I've had dreadlocks for nearly four years, I figured the time was right to post some pics to show how I started them and how they've developed and matured over the years :-)
|After 7-8 hours of backcombing|
|About 1 year old|
|22 months ish|
|2 and a bit years. Needed a job so had to dye them brown :(|
|Sometime in late 2011, so probably c. 2 years 10 months|
|3 years ish|
|3 years and 9 months. Gettin' long :)|
I don't use any product on them other than 'Jumping Juniper' dry shampoo bar from Lush. In the last few months I have been using an intensive conditioner on the ends, as I have horrible dry crunchy hard spiky damaged ends - this is due to the initial backcombing and also due to the repetitive dying, bleaching, lightening, dying routine that I've had for about 7 years. I say it is due to backcombing as the new growth (length of dreads and roots) are natural growth - the hair has dreaded itself. The ends are the original hair that was backcombed, and I read one theory/persons opinion that the backcombed knots gradually slide down the hair, which is what makes the chunky, hard tips of dreadlocks.
The ends of my dreads are so dry and brittle that I can rip the ends off. (Seriously - I can pull the ends, and a weak spot will stretch and then the hairs just rip. This is why I'm using intensive conditioner on the ends, to try and strengthen the hair, but it doesn't seem to have much of an effect. Sometime next year when I have some more length, I will be cutting the ends off my dreads to remove the worst areas of damage.)
I do not and have never used dreadlock wax on this set of dreads (I did use it on my previous two sets of dreads).
I do not use tightening gel, lock pepper, locking accelerator, dread butta etc. I also do not use rubber bands on my dreads (I do have three tiny braids with a rubber band at the end of each of these).
I do not do any form of maintenance such as palm rolling, root flipping, twisted, re-backcombing the roots, crochet, felting or scalp/root rubbing (unless I do this last one whilst washing my dreads).
I do wash my dreads! Twice/three times a week in the summer and once/twice a week in the winter. I use a dry shampoo bar from Lush, though I have used a range of products - Alberto Balasm, L'Oreal, and even shower gel if I had run out of shampoo. I switched to Lush as I wanted a more natural product (ie, more chemical free product) than what I was using.
I am starting to congo a lot of my dreads together, to form big, fat dreads. I used to favour skinny dreads, but as they mature and the ends fall off, I want fatter dreads - I believe they will be more stable (in terms of tip breakage) and I just generally prefer fat dreads these days. I have about 15 congos, most of which are 3 or 4 dreads held together with thread, beads, cotton hair elastics or in braids. Most of my dreads are in congos than not.
My dreads will be four years old in February!