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Dreadlocks Questions & Answers


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Back in 2000 I had the great opportunity to interview Adrianna, one of the original founders of Knotty Boy Dread products. At the time Adrianna spent a lot of time chatting with me about her vision for Knotty Boy.

She also provided a lot of great answers to my questions about dreadlocks which are listed below:

Common Dreadlock Questions & Answers

I asked Adrianna what are the most common questions people ask about dreadlocks. She said everyone experiences their dreadlocks a little differently and may have their own challenges.

She agreed there are a core of standard concerns and questions she has been asked on a regular basis.

Adrianna gave me the list of most commonly asked questions and some of her personal answers to pass along to visitors interested in dreadlocks.

Question: Why would someone cut their dreadlock?

Answer: They are not always considered socially acceptable by everyone. Some people find they are not professional and it could be career limiting. People cut their dreadlocks off for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they just get tired of them and want something different.

Image Crystal Bowersox

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Question: How long would someone keep their dreadlocks?

Answer: Many people will keep them for years, if not a lifetime. People with dreadlocks develop a very special pride in their hair and it takes a lot of time, commitment and maintenance to keep them looking great. People put tremendous love, care and pride into their dreadlocks.

Question: What is the most common concern that people have with their dreadlocks?

Answer: The roots are always something people worry most about. Everyone with dreadlocks has roots. That is just how hair grows. It's impossible to get the hair matted all the way into the roots.

There will always be some roots showing. No matter what, there'll always be from 1-2 inches of hair at the roots. It is the biggest problem.

Friction and rubbing the hair together is what causes the matting. It is impossible to get the hair to mat past a certain point. Even Bob Marley who had world class dreads, had roots.

The mistake people make is to try and add extra goop. All this does is make the hair oilier and it does not add more matting to the root area. The key is to love your dreads and be patient.

Question: How do you find salons that do dreadlocks?

Answer: Most salons that do hair extensions or unusual braiding will also do dreadlocks.

Question: Do you personally create dreadlocks for customers?

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Answer: Sometimes when there is time. It is very time consuming and labor intensive to create dreadlocks. It can take anywhere from 4-6 hours to complete the process. The longer and thicker the hair, the longer the process.

Question: Why are dreadlocks popular?

Answer: They are considered very chic. They provide a fresh new look which is individual and can't be exactly copied.

No two sets of dreadlocks look exactly the same. They are as individual as the person wearing them.

The music industry has embraced dreads and they promote the look because their fans want to copy their hairstyles.

Question: What type of maintenance is involved for dreadlocks?

Answer: You have to tuck in the hair and keep it waxed. It's important to keep your dreadlooks dry and tight. You also have to keep the scalp clean and cared for.

Question: Who is the biggest group interested in dreadlocks?

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Answer: Younger people are currently most interested in dreads.. The fashion magazines are starting to show more dreadlocks.

Question: How often should you shampoo when you have dreadlocks?

Answer: About once a week is acceptable. The goal is to keep the scalp clean. The best thing to use is regular bar soap that does not contain any type of conditioner of softener because it will soften the locks.

Use the bar soap on the scalp and then let the suds gently wash over the rest of the hair. Don't use the soap to rub the locks.

It's also important to remember the water should be lukewarm since the wax can melt under hot temperatures.

Question: Is there a specific type of hair which would benefit most from wearing dreadlocks?

Answer: Naturally curly hair is great for dreadlocks because the dreadlocks basically remove the curls and allow the hair to grow longer and straighter.

Question: Would dreadlocks not be advisable for some?

Answer: People who are losing their hair should probably avoid dreads since there is a risk that all the rubbing, friction and tightness of the hair could pull on the scalp and speed up hair loss.

Question: Should any oils be used on the dreads?

Image Crystal Bowersox

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Answer: Rosemary oil and tea tree oil can be used for keeping the scalp free of any itchiness or bacteria.

Question: Why do people disapprove of dreadlocks?

Answer: In general people have the wrong misconception of dreadlocks. They assume they are naturally dirty and unclean.

The reality is most people with dreadlocks take very good care of their hair and wash their scalps and dreads carefully to prevent dirt or other problems with the locks.

Many teens and young adults love dreadlocks, but have problems with parents or teachers over the hairstyle because of the misconception that dreadlocks are naturally smelly or dirty.

Once a non-dreadlocks person understands how much work and effort is put into having great locks, they understand that they are just as clean as cornrows.

In a lot of ways, dreadlocks are similar to cornrows which were so popular in the past.

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Question: How do people wear their dreadlocks if they want to dress them up?

Answer: We get all sorts of email from Knotty Boy customers who tell us of new ways that they decorate their hair.

Many people like to tie the locks back to give them a Hippie look. One female wrote that she decorated her locks with tiny little cars that she pinned throughout the knots.

The jeweled hair accessories from look great as accents for dreadlocks as do all sorts of little beads and decorated clips.

Many people experiment with tons of different styles for their locks. They will tie part or all of the hair back. They will wear it under their caps. Or they will decorate it with an amazing assortment of things.

Question: How long does it take for new dreadlocks to settle down?

Answer: After the dreadlocks are created it generally takes about 3-7 days for them to calm down and lay down well.

Image of Crystal Bowersox

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You can wear a stocking cap or a tube cap to help them lay down. Dried wax binds the tangles together and helps form the dreadlocks. The wax also helps them calm down. Wax them up. Dried wax disappears after a few days.


I feel very fortunate Adrianna spent so much time with me so I could get the scoop on dreadlocks for all of the visitors.

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- Revised Publication Date: 04/23/11

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