My hair has always been my treasure, ever since I used to spend hours in front of the mirror doing something to my hair. The voice of my deceased father still resonates with me, “Girls who always spend all dat time in front ah d mirror cannot turn out good.” I had loved hair very much and still do. I often mumbled,” I must turn out good!”
My hair had 10 years of beauty and brutality. After the stress of relaxer wreaked havoc on my hair, it experienced a season of drought. So I made up my mind to take action. By the end of December 2005, I had declared war on dead ends and had started an all natural hair campaign. All evidence of relaxer was gone about its business by 2006. Nonetheless, I was very disappointed because the reality struck me then that my hair may never return to its original childhood state, soft and curly. So it was a clean slate from then onwards.
I returned to basics; I had three years of new unprocessed hair growth. In 2008, after 3 years of thinking about the way forward, I finally made up my mind to grow a whole new head of hair That’s the year my journey with my natural dreadlocks style began.
On July 29th, 2008, I sat in the chair of Mary, a renowned hairdresser in Brooklyn and it was no turning back. At first, in the initial stages of not being able to comb through and play with my gel- curled hair was really hard.
And so an unwashed, rumpled, “nappy head girl “was in the making for the next five weeks. I purchased almost an entire line of Mango and Lime products for my hair. I was fascinated by the way it felt on my scalp and it smelt even better. The first year of “matting”, as they called that process, was very slow for me as my hairdresser in Grenada indicated that my hair was rejecting the locking process. This was normal for my texture. It was then that the Mango and Lime Resistant Formula was included in my product line and I used it unfailingly.
The fate of my supposed dreads was not seriously determined not until about 2 years after, when my hairdresser declared that my hair was finally locking. I was thrilled and very eager to see that my hair was actually “matting” and started “stretching out”. Instinctively, as I learnt to care for my thriving locks, they were washed and shampooed, dried and re-twisted from the roots every two weeks. Occasionally, I sought the assistance of the hairdresser when I wanted my style to very neat and professional, other than that I washed, oiled, re-twisted and styled my hair at will since I loved hair. By then I had gotten very comfortable with maintaining and admiring my new look.
After about year five of growth, it was not as easy to wash and style my hair as it used to be. So I went to the hairdresser monthly. After using the Mango and Lime products for about four years in succession, I switched back and forth from various other natural hair products like wax, oils, Shea butter and more. Presently, I am using Argan Oil products with the edge control included which is the product of choice for re-twisting. Once my hair is styled I try to maintain the style for three weeks to a month which is not always easy since my hair usually starts “flowering” as I say, after two days. On average I attend to my hair weekly, I adjust the edges; freshen up the styles with sprays and or oils as I always love to see my hair looking “smashing”.
I must say that dreadlocks are generally easy and relatively cheap to maintain especially if you go to hairdressers. It costs me quite less to wash and style my hair presently than if my hair was permed or relaxed. Besides, I normally say that since its dreads I can go anywhere with it rumpled and feel comfortable. I ‘m just not bothered about “bad hair days”.
I wear my hair however I choose and I do to it whatever I please. I colour it when necessary and adorn it with beads, shells and other accessories. Then there are the very busy days when I just don’t bother with it, I give it room to breathe. As my girl, Ledisi, announced my hair is a form of expression for me as well. It adds to the total “package”.
Right now I am extremely comfortable with my hair style I am very pleased and impressed with the length. It quickly moved from 18” to 24” long. I love the innovative styles that I wear and it is relatively easy to maintain or not maintain based on preference. I love my hair. My usual tagline to all inquirers is, “my locks works for me” and I take care of it and it virtually grows effortlessly. My only challenge is trying to keep my hair hydrated in this land of terrible heat.
I have always wanted long hair and the length has exceeded my expectations, I have always admired the dreadlocks style and I would recommend it to all who are interested. But as I normally say it must be something that you really want and must really make up your mind about. Many would have started the journey, but abandoned ship in mid-ocean because they missed combing through their hair or something of the sort. Trust me! I am really enjoying every stage of this journey.
As an advocate for dreads, I dare say be sure that is what you want. You can look very pretty and cute, the men with dreads who give me competition in the salon can attest to that. Remember, dreads are easier to maintain than other styles, it is inexpensive and saves a lot of time and money. It is a fact that folks of African descent are no longer obliged to conform to the hair norms and beauty standards of the Western world. We “sport” our natural hair, dreadlocks and all, proudly and beautifully. Though not a true Rasta, after 8 years, I’m still on my journey and dreadlocks really work for me. Although dreadlocks are now the in-thing it is not a cloned hair style. It affords us variety and versatility. We African sisters appreciate and embrace our natural hair and hair styles. We are united by our commonality: natural beauty.