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About Dreadlocks

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How to Make Dreadlocks

Forming dreadlocks in African textured hair (4-b on the curliness
scale) is very easy.  Just part and braid it or twist it into small
sections, and leave it alone.  Once a month, pull the locks of hair
apart to keep them from growing together, and that's it.

Less curly hair may need a little more help, but it will matt
eventually.  Braid or crochet it into locks, and periodically sew,
or weave stray hairs back into the lock.  You can also wrap some
wool or a rubber band or "incubator bead" around it at the roots
and push it back as it grows.

How to Make Dreadlock Beads

See this page at for a quick and easy
guide to making home made dreadlock beads from polymer clay.

See this page at for instructions on how to make 
peyote stitch dreadlock sleeves.

See this page for instructons on how to make awesome
recycled plastic beads.

Dreadlocks are matted locks of hair.  The style is often worn by mystics of many nations, but it is best known as a favorite among Rastafarians, African secret societies, and Shaivite Hindu yogis.

Sometimes they are created by neglecting the hair so that it forms thick, natural mats.  It's most commonly cultured into thinner locks by people who are rejecting the overly processed "Babylon" idea of beauty.

Outside of the cities that have been influenced by popular western culture, you don't see many dreadlocks out in the open in Africa.  Most wearers cover them because they symbolize a spiritual vow that they have taken, and they should not be touched by the hands of strangers. Some believe that someone can steal your luck or curse you by touching your hair uninvited.  Some believe that touching someone's hair is an overtly sexual gesture.  Some just think that touching people's hair spreads disease and parasites.  This may be one reason why covering the head with a gelee or khimar was popular in Africa long before any influence from Islam or western culture.  In some climates, if you were going to have hair at all, it needed protection.

So, to this day, no mattter where you go, it's impolite to go around fondling people's dreadlocks without their permission.

Myths abound as far as proper forming and care of dreadlocks.  Just to clear some of them up...

Dreadlocks do need to be washed every week or two.  Washing should be done with a mixture of water and shampoo or water and cleansing herbs.  Many, in time, just use water and maybe a little aloe vera gel or juice.

It is not a good idea to put straight honey or beezwax on your dreadlocks unless you like flies and a lot of mess.

MudlocksIf you opt for bees wax, and don't mind, you may want to consider adding some mineral clay.  There are many brands of clay especially made for hair sculpting now.  They're usually a combination of clay and hair oil.  The women of the Himba tribe have used clay in their hair for thousands of years with no problems.  Because of the turnover due to squeezing and twisting for maintenance almost every day, the clay stays quite clean because it is being cycled with new clay often.

You don't have to cake on as much as they do.  Just rub some between your fingers and give it a mild squeeze-through every morning.  Only use this option if you have a lot of time on your hands though.

Click here for MTC's info page on African clothing.

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© 2006 Nicole Lasher