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Journey To Dreadlocks

Updated on February 22, 2015

Drama Queen

I knew from an early age that I hated having my hair permed. I mean, sure it looked and felt light and shiny, those things seem to appeal to children and have remnants into adulthood, but I hated every bit of the process of having my hair permed! Then there was the fact that it burnt if not being done properly and left all sorts of scales after the process. I had to get rid of this method...just as soon as I was old enough to make my own decisions!

Oh did I mention how I would holler and bawl at the very sight of the chemical to be used in my hair? I wasn't a fan of the cold water being used to wash my head either, but that was another story. The perm had to go!


African Queen or Princess?

The age came, I was eighteen after what seemed like a lifelong wait. By the time I was sixteen though, converting to Christianity, caused me to become more conscious of all things natural, especially as an Adventist back then. Being in high school meant that I didn't have to fuss about hairstyles. In fact, I would plait my hair small, all by myself. Attending an all-girls school might have helped, who knows! My hair was now natural and I was on my way to doing 'me'.

African Indeed


The Sister Lock Craze Era

Well, needless to say, that phase didn't last too long as I was in college before I knew it and simply couldn't manage to keep my hair natural in that fashion. By then, 'sister locks' (a more refined version of dreadlocks) was a hairstyle of the elites! This was interesting to see since prior to that, dreadlocks (hairstyle associated with Rastafarians) was almost scoffed at by so-called elites and other members of society.

Unfortunately, as a new mother and college freshman, I couldn't even afford to think about getting sister locks, let alone actually initiating the process! It was simply too expensive! Most of the people who wore that hairstyle were lecturers and people who were 'well-off'. I was stuck with perming my hair til such time.

A Typical-Looking Dreadlock Hair


A Typical-Looking Caucasian Dreadlock Hair


Caring the hair is essential in spite of

My Journey

Well, it was just a matter of time before the hype died down and the law of supply and demand would also take care of the price associated with this hype. After years of waiting, while the style remains 'not cheap', it is no longer ridiculously expensive to lock one's hair. I commenced the journey in 2012, after growing out the perm as I decided that I was not going to cut my hair or use extensions! While I haven't regretted this move, it comes with its own challenges.

Pre-Locks 2010

My last haircut before I started my journey to locks

My locks when it was shorter

My hair freshly locked and styled


Caring For Locks And Hair In General

One of the main challenges for me is the caring for my locks. I am still trying to find a good stylist to do my hair without locking it too tight or scrubbing it like they are washing clothes. But then there is also the need for using the right products. Apparently Argon Oil and Coconut Oil are being touted as miracle hair 'drugs'/vitamins; but I am now being told that the build up of the oil in locks comes with its own troubles.

The stylist is now suggesting using aerosols and products with less Argon or Coconut oil. The results are yet to be seen. Notwithstanding, the benefits of coconut oil and argon oil cannot be overstated for hair care, regardless of one's hair type.

Happy I Made The Decision

When all is said and done, I don't have to worry about perms and burns. Some might say that dread locks are not versatile, but that is farthest from the truth. One only needs a good stylist. Likewise, it takes approximately one hour to wash, interlock, style and dry locks. Depending on whether it is being palm rolled or interlocked, that time could also be less. However, palm roll would need to stay styled to keep and ultimately would need to be redone in less time than interlocking typically would.

What Is Palm-Roll Versus What Is Interlocking

As the name suggests, palm-roll is literally rolling the hair between the palms. This is usually done when the hair is wet and gel or wax is used to assist the process and keep it. Thereafter, the hair is usually styled and dried.

On the other hand, interlocking is done with a special type of hair 'needle' and is basically locking the hair at different angles/in different directions to keep it groomed and dreadlocked.

Commonly Referred To As LockPin

DIY challenge if you are thinking about it

Pulling it out: so it was in the beginning

If you are wondering if locks are for you, once you have the patience it really won't cost you a bald head. The truth is: dreadlocks, sister locks and all other locks can all be pulled out. Yes there will be some dead hair, but I promise that the long head of hair will still be right there.

Pulling out locks: the proof is in the watching

Would you consider locking your hair?

See results


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    • Keisha Hunter profile imageAUTHOR

      Keisha Hunter 

      3 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Thanks MsDora. Indeed it can be a lot of work. It is definitely a better alternative to processed hair for me though. Even no lye relaxers burn like acid for me.

    • Keisha Hunter profile imageAUTHOR

      Keisha Hunter 

      3 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Motherbynature I only wish there were more stylists available for dreadlocks, or that I could style my own hair. I'm learning some basics though. I too wore braids and perm before. Loved the braids but hated all things chemical.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      I've seen many dreadlock heads that I admire, but it sure looks like hard work. I appreciate learning this much from you.

    • Motherbynature profile image


      3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Good for you! I've had dreadlocks for 7 years now. Before that I wore braids most of the time and a relaxer sometimes. My only regret is that I didn't lock my hair sooner! I can't imagine being without them.

    • Keisha Hunter profile imageAUTHOR

      Keisha Hunter 

      3 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Its much less stress than the extensions and perm my dear Frank, plus it is all natural :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 years ago from Shelton

      boy that looks like hungry work to keep dreadlocks looking good.. but hey for some it may just be worth that extra time bless you girl :)

    • Keisha Hunter profile imageAUTHOR

      Keisha Hunter 

      3 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

      Thanks dear. Whatever works and is less of a hassle is good.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      I wear my hair in braids, with cornrows in the front. It's very easy to care for; just wash and wear. It's so much less hassle than perms - or far worse, hot combs! Congratulations on finding your style!


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