The Dreadlock Commandments: Dos and Don’ts of the Lockdown Process
“Should I use this or should I use that?”
“What can I put in my hair?”
“Is it okay to wash my hair frequently?”
We ask ourselves so many questions when it comes to caring for our locks. However, maintaining healthy, locked-in hair can be simple (indeed, foolproof) when you know what to do and what not to do with your hair. This article will give you some basic recommendations on maintaining your locks. Before introducing yourself to the dos and don’ts, keep in mind that there is no way to make an exhaustive list, however this list will help you get started. When caring for their locks, many people are bombarded with what they CAN’T do, forgetting to enjoy what they CAN do. Consider what NOT TO DO and adopt the DOES. The new freedoms your locks bring also give you the opportunity to DO a lot! Here are the “Dreadlock Commandments”:
YOU MUST NOT USE WAX TO START YOUR LOCKS.
Whatever happens, NEVER put any type of beeswax on your hair. In the past, many believed that the use of beeswax was the only reason to start locks. However, this ideology could not be further from the truth. In fact, using beeswax is not a good thing. One of the main reasons wax is a “no-no” is simply because of the fact that wax does not break down in water. What does this mean? It means that no matter how much you wash your hair, the beeswax will always be on your locks. Wax also attracts debris, lint, dirt, contaminants, and other unwanted things to hair that can also be difficult to remove. If you ever know someone who uses beeswax on their hair, take a look at their locks and you will see the build-up that waxing has left over the years. There are other products that can be used to block your hair that are also beneficial for your hair. Products like lanolin, honey, olive oil, avocado butter, shea butter, and similar items may have the same holding power as wax, BUT lead to healthier hair.
IT WILL NOT MAKE CARE OF YOUR LOCKS COMPLICATED.
Lock maintenance is as simple as it sounds. Some try to make the process a complicated maze to prevent others from wanting to make this commitment. The only thing a person using a lock really needs to do is develop a good hair routine and stick with it. If necessary, you can just get up and go without doing anything to your hair. Keeping the process simple makes this compromise even more appealing.
YOU MUST NOT WEAR YOUR HAIR IN THE SAME STYLE FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME (OR REPEATEDLY).
Sometimes we feel anxious when we get to different stages of the blocking process. A big milestone will be when your hair becomes long enough to put in a ponytail. Once you get to that stage, you may feel the need to always pull your hair into a ponytail, EVERYDAY. Resist this urge. Repeated use of your hair with the same hairstyle every day will create weak spots in those areas that are continually under stress from hair bands, bobby pins, hair bands, and other hair accessories. For example, if you like to wear your hair in a ponytail every day, you may notice on the line that in the same area on each strand you have a place where it looks like your strands could break. This weak point is due to the constant use of a hair tie to secure the ponytail. Also, always pulling your hair back can also cause traction alopecia due to the constant tension on the hairline. Just be mindful and try to give your locks time to JUST BE.
YOU MUST NOT OVERLOAD YOUR HAIR WITH TOO MANY PRODUCTS.
You will get advice from people on what their locks need; but be careful what advice you hear. Always research any tips that you are not familiar with. For example, someone might recommend that you use conditioner on your locks; however, during the initial stages of the lockdown process, the conditioner is a “no-no.” If you use a lock stylist to maintain your locks, ask for advice when it comes to unfamiliar recommendations. Remember, the less you put and do to your hair, the better.
YOU SHOULD FIND AN EXPERIENCED LOCK STYLIST TO HELP YOU START YOUR LOCKS (OR TO CONSULT WITH).
Unless you are familiar with the locking process, you may find that finding a knowledgeable lock stylist is a great value. It is advisable to schedule a consultation with a lock stylist, before starting your locks. During this appointment, you can discuss your goals, try padlock sizes, and provide images of the type of padlocks you are looking for. Also, during this appointment, you can also interview the lock stylist about her experience as a natural stylist. Even if you plan to maintain your locks yourself after starting out, having a professional start the locks will ensure that your beginner locks are uniform and properly sized. When it comes to picking locks, SIZE MATTERS! If you start your locks too small, then your mature locks will be even smaller because the locks get tightened as they mature. Also, starting locks that are too small will lead to the unintended consequence of your locks breaking and weakening later down the line.
