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happy dread-iversary!

May 18, 2010

yep, exactly six months ago today, i got my dreads done in portland.  so i thought i’d use this anniversary of sorts for a dread update.

it’s weird because i had talked about getting dreads for years but then when i arrived in portland, i kept thinking…

i hope dreads look good on me.
what happens if they don’t?
am i crazy for wanting dreads?
what happens if i hate them?

i sat in the chair, pretending like i wasn’t nervous, and watched as my hair was knotted, section by section.  and in an hour, i was done.  a full head of dreads.

i love them, i said.

although at that moment, looking in the mirror, i was actually thinking,

this is interesting.  i like them.  i think.  but i’m not so sure i love them.  i hope i end up loving them as much as others share that they love theirs.

but i can honestly say that i do now love them!!  well everything except the fact that they’re currently at the length that they itch the shit out of my neck all the time.  they kind of twist and curl and the ends are always right there…scratching, scratching, scratching.

for a lot of people, getting and having dreads become a journey of sorts — spiritual or otherwise.  but i can’t really say that my dreads are anything more than a hairstyle journey.  they’re just something i felt the need to do. and so one day i did (similar to cutting my long hair crazy short at 22). turning 40 gave me the perfect excuse, or perfect time, to get dreads.  mid-life crisis?  you can think so, but i don’t!

one thing that does surprise me about my dreads is how much they’ve shrunk over these past six months. they were knotted pretty tight right from the start so i didn’t think there was much room for further tightening | shrinkage, but obviously there was. and so at the moment…i really long for growth.

some dread questions answered –

how did you get your dreads?
there’s a few different ways to form dreadlocks
not using conditioner and not combing your hair for a long period of time. they will eventually and naturally dread themselves.
backcombing, with or without wax or other accelerator products.
or using a crochet hook, which is how my dreads were formed.

using the crochet method, the hair is sectioned and then a hook is used to knot (for lack of a better word) the sections of hair. i had a feeling my hair would dread easily and i was right; it took stephanie about one hour to completely dread my hair.  i have a lot of naturally curly hair but it’s baby fine and so my dreads ended up being thin-ish and i don’t have a ton (37 to be exact).

how do you wash them and how often?
i wash my dreads once a week using the no poo shampoo method — a method consisting of baking soda, apple cider vinegar and water.  and no, they don’t stink!!  however, i do wash the front (loose) hair every one-to-two days with regular shampoo.  also, i should note that i’ve never used wax or any other facilitator product on my dreads.

how long will you have your dreads?
right now, i can’t imagine not having dreads. i will surely have them for years.

do you have to do a lot (of maintenance) to your dreads?
i went back to stephanie, in february, for a maintenance appointment. i had just had my hair colored (which was interesting to say the least) and i felt things were a bit crazy and out of control with my dreads (lots of lumps and bumps). in the end, i realized that i loved those out of control lumps and bumps and i don’t intend on going in for any further maintenance.

what about as your hair grows? how does that hair dread?
as i shared above, my hair is naturally curly and baby fine and seems to be dreading (matting, knotting, tangling) very well on it’s own, at the roots. i do have a few dreads that might need some encouragement but i don’t think it’s anything that i can’t handle on my own, with my crochet hook.

you used to highlight your hair?  what do you do now?
a while back, i ended up having almost all my hair | dreads colored (except for the bottom layer in back, which remains my natural dirty-dishwater-yuck-blondish-brownish).  and that was a catastrophe; my hair looked orange. i went back the next day to have it fixed with toner and all was well. i’ve had the roots touched up once since then, which also went well. i can go about 3-4 months before i long to have the roots colored.

what happens when you’re done with your dreads?  do you have to shave your head?
well…i don’t have to shave my head, but i might.  my dreads are very tight and knotted and i have a crazy sensitive scalp.  so there is no way in hell i’m combing these bad boys out.  i will either:

- have to start combing the roots daily, to discourage knotting (i would have to start this a year or longer before cut date).  then once i have some non-dreaded growth, i would cut off my dreads and have a short haircut. or…
- try to raise a certain amount of money for charity and if that money was raised, i would shave off my dreads.  but who knows really.  we’ll see when that time comes.

have any other dread questions?  ask away!

ETA:  dear commenter izzy, thank you for your honesty but i can assure you that i don’t need a bath; i shower every day!  also, we as a society, way over-wash our hair and i don’t think anything is growing inside my dreads.

here’s some photos of my dread journey :-)

the day i left for portland

six days with dreads

six months with dreads (freshly washed and still pretty wet)

most of the time, when i go out, my dreads go back in a ponytail or pigtails, like this.

terri fischer on the left (with dread pigtails) and my dread head on the right.


last three photos are courtesy of terri fischer and jefra starr linn.

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has it really been that long?
April 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

denise bovee May 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

i adore your dreads… really! I was considering them for awhile and your just making me want them more! :) your gorg deb!

