Starting new dreads + question about length

Discussion in 'Dreadlocks' started by Annie Anxiety, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. Annie Anxiety

    Annie Anxiety Member

    I presently do not have dreadlocks.

    Some history:
    About 10 years ago (while in high school), my mother forced me to chop my dreadlocks off. It was probably for the best, as I did a crap job with them from the get go. Anyway, I haven't cut my hair since then, aside from minor trims that resulted in tears. My hair is at terminal length, about halfway down my thighs. It is very thick, but smooth and pin-straight.

    I know I want dreadlocks. I've had professional issues preventing me from having them, but I'm free of that now. I also freelanced (haha) as a dreadlock hairdresser at the hippie college I attended, so I know what's involved in starting and caring for them. I'm prepared.

    I plan on sectioning, backcombing, and croqueting a bit as I prefer the polished look, and my hair isn't the type to dread nicely on its own in any sense.

    My question though:

    Do I have to cut it?!

    Do you think anybody in their right mind is going to help me do this? Is it even possible to dread hair as long as mine? If I should cut it, what do you think is the longest practical length to start locking up at? Considering that I can't do this on my own, and I don't want my friends to die?

    Just looking for some opinions. Thank you in advance.

    Oh, by the way, I'm Franny. :)
  2. OzzyDread

    OzzyDread Life Supporter of Peace

    all depends on who's gonna help you, ask them what they can handle, if they think it looks like its gonna be to big of a job, try negotiating to split the combing over a couple of days. I would try to cut as little as possible.

    oh, and every ones gonna think ur nutz for backcombing.

  3. Annie Anxiety

    Annie Anxiety Member

    Well, if there's a better way than backcombing, let me know. That's what I've done for other people in the past, but I'm open to suggestion, of course.

    I'm just worried that my hair will do its own thing in a one big clump kinda way. It's so dense and straight. After a day at work (I work in a hot dog kennel), I already have one giant clump underneath if I don't braid my hair.

    In high school I sectioned it and banded it, and then just let it knot. I took the bands off after a while, but they never tightened, really. I had them about a year.

    So, thoughts?
  4. OzzyDread

    OzzyDread Life Supporter of Peace

    well, i started with shoulder length hair and had them backcombed... now i wish i had gone natural. Natural is better on your hair from the get go.. less stress you could say and produce better results in the long run.

    look into it. plenty of info on the forums.
  5. No I don't think everyone will think your nutz for backbombing. This isn't the Dreadlock Police HQ - though 1 or 2 otherwise kind and mellow folks can quickly turn into members of the Anti-wax Gestapo :D.

    Peeps will generally give you their adivce based on what they know, and opinions here reach right across the board. At the end of the day, you know your hair better than anyone in here anyway. I myself have never known of anyone starting dreads with such long hair, but backcombing the hair at any length is only a temporary method to give the dreading process a kick start. Depending on your hair type it can be up to several months before hair starts to come together by neglect alone, and if you're wanting quite neat and tidy dreads backcombing will also give you much more control over the size of each dread and the overall number of dreads you would like.

    Whether started by neglect, rip n twist, or random section backcombing, if you just leave your hair alone afterwards the resulting mature dreads will look pretty similar: lumpy, bumpy dreads with character where the hair has been allowed to loop and curl into whatever funky shapes it likes. If more uniformed dreads are what you're after then palm-rolling will help them form into more smooth, even ropes. Be careful with crotcheting though, as a lot can give dreads a very distinct, almost braided, appearance which can look a bit odd sitting next to new dread growth at the roots. The debate is also open as to whether cotcheting actually hinders the dreading process, and also weakens and damages the hair. Though I wouldn't go as far as OzzyDread, there are many people in here that will quite vehemently insist that the best locks (re: most healthy, long lasting) are formed by doing nothing other than washing your hair with a residue-free shampoo. But again, this is only ever an opinion and nothing here is set in stone.

    Best of luck on your journey Franny, and welcome to the forum :cheers2:
  6. amybird

    amybird Senior Member

    urbanhedgemonkey, you always talk such sense :)
  7. Merrivale

    Merrivale Senior Member

  8. Thanks :)

    I think, though, with time you'll find that what comes out of my gob swings wildly between complete sense and complete and utter bollox :D
  9. amybird

    amybird Senior Member

    I know that feeling ;)
  10. Luxiebow

    Luxiebow Senior Member

    I agree urbanhedgemonkey you are a breath of fresh air w/ all the agro thats going on atm
  11. Callie4Strings

    Callie4Strings Official Spokes Bitch

    They are going to be awesome...wish mine were longer when I began!

    Hey I worked last summer in a kennel for extra loot....loved it!!!!
  12. Annie Anxiety

    Annie Anxiety Member

    ^ You like Crass? YAY!

    Yeah, I love my dirty stinky job!

