Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guest Post: Why I Decided to Comb Out My Dreads

Today's post comes from a college friend of mine, Simone. She was always one of my favorite loc rockers and when I saw that she chopped the locs, I was like, "Wow! Gorgeous!" I wanted to get her hair story to share with the Loc Rocker family. A lot of us may not understand why loc rockers suddenly chop their hair, and while it makes complete sense to me, Simone's view may provide some perspective.

Why I decided to comb out my dreads

I started dreads about 1 year after going natural. After all of the initial unfavorable criticism, people fell in love with my dreads as they grew, and I did too. I remember when I used to stare at other women with long dreads wondering if and when I’ll ever reach those lengths and I did! I got what I thought that I wanted…Long, healthy, gorgeous dreads. Unfortunately while others grew more in love with them, I slowly fell out of love with them. I think the switch flipped in my brain one morning when I was washing my hair in the shower and realized how tired my poor arms were getting. By this point I was about 4 ½ years into my loc journey. My dreads became a chore to me. They were HEAVY. I had a headache because they were heavy. They took too long to wash. A once-a-week wash wasn’t sufficient anymore. They started getting caught on my purse. I would accidentally lay on them. I had to put them up every day for nursing school, which was not my style. I was too tired to curl them because I was tired from washing them. The list goes on. I got dreads because there were convenient and this was NOT feeling convenient.

My months of thoughts about getting a loc haircut turned into the idea of combing them out, and I decided to make that idea reality. Why not? I could now enjoy all of the wonderful natural hair care products on the market. I could learn to care for and enjoy loose natural hair. Most importantly, I could master the feeling that I am someone beyond my hair, and it is ok to have hair change. Every other race of women enjoy the freedom of growing, colouring, and cutting their hair because it’s just hair so why not me? Why not any black woman?

I thought that I would always have dreads. I became living proof that black women can have long hair. In fact, I took pleasure in telling other women and men “yes they are real.” I became motivation for other women who were either newbies or were thinking of going natural. I’ll admit that I was also a bit flattered by the attention (superficial I know). Other people loved them and I felt guilty for not wanting long dreads anymore, but at the end of the day, you have to be the one to love your hair and yourself. NO hairstyle, even dreads, is meant to last forever in my life. People will ask you “why cut them when you’ll probably get dreads again?” That is perfectly ok. The idea that dreads are forever is outdated. After over 5 years, I closed the chapter of my 1st set of locs. Grow your hair, cut it, grow it again, and be confident about it. Just keep it natural.

My experience with combing out my dreads

I sat down in front of my laptop with a jar of hair cholesterol, a fine tooth comb, a mirror, a mini garbage bag, and a fork (Yes a dinner fork) and literally went to work. I watched youtube videos to pass time and keep my sanity. After 2 1/2 weeks of tediousness, impatience, discomfort, bad hair days, and almost giving up, I cut/combed out my dreads. 

I had to cut them to help with the process because there was just no way that I would have been able to complete this within a somewhat reasonable period of time. Besides, the price tag on doing this professionally was seriously enough to buy a car. Although I wanted to give up, I am now very pleased and I’m enjoying the joys of caring for loose natural kinky whatever-you-want-to-call-it hair. I feel free, confident, and motivating.

 I haven’t seen this but may I suggest a transition process? I’m thinking you could grow your dreads out for about 6 months, keep combing the roots, and then cut them. Maybe that is easier said than done lol. If you are considering combing out your dreads, let me give a few tips:

·         Count how many dreads you have. This way you can make a goal for how many dreads you can undo each day.
·         Get a good condition with a lot of slip. I wasn’t a huge fan of the hair cholesterol I used.
·         Get a spray bottle of water instead of dipping your hair in water. This will save you from making a mess.
·         Don’t be scared to cut them to make it easier on yourself. After undoing the 1st one I grabbed the scissors.
·         Finally, braid your hair as you undo them instead of twisting. This way, your hair will not try to lock itself back. Funny how you master something after you complete it and never ever want to do it again.

Got questions for Simone? Leave them in this post and she will answer. 


Missus Tish said...

I LOVE this!!! I've only had locs for just shy of 2yrs and I've questioned throughout this beautifully wonderful journey whether I'd chop em or comb them out. I've gone months before of not retwisting and I've loved my frolocs. I would run my fingers through my new growth and just miss my 4a hair, miss my fro, even miss the occasional Dominican blow out. So I couldn't go too long without a twist. I can't wait, as u stated, to get long beautiful locs. I even dream of having all silver locs (my hair is seriously graying at my crown). But I don't knock the possibility of reliving my product junkie days and curly or straight or poofy hair days in the future. I promised myself that I will commit to and stand by my locs for at least 5 yrs b4 I make that decision. Thanks so much for sharing your story.