Michelle Stone May 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Happy Dread-iversary! I’ve always admired them on others but don’t know if they’d suit me. Yours look fab!!! Love the last photo.

Izzy May 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

You are beautiful but I’m sorry, to me and IMHO, everyone with dreads look like they need a bath. I can’t help but wonder what’s growing inside of those nasty looking things. =\

Erin May 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm

love the shot of your shoulders and the ponytail. Gorgeous.

Micaela May 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I love your dreads and wish so much that I could be brave enough to take the plunge!

Mrs. Money May 18, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Wow… you are GORGEOUS! Congrats on your dread-i-versary!

Ellen May 19, 2010 at 4:50 pm

They look stunning! Love the photos.

Rosie May 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

you look awesome with dreads Deb!!

Tara May 20, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Ah, the stereotypical ‘dirty dreads’ comment. I guess we want to be something other than stereotypical and that’s part of the reason for dreading, huh?

Thanks for sharing your locks! I also went to stephanie in April. It’s funny you mention the shrinking. I was just noticing today that I feel like mine have really shrunk in the past week. My hair is about the length and texture of yours. I have crazy loops in mine right now.

Stephanie May 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

You might be the prettiest dread having, nose ring wearing woman ever! You make me want to have dreads too!

~Tara May 21, 2010 at 11:06 am

So, so beautiful on you. :)

Marni May 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

I loved them when you first got them and I love them even more now! They suit you so much and I must agree with Stephanie too – the prettiest woman in dread ever!

Mer! May 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Ohhh!! You are beautiful with dreads!! What a great way to celebrate turning forty and doing something that you’ve always wanted to do and makes you feel more “you!”……Happy Dread-iversary!!!

Kelsey May 25, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Gorgeous! Sounds like dreads are a lot less maintenance which must be nice. I would love to only have to wash once a week and not have to flat iron my hair daily lol

Jamie Siever May 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Your dreads and you are both beautiful. They seem to suit you! Happy dreadiversary! :)

Robin May 27, 2010 at 7:12 am

You rock those dreads!

meg May 30, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I think they look just amazing, and having stalked your blog for quite some time now I think they SO suit your style! I think most of us these days know better than to subscribe to the “dreads are dirty” school of thought…

My brother had dreads for many years, they started off very short and in the end were more than halfway down his back. But then his hairline started to recede and they started to fall off in the front! So he decided it was time they had to go, however he still has them sewn onto one of his beanies (woolley hats)…

kristen July 13, 2010 at 9:48 pm

i love them! when i was in high school i had extensions braided into my whole head of hair, after bleaching it to match the extension hair. i think i had over 200 tiny braids, and i was obsessed with them (even though my scalp was constantly itchy!). youve made me want to do something with my hair, which may be a good or bad thing, as i am really spontaneous with those sorts of things!

also, i find it interesting that at 6 days of dreads you had a canon, and 6 months a nikon – i guess the dreads made you smarter :D

Diane July 17, 2010 at 7:54 am

I am 43 and have always wanted dreads, I have put a couple in myself as an “experiment”. I wondered if I was too old but you have confirmed not (although now way do you look 40) and I will be taking that one step beyong to get them done! Love the mixture of normal and dreaded hair.

Doreen McClendon March 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Thank you so much for posting these pictures of your dreads. beautiful. I have been trying to convince my husband and teenage daughter that I would look good with dreads. I am an at home mom living at a lake, with said teenager and 2 toddlers. I love my hair long but hate doing it and always wear it up. I always wear it messy braid style. Thank you. I can’t wait to show them this blog.

De G October 11, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Thank you for you post…
I am 48 and considering dreads, I’ve been thinking “I’m too old”. I also had the same worries when I dyed part my Ashe blonde hair deep purple and lavender as it turns out that although I suddenly get strange looks from people I also get lots of compliments and the bottom line is I love it. My other concern is that my hair is a mere medium shoulder length and fear it would look funny with it so short. Your hair is prior to dreads is about 2 – 3 inch longer than mine. My question is should I let it grow out a bit more? Also, does having dreads change a persons hair growth rate (faster/slower/no change)? As a previous person stated, Love the mixture of normal and dreaded hair. I am commenting on an older post so I would love to see a current photo and wonder how you feel about them now…

kat November 23, 2013 at 8:39 am

this is lovely, they do suit you!! am thinking about getting dreads myself (i have similar hair, but pretty lanky), so thanks for giving me some confidence.

Bethany January 15, 2014 at 1:58 am

Hello! I absolutely LOVE your dreads. They are beautiful. Who is this Stephanie and where can I find her? Is this her? http://www.dreadgoddess.com/The_Salon.html I am in NY, but will make it to wherever I need to, in good time, to have beautiful dreads! Good luck on your journey, wherever it may lead.

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