My Dreadlock Diary #2 - Today's The Day!


Hey cats!

Welcome to the second instalment of my dreadlock journey, I'll be talking all about the day I actually got my dreads and as much of the process behind this as possible, don't worry I don't plan on going on with myself for too long mainly because there wasn't all that much involved that I can really write about!

So first things first I made sure I got up early to wash my hair using a residue-free shampoo from Superdrug and I decided to get a hydrating one because I wouldn't be conditioning my hair (it would struggled to be dreaded otherwise). I also chose residue-free because it's recommended to use on dreads anyway to prevent any kind of product build up and I thought it best to have that to start with too! After a good wash I left my hair to dry naturally because I didn't particularly want to heat damage my hair right before having it done, I then gave it a brush & de-tangle.

I was welcomed by the lovely lady doing my dreads (Laurelle) just outside of where she lived and I was taken to her awesome recently converted house van! It was so unique and surprisingly roomy, her fella was also there and was just as welcoming & pleasant as Laurelle; there was me instantly at ease! They also have two very friendly, adorable doggies and I was happy to have them around but if you're not keen on dogs Laurelle is happy to keep them in another room as long as you let her know in advance. I took some lunch, snacks, plenty of water and on Laurelle's recommendation a book too (I've read this book before and would highly recommend it if you want to read something a bit different), turns out I didn't end up needing the book after all but it was a sweltering day so I was glad of the water.

She has a huge chesterfield sofa for clients which was comfortable from beginning to end; we got started at 12 and the process took about 8 hours in total with a few toilet/food breaks thrown in. In the meantime we watched a lot of Netflix (Community & OITNB) chatted away and of course as it was a long day there was inevitable silence but it was more than comfortable. 

As far as the actual process of dreading itself I couldn't see what was going on and there are many different ways to install dreads. From what I could tell there was sectioning off into a 'brickwork' pattern, a lot of backcombing, twisting, rolling and the use of a crochet needle to loop and hook the hair into itself. As stated on her website "I have been working with dreads and alternative hair for over 8 years and have developed my own technique using crochet hooks and felting needles - NO WAX, LATEX, GLUE or any other quick-fixes that make your hair temporarily neat but cause long term damage to the development and maturation of your dreads. I have large amounts of experience & understanding about how hair tangles & what can be done to facilitate the process without causing damage down the road" She also will refuse to start dreadlocks on hair that she thinks isn't healthy enough to support them which I think is really professional. I also felt at ease reading through her website and seeing that she has her own way of dreading because to me that gives the impression of real knowledge, skill and passion for her trade. 

Throughout the day Laurelle always made sure to check in with how I was feeling and said to let her know if I was getting head sore at all. Quite honestly I didn't feel that way even once, she was super gentle and I'm one of those people that's always loved having their hair being played with, I'm surprised I didn't nod off! It was a long and draining day but also very enjoyable and totally worth it; when we were done she told me all about how to maintain my new dreadies as she encourages clients to learn but she also offers dread maintenance for those who need it.

Unfortunately I didn't have to the foresight to get before and after pictures but my hair went from around armpit length (this measurement makes the most sense to me for some reason) to shoulder length as you can see. My ends were really thin anyway so I don't really feel like I lost a lot of length plus when I did have shorter hair I really enjoyed it so I was pretty over the moon! Laurelle also said it was a pretty good length at which to start dreadlocks and let them grow in. Although my hair is fine there's quite a lot of it which made it a tad more difficult to dread than expected but I also ended up with about 48 dreads in my hair and the average is around 35-45 depending on your hair type, head size and preference. I went for thinner style dreads to suit my size & hair type, they'll also shrink as they mature.

For the next week or so I can expect 'Sideshow Bob' style hair until my dreads start to settle and it's best you leave them loose to do their own thing in this time. As for the my immediate future with my new dread babies, I'm not allowed to wash them for two weeks so that they can settle (plus if you washed them straight away they would most likely just fall out) and then it is recommended that you wash them in salt water at first in order to help the knotting process. I've been told to palm roll them about once a week - which is taking each dread and rolling it back & forth like making a play doh sausage - to keep them in shape and also to look out for any matting between dreads; they have a tendency to try and 'eat' each other so I have to pull them apart regularly in order to keep them separate. Apparently the first 6 or so weeks can be the messiest ever as well as the first 6 months but after that they start to take care of themselves and settle properly. 

Overall I was really happy with my experience and albeit a little daunted by the responsibility to start with I was looking forward to a new life & a new journey. If you're considering dreads I would highly recommend Laurelle, she's fantastic and really knows her stuff! 

I'd absolutely adore hearing what you think about this process, is it what you expected?

Stay curious

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