I figure the care and maintenance of dreadlocks is probably not necessarily that high on most people’s radars, but as I've now had dreads for a few months, I thought what the hell, it’s a Sunday afternoon, I'll share what I’ve learnt.
First off, dreadlocks are not the easy option in hair styling that I originally thought they may be. You know, get dreadlocks, abandon hair to the fates for the rest of time. Apparently not. It seems I should perhaps have stuck to the “soon to be back in fashion and seemingly always popular in the outback” mullet look if I’d wanted low maintenance hair.
Secondly, the internet is not the unbiased source of truth for everything. I know, I was as shocked as you probably are. There are multiple theories on both dreadlock creation and maintenance, ranging from the fill it up with peanut butter option through to the roll around in the mud and leave it for a while option. Apparently the downsides to peanut butter are that it attracts insects and mud is well… muddy. Great.
After reading a lot, I came to the conclusion that you basically need to figure out what works for your hair type. If I happened to have naturally frizzy hair, this whole process would have been a lot easier I think. Dreadlocks are not the easiest to maintain when your hair has a tendency to remain straight and tangle free. So. What do you actually do.
It turns out, it’s pretty simple. You just have to spend about an hour a day rolling the dreads between your palms. You can use beeswax if you want, or pure aloe vera, if that helps. You can keep the dreads tangling at the root by using a crochet hook, a technique that a wise beyond his years german friend (featured in the photo) attempted to teach me, which I am still struggling to master. The important thing is to have lots of time to play with your hair. Which most people don’t I guess. Unemployment certainly has it’s benefits.
When it comes to washing, the key is not to condition the hair, and to use a residue free shampoo. Something organic without a thousand worrying sounding chemicals should do. Which is actually pretty hard to find, you become slightly obsessed about visiting every pharmacy in sight. Or you can just use soap I am told. They also take a while to dry, and you shouldn’t ever sleep with wet dreads. You can wash them between once a week and once a month. If your scalp itches, a tea tree oil spray can help. Swimming is fine, swimming in the sea is particularly good as the salt water really messes the hair up nicely.
Some people say wax is the worst thing, others say wax is the answer to everything. Avoid petroleum. Use petroleum. Roll them. Leave them to their own devices. It's confusing, but like everything, trial and error appears to be the answer. And yes, it hurts to buggery getting them put in, like having your hair pulled for hours should.
Well, that’s hair care tips 101. If there are any questions on the topic, feel free to ping them over and I will add to your pool of confusion the best I can. Otherwise, hopefully I helped pass a few minutes of your time with some deep and fascinating knowledge on the subject of hair. Next up, achieving the perfect tan and thoughts on German sausage…