Dreadlocks & Healthy Natural Hair
Dreading your hair naturally and saying goodbye to chemical perms is one of the most important steps you'll take to improve the health and beauty of your natural hair. It is a very rewarding path that continues to get better over time. It's not surprising that many people compare their dreads to kids as they mature and grow with each passing year. One difference I find amusing is that while we sometimes wish babies would stay babies we always want our dreads to mature and grow long. Patience is a wonderful virtue to cultivate but dreadlocks can seem to grow sooo slooow at times, especially in the early stages. This is mainly for two reasons. First, when hair is in dreads it doesn't grow straight out and down so that every inch that grows makes the hair an inch longer. Instead, it turns back and forth, weaving through the dread. The thicker the dreadlocks the further it must weave back and forth across the dread and the slower the dreads will gain length.
It's worth noting that hair in dreadlocks grows just as fast as undreaded hair, it's only the speed that the dreadlocks gain length that changes compared to the speed that undreaded natural hair gains length. In other words, when your hair is in dreadlocks, it grows at the same speed, it just has further to go!
Another important note is that dreaded hair is just as strong as hair which is not in dreadlocks. In fact because it is fully natural hair that has not been permed it is generally much stronger. This may be surprising because we often hear about dreadlocks snapping or breaking off. Again there are a couple factors at play. First, dreads can grow infinitely long. There is no limit to their length because new growth continues to bind and connect older hair, that would have normally shed, to your head.
This is why the record for the longest hair in the world is always held by someone with dreads.
So, with length comes weight, and it's only a matter of time before the weight is too much for the hair holding it. Fortunately though, we're not all trying to set world records! As it turns out the hair holding dreads of regular size and reasonable length should be plenty strong to support the weight of the dreadlock as long as the hair is strong, healthy natural hair. If you want to grow long beautiful dreadlocks, keeping your hair as healthy as possible is of great concern. This really comes down to two simple needs: moisturization and nutrition. With these two needs met the floor is the limit.
Moisturization is simply preventing the hair from drying out. Because of the way human hair is structured it requires moisture to remain flexible and elastic. When it looses it's moisture it looses it's natural defense against breakage. It can be difficult to keep dreads moisturized because they take a great deal of abuse from the sun as well as regular wear as the years pass. The sun always hits the outside of each dreadlock, so with thicker dreadlocks the hair on the inside has a little protection, while the outside is under constant attack. With thinner dreadlocks very little hair is shielded from the sun. The only defense is to regularly keep your dreadlocks moisturized. I use the Knatty Dread cream to keep my dreads moisturized and when my scalp feels dry I'll used some light oils to massage my roots. I've had no issues with dryness or breakage. I apply a small amount of cream to each of my dreadlocks once a week. At the beach when I spend a lot of time in the sun and salt water I find that my dreadlocks soak up the cream and need a little more than usual.
Nutrition really is paramount and many people overlook it entirely. In order to grow strong, resilient hair that can support long dreadlocks you need to eat fresh and get your vitamins. Eat vegetables with vitamin A and E regularly. A salad or a smoothie can help you meet your quota. Eating poor will slow your hair growth and zap your hair strength. If you need a little help there are supplements available to make sure you get the basic nutrition you need. I've had excellent results with this hair supplement for dreadlocks . In addition to the right vitamins it has some other ingredients that help hair grow faster than usual. I try to eat well, but when I slip up here and there I know that my hair isn't going to suffer since I have the supplement as a backup. I've noticed that since I've been paying more attention to my nutrition my dreads have gained length much faster than before and the hair has deeper, richer color. I know it sounds like I'm braggin on myself by I really get stopped and asked about my dreadlocks almost daily. I'm not going to lie, I love the attention! :)
So anyone can grow long healthy dreadlocks, you just need to feed your natural hair and start with a strong foundation, and then keep your dreads moisturized so they don't dry out and get brittle and tired.