dreadlocks, part 3

my posts about dreadlocks are still the most-viewed ones on my entire blog, and since my last update was only when my dreads were 6 months old, i figured i ought to share a bit more. especially given that google's 'stats' function seems to show me that most people are wanting to see what dreads look like at different 'ages' and in particular hair types.

recap: here's the original 'dreadlocks' post, with details about starting your own, methods, and maintenance. then the 'dreadlocks update' post at six months with more information. i left my dreads in for right around two years before cutting them off. i found that crocheting can be a helpful way to clean up messy dreads. i also found that i LOVE having wraps in as a way to bind up the ends of otherwise loose dreads (especially around the edges of my scalp). wraps (either of cotton thread or wool thread) are an excellent way to add fun things to your hair, too - like feathers.

dreads, 9 months old
here are my dreads at nine months. they look WAY more like dreads now, and less just like i have messy hair. nonetheless, i've left my 'tails' very long and wispy, mostly because i want them that way when my dreads are longer.

dread updo
from a similar time frame - around nine months - now that my dreads are finally long enough to put into an 'updo' or braid or tie up in various ways other than just a ponytail or kerchief.

dread updo
same time frame, just viewed from the front - here it's more obvious that my hair is dreaded, and you can see the nice thick locks and how much tighter they are than they used to be.

dread braid amalgam
a dread and braid amalgam. sometimes i would braid some of my front dreads to keep them off my face, and then just knot up hunks of dreads in the back. i also, for fancy times, would do two five-strand inside-out braids, which looked Way cool because they were 3-d looking and looked like celtic knotwork on my head. especially lovely when beads, wraps, and feathers show through.

my dreads after 5 days braided
this is what happened after my hair had been completely in braids for five days straight. as you can see, at this point my dreads create a lot of volume. this is why i initially chose to do smaller dreads this time around, though by the time they were two years old i felt pretty overwhelmed at their volume. in the future, i'd go with medium sized dreads and just wait it out, knowing that it would be an ideal volume by the time they were longer. as a side note, you can see in this picture that i prefer using large produce rubber bands as ponytails.

dreads and nose piercing
this was in the late winter of 2011-2012, so just under one year. dreads are well defined now, and feel kind of like a stuffed animal on my head. i love them. i was especially glad at the length they were finally reaching.

here's at around fifteen and seventeen months. they go really easily and nicely into a ponytail, look like dreads, and have cool stuff attached to them.

around a year and a half old. this is an okay idea of volume when they're not held back by something.

smoothing the floor
again, around a year and a half and up in a ponytail. very convenient.

francis and me
closer to two years. a few of my dreads got dyed teal and purple by my neighbor, while she was dying her hair. it looked pretty ridiculous.

aaand, right around two years, and mere days before cutting off most of my dreads. i loved the way they looked, but their weight and overall volume was getting too frustrating. for some weeks i did a pseudo jedi look, leaving around 8 dreads around my 'sideburns' area and where a rattail would be. eventually i cut them all off and started fresh.

overall, i enjoy having dreads. it can be frustrating for me, as someone with very un-knotty hair, to get them started. but i don't consider it any more frustrating than the challenge of growing hair out to ponytail length in general. i would do thicker dreads in the future. i love wraps as a way to secure loose ends, and i'm happy to know i don't have to buy anything to take care of my hair this way.

also, most of this time period i was (and still am) living on my rural homestead in an intentional community, where mainstream cleanliness norms do not stand. it was actually very rare for me to 'wash' my dreads with soap, though of course i did swim in ponds and take showers with some regularity, and i found the best way to maintain their cleanliness was simply to massage my scalp under the water and rub my dreads underwater vigorously, and allow them to dry pretty quickly. dreads have also been great insulation for my head and neck during cold, windy winters.

joan and esther

and, the dreads are gone. back to short for a while. now, after a year of short hair, i'm growing it out normally again. haven't done that since my teens.