggest deep cleansing. It will more than likely take time to get it out. I strongly suggest to never, ever, do this.
Will my hair be damaged from being dreaded?
Again, yes and no. If done correctly, gently and respectfully – no. If however the hair is handled rough when the locks are created, if maintenance is done incorrectly and if palm rolling is done too often, too hard, then yes.
The importance of a trustworthy, skilled and experienced loctitian
Us who are interested in dreadlocks, who go through the whole process of creating them – the goal is to have them as neatly, well formed, healthy and beautiful as possible right? Sadly not everyone who says they can make dreadlocks ‘should’ actually do dreadlocks.
If you are seeing a loctitian that works rough with a needle and all you see is brisk ripping of the needle up and down, in and out of your hair with snapping and breaking – please, get up and leave. Disappear behind the furthest hill. It will cost you and you ‘will’ regret it. All that happens is that lengths of hair becomes snapped off in short pieces so you sit with cylindrical shaped destroyed hair. That is not what dreadlocks should be. It is not sustainable and nothing to rejoice about.
Because all that broken hair compromises the strength of the entire dreadlock. Weak spots ‘will’ form, it is not an “if”, “but” or “maybe”. The weak spots can be fixed by rapping and crocheting human hair into the affected parts, but think carefully now. When the entire dreadlock is like that and your whole head of dreads is formed this way, imagine the hassle, effort and cost to continuously do disaster management so they don’t just fall off. In no particular order either. Sommer all over, making you look as if a hungry sewer rat chewed off your hair. I think we can all agree. No thank you. Do your homework properly so you don’t have to dramatically flail your arms and sob into a stranger’s shirt.
But before you decide to lock your hair, for heaven’s sake please figure out what standard of work would be acceptable for you and what not. To see what I mean – have a look at “The dread in some dreadlock work – what to look out for“.
What will happen if I get lice? Do I need to shave it all off?
Nothing much really and no, you most definitely do not need to shave anything off because of a few uninvited pets. Save your money and your time, give conventional lice treatments a skip with a long skipping rope since they will not help you in your struggle at all.
What ‘could’ or ‘should’ we be doing instead:
- grab yourself and every hairy human member in your louse ridden household, drag them off to a sunny spot in the garden
- arm yourself with a bottle of surgical spirits and let the proceedings begin 😀
- tie up your hair in a little fountain / bolla / ponytail maneuver right on top of your head
- pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of surgical spirits right onto the center where the hair is tied. (Note that drenching the scalp is not necessary at all, I don’t advise using more rubbing alcohol than directed as it is very drying to the scalp and hair)
- cover with a plastic shopping bag and tie neatly and firmly around the head, don’t leave out those ears.
- park off, kick back, watch a movie, smoke some of your gramma’s daisy bush, have a sandwich, consult with the entities ;P, write a song about a louse, go nuts!
- after about 20 minutes – take that fashionable packet off your head, hang your hair forward like the sassy thing that you are and gentle shake your dreadlocks out with your hands – and – VOILA ! Problem solved! Those pesty things will have suffocated and crossed the rainbow bridge, suitcases and all.
If you are feeling a bit tender and paranoid, you are of course welcome to repeat the above steps in about 3 days or so, but it would be unlikely for there to be any survivors. So RIP and ce la vie.
Can I brush my dreadlocks out one day or is the only option to shave?
Yes, dreadlocks can most definitely be brushed out. It would largely depend on how they were started out, maintained and cared for however. The respectful way to create dreadlocks is not to manhandle the hair, pluck and rub wild, nor to neglect and only spray with salt water.
Image above – meet Liza. Liza decided to brush out the front part of her dreadlocks to create a softer look for her daughter’s wedding.
If we work rough with our locks, all we are essentially doing is creating long cylindrical shapes of broken bits and pieces of hair. A sad mess really. In such a case our dreadlocks could never last beautifully long term as broken, brittle hair may be visible and weak spots may form, making dreadlocks break off.
It is most definitely doable fixing weak spots on dreadlocks but once we want to comb the dread out there would be no way to salvage hair that is broken off and damaged. When the process in its entirety has been followed gently, respectfully and thoughtfully, brushing out dreadlocks is not an issue at all. The biggest thing to prepare for would be generous amounts of time and patience.
If I cut them off can I ever put them back?
You are weird you know? But yup. You absolutely can. It would be no different to extending your own hair with extensions created from human hair, only, the human hair extensions will be your own mowed down mop.
Can I colour or bleach my dreadlocks?
Yes you can colour your hair. What bleaching is concerned, I strongly advise to have it done ‘before’ the locking process, with a qualified hairdresser. After locking I do not advise going lighter even though some do it successfully. Harsh chemicals being used in the bleaching process can be very damaging to hair, especially as it is not as easy to wash chemicals out of dreads as it would be with undreaded hair.
My hair is very thin. Will dreadlocks work for me?