    Since I started this thread I've seen some NICE natural dreads on this forum. But I'm still worried that my hair won't do that. Does anyone think banding it into sections would ward off a unidread? Make it worse?

    And what's twist and rip?
  13. soaringeagle

    soaringeagle Senior Member

    you already know that natural will work fast for you you just need lil info on keeping the process under control
    yoyur hair wanbts to dread in a few days dont it? 3 weeks u can have beautiful dreads with your wionderful hair..(at a guess that is i just know youir progreess will amaze ppl)
    decide do u like thick or thin dreads?
    section into ther sizes u like, or just as it dreads rip it into the sixes u like u may have to often as it wantsd to be 1 dread just seperate into individual sections often
    or semi presection and add some beads
    the sections dont gotta be =exact, and dont gotta be even sizes either.
    if they are all pretty close youll get a pullished look if theyree more random sizes you;ll gert a more blkended organic look i preffer to let mine do what they did and up till recent;y try to keep em just from getting thicker but now that theyre past my feet the thin 1's get stepped on and broken so letting a bunch combine into thicker ropes for strength
  14. soaringeagle

    soaringeagle Senior Member


    these are all natural
    thge 1st ones started just adding a few beads
    the rest was still too short
    as it got likl longer added beads or just played with it

    yours being so long will dread like crazy
    u can lket it go and just rip sections that are too huge

    or u can grab sections and add beads to help it stay controlled
    you'll just have to seperate often till they are well formed
  15. There's a lot of debate over what exactly constitutes "natural" dreads, with opinions ranging from doing absolutely nothing to your hair, to just abstaining from wax and general artificial crap. Many people here fall somewhere between the two. My personal opinion is that all dreadlocks are manipulated to a greater or lesser degree, mostly depending on what people want their locks to look like, as well as a variety of religeous, spiritual, political, social and eco reasons. As a general rule of thumb, the more "polished" you want your dreads to end up the more you have to work on them (obviously). Backcombing on its own will not necessarily give you neat and tidy locks - this is where mucho palm-rolling and crocheting is required. Backcombing simply sections out the hair and brings it together so it can start to dread. Most backcombs will unravel and come apart somewhat before starting to dread anyway, and the dreading process is then exactly the same as with hair that has been left to come together by it self (the so called 'natural' or neglect method). It will loop, coil and knot, and start to wrap itself into little bundles. Each dread will have its own unique lumpy, bumpy shape, and, whether initially backcombed or not, both (in my opinion) are "natural" locks in that they have been left to dread by themselves. Many would argue to the contrary saying that backcombing is manipulation and therefore not natural, but like I mentioned earlier, all dreadlocks are manipulated to a certain degree - from wearing wool tams, to bathing in the ocean, separating at the roots, smoothing down frizz with aloe vera, etc, etc.

    Backcombing the hair in random sections of varying size will give a more "natural" look to hair compared to hair that has been sectioned meticulously and evenly, and palm-rolling out the kinks and loops will give smooth, uniformly shaped dreads. I think a lot of people regard palm-rolling and crocheting (and also wax use) as synonomous with back-combing, and I think this is where the whole "natural vs backcombed" comes from. Backcombing combined with palm-rolling, crotcheting, tip rubbing etc will form mature dreads that look quite distinct from those that have been left to do there own thing, but simply backcombing them in to begin with (and then leaving them to do their own funky thing) will not. The whole "natural vs backcombed" is really a bit of a misnomer, because simply from being around this forum for the past month or two it is really pretty obvious to me that it is nowhere near that black and white.

    As far as banding goes, it certainly isn't neccessary to keep either natural or backcombed sections apart - just pulling them apart at the roots is usually sufficient. Rubber bands also have a habit of becoming so tangled in the hair they are an absolute bastard to remove.

    I'm going to shut up and go away now because I've bibbled on for long enough, :p but I hope some of it was useful :)
  16. soaringeagle

    soaringeagle Senior Member

    bands totaly do melt and become a sticky gob in the dread
    beads are a far better solution. so are wraps
    theyre not needed but they help the control lil bit

    i ageree with eberythiunbg she said but woulkd like to add on
    backombibg onlyt helps to a degree or is completely useless to some its usualt the option of those in a hurry to see emediate results and as such is fine
    but your hair when u comb it hurts right? gets lkil dammaged in thye process too? backcombings far more agressive and painful and dammaging
    (and painful to the arms of anyone whod spend well your looking at 20+ or more hours of painful backcombing
    some do it so tight they literaly pull 1/2 the hairs out at the roots then post what are these white gobs at the roots of my dreads ..literaly yanked out exposed byut stuck in the dread roots
    theys aso mention white specks all along tyhe dread from broken battered and frayed hairs
    on your hair the dammage will be extra bad, think sabout the backcombing process (ill get to twist rip in a sec) you shove shove shove it on doewn agressivlely ..oull it out then shove shove shove more ..pull it oiut and so the time 4 feet of hairs compressed into 2 feet of backcombed hair u agressively shoved all that in there with maybe 5000 hard fast agressive strokjes doing alotta dammage (and theres no way to avoid oullingthe hair whilke doiunbg this)

    woukldnt it be gentler yo wash n sleep and thats it?

