You’ve been wanting dreadlocks for some time now and are finally ready to begin your dreadlock journey. Fantastic–we can’t wait to get you started! But first, here are a few guidelines to prepare yourself (and your hair) before your appointment to help make the journey that much smoother.
1. Stop using conditioner, and any other hair product that contains residue.
Commercial products like hair conditioner, all-in-ones, and residue shampoos leave buildup on the hair, causing them to feel smoother and silkier. But silky & smooth is the exact opposite of what we need to create great dreads & keep them looking good. Hair free of residue (and any other lubricant, including coconut oil, shea butter, and hair gel) will knit together and hold a dread much easier, because the drier the hair, the more friction between the strands, and the more friction, the stronger the dread.
We at West LA Dreads recommend switching to a non-residue shampoo at least a month prior to your appointment, to ensure your hair is free of any residue buildup caused by previous residue-laden hair products.* Likewise, once your hair is actually dreaded, washing with a shampoo containing residue will leave residue buildup inside your dreads, which can attract dirt and lead to mold and dread rot, which no respectable dreadhead wants.
How do you know if your current shampoo contains residue? And how do you know what to buy? Check the label, then check out the shampoo & ingredient list that Amy Schile, the dreadalicious owner of Raging Roots Studio in Connecticut has compiled. If your scalp tends to be on the drier side, we personally recommend the Honest Shampoo & Body Wash, as it is made with safe ingredients, is great for the scalp, & good for dreads, as it rinses out clean.
* If you’re coming to see us in less than a month, a good wash with this apple cider vinegar & baking soda rinse will clean your hair all kinds of ways! (The woman in the video doesn’t use a pitcher or cup to help pour over her hair, but we think it would be helpful.)
2. You’re going on a journey! So make sure to take along some essentials for all the time you’re going to spend getting there.
Getting your hair crocheted into dreads is a dedicated process. Imagine a tiny 60mm hook. Now picture that miniscule hook raking in and locking each individual hair into multiple rope formations. For the dread to be strong, each hair must be meticulously locked into place. This takes time.
Prepare for that time wisely. The average time it takes to dread a full head of hair is 8-10 hours. Depending on how thin your want your dreads (more of them to make) or how long or dense your hair is, more time may be needed. As the above-mentioned Raging Roots owner has said, and we agree, “By the time we are finished, you and I will become good friends.” So if we’re going to be hanging out for awhile, what should you bring?
Food. You’re going to get hungry. You’re going to want to take a break to eat. Keep your stamina and your blood sugar steady by bringing along nutrients that will sustain you throughout the day. You can bring your own lunch, or feel free to have your food come to you by ordering from the plentitude of delivery menus we have available.
Drink. We have filtered water for all our customers, but if you have a favorite drink, by all means bring it. You need to keep hydrated during your stay.
Pain Reliever. Some scalps are more sensitive than others. Bring along some aspirin if you’re the sensitive type. Only you know if multiple hours of pulling hair into a dread will take you out of your comfort zone. Prepare yourself, and be comfortable.
Tablets, Books, & DVDs. We have wireless. We have a nice DVD collection to watch. You may prefer your own movies, books, and entertainment. Bring them along for the ride.
3. Your new dreadlocks will be tight & tight dreadlocks defy gravity. To aid in returning your dreads to Earth, get a little something to hold them down without squeezing too tight.
Extra-large headbands work great. Silky scarves or do-rags for keeping dreads from getting mashed-up while you sleep are also a good idea. Hats, including caps and helmets, are not such a good idea, as they can squash new dreads and loosen up hair. Prepare for the bountiful, fuller hairstyle that will be yours by securing a good, loose, and functional hair accessory before your journey begins.