backcombing dreads guide
Backcombing Process- a guide for those who want to begin dreading with a comb
Hey I figured since we didn't have one of these up here I'd make one for the site and give as much information as I can based upon facts and observations I've learned since I started dreading,
Before I begin there several things you need to know, first off, know that no matter how well you back comb, how much time you put into it, back combing does not grant instant dreads, in a sense you are putting yourself a few steps ahead of the natural route, and sure that sounds nice at first, however after awhile *most likely your first good wash* you begin to notice the loose hairs, and then more of them surface till you begin to panic and worry that your hair isn't going to even look like dreads in time. this is just something to be understood and not to fear, rather then see forward progress *like natural dreadlocks do* you first notice more problems before your hair begins to come together and after awhile you begin to love it, the mess comes together in time.
another quick thing, backcombed hair isn't really considered to be dreadlocks in just a few days, its still rather weak and loose before actually becoming a true dread.
What You Do Need -about 5ish 6 inches of hair, this is the generally agreed upon minimum length agreed upon by most people, there's no real disadvantage for dreading "too short" or too long, though most people seem to be content waiting till their hair can run down to their shoulders or past their back before starting.
-A comb, you can easily get a decent flea comb from a pet store that is much cheaper than official "dreading combs" and will work just as well, when I mine was being done I had 3 friends doing it, one with a metal comb the other two were not, however a metal comb would be easier to work with.
-Rubber bands, now this isn't required, however when you are starting to comb each section placing one towards the base helps keep the current hair you're working with in place, now when my friends backcombed they took the rubber bands out as soon as they were done with each particular section, after having experimenting some with rubber bands I really haven't seen them much for helping the process at all, the first 3months I didn't have a single rubber band in my hair. after having tried them again further down the line I can't advocate the use of them at all, however if you feel the need to have something as a substitute try finding a bead that works well with your hair size as that would actually keep your hair contained without squeezing your hair.
The actual Backcombing Process
First off decide around how thick you want your dreads to be, or you can completely skip this step. when I started I originally wanted smaller dreads, after doing one row I thought "nah bigger", then thought that again after half-way through another row till the ones on top of my head were all an inch or so thick, so you can decide to go for all uniform dreads or mix them up some in a random pattern, that's your call.
Next take the current hair that's going to be backcombed, actually backcombing is fairly easy to do, just comb...backwards toward your roots, depending on your hair texture this could be harder, curly hair becomes frizzy almost effortlessly while coarse straighter hair will take more effort, both however can be backcombed. It shouldn't be hard to pick up, 2 of my friends had never done it before and just followed my friends example.
Additional Maintenance Methods Now you shouldn't really have to do anything else so no maintenance is required. The only real work involved is making sure dreads don't combine as undesired however I will go over several of them for you anyway,
Extra back combing! I've heard of people re-backcombing their dreads months later(the roots), however I never had to do such a thing since I started my dreads with only one exception where one only dreaded half-way from the root to the middle, from my friend messing up, just make sure you do your best to begin with and this shouldn't be needed.
Root Rubbing- after doing this I never really saw improvement in my dreads, if you do try doing this for minutes on end you could potentially hurt your roots current growth, however I have to admit that doing this can be incredibly satisfying to kill an itch you get.
Palm Rolling- this is one method whose use can still be debated, almost everyone has done it at times to temporarily try to get a big kink or bump more round, yet it can hurt your dreads in the long term, though what damage you could be causing is all dependent upon other factors as well (how fast, hard, long ........ stop laughing you can best utilize this after showering. however if your doing this to get bump out of your dreads please take note that many bumps will usually fade in months time, I used to have a very large one on one of mine that went away on its own. *applies to loops as well.
Additional Information can be find within
Crochet Needle- another popular method of maintaining dreads is the crochet needle which involves penetrating the dread wrapping the loose hair and pulling it back through the dread like a thread, the biggest drawback to this although it may seem good in theory is that every time you do this to fix a minor problem, you may be creating more by breaking hairs that later will stick out of the dread which can lead to an addiction to over-maintaining dreads, It should be noted that loose hairs when given enough time can create new dreads or will join with existing ones. A crochet needle can also be used on wispy tips and turned into blunted tips by pulling the tip towards the body. If you are going to use a crochet needle any they can be bought from a craft store for about 2$, make sure to get the smallest one possible (1mm-)
WASH YOUR HAIR!
as with any method clean hair is important, luckily there are many great threads on this site that can help you make your own with a few included below, By now you should know to avoid any shampoo that leave residues as well as exercise caution for the many shampoos that like to falsely advertise "ALL NATURAL" on their labels.
When should I first wash my hair? .
-You can wash when you feel ready within the first week, thats not to say some people wait several months, but I would not advice that course of action , *you don't want people thinking you dirty after all* use good judgment in the first week, I personally waited 5 days to soak my hair, .
What If I have a ton of frizzy/loose hairs popping out all over an I need something to smooth it with for a special occasion? .
-Aloe, this is great for taming frizz and conditioning dry dreads, though you don't wanna over use it since it is conditioning though it washes out easily, just smooth it over our frizzy hair. Be sure to use pure aloe without anything added. its incredibly easy to extract it straight from the leaves if you have the plant as the leaves will be full of it. .(note use only 100% pure aloe that should be refrigerated, or if you buy a plant be sure its aloe vera as other aloe varieties can be toxic or cause severe skin reactions)
Will I get blunted tips? cuz I really want those, .
-sure you'll get a couple of those overtime, time being the word, when I started I had nothing but tons of pointy tips sticking out all over the place, the most progress is made when you sleep and generally you'll notice them first on the back of your head where your dreads are getting flattened the most. after awhile I've noticed I had a lot more of them then i originally thought, however you should not that they do hold water in and will take longer to dry whereas loose end run freely and dry much faster, which can become in issue in longer/thicker dreads .
I'm sure you were expecting this to be in here somewhere, if you are honestly looking into dreads you should know by now about the stuff, while I won't get into it here I'm positive someone will read all over these forums and still use it, all I'll mention here is please be aware what you put in is very hard to get out. .if you do decide to wax at least dont do it like this guy
What to Expect
the results of backcombing vary greatly from hair type. Some may not have their original work come undone, some have it all come off completely where they then let it get back to work naturally, http://www.dreadlockssite.com/forum/topics/the-truth-of-backcombing-is
page created by Iain