The Very Early Stages of My Dreadlock Journey

| May 26, 2017 | 2 Comments

My loc journey began on the evening of May 11, 2017. After washing my short TWA I watched it coil up and decided, “Why fight it?” I might as well twist my hair and allow it to do what it’s been wanting to do for decades…lock. So, I took each individual coil and twisted it. I didn’t use any products. I didn’t even use a comb. I used my fingers and twisted my wet hair and called the tiny twists my starter locs.

It took me about 4 hours to complete the twisting. That first night I put clips around the sides and back of my hair to keep the starter locs in place then put a scarf on my head and went to bed.

Little did I think about the top of my head. After all, I had a scarf on the top, that would keep the top coils in place while the clips would work around the back and sides. Well, that wasn’t the case. The sides and back stayed down but the top…well the top did its own thing.

I rocked the disheveled look for a day, but my old-school, gotta-have-neat-hair upbringing was wreaking havoc on me. If this is the first post you’re reading on this blog, you might want to take a quick detour and read a post or two on how I grew up being told that I had “bad hair.” I’m sure many black women of my age group with 4C hair were told the same thing. It does a number on you when you’re raised that way.

So, in an attempt to tame my mane, I tried to force the twists to stay down and came up with this hideous hairstyle:

Can you spell U-N-N-A-T-U-R-A-L? The style might have worked for someone else with a different shaped face and different facial features, but it just didn’t work for me. Between the hair shrinkage and the unnatural look of the coils, I was glad this lapse in hair style judgement only lasted a day.

You may or may not be able to tell from the photo that the coils look puffier. That’s because I realized that dreads like water. Instead of putting a shower cap on my head when I showered, I allowed the water to sprinkle my hair. As it dried I encouraged it to remain flat.

Slightly Different Look

Liking what the water does to the puffiness of the starter locs, I washed my hair in my favorite homemade honey shampoo. I pushed the locs back and allowed them to dry. Before they were totally dry I sprayed my moisturizing mixture of rosewater and vitamin e oil. It does much to keep my hair soft and healthy looking.

I’ve read and watched videos of so many folks with dreadlocks and they caution not to wash the locks for the first few weeks. Some don’t wash their locs for months. I’m not saying if that’s right or wrong, but since it’s my hair and my hair is used to being shampooed once or twice a week, I’m continuing with my normal routine. I make sure to gently massage and clean my scalp while gently patting and squeezing the coils to remove any dirt.

I believe that because I have 4C kinky hair I had very little coil unraveling. There is one spot in the back of my head that’s about a square inch of 4B hair which has a slightly looser curl pattern. That’s the spot where I had to focus on retwisting, but everything else held in place.

At night I place a silk scarf on my head unless it’s too hot. We had a couple of extremely hot days and we hadn’t pulled the air conditioner out of the storage room as yet. On those nights I didn’t use a scarf, but used the silk pillowcase instead.  My starter locs fared just fine. Yes, the coils did take on their own stance, but a nice rinse of water calmed them down and had them heading in the right direction.

Starter Locs Day 7

Some days I like the dreads to all point downward and then there are other days where I don’t mind them standing on end. That’s the beauty of the journey. I’m not looking for perfection, just a hairstyle that I can manage and be happy with. I’m learning to go with the flow.

Starter Locs Day 8

I’m now 14 days in and I’ve washed my hair each week. Once with the honey water shampoo and once with a diluted Dr. Bronner’s and water shampoo. On days when I’m not washing it I might stand in the shower and allow the water to run on it or, I might just use the rosewater/vitamin e spritz. Either way, my hair receives a dose of water daily and it likes it. The rosewater and vitamin e keeps the hair soft and moisturized.
All in all, I’m very happy about my short journey so far. My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.

Journal Entry – Tuesday, May 16, 2017:

“My hair is basically doing what it wants. It shrinks up which isn’t so bad actually. It will take time for things to grow so I’ve just got to be patient. Growing dreads is like growing a garden. You’ve got to add the right stuff, nurture and be patient.”

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Category: Hair

About the Author ()

Felicia has learned the hard way that health, whether good or bad, is a result of daily choices and habits. On this blog Felicia shares what she's learned and the healthier choices she now makes as a result of her new knowledge. She hopes to encourage others to experiment to find alternative solutions to nagging problems (she's also is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment). Necessary disclaimer: I am not a medical professional therefore I am not and cannot giving medical advice. I'm just sharing my story.

Comments (2)

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  1. Loretta says:

    Enjoyed this article, Felicia. Although mother never told my sister and I, when we were growing up, that we had bad hair, I sure heard the “good hair, bad hair” echoes for years, among relatives, friends and neighbors, throughout the old neighborhood, in junior and senior high school and occasionally even hear it now.

    I’m going to honestly say that although I enjoy natural hairstyles and have worn my fro for over 30 years, I am not a fan of dreadlocks. It is easy on the eyes, when I see them being worn in a neat and tamed manner as the styles in your photos, but what I dislike is the wild, mangly looking, lint matted dreads that obviously haven’t been washed or groomed in any way. Not washing the hair for weeks or months is not hygienic. I will never forget a photo I saw several months ago, showing the head of a young woman who had developed a fungus in her hair as a result of not washing it for who knows how long? (She admitted to it.)

    It is quite obvious by all of the weaves and extensions being worn by black women that there are many who dislike or an uncomfortable with their own hair. They reject afros like my own and natural hairstyles – period. As I would tell any one who raises the issue with me: I do me. You do you.

    Thanks, Felicia, for another informative post and allowing me to express my opinion on what some people in our community consider to be a hair-raising topic.

    • Felicia says:

      I always appreciate your candor and your view on things.

      I’ve grown a new appreciation for dreadlocks (wish I started them sooner). Unfortunately, the few who do not take proper care of their hair have tainted the dreadlock community. My husband and I had a conversation on dreadlocks prior to me making the change. He had friends in college who had dreadlocks. They were athletes and had very clean and well-kept dreads.

      I only know a few people with dreads (my son included) and they too practice good hygiene when it comes to caring for their hair. It’s a shame that the few bad apples are spoiling it for the whole bunch. Mold and fungus are not acceptable!

      As I continue on this journey I expect that I’ll receive both positive and negative comments about my hair, but as you so eloquently put it: I’ll do me, and you do you! I’m going to add that phrase to my hair response repertoire. 😀

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