Archive for the 'Dreadlocks' Category
Being that I don’t have a house of my own to decorate for the holidays, I decided to decorate my hair I found these delicious felted wool dreads on Etsy…and fell in love with them immediately. I was craving a little change and these were just the ticket!
I’m not sure how long I will keep them or how they will “settle” into my dreads once I wash them, etc. But for now, I adore them and just couldn’t wait to show y’all (yes, I’m missing my Texas friends).
Back in my college days, when dreads were just a fascination for me…I stalked a girl that worked at the natural foods store in Grand Forks, ND. She had long blonde dreads with a few purple accents. It was then and there that I decided to dread my hair someday. So thank you mystery dreaded beauty…
Dreads + Purple + Wool = Happy Mama.
**For those of you who have dreads and want to know HOW I attached them…they are just one long piece that is pulled through the loose part of my roots and tied in a knot.
Ever since we left Portland last November, I have been looking forward to going back. For many reasons, but mostly to see my sweet friends Monica and Shauna and to go see Stephanie, The Dread Goddess. When we broke down in Spokane, we lost an entire WEEK of good times in PDX…so so so sad. BUT, I did make it in time for our girls day out and will get to spend a week enjoying all that this beautiful city has to offer.
We started the day at Pix Patisserie…a delightful little coffee/sweets shop. They even grind their own hazelnuts into a paste for lattes. Wow. Then we walked across the street and I grabbed a bite of breakfast at Tasty and Sons. Another wow. I ordered up an amazing orange curry glazed potatoes and egg dish and devoured it all. Yum. We arrived at our favorite spot, Akemi Salon with full tummies.
Stephanie was there waiting for us and got right down to business. One of the things I miss the most about having dreads is having someone else mess with my hair. Coloring, cutting, coiffing. Yes, I loved being pampered. So now I have made it a yearly tradition to trek to Portland to see Stephanie. Stephanie is one of the few people I trust implicitly with my dreads…and I can just relax in her chair and chat away about life and love and rainy days.
There are great magazines and books to read…including a lovely book completely dedicated to typographical tattoos *swoon*. Sitting on the sweet orange couch, there is hot tea available…to accompany the sounds of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and ethereal French music playing in the background. We enjoyed many hours of blissed out dready sisterhood.
After hugs and goodbyes, we headed to MeeSen Thai. This little Thai eatery…with it’s open garage-door front (this seems to be commonplace in Portland), decorative glass water pitchers with metal cups, and super friendly waiters won my heart immediately. We had fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce and pad thai for all. Seriously delicious with an amazing vibe.
I was sad to see them go…but not for long! We’re all meeting up at the Saturday Market. My sister, Laura, flew into town today from Minneapolis and we’re driving to Cannon Beach for the weekend. Yay! More fun to come!
There is an entire photo set to peruse here. And the question of the day is:
“If you’ve been to Portland, what was your very favorite thing?”
I have made it to the THREE year mark…that “magical” time when dreads come into their own. The rumored “three year bliss” does exist. My dreads are finally long enough, tight enough, wonderful enough to love fully every day.
This year has been a crazy one. Full of wonder and magical moments. Deep joy…and deep sorrow. Endings and beginnings.
It started out with us being back in Bozeman and living in a house.
We found an amazing midwife and friend.
We lived temporarily in Boulder, CO for 6 weeks.
Then, my brother almost died.
Then, my grandma died.
Lucy was born!
And more family visited.
We bought the Minnie Winnie.
We did some traveling and some more traveling.
We sold the Minnie Winnie.
We bought the Big Alpine.
Then, we sold everything AGAIN and went back on the road.
With TWO kids this time.
We explored Washington, Oregon, and California.
We flew back to Iowa.
We flew back to Montana.
We drove 15 hours back to Minnesota.
We flew back to the RV in California.
Yes, LOVE. I have not once regretted my decision to dread my hair. I really can’t imagine myself without them now. They’re just a part of my being.
Some observations in the third year:
- My washing/drying process hasn’t changed much. I still wash about once a week (every 2-3 days in the summer) with diluted Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap and rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar. I usually dry them a little bit to fluff them up. I will occasionally wash just my bangs mid-way through the week.
- Many of you have commented about the loose hair that I have in the front. It’s always been that way…they just never dreaded up, and I like them that way!
