14 October 2012

Rwanda: Myths About Dreadlocks


To some people, it's the coolest thing to posses, the highest form of self-expression. To others, it's a question of identity. "My dreads are my identity." Most Rastafarians belong to this group. To such people, you had better hand them a death sentence than have them cut their hair down. To other people though, dreadlocks are a nuisance, and whoever spots them is regarded as a social rebel or 'bad person.'

Whatever it is, many varying opinions will always surface where there are dreadlocks. And some of these opinions are misconceptions. Myths. Let's look at the common ones...

Dreadlocks can't be clean

To most people, the mere fact that a person's hair is locked for months or years makes dreadlocks dirty. Actually, I have seen some people openly sneer and hold their nose as they by-passed a dreadlocked person! Of course, the particular dreadlocks in question could have been dirty and smelly.

But the truth is that dreads are only dirty if you don't take care of them. Not washing them is the best way to ruin dreadlocks. One should consider giving their dreadlocks a good wash at least once a week.

Dreadlocks are grown by not combing one's hair

This is called the Neglect method; it is not very different from how cavemen made dreadlocks, by just not doing anything to their hair. Thank heavens we have found new ways to make dreads because the neglect method takes at least a year. Many people who have made dreads this way have ended up with such severe dandruff cases they had to cut their dreadlocks off and start again.

Wax is not a natural dread locking product

Wax is probably the most natural product you can use on dreadlocks. It comes from bees that are from nature.

Only black people can have dreadlocks

Obviously, the person who told you this has never seen anyone who is Asian, Indian, or Caucasian with dreadlocks. Dreadlocks actually look very nice on Asians, Indians, and Caucasians!

Nice dreadlocks are high maintenance

Most dreadlocks are not high maintenance as many people are led to think. The only kinds of dreadlocks that are high maintenance are those made from dread perms. However, those made with the back combing, twist and rip, twist and pin, neglect, and brush rubbing methods are not high maintenance at all.

Rubber bands break the hair

False! Rubber bands hold the hair together while the dreadlocks are forming to keep them from falling out.

Dreadlocks damage your scalp

Dreadlocks do not damage your scalp. In fact, your scalp never even knows you have dreadlocks, because the hair starts to dread about an inch away from the scalp.

Dread locks are for Rastas only

It is a common misconception that dreadlocks were started by Rastas and only they should wear them. It is common knowledge that cavemen wore dreadlocks, not for spiritual reasons, not for fashion, just for the fact that the comb wasn't invented yet.

It is okay for you to wear dreadlocks if you are wearing them for fashion, and it is okay for you to wear dreadlocks if you are doing it for spiritual reasons - whatever works for you. It's a free world, hey!

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