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Hair: How To Make And Maintain Dreadlocks?


A braided hairstyle associated with reggae, dreadlocks are the subject of much prejudice. We explain how to do them well and how to get rid of them.

Hair: How To Make And Maintain Dreadlocks?

If you hear about dreadlock, what do you think? This hairstyle where the hair is tied back in intertwining braids is often associated with the Rastafarian movement and Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley (hence they are sometimes mistakenly referred to as ʺrastaʺ). But the origin of ʺdreadʺ is much older.

Dreadlocks (also called dreads or locks) have been around for thousands of years: texts from Vedism (a religion practiced in ancient India) dating from between 2500 and 1500 BC mention them, while Greek frescoes dating from 1500 BC JC show men and women with braided hair, suggesting that it was a criterion of the beauty of the time. In the Bible, some claim that Samson's long hair was styled in a dreadlock, while the Indian deity Shiva also wore these kinds of braids. Among the Aztecs, dreadlocks seem to have been all the rage (at least according to historian William Hickling Prescott), notably as a men's hairstyle, while it was popularized among certain ethnic groups in Africa, notably in Senegal and Kenya. But it wasn't until the 1950s in Jamaica, following the Rastafarian Young Black Faith movement, that these braids were named with the derogatory term ʺdreadlocksʺ. Today, dreads are bold style hairstyles worn by many women and men, including stars, by hair choice, politics, or tradition. How to make dreadlocks and maintain them? We take stock.

How to make dreadlocks?

Hair experts will tell you: if you want to adopt the Rastafarian hairstyle, it is best to hire a hairdresser who specializes in dreadlocks, especially if this is your first time. He or she can advise you on how to get the best possible result. Don't hesitate to bring pictures with you to show the outcome you are aiming for. Dreads are often equated with an afro hairstyle or a braid suitable only for frizzy hair, but in reality, they are suitable for all styles and all types of hair (from smooth to frizzy to curly), for a woman as for a man. man. Some afro hair salons offer hairstyles, but they are above all specialists in afro hair, so they are not necessarily able to make dreads suitable for other types of hair. The dreadlock is actually only recommended for fine hair, as it risks thinning out the already very fine roots. In this specific case, extensions (synthetic or natural hair) can be considered. Whatever happens, it will take several hours for the hairdresser (up to 12 hours!), Depending on the length of your hair, because the locks are made strand after strand. If you ever decide to skip the hairdresser box and choose the free option (which we do not recommend), you will have to be even more patient: whatever the method (crimping the hair, starting with vanilla, in braids or in a twist, for different styles), it takes about a year to obtain beautiful locks. Once you have so-called mature dreads, you can customize them by adding beads, jewelry, or other accessories and get the style you want.

How to maintain dreadlocks and what care to use?

You shouldn't be fooled by appearances: beautiful dreadlocks, whether on natural hair or extensions (natural or synthetic), require maintenance! As for washing the hair, once a week is a good average (the hair is generally not greasy since the sebum does not flow easily along with the tangled hair fiber), with a product without sulfate or mineral oil: mild shampoos natural are highly recommended (no need to invest in a special dreadlock product). These treatments tend to lather a little, but that doesn't mean they aren't effective. Gently massage the scalp with the fingertips, then rinse thoroughly: the product will naturally flow along the strands and wash them. A second shampoo may be necessary if you feel your strands are not clean enough. Good to know: if you have just done your hairstyle (we speak of baby dreads), wait a few weeks before washing your hair, as you risk damaging the work done by the hairdresser (or your own work!). On the care side, leave-in hair oils (vegetable oil type: jojoba, coconut, castor, or even olive) are perfectly suited to hydration of the scalp and roots, but to be used sparingly. At night, remember to protect your hair by sleeping with a silk cap or on a silk pillowcase, to avoid the friction that weakens the hair. Finally, if you want to keep your braiding for the long term, salon maintenance several times a year is recommended (talk to your hairdresser the first time).

Are the dreadlocks dirty?

For many, images of dreadlocks would equate to dirty hair. This is obviously not true, since they are washed regularly. However, it is possible that braiding smells bad: this is because tangled hair does not dry as well as natural hair. To avoid this, it is advisable to dry the hair well in a microfiber towel. If you have long hair or your towel gets wet quickly, pack a second one. Ideally, you should let your hair air dry in the sun, but when that isn't possible, you can also use the cool air (or medium heat) button on your hairdryer.


What problems do we encounter with dreads?

The main problem encountered by people with locks is dryness and the weakening of the hair fiber, which can lead to hair loss. In this case, it is absolutely necessary to put the package on the care (vegetable oils to be massaged on the scalp and the lengths) and to limit the use of the hairdryer. Also be careful not to over-tighten the hairstyles you achieve, as this generates tension at the hairline, and not to retweet your roots too quickly (no need to do this every week, even if you see regrowth). Finally, if your locks are too "old" and therefore too heavy, they can also weaken the roots considerably.

How to get rid of dreadlocks?

With proper care, dreads can be kept for years. However, there will inevitably come a time when you want to remove your locks. Again, we strongly recommend that you perform the operation in an expert salon (even if you have kept natural dreads without beads, jewelry, or other accessories), especially if you have opted for the extension option. The most common solution is to cut the dreadlocks since, after all, this braiding is a build-up of knots ... But if you don't want to cut everything (and maybe come to hate your new head), know that it is possible, provided you arm yourself with a lot of patience and the right products and tools, to undo the locks. If you've had your dreadlocks for a long time, you might want to trim the tips and damaged part of the lengths (especially if you haven't cut your braids regularly). Of course, it will also be necessary to provide many treatments to find the hair of any beauty.

The stars who dare to wear dreads

If the term dreadlock immediately brings to mind Bob Marley and reggae music, there are many personalities associated with this hairstyle. We can cite Marcus Garvey, Jamaican political activist, musician Don Letts, tennis player Yannick Noah, singers Lenny Kravitz and Jay Z, or even the metal group Ill Niño (far from the reggae universe!). Would the dreadlock then be more of a man's hairstyle than a woman's? Absolutely not! In recent years, Rihanna, Zendaya, Zoë Kravitz, Shakira, and even Lady Gaga have been photographed with these braids in various styles (worn as is or in elaborate hairstyles), on their natural hair or via extensions and wigs. So if even these beauty queens dub the hairstyle, we can say that it is in fashion!

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