- I dye them blonde about every 3-4 months. I go to the Aveda training school in West Des Moines whenever we’re back in Iowa. The first time was pretty funny…they didn’t really know what to do with me and my crazy hair, but after they figured it out, it was fast and cheap! I love them blonde and I don’t really ever plan on dying them back to my natural color. I have been throwing around the idea of putting in some color on a few dreads…like purple. I love purple.
- My hair continues to be a spiritual journey for me. They have taught me about acceptance, change, contentment…and I continue to learn from them daily! I choose to be “set apart” from the norm of our culture…which parallels my walk with Jesus.
- I’ve been wearing them down a lot more now that they are longer and I like the versatility. I wore them back/up/under a bandana for 3 years and I paid those dues…it’s time to let them fly! I wear a rubber band around my wrist all the time though…I probably put them up and down 3-4 times a day depending on what I’m doing at the time.
- They still do their own thing. Some ends are looser than others. Some are super short, some are very long. Some are stick straight and others are like a winding country road. Some of the roots are loose and some are tight. And I like it that way. You cannot “tame” dreads, and that’s the beauty of it. I really don’t mess with them much except to wash them.
- Lucy loves my dreads. They are her built in toys and teether.
- I looove beads in my dreads. They make me happy.
- I have an incredibly supportive husband who loves my dreads.
- How long will I keep them? Forever I hope. When I am old, I shall wear purple…and DREADS!
In this third year of dreadiness, I have had the chance to meet up with more fun dready mamas. In Portland, I met up with Shauna and Monica. I love those beautiful, talented women! And of course Bethany and Jordan and Gillian in Eugene with their crazy amazing dreads.
In October, I was able to experience the “dready love fest”. I had the chance to visit Stephanie, “The Dread Goddess” at Akemi Salon in Portland (on far right in photo below). She did some much needed maintenance on my dreads…I recommend her HIGHLY! You can read about it on Denise’s blog here. For those of you just starting out and want to skip a lot of the craziness, she “crochets” dreads instead of just backcombing and they look great right from the beginning. It’s worth traveling to Portland to see her! Love love love.
When you have dreads and you are able to spend time in the presence of others who have dreads…especially other women, there is just something magical about it. There is such acceptance and love…it’s awesome. That’s why I love traveling so much…so I can find all of you!! Anyone up for a huge dready retreat somewhere where we can all be together? Hmmmmm….
Fast forward to right now…we are in San Diego, where we have spent time with the lovely Boho Girl, Denise and her family again. She took all of the amazing photos of my dreads. Thank you thank you thank you Denise…for making me feel beautiful!! We had a wonderful time communing and eating together…the time flew by too fast. She wrote about our time together on her blog here. If you aren’t reading her blog on a regular basis, you should be!
Photos used with permission – by Denise Andrade – Boho Photography
Another year has gone by…a year of seeing AMAZING sights, meeting INSPIRING people, and LIVING life to the fullest. Let me just say…I’m so glad I didn’t have to do my hair for any of it! Ok, well, I take that back. I did “do” my hair for my sister’s wedding and that was fun. But other than that, my hair didn’t slow me down or cause me any strife. I love my dreads. But they are definitely still in process. I’m waiting for the magical three year mark, which is the time when other dreadies have said they really started to enjoy them.
My dreads are constantly changing. There is a lot of loose hair and new growth, particularly around the crown of my head, and then those hairs just pick a dread to attach themselves to or they start a new little dread on their own. I’m not one to mess around much with my new growth…I figure it will just do it’s own thing. I have several dreads around my face that seem to be hanging on by just a few hairs, so I may intentionally join those with some other hair to reinforce them. But it’s pretty crazy how strong just a few strands of hair can be!
They are definitely mature dreads…I don’t do anything to them except for wash them about once a week with Dr. Bronner’s and then rinse with a dliuted solution of apple cider vinegar. They take about 18 hours to dry, so I will occasionally use a blow dryer to get that process started. No need to have ice in my hair as I run out into the Montana chill. They stay a bit “fluffier” that way too it seems.
Although I love to be “au natural”…I’ve never been so happy as when I dyed my dreads blonde this summer. They felt so much more like me after that! I had them done in Eugene, OR at an “alternative” hair salon. I didn’t really love the bright, barbie-like color at first, but it toned itself down after awhile. There was a little miscommunication with the stylist I dyed them again at an Aveda salon right before my sister’s wedding. I’m letting them go through this pregnancy and then will dye them again right before the baby is born.
