Four years ago, I pulled together the courage to start a journey that would change the way that I saw the world forever. I say courage because I had been contemplating it for years. I started with two strand twists and I have been retwisting and styling my locs on my own, never looking back. Since the beginning, my babies (my dreadlocks) and I have been through plenty of ups and downs. (I do not want anyone to think that this has been a cakewalk.)
This is me about 6 months in.
If you’re here because you’re thinking about starting your loc journey, I would like to start out by saying, that you are already on the right path. Always research, research, research before you make big decisions.
While I have absolutely no doubts about my decision to start my loc journey, there are a few things that I wish someone would have told me before I started. What I am listing below are tips that I have from managing my own hair for the past three years. I am not a loctition or a professional. Feel free to use any of my tips as a guide but remember that everyone’s hair and scalp are a little different, so what works for me. . . Someone else may have to tweak to their comfortability. Now . . . let’s get to the good stuff.
1. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR JOURNEY TO OTHERS!
I was not immune to this. Like many, when I started my locs I had an image in mind that I thought they would look like. I followed a few Instagram pages of women who had beautiful very small dreadlocks and I just knew that mine would be just as full and vibrant as theirs. I love where mine are but I had to learn the hard way that hair textures are the determining factor in the size and volume of dreadlocks. However. . . you will have more luck molding them to the size you like if you manage them on your own.
2. YOUR DREADS WILL SHRINK AS THEY LOCK.
The photo on the top 6-8 months photo on the bottom one year.
Around the three month mark your dreads enter a phase called budding. During this time they swell and become very fuzzy. (Do not be discouraged, this phase is over before you know it.) Just remember to keep them moisturized, they will keep growing and being happy. After the budding phase, your dreads move into the Adult phase. That started happening around my first locversary (loc anniversary). I had started with my two strands so small that by the time my locs started shrinking, I had to begin merging a few of them together.
3. Low Maintenance Does Not Mean No Maintenance!
Sometimes dreadlocks seem so easy to maintain that some forget that they need love. Like plants, they need to be watered regularly. Yes . . .they actually NEED water. Before you use your oils be sure to give them a quick spray of water. I like to use one of the small spray bottles from Walmart, I usually infuse Jamaican Black Castor oil, and Vitamin E oil so I can spray and go in the mornings. My scalp loves it!
I know that there are always whispers about not washing your hair for months when you have dreadlocks but that is not actually a necessity. As long as there is regular, thorough moisturizing, once or twice a month wash days won’t hurt.
4. There Will Be Judgement
For the first three months of my journey strangers would just stare at me, even some of the people closest to my life were asking if I was going to take my two strands down anytime soon. Nobody could really tell that I had a method to my madness. But I digress, I started my journey during a tremendously difficult time in my life. In a world where I could not control much, it felt incredibly rewarding to pour so much energy into myself. I found confidence in knowing that I had started something that would be rewarding, now my time and efforts have paid off. If you decide to start locking your hair just know that there will be haters and there will be lovers. Don’t sweat the petty things.
5. The Loc Fam
Now that we’ve talked about the haters let’s talk about the lovers. The dreadlock community is the best community to be a part of. Most are willing to stop and answer questions for newcomers. We are always happy to see each other and to give compliments and words of encouragement. I am personally always open to answer questions.
I hope this helps anyone thinking about starting dreadlocks. It really is a fun and challenging journey.