My name is Nina, and I have had my dreads just over 3 1/2 years now.
My hair was a few inches passed my butt when I had them done, and opted for back combing to avoid having to deal with 3 1/2' of nappy hair, and because I wanted organized sections (Dreads were my personal therapy for OCD, and let me say the first 6 months were misery).
I ended up with 64 total, and after they were backcombed, I pretty much let them do whatever they wanted outside of congo-ing. My top two back center dreads were named Neltharion and Megatron, after the WoW and Transformers characters. I ended up taking 10 of the front to make loose hair, and then also ended up congo-ing the remaining 54 in sets of two and combining to make 27.
I never used any products outside of coconut oil and aloe here and there, but I really can just chock it up to laziness.
Dreadlocks were also a step for me in embracing myself for exactly what I am in that I have come to love the imperfections of them.
People who have known me most of my life say that I would not be me without the dreads. They were the best personal decision of my life, and I wish I had done them sooner.
updated by @nina-darth-valkyrja-marley: 01/13/15 10:04:12PM