After two whole years of umming and ahing I finally decided to make the committment and get dreadlocks!
I first started looking into dreads seriousy this time last year and after doing a fair bit of research online and getting quotes I decided to go with In Visible Light in Newtown on the outskirts of Sydney, Newtown being Sydney’s centre of alternativeness. It had been recommended on a local forum I had read and after visiting a couple of other “specialists” it was the one I trusted the most; afterall, I’m looking at dreadlocks as a good ten year committment and when my hair is the length it is (past my bum now) the last thing I want is for someone to fuck it up, to put it bluntly.
There are various trains of thought on dreadlocks; one being (from my good friend Seb who had dreadies for a long time) that they should be free cos you should get a mate to do them. Alas, I would have liked to have gone down this path as it would have made them more special but I do not have any friends out here that have done it before and therefore would have my trust – sorry. Aside from flying Seb out here to do it, which I strongly considered for a while as it would have only been fracionally more expensive than the first quote I had, I decided there was no other option than to go professional.
So anyway, the Sunday after boxing day we arrived at In Visible Light around 11.30am and by 11.45 Sharon, the owner, had got stuck in to the lengthy task. She obviously has had a lot of experience because when she predicted the process would take approximately twelve hours she was spot on; it was completed at exactly 11.45pm! Here are the pictures before I go into a more lengthy explanation:
Mat hung around for the first hour or so before leaving me with the car and catching a train into Sydney. Sharon had one girl helping her in the shop and another friend there stayed around for a few hours to get us coffees and lunch in return for a cupcake from next door which he has an addiction to! Everyone was very friendly and talkative and the time flew by. The shop itself is not actually a hair salon but sells alternative clothing and fetish gear. Sharon just specializes in doing dreadlocks, hair extensions and various types of braiding which all go along with the alternative scene.
Sharon uses a slightly different technique to most people. Instead of using wax which stays in the hair, clogs it up and requires constant replenishing in the early days of the dreads she uses cotton. After back combing and rubbing the hair into the dreadlock strands she then binds them in place with biodegradeable cotton sewn all the way down the length. After the whole head is complete an ammonia perming solution is then put on the hair for an hour and a half to help fix it in place. The end result is not unlike braids as from a distance they look similar, although I did opt for quite thin dreads compared to the normal thick ones you see. After a couple of weeks they should fluff up a bit more and the cotton should start to recede into the centre of the dread.
The bonus with this method is that there is minimal after care, though I think it will still take up to six months for them to look like proper dreads!
I was going to link to Sharon’s my space page but on looking at it there doesn’t appear to be much on there apart from the shop address. I’ll have to ask about that next time I visit as she said there was a load of pictures of hair on there.
It’s nearly two weeks on now and a few strands have started to come loose in places but on the whole it’s looking good and I’m really happy with it. It’s the sort of hairstyle that gets better with time. One of the massive bonuses and the thing that really spurred me to get it done in the first place is that I no longer have to brush my hair – yippee – a task I detested every day. It means I can go swimming whenever I like and not worry about getting my hair wet – a major issue every summer for me as salt water in hair means washing, drying and brushing rigmarole each time – a major pain in the arse when I live on the Northern Beaches and Summer = Swimming in Sea! And it takes less time to dry too. Mat has started calling me Wooly Back cos it feels just like wool; kind of spikey 🙂
So love dreads or hate them I’m not regretting it and quite frankly I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Australia seems to be a lot more open-minded than the UK and nobody at work mentioned it apart from a couple of people who said it looked nice.
P.s. One last thing I have to mention is that most people seems to think dreads smell cos you don’t wash them – this is bollocks!
You don’t have to wash them if you don’t want to but it’s no different to normal hair and I will be continuing my normal weekly washing routine.