I still love to put little beadies and peyote stitches in the “decorate” them. My dear friend, Becky…the one who put my dreads in for me…sent me a fun green and white one at Christmastime (as seen in the photo above). Yay! The colorful hemp string that she put in last year is still hanging on with no signs of coming out anytime soon. It’s fun to see how much they’ve grown since she tied that in.
Speaking of growth…yes, they’re longer. But not long enough! The thing is that they are all different lengths because my haircut at the time of putting them in was layered. If I had to go back and do it all over, I would probably wait until my hair was the same length before putting them in. Makes things a lot easier! I still have really short pieces all around my face, and then long in the back. Kind of a dread mullet if you will. I’m hoping all this good eatin’ and prenatal vitamins will help them grow, grow, grow this year.
When I’m out of the house, I ALWAYS have them in a bandana, headband, or wrap. It’s not that I’m too self-conscious to wear them down, they just get in my way. Those short pieces around my face aren’t quite long enough to keep themselves tucked behind my ears…so they hang right in my eyes. I actually like using some bobby pins to pin the front back, but I don’t often do that. It’s so much easier to just throw something on them and go. At home, I let them down and relax a bit more.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many really cool dready mamas (and papas!) while we’ve been on the road…and have put dreads into several people’s hair as well Some have left them in…and some haven’t. And that’s why I love dreads. They allow you to explore parts of your inner being…things that you never knew existed…feelings surface that you never knew you had…and you come out the other side a changed person. Whether you HAVE dreads now, HAD dreads, or WANT dreads…they will always stay with you. Ahhhhh…the journeys of life. Here’s to another good year!
Click here to see the entire process, including a couple of other 2 year photos.
It’s been exactly ONE YEAR since I said goodbye to my comb…and what a year it has been! I’ve experienced so many things in 365 days that it’s hard to wrap my head around it all. It’s been the year of changes. Our jobs and homes have changed many, many times, but for now…I will focus on how my HAIR changed…and how it changed ME as well.
I think back to the moment I looked in the mirror in Boulder after Becky dreaded my hair. Oh. My. Word. What have I done? That thought was quickly replaced with, “Ok. Here we go!”. I knew it would be a wild journey…and I was up for it.
Those first couple of weeks were really rough…I was pretty self-conscious of my new ‘do and it consumed my thoughts at all times. You don’t realize how much you depend on your appearance to help you blend in to the crowd or to make first impressions. I kept them pretty tame and pulled back all the time…I was too nervous to “let my freak flag fly” (as Miss Becky would say).
And then one day I realized that I wasn’t thinking about them as much…I wasn’t obsessing about every little bubble or stray hair. I would get up in the morning and pull them back and be out the door. They were crazy and they were MINE. I wasn’t “Sara with the baby dreads” anymore….I was just Sara. I felt more comfortable in my own skin than I had for quite some time. Other areas of my life became less high maintenance…my make-up routine pretty much went away. I found that I quite liked a fresh face rather than a covered up one. Even when I had imperfections showing, I didn’t bother to cover them up like I would have before.
I even stopped painting my toenails. *GASP!*. Seriously. You have no idea how this rocked my world. I have had my toenails painted for pretty much my entire life. I think I might have been born with them painted. I was always jealous of women who had “naked” toenails. I always thought mine were too ugly to be seen in their natural state. But one day I decided enough was enough. If I could have dreads and stop wearing makeup, I could certainly give up the paint. And oh what a joyous day it was! I felt so free Don’t get me wrong, I like a prettily painted toenail as much as the next mama…but I just didn’t want to feel TIED to it…like I had to paint them for some crazy reason. Oh the fabulous side effects of dreads!
Like any hairstyle, dreads have their ups and downs. Some days I would look in the mirror and LOVE them, and some days…let’s just say I wasn’t feeling so much love. But, I have never once ever wanted to comb them out/cut them off…which really confirms my decision to put them in in the first place.
