Dreadlocks are an ancient hairstyle. Many think that dreadlocks are only for African-American hair, but the style can be seen on people of every ethnicity and nationality. Some have them for spiritual reasons; others have dreadlocks to be fashionable or to make a statement.
While dreadlocks are becoming more prevalent, they are still sometimes looked down upon by society. Dealing with people's preconceived notions about hair can be difficult, and many people with dreadlocks report difficulties in obtaining employment.
The first recognized examples of dreadlocks dates from ancient Egypt; African royalty and everyday citizens wore the style. Mummified remnants of ancient Egyptians with dreadlocks and dreadlock wigs have been found at archaeological sites.
Vedic scriptures, the spiritual literature of ancient Indian culture, give the first known evidence of dreadlocks; origins range from 2500 to 500 BCE. According to Roman history, the Celts wore dreadlocks as well. Other cultures known to wear dreadlocks include the Aztecs, Germans, Vikings and Greeks.
The term "dreadlocks" was first documented in the 1950s as a derogatory word when the "Young Black Faith," an early sect of the Rastafarian religion, began locking their hair. It was said that the individuals looked "dreadful" with their locks.
Several people start dreadlocks for spiritual or religious reasons; they are most commonly associated with Rastafarianism. Other reasons dreadlocks are started include hair health issues, want of a low maintenance hairstyle and rising popularity in African-American pop culture.
Although most dreadlocks end up looking about the same at the end of the process, there are many ways to begin them. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
Freeforming is one of the easiest ways to begin. All you have to do is stop combing and detangling your hair and pull the hair apart into sections after washing. Your hair will mat into the sections as it gets longer with little manipulation.
Comb coils are made using a rat-tail comb to make coils, or single strand twists.
Two-strand twists, twisting together two strands of hair, may work better on your hair texture if comb coils don't work.
Braids are another way to start locks, just by box braiding, or plaiting, the hair and never removing the braids.
Sisterlocks are a patented technique of interweaving the hair. Starting your dreadlocks this way can run you anywhere from $300 to $600.
One of the first things to remember if you want to start dreadlocks is that they require care, time and patience. Depending on your hair's texture, it could take your hair a great deal of time to lock, even up to two years. If you desire neater locks, every few weeks you have to either re-twist or re-latch your hair or go to a loctician.
Something else to consider is whether you will do it yourself or go to a loctician for touch-ups. With so much knowledge about dreadlocks on the web, it is relatively simple (although time consuming) to start and maintain your locks yourself. However, if you'd rather have the treat and time-saving component, consider having someone else care for them.
There are several myths floating around about dreadlocks. Some people say they are dirty. The truth is that dreadlocks are like any other hairstyle. If you wash and care for your hair, it will be clean. Washing dreadlocks is the best and quickest way for them to grow. Not washing them can ruin your process. You should wash at least every one to two weeks.
Another myth is that you need a professional to maintain them. While some people opt to go to a loctician, it is not necessary. Some reasons to maintain your own locks are that you'll get to know your hair and its texture, you can play around with different styles and you will save money.