"A" Week Dreadlocks Maintenance
The next several pages are all about stuff that's done on the "A" Week. We'll look at how we can create the ideal environment for making knots and then we'll look at each of the knot making techniques in detail.
Before we get started I want to let you know that not all of these steps must be carried out for every "A" week. I'm going to describe the "best case" scenario - as in, following all of these steps will provide the best looking dreadlocks in the least amount of time. However, while you don't have to do all this stuff it's important that you don't make up additional stuff or improvise randomly - for example: If you decided you weren't going to use accelerator but you'd wax instead and follow it up with a thick coat of Lock Peppa.....NOT SO MUCH.
The order of these steps is pretty important too. If you put Locking Accelerator on your dreads and then wash them with Dread Soap the Accelerator is not going to do you a lot of good. Basic common sense I think...but you never know. =]
Here goes... Creating the "A Week" Dreadlocks Environment
Remember: At the end of month one, just before starting your very first "A" Week you'll do your first "Hot RInse"!
Since clean hair, free of oils, has more friction we'll start off the A week with a good wash. How do we know it's clean? The Dread Soap tells us. Our dreadlocks shampoo will begin to lather like crazy when the dreads are clean. Because of the slightly more difficult-to-wash nature of Dreadlocks and because washing every 2 or 3 days is the norm, it often takes two wash/rinse cycles to get the hair in the dreads really clean. The first wash and rinse you'll get an average amount of lather. The second wash and rinse you'll know it's clean because the lather will explode on your head and fill the shower! Ok, not quite, but it's pretty intense! You'll often find that you need less Dread Soap for the second washing. It's also worth mentioning that the dread soap is a really efficient shampoo and it does a great job cleaning. In fact, it is possible to over wash your scalp. Some scalps are more sensitive than others. If you fall into this category the first step is to use less soap with each application. If that doesn't work you can dilute the dread soap with water. One part water to two parts dread soap works well.
Tip: The first washing of each "A" week will responsible for removing almost all of the wax from the previous "B" week. It's really the surface of the dread and the hair at the roots that needs to be free of wax and oil. If you've kept the dread wax light and patrolled often this will be trivial. If the dread wax is a bit heavier, then you'll need to wash them a bit more. If you know the wax was over done I'd start by removing what you can with a hair dryer and a paper towel. It will save you a lot of time - not to mention water and dread soap. =] Remember - extra wax is no help at all!
Now you're standing in the shower with really clean dreads...dripping wet. Good times. Go ahead and squeeze most of the water out of your dreads by wringing them in your hands like a towel. They'll still be somewhere between damp and a bit drippy, that's fine. Now spray them down with Locking Accelerator - you know the drill by now - get it on the hair, not the scalp. Good, now dry off with a hair dryer if possible. That will leave the maximum amount of Accelerator dry in the dreads.
That's pretty much it. When your dreads are completely dry you are ready to make knots. We'll talk about Lock Peppa when we talk about the specific techniques because Lock Pepper is never applied "all over", it's only used on the hair you are knotting when you're actually making the knots.
Other good stuff to know about the "A" week.
- Most people begin washing the dreads every other day or ever third day at the start of the second month. You can wash them every day if you like but you'll probably find that you don't need to unless you are involved in a lot of physical activities or you swim. Dreads don't tend to get oily like straight hair does because the oils stay near the scalp since there is no combing or brushing to pull them up though the hair. This is why keeping your dreadlocks moisturized after you stop using wax is important.
- You can use the Accelerator as often as you like during the A week but I'd at least try use it after each shower if possible.
- You're going to be focusing on two things in particular during the "A" Week:
- Loose hair, mostly at the roots, that needs help finding it's way into the dread.
- Straight unknotted hair at the roots - often called "new growth".
- Right after you Clockwise Rub a bunch of dreads it's pretty common to use a touch of dread wax on each of them to help the palmrolling. In general I would not recommend doing this (using dread wax) during the "A" week unless you're finished making knots for the week. For example, it might be the last day of your "A" week and because you recently washed your dreads you know that you won't be washing them for a day or two. In that case it would be fine. Basically you're ending the "A" week a day early. That's never a problem. In fact, it's important to note that the term "week" is used loosely. It makes it easier to keep track of your maintenance if you do it by the calendar week but it's not necessary.
Next we'll look at techniques for making knots in straight hair...