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I'm new to the site, so I have no idea if I'll end up posting these photos correctly or not, but here goes anyway!
I started my natural dreads 1 week go today. By the end of day 1 I had some pretty obvious sections, and by the end of day two I had one decent sized knot in one section, and a few other sections that were grouping up. As the week progressed I was having a very hard time sectioning, having to do it several times a day, especially if it was windy. So I started putting beads on the knots to help section those apart. I did that on Thursday, and it was a great way to have my son doing something and involve him in the transition, he picked beads out of my bead box that have big holes. Since I have to section so frequently I just check my beads a lot, moving them up or down the section, or removing them. My best knot is easily the one from day 2, but I have about 6 knotted sections now. They are knotted mostly in the middle of the length of hair, and especially on my left side. My hair is super thick to, and most of my good knots are on the bottom. So you can't see much yet in the pictures. So they knotting just needs to work it's way up and down some of the sections. The only thing I'm concerned about is that some of my sections are thin vertical lines up my head instead of really from a squared spot. Is that a problem??
Anyway, here's day one, right after I took out the braid I always wore to maintain my hair.
Yesterday I wore it down on a beach trip and my friend mentioned she noticed something different and then realized she'd never seen me with my hair down. (Keep in mind she is black, that part is funny in a minute.) So I said I am working on the long slow process of natural dreadlocks. She cracked up, paused for breath, then cracked up again! Then she said "Not those nasty ones right!?!??!" To which I said "Oh god no! not a beaver tail!" Then we had a really good conversation about them. Then she says "I thought it was gonna be a sex thing, since your husband is here, I thought you were gonna say that he just likes to see it down! Instead I got a whole story." It was a funny dreadlock coming out. lol
Anyway, here is day 7. There are some beads in there, but most of them have been switched out or removed. With the knots tightening they start to come out by the end of the day. I'm going to be purchasing more beads this week, just in a variety of sizes. My best friend was over today, and I hadn't yet told her about the dreads, but she noticed right a way, and ended up asking if that's what I was doing, so there is some obvious stuff happening, at least to people who see me often. The white bead is the main bead my son loves, it's a ceramic bead and it's on my best knot so far. The others are wood (green) or polymer clay.
I was telling my neighbor, the funny thing is that if I wasn't trying to get dreadlocks then I would have had twice as many knots in my hair by now! usually I brush and comb out more knots in a day, WITH my hair in a braid all the time then I have achieved since I quit brushing!
So it's been just slightly over 2 weeks. It took a few days to get a picture of my hair. I have several good knots, they are just all on the underside so they don't really show.A few days ago I put a bright bead on every knot so that they'd show in a picture, but they were all underneath and you still could hardly see anything. My bead cup was fairly picked through, so I'm guessing maybe 12 at least were used?? Here's a picture of that:
The knots are definitely underneath, especially on the left side, though the right side is catching up. Most are larger sections, they're not squared off at the root, but maybe a dime to nickel sized sections. Then a few are tiny. I have to separate constantly, and am trying to keep them on the smaller side.
So far I have two questions:
1. I've seen some knots that just look like crazy kinks pointing hairs every which way, or like just a big jumble, and I do have one of those, but most of my knots look like locks. They look felted together, though they are not 100% there yet. Is that normal?? Are they going to go all crazy and kinky sometime in the future? Or am I just super lucky and may skip the crazy, hair pointed everywhere stage??
and.... blast! I forgot question number 2! I'm sure I'll be back to edit that in.AND a day later and I finally remembered! What are some ways that I can safely get my hair out of the way? I'm sure ponytails and braids are no-nos. I know a bandana head covering may help, but it doesn't do much of anything to keep the length of it out of the way on things like gardening. After having half a shrub stuck in my hair I've discovered I really need a good way to get it safely held back sometimes. Any Ideas? Maybe a bandana on my head and a very loose elastic near the middle of the length of it??
Sorry this took forever. First I just got busy, then I stopped caring about the locks enough to get pictures of them specifically and calculate how long I'd been dreading, then I was busy again. So I'll Update what I do have, all at once.
About 3 months in they looked like this:
Then here I am, almost a year after starting, with what many people recognize as dreads. Around the 9-10 month mark other people with dreads started talking to me about them, asking how long I'd been dreading, sharing dread stories, etc. In the whole time I once, just once, thought 'Maybe I should undo them?.?" But decided I do love them, and really just need more style ideas, and to fall in love all over again with dreading. That's the main reason I made sure I found time to come back to the site, browse around, and update.
Here's two Almost One year photos:
Had some tied up in a knot to get out of my face while I was working and typing.
Most of my dreads have a section that is fully dreaded, all round and pretty, but I have a LOT of curly wavy chunks. Usually the top of the dread, 4-5 inches or so, is all round and pretty, and then the rest is still wavy and fun. Some of my better dreads are now sucking in their ends, and so the ends looks all loopy and fat. Hopefully by two years I'll have more well rounded dreads, but I do love my loopy bits.
I do have advice for anyone starting with really long hair. It is all about separating, seriously. When I started an spent time on the site I couldn't find anyone who started with really long hair, and I had to be willing to try some things and make some mistakes. Most people do not have to separate like I have to separate, in frequency or in method. I had a serious issue that I made a separate post about involving a giant (I truly mean HUGE) nest in the back of my head, from the nap of neck, to around my shoulders. When I separated, which was truly required almost every day, I following videos and such that I found and pull upwards from the bottom, so any loose hairs essentially got pulled up and nested towards the top. The issue with that when you have such long hair is that just a few hairs can wrap around so much it makes a huge knot. It took many many hours of un-nesting to fix. It could have taken less, but my husband who helped has OCD and was refusing to just nip a few hairs here and there to be faster. When unnested I did have several well dreaded dread sections. If I had had someone else do it it still would have taken an hour or two, just because the quantity of hair, and the amount of nesting. After that I wised up and separated from both the bottom to top, AND top to bottom, First I'd go bottom to top, just pulling apart like you read around this site, THEN I'd carefully select the hairs associated with each section and carefully untangle them from other hairs going downward. If any hairs were knotted I sectioned those too, even if it was just a few hairs. I have had problems where just five unsectioned undreaded hairs weaved so in and out that it pretty much covered my head and tangled in and out of almost every section. LONG hair can go places, it can travel like a windy road and create a lot of issues. So I had to very very carefully section at least every 2-3 days. I still have to do some mild sectioning every day, but that seems to be stretching long and longer. Usually I stand in front of the mirror and lift a dread in the air, and see if a whole bigger sections jumps up, if so I separate that section good. Then I only do those sections. Then I feel around good, just to make sure they feel okay, and section any that need attention. I don't do a full sectioning every day, but I do section something every day.
I also had a few dreads, 2-3, that just really seemed weird and weren't dreading right. I would have a pretty good dread, then the end just wouldn't be dreading the same and seemed WAY fatter then the rest. So I decided to undread it and see what was going on. The idea may not make much sense, BUT what was happening is that the hairs that naturally come out of your scalp were essentially pulling together. One of them had a HUGE bottom that just wouldn't dread, I got almost a good golf ball, at least, of loose hairs out of it when I undreaded it!
updated by @alicia-s: 02/14/15 06:24:30AM