dreadlocks- guy with dreads
Dreadlocks - What are they?

Dreadlocks are really just matted hair. Don't let anyone tell you different. Dreadlocks do have a lot of meanings to a lot of different people. People can grow dreadlocks for whatever reasons they wish. Many peple are convinced that dreadlocks are the property of one religion or race. I've even had someone accuse me of stealing thier culture becuase they thought dreadlocks belonged to those of African heritage. Well this is completely unfounded. Dreadlocks were first mentioned by each culture when they began to write and keep written records. Dreadlocks are no more African than they are Indian, Chinese, or Viking.
The rastafarians belive that Jah (God) forms dreadlocks in your hair and that the shape of the dreads tells about your personality. Rastafarians are not required to have dreadlocks and certainly those who have dreadlocks are not required to be rasta. If I had to guess I'd say the majority of the people who start dreadlocks do it as an outward symbol of something they feel inside. It may be part of a spiritual journey or it may be part of rebeling agianst their parents. For whatever the reason the reason is their own and it is perfectly acceptable.

How does one grow or get dreadlocks?

Well some say you if you help dreads start they are not real. Heh, thats like saying if you water a instead of letting God water it the flower it is unreal when it matures. The truth is anything you can do to help the flower such as giving it vitamins or pruning it only makes the flower more beautiful. Dreadlocks are much the same way.

Dreadlocks can be made by not washing or combing your hair. I call this doggy style becuase that is how a dog goes about getting dreads. Sure, it may not be sanitary, it may itch like hell, it may take several years, and it almost always makes dreads that are clumpy and unattractive unless you constantly rip the clumps apart into dreads...but it does work...needless to say there are easier and faster ways.

Please note, you cannot make instant dreads. No matter what method or product you use dreadlocks still require work to start. About the only way you can get dreads instantly is with dread extensions which are pre-dreaded locks of hair whick can be glued or tied into your own hair. As you might guess this requres maintenance when each dread has to be moved up as the hair grows. Fun. Other than this though dreads take time and effort. Probably the most proven method for dreading hair is to knot the hair and add something to help it lock and come together. I could go off about how to do this correctly for some time as there are many do's and don'ts of dreadlocking. But instead I'll just provide this link: http://www.DreadHeadHQ.com/
Jonny has very complete instructions about how to start and maintain great dreads. I didn't start my dreadlocks using his products but I have several friends who have and I've talked to many others who swear by the stuff. I started using the wax, soap and accelerator about a year ago and I noticed and immidiate and impressive improvement in my dreadlocks.

There are other products on the market that are for dreadlocks but the ones that I have seen are always petrolium based. Yes synthetic greese. Now how does grease help hold dreads together you ask? It doesn't. Petrolium based products are more for adding scent and shine than anything else. They are all the same and easy to recognize. The first ingredient on the label is always petrolium. If you are starting dreads you will want to steer clear of these as they will leave you with a big flamable mess on your head rather than dreadlocks.

Another method for starting dreadlocks is the rubbing method. In the rubbing method you use a hat, tam, or wool sweater to rub the hair back and forth untill it starts to tangle. Then you rip the tangled hair apart into groups and rub again. It will tangle and knot more and eventually the groups will knot togather as before. Rip them apart again and keep rubbing. Do this for a few days. YOu'll notice that the pain of ripping the dreads apart is intensified several times by the breaking of the hairs natural patternts. Hair always lays in parts and patters and when you break this pattern it can be very painfull.

Have you ever awoke with a cowlick in your hair and when you tried to comb it the right way it hurt really bad? Well this is the same thing that happens after a few hours of rubbing. They hair begins to hurt no matter which way you push it.

After your hair is very tangled and ripped into sections you can use a product to help hold the hair together for the first few weeks. Otherwise the hair generally starts to work it self out of the knots. The dread head wax will work for this although if you get the wax you would probably do better to use the method they describe it has much more consistent results.

Yet another way to get dreadlocks is with a dread perm. Some salons use a chemical process to start dreadlocks. They usualy tangle the hair and then use a perming solution to train the hair to stay in that position. The problem with most dread perms is that the hair stays in that position rather than tightening and matting. This looks ok but as the hair grows it will find it harder to lock by itself into the dreadlocks with the rest of the hair since the rest of the hair is not tightly dreadlocked. Dreads usually lock up better in the long run if the hair is permed tightly before rather than after it is knotted up. This allows the hair to grow into dreadlocks easier for 2 reasons. FIrst the hair knots better after it has been dried and dammaged by a perm. And Second they hair will dreadlock faster if the permed curls can pick their own patterns and lay into the dreads the way they fit best. 1