    ok twist n rip (better option if u dont go natural)
    involves taking sa section
    twist it twist it twist it then take 2 random parts of it and pull in oposite directuions pushing knots down repeeat twist it pull apasrt ..nokt too agressivly and can be done muchquicker twist pull twist pull no need to get it real tight time will take care of that your just trying to train it to hold a section together
    wait awhile wash sleep wash sleep

    if your really against the wild look palmroll but dont overdo itr can weaken the dreads idf overdone
    when wet just give em a quick roll to round em out
    no matter what though they go through a infant stage wheyre they resemble babie dreads just forming then a rebelios teen stage where they loop lump go wild do crazy thinbgs stay out laste at night partying and making you worry you'll be like every mom of a teen ready to rip your hair out screamming where did i go wrong with these kids i try to do the right thing and theyre just outta control doijng whatever they damn well want
    then ahh maturuity settles in they behave more predictibly they get set in theyre ways and are finaly undercontrol with the unique personalities that came from theyre childhood and adolesence stages

    keeping on the anology
    when u rais a kid and force it to behave exactky as you want it to it often suffers, sure it might come out pollished in your eyes, perfect but carries ariound inner scars for not having been able to live its life on its terms
    thge opposite if its alousd to run free itll make miostakes suree but learn from them and gain strength of charachter and live a happier life on its own terms
    blah i fucked that all upo and lost the meanning im trying to convey
    the less u try to force it to do your will the healthier it will be in the long ruin
    also..u learn to be satisfied with it just the way it is instead of getting all upset when it does something u dont find perfect

    tonight do u have a ring like a wedding ring? just a band nothing to catch on anythiong? take 1 section underneath slide on the ring till it sticks (or small bead if u want thin dreads a ring qwill make 1 thick) or even a metal tube ..or hell a peice of plastic straw (can be snipped off later) slide it up till it sticks (allow some hair to be poushed up to loop anbd make it stick if need be but then ut will have a lilk thicker lumpo above it )
    leave it be for 3 days lor more then wash it leave it be anolther week

    see wasnt that easy? isnt it alreasdy beginning to dread?

    you could for a pollished look do hair wraps they will be perfectly round and thin (again tho they'll be thicker above since that was alowed to dread naturaly without artificial compression)

    you dont need the beads just ripping but i think its a better option to bead at least some to help the setions form so u arent totaly lost in the ripping process and it wont have to be monitored so closely
  17. I agree, backcombing can be harsh. I only backcombed mine a little and quite gently, spending a couple of hours grabbing random sections, but it was enough to kick start the process. Judging by the speed its knotted and looped since though, I have wondered whether it actually needed it at all. :) It seems poker-straight, baby-fine hair can knot as well as any other, but it's only after it started dreading that I found this out. Hindsight can be a marvelous thing...

    Maybe I should've just listened to older and wiser folks to begin with! :p
  18. Smelly D

    Smelly D The Dreaded Plumber

    but thats no fun =D
  19. True... but it could just be the story of my life. :p

    So far so good this time though and I have yet (touch wood) to fall on my arse to an irritating chorus of "I told you so!" :rolleyes:
  20. soaringeagle

    soaringeagle Senior Member

    thats just why i suggest ppl try natural use backcomb as a kickstart if they dont get started after awhilke
    awhile can be different things though
    i thought mandy was set on natural then 3-4 days backcombed and twiusted and ripped a few
    checvy on the other hand was set on backcombing and dreads happened too fast for her to find someone to backcomb
    and tge process can take a long time in short haor
    and occassionaly in long hair too if its oily or whatevrr

    but her hair sounds just like muy sis's ex he wass japanese wityh hair to his knees and if he went to bed wityhout it braided hed wake up with 3-4 huge dreads
    i think hers would have that tendency too
    so its a matter of controlling that
    either by oulling those huge clumps apart into smaller ones ..or by putting in beads to hold em apart in smaller clumps
    its preciceluy the fact that it will dread almost overnight that is thye problem
    it'll form any size dread it wants to whilke u sleep and when u wake uo you'll find out what happened and probly have to do major seperating
    but using beads to hold em sep[erate at least the 1st 3 weeks will get the dread into a dread so only at the roots will u have to rip

    tonight when u braid it..leave 1 1 inch ort lkess secion hang loose unbraided
    see how knotted it ins in thge morn..let it go 3 days and see if its not already beginning to dread..and shrink..wash it once or twice a week and i bet ya abnything youll be amazed what happens in the 1st 2-3 weeks

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice