I'm going to apologize in advance for this being a long post, but I would really appreciate it if you guys would read it and help me out a little. That being said, I don't know what to do about maintaining by dreads. Sometime around March I decided I wanted to dread my hair. I did all my homework, and researched for hours. My mom agreed to let me do it, but only if I had good grades, and kept them well maintained. Shortly after that I brought home a D in algebra, so she said I had to wait until I got that grade up. By June, when I got out of school, I had a C, which she still wasn't happy about, but because all of my other grades were A's and B's she let me do it. On June 14th, I started my first baby dread, because my mom wanted me to "test out" the concept. I was very happy and even though she was going to make me wait a couple of months before I did my whole head.
By September, I was still just as sure that this was what I wanted to do. My aunt (who's a hair stylist) used little rubber bands and parted all of my hair off into squares. So in the beginning, they were parted right. I used the backcombing method, with no wax, or any other products. It took about two weeks before my whole head was finished, because nobody wanted to sit down for a long time and help me do them all. I ended up having a bunch of people help me with them, and did a bunch myself, so they are all different lengths and sizes. I eventually finished the last dread on September 2nd, the night before I started my first day of high school.
Since then, I have been washing them once a week with Neutrogena Anti-Residue shampoo. I pull them apart so they don't congo a couple times a week, but I got kind of lazy with maintaining them because of how bad it hurts to use the crochet needle. They got kind of crazy, and my mom got pretty annoyed with me. She found some woman on Craigslist who apparently maintains dreads, and there was pictures of people with beautiful locs, so my mom thought it would be a great idea to give it a shot. I on the other hand was very weary of letting some random woman I had never met before mess with my head because there was good pictures. Needless to say my mom wouldn't listen to me, because ya know, she's the mom who knows what's good for me and I'm the silly teenager.
After sitting at this woman's apartment for about two hours, I had the worst headache of my life, and that includes the two weeks I was backcombing my dreads. It felt very similar to that actually, but much much worse. That happened on December 29th. Turns out she had used a latch hook to do "root flipping." After I came home, I got on the computer and did a little research, and every site I looked at said that this could be very bad for my babies, and could cause a lot of problems down the road, like holes, hard spots, and spots that just don't dread. When I told my mom this, she got mad because she thought I was accusing her of something, which wasn't what I was trying to do at all. She's mad because she thinks I'm just being overly picky for no reason. I don't know what to do, because it causes me a lot of pain to use a crochet hook, and nobody wants to help me with it. In the city that I live, I have seen/heard about four five people with dreads, including myself, so it's not like there are very many people who maintain them.
I guess I'm just wondering what other people do as far as root maintenance, and how badly having the roots flipped once is going to affect my dreadies long term.
updated by @alexis-t: 01/13/15 10:01:10PM