Preparing your hair and scalp for Dreadlocks
Great! Your mind and body are ready for dreadlocks. Now it's time for ....Your hair and scalp!
All your life you've been maintaining your hair and scalp pretty much the same way. Your scalp especially has gotten used to certain things like how often it gets brushed or combed and your washing routine. To make the transition to dreadlocks smoother there are a few things you can do. As a general rule: If your scalp itches, wash it. Even if it's not a day or two until your scheduled wash. It's much better to wash it sooner rather than waiting and putting up with itches. Sure, you'll have a little extra loose hair to take care of afterward. Not a big deal, especially if you have a loose hair tool.
Much of this info about keeping thy scalp happy can be found in Dread Vlog 2B. It starts at 5min 35sec and continues through to Vlog 2C:
The goal here is to allow your scalp to go ahead and start adjusting now, before you actually start the dreads so the changes will be more gradual. If all goes well you scalp will hardly notice that things have changed and it won't get cranky. How do you know if your scalp is cranky? We here are some signs:
- Soreness or tenderness: Ever worn your hair in braids and noticed your scalp feeling funny when you remove them? Or maybe you wore a hat for too long and your hair "hurt" when you touched it? This is a similar type of thing. Make sure your rubber bands are 1/4" - 1/2" from your scalp and make sure they are not overly tight. Here's some info on how to use rubber bands at your roots properly.
- Itchiness: Most people experience a little itchiness when they first start their dreads. Don't ignore it. It usually means your scalp needs stimulation and or washing. Itching left unchecked leads to scratching and scratching left unchecked leads to severe irritation. Avoid all these problems by washing with residue free shampoo at the first sign of persistent itching.
- Dandruff: One of the helpful side effects of brushing hair is that it helps the dead skin cells fall away or exfoliate. When you stop brushing these skin cells may begin to build up and fall off in the form of flakes. Regular washing and using a Head Honcho is a great way to prevent these issues.
As you can see our scalp is important when it comes to dreadlocks. If it freaks out on you, it will really throw a wrench into your dreadlocking plans. Keep it happy by following these guidelines:
Decide how often you're going to wash your dreads during the first month. (Every 3 days works well for most) If possible begin washing your hair every three days for approximately two weeks prior to starting your dreads. This will give your scalp plenty of time to adjust to this washing schedule and ease the transition. Because you won't be brushing your hair after you put in the dreads you should allow your scalp to get use to less stimulation by touching it less as you brush your hair. Don't stop brushing entirely because it's much easy to start dreads when the hair isn't already knotted. Just brush without touching your scalp as much.
Some stimulation is necessary for your scalp to exfoliate and remain happy. After you have dreads some of this will come from washing and towel drying and the rest can be done with a Head Honcho. The Head Honcho is a hair pick with a few modifications that works really well for massaging and exfoliating your scalp after you put your dreads in. If you didn't watch the video above and already see the stuff about the Head Honcho you can jump right to it in the video below, this is Dread Vlog 2B at 6min 50sec:
Fortunately, even the thickest, straightest hair can lock beautifully without prior bleaching or perming -- just by following our tips & instructions -- so everyone has the option of using our natural method.
There are also some things you can do before hand that will make your hair more cooperative in the locking process. Dyeing and Bleaching can be done before or after you dread but if you want to have all the dreads the same color there's no reason to wait until after the dreads are in. In fact the hair will dread slightly easier after these chemical processes. Personally I recommend that you don't bleach or dye unless you are really sure you want to. It's totally your personal decision but I've tried bleached dreads and natural color dreads and I'm a big fan of keeping it natural. Sloan and I are both strong believers in natural dreading and natural, non-chemical dreadlocks products -- that's what we make, sell,and use ourselves, and I think it's the way to go, but dreads are a personal thing and of course it's your decision. =] Fortunately, even the thickest, straightest hair can lock beautifully without prior bleaching or perming -- just by following our tips & instructions -- so everyone has the option of using our natural method.
One thing you'll definitely want to do to help prepare your hair for dreads is to stop using conditioners for at least 2 weeks prior to starting the dreads. If possible you should also begin washing your hair with a residue free shampoo. These will be two changes your hair and scalp won't have to deal with later on. It will also leave your hair ready to knot and lock it's best when it's time to backcomb. If you'll be able to have Dread Soap on hand for this pre-dread washing you'll want to get your stuff on it's way 4 weeks before you'll actually be starting your dreads. This will give you plenty of time to get your stuff and get any questions answered that you might think of when you have your stuff is in hand.
If you're waiting on your hair to grow out because you don't have the minimum 3", or you have 3" and you're waiting on the optimum 6-8" I have some good news for you. You can speed up the growth of your hair by eating well and taking a few key supplements. I'm big fan of eating raw whenever I can. This usually means more raw vegetables, nuts and fruit than usual and way less breads, dairy and other cooked foods. In addition to loads more energy, immune system, brain function etc. you'll also have much faster hair growth. There are a billion great resources for eating raw online. Check'em out when you get a chance.
To get your hair growing as fast as possible there are several vitamins and supplements that allow for epic increases in hair growth speed and strength. After searching and experimenting I found what I believe to be the most effective combination of these vitamins and supplements. If you're serious about growing some hair the Hair Growth Supa-Supplement is prolly your best option. You can find it in the dread tools section of our online store or add it to your dread kit.