I started typing a response to a comment by gentlemaitresse
, and then realized that I may as well spread the word. I know I thought a lot of these things before I started talking to people about their dreads.Misconceptions about dreads
1)They are formed by not washing your hair. Not true. In fact, in order to get the hair to 'lock up' well, it should be free from oils. Certainly you can make dreads by not washing your hair, but you won't have many friends! Felters understand this process with wool. You have to remove the lanolin from the wool in order for it to felt up. Same thing with hair. In fact, some people actually work wool in with their dreads. I plan on working in a felted snake to my hair at some point. You know, the whole Medusa thing!
I wash my hair twice a week, the same amount I was washing before I started. They do take a little longer to dry, and I've found that squeezing them in a towel helps get most of the water out, or headbanging like back in the day. Some people use concoctions of their own, such as lemon juice and saltwater, or steeped herbal teas to wash their hair instead of shampoo, and I may try some of those things later.
2)You have to cut them to get rid of them. Not true. If you have the patience, you can untangle dreads, but some people would rather just grow new hair, or are ready for a new look and cut them off. Many dreadlocked people believe that their hair holds energy and memories of the things that happened while they were growing. For some people, they can leave their past behind by removing or cutting off their dreads. I don't see me ever cutting mine off, since I know I look like poo with short hair. I've seen many examples of detangling dreads though, and they look just fine. But I have wanted dreads for a long time, so I'm going to hang in there.
3) Only people that smoke pot have them. Not true. I am not a pot smoker, and though I did smoke quite a bit in high school, I stopped pretty soon after that because it made me buggy and paranoid. Now, I've done lots of other drugs, but I've not done any since moving to Tennessee ten years ago. I have nothing against people that smoke pot, and I don't think it's a big deal, unless you are driving! Stay home and smoke!
4)Only black people should have dreads, or Rastafarians, or Nazarite. White folks should not have them. Not true. Dreadlocks are seen in different cultures, ancient India and Egypt, for instance. There are sites on the web that claim the Celts wore them and that the Romans said they had 'hair like snakes', but that seems to be unfounded, maybe it is a quote from a movie or something. The Celts did put chalk in their hair to make it stand up like a zebra though. Of course, they may have had dreadlocks as well, but one thing we do know: Man came before combs. At some point we all had dreadlocks, and whether people do it now for fashion, religion, or personal reasons it is their business, and no one has a right to them exclusively.
5) They will only look good if you use wax. Not true. I thought this myself, but now that I see and feel what beeswax does, I can see that it will actually slow things down. A lot of hype is put out there by companies that sell wax, and like me, that's the first thing a lot of people see when they go searching for info. There is a video of a woman making dreads in some guy's hair, and using handfuls of the stuff! His dreads were not dreads, but candles. There's no way they could tangle up with all that stuff in there! But, I do think that a small amount of wax can be useful, if you are having a really bad frizz day, or going in for a job interview or something. Though real dreadies say to just use aloe gel, or as alexisyael
suggested, soy wax, which is wonderful to use, but I've found that it's best to just leave them alone if you can.
I know that when I go in public, people will assume that my hair is dirty, or smelly, or that I'm a pot dealer, or all sorts of things. I'm working on not giving a crap about what people think as much as possible. For me, this whole thing is an exercise in patience and a departure from conforming to what people think I should look like. I didn't go into it for spiritual reasons, but it is beginning to become personally spiritual in a way, which may seem crazy to some of you, but all I can say is that I can't deny what it is becoming. Anyway, if you think I'm nuts, that's okay. But I wanted to let you know that I DO wash my hair, and it isn't any more difficult to keep clean than it was before. In fact, I think my hair is actually cleaner, because I can get the soap all the way to the scalp because the dreads keep it separated.