They are currently MUCH shorter than in the beginning…dreads go through a shrinking process as they lock up. It’s Most of my dreads are right at or shorter than shoulder length. There are several that refuse to go into my ponytail…so most of the time I have to wear a headband to hold them all back. The front dreads are VERY short…and only come to the tip of my nose when I pull them down in front. I do have hope, however. They have finally started to grow faster than they are shrinking! I can imagine that it will take another 2 years or so to get them to the point where I feel like they are “long”…but that is part of the journey. It will be interesting to see how they change in color as well…right now, my natural color at my root is really getting long, and the ends are really blonde (I’ve dyed my hair blonde since my freshman year of college). I would love to have all blonde dreads someday…but I’m going to let them do their thing for awhile.
For those of you considering dreads…the first year is definitely the hardest. There is much to be learned about yourself and even about those you love (in their reactions). They go through so many different phases…changing almost everyday. But it’s so rewarding…I love “knowing” my hair. I know every dread by how it feels! I definitely have my favorites…and Matt has his favorites too It’s hard not to touch them all the time because the texture is so fun now!
I’ve met so many friends online (and now in person) with dreads and there is just something special about the bond that you have with another dreadhead They understand the commitment, the frustrations, and the joys of having this crazy hair. It like gaining a new family!
My favorite part about having dreads has been not having to “do my hair”…which was one of my original reasons for getting them in the first place. The only maintenance I do is wash them once a week (or so) with Peppermint Dr. Bronner’s and rinse them with organic apple cider vinegar to condition. Sometimes I will palm roll them to smooth them out after I wash them, but other times I just let them go. So easy!
It’s been a wonderful journey so far, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
I’ve uploaded lots of new photos (it’s been awhile!) of my dreads. My sweet hubby did a little dreadiversary photo shoot for me. Check them out here.
Dreadlocks. The mere mention of the word has my grandmothers running for the hills. But I love them…and I have always wanted my very own. So, after we moved West, I decided that life is too short to keep wanting. I didn’t want to turn 80 and wish I had done dreads when I was younger. So, I did it. My lovely and amazing friend, Becky, flew up from South Carolina to visit me and she helped start my hair on it’s dreading journey.
For those of you who don’t know anything about dreads…this will be a wonderful chance for you to open your mind and broaden your horizons. Dreads are not just for pot smokers, homeless people, hippies, African-Americans, or Rastafarians. Basically, ANYONE can have dreads if they stop combing their hair. They have been around for a long, long time. There is a great book I recently added to my collection called “Dreads“. It has tons of stories and beautiful photos.
Here are a few excerpts of dreadlock history:
The first known examples of the hairstyle date back to ancient Egypt, where dreadlocks appeared on Egyptian artifacts. Mummified remains of ancient Egyptians with dreadlocks have even been recovered from archaeological sites.
The Old Testament also recounts the tale of Samson and Delilah in which a man’s potency is directly linked to ‘the seven locks on his head’ and according to Roman accounts, the Celts were described to have ‘hair like snakes’ Germanic tribes, Greeks and the Vikings are all said to have worn dreadlocks too.
Dreadlocks are a universal phenomenon in the East as well as in the West.
Spiritualists of all faiths and backgrounds incorporate into their paths a
disregard for physical appearances and vanity. And so, throughout the world,
such seekers often cease to comb, cut, or otherwise dress their hair: This
is how “dreadlocks” are born (click here for more info).
Dreads are hair that is knotted, matted, twisted…and uncombed. Stop combing your hair today, and in a year or two, you’ll have some dreads. However, you can help the process along. There are several different ways to make them, but I chose back-combing. Becky separated my hair into random 1″ sections and she used a metal comb to backcomb every section. It took 3-4 hours. I did have the option to use wax (a beeswax concoction) to help them stay together more, but decided against it. This is the method advised by dreadlock megasites Dreadhead HQ and Knotty Boy. However, I have heard way too many horror stories about dreadlocks and wax gone bad. It will take longer for them to “lock up” without the wax, but it’s worth the wait.
One of the main misconceptions about dreads is that if you have them, you can’t wash your hair. This is absolutely untrue. You can wash your hair every day if you want. Of course washing your hair everyday isn’t good even if you don’t have dreads. In the beginning, it’s best to wait at least a week while they mature a bit. However, what I’ve found is that because I’m not using any products at all, my hair stays nice and clean for a long time! Every 2-3 days is more than enough. You can always spray your hair with some yummy essential oils if you feel like it. Peppermint is good.
