Dreadlocks are simply strands of hair matted and knotted into locks. They are also referred to as Dreads. Dreadlocks have been around for ages. One can trace them back to African Tribes who used them long ago.
Today, Dreadlocks have been made popular by the Rastafarians, rock musicians like Lenny Kravitz, Afro people, etc. Contrary to popular belief, dreadlocks are not restricted to people of African descent, though Afro hair is well suited for making Dreadlocks, since they have naturally thick and curly hair.
Men and women of all races sport dreadlocks. Another myth is that people with Dreadlocks have dirty, unwashed hair. This is untrue. Dreadlocks require proper cleansing like any other hairstyle. They require less maintenance in some cases, but it depends on the method used to create the Dreadlocks.
To make Dreadlocks you require at least 3 inches of hair. Hair that is thick, curly or wavy is easier to lock into Dreads, but straight hair can also be used to create Dreadlocks with a little extra care.
Some of the methods used to create Dreadlocks include the natural, organic or “neglect” method. Natural Dreadlocks are created without brushing, combing, styling, perms, etc. This method requires a much longer time-period to form Dreadlocks than other methods.
Slightly more polished Dreadlocks are created by using certain products like wax, etc, to help locking the Dreads and to give it a better appearance. Other products and tools are also used. Backcombing is done to speed up the locking process.
Salon created Dreadlocks, are much favored by people with straight hair. Hair is first given the Dread Perm, and then locked into Dreads by backcombing, crocheting, etc.
This method requires a good deal of maintenance and the use of more products. Dreadlocks have to be washed at least once a week and maybe more after the locking process is completed. Inadequate cleansing can result in skin irritation, dandruff, lice, and even mold.
It is best to use a residue free shampoo while growing Dreadlocks. It is preferable not to use conditioners as they hinder the locking process (conditioners have properties that prevent the hair from tangling and knotting, both of which are important for Dreadlocks).
Dreadlock accessories include beads (wooden, pewter, glass, etc.), coils, dangling beads, hats, headbands, head wraps, and more. Dreadlocks can also be colored.