My dreads are not tight up next to my head. I don't do anything about that myself.
I haven't been here in a while, but recently posted elsewhere when someone asked about my dreads, so figured to come back and give an update. This is where I began thinking about it after all!
I've had them for a year. This is what I posted elsewhere when someone asked about them:
Most shampoos have ingredients considered bad for dreads as they cause unknotting, so I use regular Ivory soap. I basically lather it up and wash my scalp very thoroughly, then rinse it through the dreads. Once in a while, a good soak in something like a bit of tea tree oil in water does a deep-cleaning.
I've avoided most problems by not using oils and waxes and such that are often used for dreads. Not putting lots of gunk in there in the first place helps a lot, but some folks get impatient with it being so messy at first and use all sorts of stuff to make them look neater. Some of them have lots of problems with that stuff being stuck in the middle of the dreads later.
Some folks with very thin straight hair use these products cause they have a harder time getting dreads. I'm in sort of an intermediate place, I have thick, curly hair, but not kinky. So not the easiest to dread, but not the hardest either.
They also sell all sorts of expensive products for dreads, but given that it's just knotted hair, I can't see the point of most of them. Anyone's hair is gonna form knots sooner or later - it just takes some patience.
I put them in using the backcombing method and never used anything to make them dread faster except spraying on salt water. And lots of patience until they looked more like dreads and less like a mess.
The only real maintenance I do is... dreads want to grow together at the root and if you let them, you could eventually wind up with just one giant dread. So periodically, I do what is called "ripping" them, pulling them apart parallel to the scalp to separate them.
The week before I put them in, we went on a cruise to the Bahamas, and there were gorgeous dreads all over the island. That probably was the cincher for me after thinking about it for a good six months.
While I don't regret them at all and really like them a lot now that they look like dreads instead of a bad hair day, I underestimated how unusual I'd look with them here in rural PA. This is not the Bahamas - no one around here has dreads, not even the black folks.
Thing is, I've never used product like wax or anything to help me get them doing. Does anyone here have a preference of one over the other? Right now I'm looking at knottyboy and dreadheadhq.
I don't put anything in mine. I wash the scalp with a loofa and soap and rinse that through to clean the dreads. The first few months, I sprayed lots of salt water on them to help them knot up quicker. But nothing since then.
I was thinking when they're FULLY knotted, I may start conditioning them with the stuff from inside of my aloe plant. But... it may not be necessary given how it's going so far.
My husband would actually be doing the crafting; I'm trying to figure out what to plant in our garden for him to work with. Of course, the generic answer is gourds, but I'm unsure which varieties would be particularly suited to this use and the seed catalogs don't seem to provide crafting info.
Advice would be appreciated from anyone who's previously made percussions instruments from gourds. Thanks!
Very nice! This reminds me of when I did my hair, seems like ages ago even though it's only 4.5 months. Your hair also resembles mine a lot, not only pre-dread but also the number/width/length of dreads.
At the roots, even though we specifically focused on backcombing very tightly there so new hair growth would dread easily, it is very loose. So I doubt elastics would've helped there.
What I'm doing with the tips where it's all wispy is I spray salt water in my left palm, put the wisp on top of it, rub it in circles with my righthand fingers until it forms a ball, then fold the ball back into the dread and palmroll the whole thing. Some of them are sticking and some are not. I just figure on playing with it until it locks. If I still have wisps then, I'll crochet them in.
Someone else discussed loops. I have quite a few. It's hard to explain, but they really don't show that much, mostly just cause I have so *much* hair. We simply weren't patient enough to avoid loops. Doing half my head took over 5 hours; doing it all nice and carefully would've taken a hell of a lot longer.
I'm playing with what the dreads a lot, palm-rolling, twisting and spraying with salt water. Once it locks, if there's noticeable loops, I'll just crochet them in.
I'm pretty happy with how it looks right now. Because my hair is so thick and long, it was gonna be hard to make it look too dorky no matter how much we screwed up. It was awfully frizzy at first, but the twisting and palmrolling calmed it right down. And one dread in the back that my hubby did has a bit of a cowlick thing going on, but again, it's barely noticeable in this huge mass of hair I have, and I palmrolled it and twisted it into a bit more manageable of a shape.
There's so many of them that problems with individual ones just sorta blend in.
I can make them look relatively neat by twisting them all, so I'm not worried about maintenance overall. If something comes up that requires me to look presentable before they lock up, I'll just twist them all up and spray heavily with salt water.
But for the most part, I think I prefer the unmanicured look.
We plan to do the other side tomorrow so I can leave the house again. I don't mind them being imperfect, but I do mind only having half a head of them, which looks kinda dorky.
You know what surprised me? I've been thinking about this for months. I've read this *entire* thread and lots more on other web sites. I've discussed with friends and family. I really thought it through and was very sure before we began. And yet... I was sorta sad doing it. My hair is very thick and long and curly and I was losing *that* while I was gaining the dreads.
Luckily, I *do* like the dreads, cause it would majorly suck if I didn't!
Well, I'm halfway there! We've done half of my head and it's already 23 dreads which took a number of hours to do, so decided to take a break and finish up another day.
What we did was backcombing using salt water as an accelerant. Varied widths instead of parting... I decided I wanted a more free-flowing look rather than a manicured type of look. So the widths vary a lot... some dreads being as little as 1/4 the size of others. I did most of them and my husband did a few in the back that I couldn't reach.
This is the first four, when we were just getting the hang of it in the underside where they'd be well hidden:
This is when I had 10-12 or so done:
Since we decided to take a break halfway through, I have my "before" and "after" pictures in the same timeframe. This is the 23 dreads on the left side of my head:
This is the undreaded right side of my head:
This is the back of my head showing both dreaded and undreaded sides:
I've been reading and thinking about this for some time... my hair is very thick and curly and knots easily even when heavily conditioned. I think I shall dread easily, so I'm not putting tons of energy into it. My dreads are not terribly tight yet, so I didn't lose much length.
I am planning my maintenance scheme as continuing use of the salt water and lots of palm rolling and twisting. I can see already that I shall be paying a lot of attention to the tips until they're locked.
My "residue-free" shampoo shall be my homemade soap, lathered into the scalp and rinsed through the dreads. Once they lock, I'll do an occassional deep cleansing via a soak in rosemary tea and start conditioning via a spray of diluted aloe gel.