Over the last few years I have had quite a few clients who have approached me for this reason. I too use to think that thin hair and dreadlocks cannot go together – but it is not the case, they go together very well and in many cases its actually the saving grace to much unhappiness of too-thin hair.
However – please note that I am referring to dreading ‘your own’ hair to thicken it up – ‘not’ making use of extensions to thicken it up. There seems to be a misunderstanding when it comes to this. A human hair dreadlock extension is exactly for that purpose – to “extend”, not “thicken”, they are not “human hair dreadlock thickeners”.
Bare with me.
An extension fits anywhere from the body towards the end of ones ‘own natural’ hair to “extend” the length. If we place that extension ‘next’ to our own hair, it definitely would thicken it and that is actually a problem.
Why ? Because hair grows out a certain thickness at the scalp and that you cannot change by adding any hair externally.
So say for instance your strand of hair is half as thick as a pinky but we thicken it up to the size of a thumb – how are we going to keep that up once the hair grows out as it will still only be as thick as half a pinky? We’d need to keep on forever treating new hair that grows out as if its a weak spot – rapping with knotted hair to fill it up to thicken it. Again, not sustainable really and not a good idea.
What if my hair is quite short?
That is not necessarily a problem as we could lengthen your hair with human hair. If you choose to ‘not’ extend your hair that would be fine too. I have seen first hand how hair tends to grow quite a lot faster after being dreaded which means that you will soon have the natural length you want.
How are dreadlock extensions done?
I custom create all dreadlock extension jobs. You and I will be doing a consultation to figure exactly what it is you want with a look, length and colour. Human hair is sourced to match exactly those specifications. Your own hair texture, the colour as well as it being straight / curly/ wavey etc is taken into consideration.
The human hair we source is of top quality directly from manufacturers and import orders arrive within approximately 2 weeks after being shipped from the country of origin. I then prepare the dreadlocks before our appointment for installation.
You are most welcome to supply human hair you have sourced yourself as well.
Some images below of Wesley, Robyn and Mareyke. There are plenty more examples on our social media business pages or go to the page “Extending with human hair“.
Can I start out dreadlocks by first having temporary faux locks?
Hmmm . . . Please no. I don’t suggest that at all. If you’d like to know why I say this please go here.
After having dreadlocks created, what should I expect?
Some people tend to think that they would come sit with me for a few hours, have them done and then carry on with life, doing the bare minimum on their hair while expecting it all to still be looking fabulous.
No darling, no. These babies take time, effort and tlc.
They will be needing aftercare in the form of washing, gentle palm rolling (which I’d show you), regularly separating fine little baby hair at the roots, rolling / rubbing the roots, moisturising your dreadlocks and having maintenance done.
It is important that you know what you are getting into. The first while is labour intensive and they take time to settle. All of your effort as well as mine ‘will’ pay off however. Patience…
I feel that I carry emotion and experiences in my hair. How does one cope with carrying all of that with you?
That is a very deeply personal aspect of having dreadlocks. You would need to find a balance of what of that you’d consider good for you and what not as well as up to what point. Dreadlocks do not shed. Most of your hair and subsequently all of that energy (I don’t like using that word) would stay right there, carried around with you where ever you’d go.
Personally, that has helped me. For others however, they find it necessary to do a trim, cut them all off or do a full body soak in a bath with Epson Salts. A cleansing swim in the ocean works beautifully as well, making it all feel lighter. Wash away some of the intensity that doesn’t belong around you anymore, its perfectly understandable and acceptable to do so.
Do all people with dreadlocks smoke weed?
Do all people (with straight hair) who earn enormous salaries, who live in flashy beach areas and drive flashy cars snort cocaine? Well ? 🤷🏼♀️🙄
But seriously now – even if each and every one of us puffed until there was a large grey mist hanging over the city, is that really worth all the judgement? Some of us don’t smoke at all, not marijuana and not tobacco.
Is it okay to pull and tug on dreadlocks during the wild throws of passion?
All I hear is Barry White’s skanky tunes. Tarzan’s call in the distance. Yes darlings. You can pull. In fact, please do. Go for it.
The only important part here is that ‘if’ you had extensions done, I strongly advise that the pulling is done close to the scalp instead of lower down where the plucking may become so wild that he / she’d be left with large eyes and hands full of pulled off extensions. Heaven forbid
Where did dreadlocks start?
Historians believe that they started in Egypt. Archeological evidence were discovered with mummies, their dreadlocks still intact. Others believe that they started out in India, dating back as far as 2500BCE. Another school of thought is that The Minoan Civilization was the earliest civilization documented to twist and lock their hair, dating back to 1500 BCE.
Yes, sometimes you will be faced with discussions and questions surrounding “cultural appropriation”. I feel strongly about cultural “appreciation”. The idea is to not do this as a flippant fashion statement. In fact, it is nothing of the sort.
Some thoughts . . . .
Dreadlocks in all its splendor is a journey that takes time. No job is rushed as I take great pride in top quality work and practice my craft to the best of my ability.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.