I've been thinking a little about my hair recently. I recently posted this to my website, and in my last post, a lot of people commented wanting to know how I got my hair to look like this. Well...
You can see my little antenna in this picture; both dreads were too heavy and they broke off.
People often ask how long I've had my dreads, and when I tell them six years they say "Shouldn't they be longer?" When I started my dreads, I had incredibly short hair so it took a while to grow. Also, I trim the ends regularly.
1. Be a Negro
Most people don't think/know that I'm black. My hair does this pretty naturally. So if you can be a negro, that helps. If you can't be a negro, move to step two. (I'm not implying that non-negroes can't have hair that locks naturally. Just saying that if you want hair exactly like mine, you pretty much have to be me.:)
2. Wash, rinse, repeat
Ever since I started my locks, I've washed them regularly (weekly/bi-weekly). I used to post here a couple of years ago, and I've always, always extolled the virtues of natural shea butter for dry hair. You can get it at any health food store, usually in bulk. It's light to the touch, doesn't weigh your hair down, and has no odor.
3. Try natural alternatives
I wash my hair with Kiehl's Tea Tree Oil shampoo - tea tree oil naturally relieves itchy scalps and is very soothing. In between washing, I fill a spray bottle with tea tree oil and water - it's great to spray on if you want to remove the smoky smell after a night out, or if your scalp is getting itchy. I rub Dr. Haushka's Lemon Oil into my hair when I want it to smell pretty in between washings,and it has the extra bonus of even more moisture ( my hair is VERY DRY). Some of this stuff is expensive, but it lasts a long time (6mos to a year). I probably spend no more than $100 a year on hair supplies.
Once a month during the winter, I give myself a hot oil treatment before one of the washings. There's a great recipe in the book "How It All Vegan" by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup very hot water
Place olive oil and hot water in a clean, dry container, cap tightly, and shake very well. Massage into dry hair. Put a shower cap or plastic bag over your hair and wrap your head in a towel. Leave mixture on your hair for 15-20 minutes. This is important: when you are ready to rinse, apply shampoo directly to your hair without washing out the oil treatment. Then rinse, apply shampoo again and condition as usual. If you apply water before you apply shampoo, you'll have a hard time getting all the oil out.
(This book is great for all sorts of natural recipes)
So that's what I do. It's not very time-consuming, and my head and hair feel great. THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE, but take what you can from it if you like. The best thing about dreadlocks is that everyone is unique and wonderful.