YOU SHOULD LEARN ABOUT THE LOCKOUT PROCESS BEFORE YOU START LOCKING YOUR HAIR.
Equipping yourself with the knowledge about the transformations your locks will undergo will help make the entire lock experience more enjoyable. Also, learning about the locking stages will help you know if your locks are following the standard when it comes to locking stages. This knowledge will also help you determine if your hair is doing something strange that you may want to discuss with your hair stylist.
YOU MUST EAT PROPERLY.
Remember, your hair is the product of what you put on your body. This includes the food you eat, the fluids you drink, and any medications you are taking. For example, if you find that your scalp is excessively dry, you may simply need to drink more water to hydrate yourself, rather than adding unnecessary oils to your hair. Eating healthy not only benefits your body, it also helps your hair grow and shine. Additionally, exercise has also been shown to help with hair growth.
YOU MUST DEVELOP YOUR OWN “LOCKOUT” SUPPORT SYSTEM.
Please note that you are not the first person to block. So there is always someone who has been where you are in the lockdown process. When you have the urge to quit or give up, reach out to people who understand your plight and can help convince you. The blocking process IS NOT easy. It is the best decision you have ever made, but it takes commitment and effort to carry out your blocks. So tell those friends who are already blocked that you are making that transition and that you will need their support. If you don’t have friends or family to talk to, seek help online. There are many hair blogs, forums or social media pages with many people who can let you know that whatever is happening to you has happened to them. Also, having a support system can help you see your goal more clearly.
YOU MUST DOCUMENT YOUR BLOCKING PROCESS.
A Locking Journal is a great investment. This journal filled with pictures of milestones and written words from you will help you better assess your growth. You will be able to remember the problems you had 6 months ago that you are NOT having now. In the diary you can also keep track of the products or new hair regimens you have taken in case you notice any changes in your hair. Also, keeping pictures of your hair at different stages of the locking process will help you “remember when.” So even if you hate your hair, take a photo. Within months you will return to that image and appreciate that stage a little better. Years after the lockdown process, you will look at your journal again, laugh at yourself, and value your locks even more.
YOU WILL ENJOY EVERY STAGE THAT YOUR LOCKS BRING.
Each stage of the crash is unique and comes with its own set of events. To get through the whole process, it is important that you appreciate fuzzy locks as you will appreciate mature locks. Think of your locks as your child and, just like a child, you need to raise them from newborn to adult. Be patient with your hair and know that if you treat it right and are grateful for little happenings and milestones, your hair will grow into well-mannered adult strands. Just don’t get discouraged and give up because your hair won’t obey you.
TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE FINAL GOAL.
This is probably one of the most important rules for living. Understand that the way your locks look at first is NOT the way they will look in their mature state. This means that when you start locking, you may find that your locks are larger than you want. But keep in mind that as your hair locks up, it will get tighter. Therefore, a pencil-sized lock will initially be smaller when mature. Also, there will be shrinkage at first, but as your locks grow, you will forget about that. Keep this in mind when you start locking and it will give you something to look forward to as your locks evolve.
YOU WILL BE OPEN TO QUESTIONS.
Just like you didn’t know everything about locking in the beginning, when people see you with padlocks they will surely ask you questions. Answer people if they have valid questions. Now, you don’t have to open up to bullying, but answering valid questions could help someone else feel comfortable in your skin and move to the “side of the key.”
YOU WILL HUG THE NEW YOU.
Deciding and going ahead with locking your hair requires the user to have a certain level of confidence and style. Your new style can also cause changes in your wardrobe. Do what’s best for you and your comfort level. Blocking your hair gives you a new sense of freedom that will spread to other areas of your life. Accept the changes and have fun with them.
NOTE: You may discover, during your lock scan, that there are other items that can be included in your personal DO / NOT list. Feel free to adapt this list to your personal experience, adding those other things that either worked or did NOT work for you.