I have had many people ask me why I finally decided to go for it. Here is the short list:
I like them. I think they look cool.
Profound, I know.
I wanted to simplify my beauty “routine”.
Prior to dreads, I used (and toted around when I traveled):
- Volumizing Spray
- Round brush to straighten my hair
- Blow dryer
Now I use:
- Shampoo (Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree…cheap, all natural, and I can use it for other things)
That is just mind boggling to me. I never realized just how freeing and simplifying having dreads would be. It has been so wonderful not having to “do” my hair everyday. I’ve had less stress…and more time. I use less products…and save more money. Hair products are expensive! Another perk is the added space in the suitcase! I love traveling light.
They are a reminder to me that I am set apart for Christ.
The entire journey is very spiritual. Dreadlocks are rooted in spirituality…back to ancient times. In these last 2 weeks, I have learned so much about myself and who I am in Christ.
- I am learning patience. My dreads will take about 3-6 months to “settle down” and about a year for them to be completely locked up. Dreads are constantly changing and forming. There are lots of photos in this set of dreads I love. Whenever I’m discouraged with them and the process, I go and look at photos of people with mature dreads and I am encouraged.
- I am learning non-judgement. In purposely becoming unlike anyone else around me, I can relate in a new way with those people who feel judged by others.
- I am learning about commitment. Dreads are long-term. If I want them to look how I imagine…it will take time. The same is true with my commitment to Jesus. It takes commitment become to become like Him! Every time I look in the mirror, I am reminded of recent commitments I’ve made to Him.
So there you have it. I’m going to be posting photos of my journey on this Flickr set. It will be fun to watch as they lock up.
About a year ago, I read a great book by Anne Lamott called “Traveling Mercies“. I wrote several quotes from that book in my Moleskin journal and found them recently. I love them and this is a great place to share them:
“No one knew the effort it took to make my hair look like it hadn’t taken any effort at all (p. 234)”.
- This was definitely me BEFORE I dreaded my hair. It took so long for me to get my hair looking like I wanted it. My hair is very fine with no body at all…and it took a lot of coaxing to make it work.
“How much longer am I going to think about my hair more often than about things in the world that matter? (p. 235)”
- So true. Hair is big business. Women (and men) are consumed by it most of the time. How it looks. What color it is. If their mother-in-law approves of the style. I’m not saying I will stop thinking about it…but I really want to focus on other things that are way more important.
“Dreadlocks would be a way of saying that I was no longer going to play by the ‘rules’ of mainstream white beauty…but that I was going to CELEBRATE instead (p. 234)”
- Doesn’t everyone want to CELEBRATE? I do.
The best compliment I’ve gotten came from my sweet daughter, Bella. We were talking recently and out of the blue she said,
“You’re a good mama. These dreads are cute.”
Children always know just what to say to make you smile.
This weekend marks the last Farmer’s Market in Des Moines for this year. There will be two more “winter markets” indoors, but the REAL farmer’s market is over. This makes me sad because I LOVE the Farmer’s Market. I love the people watching, the food, the atmosphere. I have created many rich memories with friends and family walking the streets of downtown. I am giddy with excitement when I think of one of my favorite rituals… getting my soy caramel latte from Java Joe’s. Java Joe’s is a local establishment that has a great vibe. Their baristas are fun and diverse…there are always tattoos to check out and dreads to behold.
Getting my coffee on Saturday mornings is one ritual in my life that brings me happiness. My tea ritual, my bedtime rituals…they are all part of who I am. I believe that rituals are so important…to bring order, to bring comfort, to bring expectant joy. Rituals are especially important for children, and we strive to have them in our family. Family dinners, reading familiar books, having nightly rituals. At the same time, we enjoy being free-spirited and take part in spur-of-the-moment activities. Ritual does not mean a loss of spontaneity in your life. Ritual is life!
I love dreadlocks. Most of my closest friends know that I would like to have some of my very own. Ideally, I will look like the cute girl in the above photo. I think dreads are:
*maintainence free (after the first year or so)
*a spiritual journey
You can see more cool dread photos on my Flickr Favorites.
So for those of you who didn’t know that I would ever consider such a “crazy” choice of hair style…you can pick your jaw up off the floor now and go buy me a pretty hairwrap. Thanks!