4 Keys to Transitioning to Dreadlocks

IG @braveblackbird

by Mary Wolff

When it comes to embracing your natural hair, it can be a long and painful process. It can also be a beautiful journey of self-discovery. I know tons of curlies who went natural and will never go back, no matter how hard it was to get started. Transitioning to natural hair can be a challenge for many reasons. It can seem even more challenging if you are transitioning to dreadlocks. Dreadlocks are one of the most beautiful and stylish, not to mention easy to care for, ways to wear your natural hair, but getting there might seem intimidating. It doesn’t have to be scary! Here are a few great tips when transitioning to dreadlocks.


Palm Rolling vs Interlocking: How Do You Maintain Locs?

by Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen

Last night, while working into the wee hours of the night on articles for other publications that I write for, I got distracted by a few tutorials on how to maintain dread locks. This November I will be four years strong as a locked goddess but let me tell you that even with a few years under my belt, I’m still learning how to properly care for my hair.

I started my journey with human hair kinky twists, allowed the new growth to come in and gently palmed rolled the roots while snipping off the extended hair. While my hair is now shoulder length and somewhat healthy I do have the occasional breakage and thinning. After a trip to Good Hair Salon back in June, my stylist Zue showed me how to “interlock” my new growth to keep my locks strong. I was intrigued and eventually started to use this method for regular maintenance in addition to palm rolling.

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Mardia is Naturally Glam!

My name is Mardia Powell. I’m an artist and graphic designer working in Atlanta, GA. Originally I’m from Nassau, Bahamas.

How long have you been natural?
My natural hair journey started back in Summer 2003.

What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I was one of those girls that had a new style every week. One week I would have a long do, then I would cut it . I can go on and on about the colors I have experimented with, but I would have to say red and blonde tones have been my favorite.

My motivation for transitioning to natural hair came when I realized that I could have the best of both worlds in a healthier way. When I would color my hair, I noticed that my hair did not thin as it did with relaxed hair.

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What Going Natural Can Teach You About Self-Care

by Esther Boykin of Group Therapy Associates blog

I know that for many people the journey to “go natural” is a meaningful decision about embracing a chemical free life or pushing back from cultural dogma about what it means to be beautiful. And I respect those who have passionate and or political motivations in making the transition. However, for me, giving up relaxers and embracing my naturally kinky hair was mostly just a function of boredom and exhaustion. I was tired of the wrestling my hair into submission and sick of the same old styles. But despite the fact that I did not start my hair journey with any profound life lesson in mind, I have certainly learned a few things along the way.

You already know what you need most; you just have to listen closely.
Hopefully you are more diligent than I am but maybe you can relate. Often my hair care routine is pretty basic with little thought to what my hair needs. It’s not the best plan but with a business to run, a couple of kids to keep up with, and a husband who I would still like to spend time with, my hair often falls to the bottom of the list. It’s so easy to ignore because it doesn’t call me or demand my attention… usually.

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On the Couch with Genesis

by Alex of The Good Hair Blog

For those people who may not be familiar with you, please tell us who you are and what you do.
Hello everybody, my name is Genesis, I am a DJ that currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. I am 22 years old, West Indian parenting, have traveled the world for numerous artist, playing tunes that make people dance and have a good time.How long have you been growing your locs?For about 5 years. (since my senior year of high school)

What do you use on your hair product wise, to maintain it?
My loc'tian uses a small amount of beeswax and honey for retwisting after it's washed and shampooed.

When traveling on the road how do you maintain your hair between shows?
To be honest I don't (even though I know that I should). I really don't bother my hair until its time to get it done. I do take care of it, but regular maintenance on the road, or even at home isn't something I tend to keep up with.


Loc Hairstyle Tutorial: Petaled Loc Fro

Chescalocs is at it again! Check out her gorgeous petaled fro!

The Return of Skinny Kenny- UPDATES!

Kenny writes:

Hello again, to those of you who remember me from a long time ago. And pleased to meet you, for those of you who have no idea who I am. In case you have forgotten or never knew, my name is Kenny. But people call me Skinny Kenny. When last I left you, my neglected curls were hardening up and becoming dreads. Since that time my hair has continued to grow day and night. And I have continued to let it do what it will without much intervention from my part. I've grown to love my dreads. They are the best accident to ever happen to me.

In particular, I like how my dreads alter people's mood and interaction with me. Sometimes when I am going about my daily life, I feel like I am in some kind of secret club. Let me give you an example. Earlier today I was waiting in line at the post office, here in Brooklyn. As I stood in line, I watched the lady working behind the counter give some of the worst customer service I had ever seen to anyone who dared approach her. She would cut people off and send them away like they were small children, if they weren't 100% prepared. As the line slowly moved forward and I got closer to the service window, I started to think hard about what all I needed to send my box. But I didn't have time to dwell too much on such thoughts, because as soon as I started to wonder if I was ready, my time had come. I walked up to her and her anger melted away. She gave me a warm greeting smile, and said, "what do you need today little locks?". I should mention that she had very long grey locks tightly coiled up into a bun. She had probably been growing her's since before I was even born! I told her I had to ship a box to South Korea, and I handed her my box. She paused and then said I had the wrong shipping label and my box was too big. I cringed and prepared for a tongue lashing. But she said, 'it's okay here is the correct label, come back with this label and a smaller box and you come directly to my window and skip the line!' THANK YOU DREADS!

Now it is totally possible that my hair had nothing to do with this 180 in attitude. Maybe she was a racist... But I'm about 90% sure it was because of my flowing locks. And that is just one instance I have had so many similar situations in New York. People with dreads treat me as if I'm a long lost relative when they see me. It's a great feeling, one I'm proud to experience so often.

Surely I'm not the only one getting such positive treatment from other dread heads??

From Loc'd to Loose- Natural Hair Tales

Julia writes:

I've BCd a few times in my life - the first time was in college. But until April of 2010 I'd had locs for 7 years. I loved them, but it was time for a change. I didn't find out until a month later, but when I was having these strong feeling of needing to move out of this phase, I was pregnant :)

I thought I would end up getting braids come winter since I'd have a toddler AND a newborn. But it's all worked out great. Check out the two strand twists I've been rocking for the past 4 days.

The other two times I've BCd I've kept my hair at TWA length and loved it. This time I'm planning on growing it out. Hopefully, by the time my daughter is old enough to care, she'll be able to see me with a head full of natural hair and hundreds of pictures of every stage in between.

Nikki your site is my favorite natural hair site. I love the interviews and perspective but you also have great followers. The comments are typically thoughtful and positive. Keep up the awesome work!

LOCS: A Journey of Personal Transformation

NaturallyCurly.com writes:

American Idol contestant Crystal Bowersox has focused attention once again on the ancient art of locking, perhaps causing many Americans to look at the hairstyle with fresh eyes.

“I’ve had these for about four and a half years now,” Bowersox told AccessHollywood.com in March. “I do wash my hair— just so everyone knows. There’s a lot of myths out there about dreadlocks, but they’re very clean and well-kept.”

A story about Bowersox’s hair on Stylelist.com attracted comments ranging from compliments (”they fit her perfectly”) to critical (”disgusting and distracting,” “horrible” and “[she] looks like a pothead”). One poster summed up voter expectations this way: “You keep those dreadlocks and be happy, but you won’t win ‘American Idol’ with that look—do you really think [fourth season winner] Carrie Underwood would have won if she looked like Crystal?”

With the renewed attention on locs, we thought it was a good time to present a primer on this hairstyle.

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