March 15th, 2003

newbie

I'm on day three of my venture into dread-land. My hair has been bleached/dyed so many times that's its fairly ripe for tangling, which is good. I'm a little uncertain as to how large or small I should be making these. Anyway, I'm quite excited about them and liking them, and I'm happy to have stumbled upon a community like this.

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Dreading the ends

I've had a dread-breakthrough! My dreddies are almost a year old. My hair is naturally blonde and very thin, causing me anxieties from the start that my dreads would look ratty. The roots have always been fairly tight. I'm assuming this is because I wear a headsock (wide handwoven woolen hairband) most of the time and the hair near my head has the space to move around and grow together. However, my end have always been skinny and messy looking. I only wash my dreads once a month and use knotty-boy wax occasionally out of dim desperation that the ends will bulk up like the roots.

Anyway, yesterday I washed 'em after a month of wax had failed to produce any changes. I came out of the shower and towel dried them... and then decided to try backcombing again with a flea comb. But, I wanted to be very careful, because impatient backcombing ends can lead to lumpy dreads. So, I carefully backcombed the ends, beginning at the bottom of the tightest bit of each dread and making small but vigorous combs towards the bottom. All went well and I was feeling pleased with myself. But, suspected that they would all just fall out in a couple of hours as they had a billion times before. How wrong I was! They are still tight at the bottom. I've slept in them and woke up with a head of thick dreads! Whoot. Why did it work?

Possible explanations:
- My dreads were still a bit damp, perhaps the hair was weaker and more willing to be backcombed?
- I had wax in them for a month, washed them and then backcombed without wax?
- They were the right age? That is, 10 months

I don't know, but I'm very happy. In fact, this is the first time I really feel like a real dreadhead and it is magnificent! I'll try to get some photos soon. Yayaya!
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Questions:

I need help here. I just got back from the drugstore to look for some shampoo and aloe for my new dreads, and I'm quite at a loss now.

1. I've read that I can use aloe to smoothe down my dreads instead of wax (which I don't want to use), but I don't know what kind of aloe I should buy. All they had was gel for skin. Is there a brand or a place I should look for this?

2. What shampoos do you guys use? I've read that I should only use products that won't leave residue and mess on my hair, but what brands should I be looking for?

Thanks so much for your help.
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