Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Three years ago today, Rachel and Riki helped me dread my hair. My dreadlocks have come a long way in three years, and because they sometimes do some crazy things and seem to have a mind of their own, I thought it would be sort of fun to post some pictures from along the way. It feels a bit narcissistic, but I'm going to do it anyway. But I won't go so far as to wish them a happy birthday. They're just hair, after all.

So to start off, a picture from today. Three-year-old dreads:This next picture is of my hair shortly before dreading it. It was almost at my shoulders, and I was growing out bangs.

My lovely friend Riki created my very first dread (of this batch. This is not actually the first time I've had dreads. The first batch happened about four years prior to this, and only lasted 8 months).
Rachel backcombs too.
It took us about four hours to put them all in. I made a couple of them myself, but Riki and Rach did all the rest. This picture is taken the day after. They are very soft and puffy. Notice the undreaded growing-out bangs? I decided to just leave them because I didn't want to have one silly little short one right at the front. I could always dread it later when it grew longer. Turns out I never did.
For about the first half year, they were a huge mess and I mostly just wore them in a ponytail all the time. A bunch of them started growing together in the back from the roots, and I had to sit down every once in a while and rip them apart and work the loose hair back into the proper dread. The ends also needed extra backcombing, as they kept coming undone (I didn't use wax). I gotta say, dreads are a lot of work for the first several months, and it takes a lot of patience and perseverance, but they do eventually get awesome. They're not yet awesome in this photo. Taken at maybe three or four months.
At about five months, I thought it would be fun to dye some of them orange. I was a little worried about not properly rinsing out all of the bleach and hair dye, as I heard this can be a problem with dreads. But it seemed to work out okay. Also by this point, they had acquired a few beads.

Orange was fun, but it faded fast, and I was left with that awful fake blonde that I hate. I hadn't really considered that, though the dye will fade, the bleach won't, and I'll be stuck with that blonde forever (I don't have much hair dying experience). I still kinda regret that. This one is from about eight or nine months in, and there's that lovely fake blonde. Also around this time, my dreads started developing crazy loops and folds as they continued their process of tightening and dreading, which you can see in this picture.
And a back view of the same thing. See the wonky loops?
To deal with the colour, I dyed the blonde ones black, which worked out fairly well and faded to close to my natural colour (after a while those blonde ends returned, but I'm too lazy to do anything about them). Freshly dyed black ones:I was beginning to be more happy with how they look on a regular basis by this point, and they were finally quite nice and dreaded. This is at one year. They had spent most of the first year getting shorter (or so it seemed) and tighter, so they gained very little length. As time went on, they began requiring less and less maintenance, only needing to work in loose hairs now and again. By two years, they were getting more and more awesome all the time, and finally starting to grow longer:And by three years, they are longer and awesomer than ever, and require next to zero maintenance.
I really love having dreads, and I love where they are at by this point. I've been planning from the beginning to grow them really long. But sometimes I feel like chopping them off just for something different, just to shock people. I'm usually pretty impulsive with my hair, and three years of the same is a long time for me. I grow it long, I chop it short, I cut bangs (and then hate them). Mostly I just get tired of the same and want something different. I know I'd regret cutting my dreads though. It's been a lot of work getting them to this point, and it's not something that can be done over night. And I know too that the longer I have them, the harder it will be to cut them. But for now, I won't worry about it, and I'll just continue to enjoy them.