Thursday, September 29, 2011

My life in dreadlocks

Shortly before my mother passed away, I went to see her in the hospital. She looked at me. Looked at my hair. Looked at me. Then, waving at my hair, "Do you have some sort of ... illness?"

Yeah, so, about ten times a month, perfect strangers ask me crazy questions about my hair. Maybe you are one of them? If so, this right here is The Blawg Post For You: My Life in Dreadlocks.

(Just here for the daily get up? Scrolly downy, friend!)

1. I have had my dreadlocks for more than ten years. Before that, I mostly bleached my hair blonde and tried to make it have hair-dos. Mostly unsuccessful. No flat-irons then, or at least they weren't popular.

2. I have no idea why I got them. Seriously. I can't remember what the heck I was thinking. I can't even think of someone who had dreadlocks that I was copying. Odd, no?

3. I started my dreads with a "dread perm." Basically, they separate your hair into bits, twist each bit, rat the twisted bit, and then perm that ratted twist into your hair. Ta-da! Instant dreadlocks. I got mine from the great people at Hair Police (on their traveling "spread the dread" tour).

4. My dreadlocks were short and platinum at first. Cute, but I couldn't keep up the bleaching without my dreads breaking. So as they were growing out, I decided to bring the color to my natural brown. Except I accidentally colored them black. There I was with goth dreads. Ha ha ahaha. It's only hair!

5. I started getting additional colors and extensions maybe a year after I got my locks. Never went back. Love the craziness.

6. I don't use any product to keep my dreads dready. No beeswax, no gel, no nothing. Every so often I go see the Hair Police folks and have them pull all the loose hairs into the dreads and then tie a thread around the base of each dreadlock. Sounds crazy, but it works. When I first got my locks, I needed this "maintenance" about four times a year. Now I get maintenance about once a year but that's only cuz my schedule is crazy.

8. Many people seem to think having dreadlocks is a lot of work. It's so so not. I don't do anything to my hair but tie it up in various ways using only the locks themselves to secure it. Almost every style you've seen on my head is just done quickly with some pushing and pulling. Very very few bobby pins even.

9. I wash my hair about twice a month with tea tree shampoo. I wash my bangs about once a week. Hair takes a while to get used to being washed infrequently - but once it does, it's actually great for your scalp and hair. (Washing more frequently would un-dread the dreads, btw).

10. I have had nearly every color imaginable in my hair. The colors are just synthetic hair, and now I have a drawer labeled "dreadlocks" full of synthetic dreads in every color imaginable. Except purple. I don't care for purple.

11. Somebody told me once that dreadlocks are a "lifestyle" NOT a "hairstyle." Not for me. It's just a hairdo. I'm not rasta or anything else.

12. Some people think my hair do is cultural appropriation. I understand that. Imitation is a sincere form of flattery, I'm told.

13. I have no plans to ever NOT have dreadlocks. They are so easy, and so much a part of my personal brand!

14. If you think your hair won't dread, you're wrong. Hair Police can dread it. I swear.

15. People say all manner of inappropriate and/or just plain weird things to me about the dreadlocks. Like:
  • the woman shortly after 9/11 that sat next to me on an airplane, stared, and reported me to airline officials. kooky!
  • the mother who told her child that he could like me even though i have worms on my head.
  • the many many people who admire my "hair piece."
Do you have more quesions? Put 'em into the comments!


Today, thrifted:

  • Ann Taylor Loft black jersey skirt with ivory trim $5
  • Monster t-shiert! $6 (i got it at a thrift store, but saw 'em at target) $5
  • INC black cashmere tie-in-the-middle shrug $4
  • Chunky black boots $10
Not thrifted: Nothing!

What I would change about this outfit now that I've seen the photo:
  • Every outfit ain't gonna be a stunner. This one...isn't. But hey! It's just for driving up to the inn! No makeup, no accessories, not much.
Total outfit cost: $24




  1. I love this outfit. Casual and sweet. I also like your hair and your personal brand.

  2. Funny that you don't like this outfit, because I love it. I'd wear it, even.
    It's really hard to imagine that anyone would even give your dreads a second look, other than in admiration. But there are many things that people think are odd that I don't understand, like the fact that I don't wear hoopskirts.

  3. 'kay Mad. I saw you in person and have to say I agree with other commenters. You looked fab and it just works. Wish I could pull it off.

    I'm not sure what you are after, but what you do, just... works (ech, redundant). So, go with it. You are doing so many great things that you shouldn't sweat each outfit so much. Lately, you've been a bit too harsh on things, imho. But then, I guess doing & blogging this every day must set a different bar to clear.

    PS : love the dreads and also the public service announcement about having them. cleared up some too personal to ask, but curious, questions.

  4. Your a beautiful woman and i appreciate your info on the dreads, your one smart individual!