my first set of dreads (1996-2001) were "natural" - meaning i didn't do much of anything to them except separate them at the roots & sew in some loose hairs when necessary. & they didn't start to look good for about eight months, & even then they didn't completely look like proper dreadlocks until they'd grown long enough that i was able to cut off all the parts that hadn't originated at my scalp. & for at least six months, i had to be super careful with them in the shower so they wouldn't fall apart - it was another six months before i could wash them as vigorously as i washed brushable hair.
this time around, i backcombed the fuck out of my hair. they looked like decent dreads from about week two, & they're getting better looking all the time. i can wash them normally & they don't slide apart. & though i believe the backcombed parts won't ever lock up PROPERLY, not like the parts that grow right from your scalp, i think it's worth it to save eight months of bandannas & overly cautious washings & impatience.
the point is that there isn't a difference between "natural" dreads & dreads made any other way - because until they grow out as locks from your scalp, they're not going to really BE dreads anyhow. they'll just be knots that formed either on their own or by your hand. so i don't really get why femminology_ felt she had to cut hers off & restart - all the time her hair is growing long enough to lock on its own, it could have BEEN locking on its own within the UNnaturally STARTED locks, which then makes them perfectly natural.
i'm not judging anybody, & especially not femminology_. as much of an instigator as i am, there's no drama in this post. if you want to grow your locks completely on their own without helping them, do it. if you want to start over for whatever reason, do it. & if you want to give in to impatience & backcomb them so they look decent right away, do that. but the whole natural/unnatural argument annoys me because in due time it's always moot.
post your thoughts if you like.