Dreadlocks, also called locks or dreads are most closely associated with the Rastafari Movement, but people from many ethnic groups in history have also worn them, including many ancient Semitic and Indo-Aryan peoples of the Near East and Asia Minor, the Maori people of New Zealand and the Maasai and Oromo of East Africa. Over time there has been discussions arise of the negative connotation attached to the word dreadlocks and for that reason in this article we refer to it as locks.

Locks are matted coils of hair usually intentionally formed naturally or through manipulation. The aim is to encourage the hair to matte and form a cylindrical, rope-like pattern. Due to the variety of different hair textures, various methods are used to encourage the formation of locks such as backcombing sections of the hair, twisting or a process involving the weaving of the hair with a crochet hook to form knots. Locks may take several months to well over a year to form and are considered a permanent style. In order to remove locks, one must cut them.

There are many common misconceptions about locks. The most common is that they are dirty and that those who have them do not wash their hair. This is far from the truth. Actually to successfully grow and maintain locks regular washing of the hair is required, a minimum of twice a week.

Out of all the black hair styles locks are more than just a hairstyle, they are a lifestyle, which for some also has religious connotations. They are a process or a journey rather than an instant creation that cannot be reversed just removed by cutting. Learning about how to make and maintain locks and making sure you’re fully prepared for dreads before you start is the best way to get great looking dreadlocks fast. Locking doesn’t have to take years and it doesn’t require a special hair type. By using a few simple techniques and products you can create beautiful, clean locks.

Here are some tips to starting locks!

1.Be committed! Do a lot of research as it really is a lifestyle rather than a hairstyle. Also when creating locks there will be stages that you will reach and it is good to understand them.

2. Figure out which method of locks is best for you. There are many ways to start locks and it is really and individual decision. To take three of the most common:

• Organically – Wash your hair and allow it to matt naturally, which will form its own locks eventually. This technique is unstructured and can appear quite messy. Both Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill grew locks using this technique.

Inter-locking method or Sister locks, which are tiny uniform locks/dreads that are the result of precision grip parting. Using a specialised tool the hair is placed into its locking formation. The technique enables the wearing to have varying sizes of locks from micro to large, as well as enable the hair to grow long and beautiful. The interlocking tool is a small crochet needle type tool and many people make their own out of hair or paper clips.

For interlocks: Braid and band when washing hair. Place shampoo on scalp and on each braided bundle. Wash hair gently from scalp to ends of braids/ locks. After washing, separate each braid/lock take interlocking tool and complete full rotation.

Rotations are as follows, enter the lock at 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock , pulling the lock completely through. Repeat this sequence this time enter the lock at 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock and pull though. Enter the lock 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock pull through and finally enter the lock at 12 o’clock to 6o’clock .

Always enter the lock at the scalp. As you pull your lock through, always push loop down towards the lock to eliminate gaps in your lock. Repeat until you are at the scalp and cannot complete another rotation. Your retightening should resemble a fishtail and feel like a tight cord.

• Palm rolling is used to help the knots in dreads tighten and compress. It also helps get short loose hair on the surface of the dread locked in. It works much better than “twisting” around and around for dreads that have been started by backcombing. To palm roll you simply grab the dread between the base of your palms and rub it back and forth vigorously. It’s a bit like rolling Play-Doh between your palms to make it long and skinny. Compress the dread between your palms pretty hard as you roll it.

Making a decision on which locking technique you will use will also depend on your hair type and length.

3. Maintenance! Products on the market to maintain locks are like speckles of sand, a lot. Advice on what products to use to maintain locks varies from person to person. Some people have successfully grown and maintained locks using a variety of products on the market, whereas others will tell you that they just used water, petroleum jelly or a good locking serum. One piece of advice that seems to be given by most lock wearers is to not clog the hair with heavy products, keep it fresh and clean.

Top Tip – When starting locks always use shampoos without conditioner until locked, as this soften the hair and delays locking.

Do not use oils on hair in the baby stage for similar reasons and always wash hair before retightening to lift dirt from scalp and reduce any pain associated with tightening.

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