Loc It Up: Maintaining Healthy Dreadlocks

Loc It Up: Maintaining Healthy Dreadlocks

The hairstyles of Black women have always been a topic of discussion and big business within our own communities and beyond for many years. To this day, Black women choosing to wear a natural textured hairstyle makes many within corporate America nervous. Is it that these nervous people within the corporate world wonder if the natural hairstyle is an indicator of an inevitable uprising? Of course not! But enough about the politics of natural hairstyles. This article explores dreadlocks and maintaining healthy dreadlocks as lovely as singers Ledisi and Goapele.   

My research on this story led me to the natural hair technician Ademola Mandela, author of Authentic Hair in his shop in Harlem, New York. His journey in natural haircare began over twenty years ago out of frustration because when he lived in Paris, there was no one there who could do his hair. If you’re interested in dread locking then listen to these pointers from Ademola:

Be patient if you desire dread locks because you need at least three inches of new growth (i.e. absolutely no relaxed hair) before you begin the locking process. He says that after six to eight months your hair will be seriously locked. To maintain this do, you should have your locks twisted every four to six weeks and don’t wash them prior to the appointment for the best results. And lastly, to keep your locks looking fresh between appointments, use Jane Carter Solution Twist & Lock ($22, janecartersolution.com). This product contains no wax so you won’t be left with a ton of build-up in your hair.

Ademola’s Tip: Keep your locks moisturized.

I reached out to my friend Crystal who not too long ago cut off her locks in favor of a short cropped style. But when she was a lock-aficiando she said she was a disciple of Carol’s Daughter Tui Oil ($8.50, carolsdaughter.com). This product gives your dreads the sheen you need all the while delivering the delightful smell of passion fruit and mango. What’s also great about this product is that not only works great on dreads to produce a beautiful sheen, it can also be used on all types of hair as a hot oil treatment to treat dry scalp.

“So why dreads?” I asked Kim who began wearing dreads at the tender age of ten years old.  It wasn’t about religion, it was purely because she had a tender scalp and her mom decided that a low-maintenance hairstyle such as this would be perfect because it would do away with the stress of relaxers and pressing. But the “transition from relaxed hair to locking wasn’t an easy one” Kim says. Kids were cruel during her transitional stage (where the style is super short and not necessarily really attractive). But now, Kim is well beyond the transitional stage as her bleached blond, crimped locks cascade down to the middle of her back. And one of the products she swears by today to keep her locks looking lovely is Sulfur 8 Braid Spray ($4.56, amazon.com). It’s excellent at relieving a dry scalp.

Kim’s Tip: When you crimp your locks, wet them first, braid in small sections, let dry and untie. 

Another great product that keeps your scalp conditioned while rockin’ this style is the natural grease Nature’s Blessing Hair Pomade ($5, houseofnubian.com). It’s made of petroleum jelly and tea herbs which promotes hair growth.

I’m sure you’ll agree that much too much attention is placed on how we wear our hair. The focus should be squarely on how good you look wearing it and does it look polished. Let’s move on people.

Hue Knew It? I did. 

Ledisi Photo Credit: Jack Guy / Artwork by Tara Guillaume for HueKnewIt.com