Dreads, dreadlocks or locs is a hairstyle primarily worn by people of African descent. The hair is sectioned off, then each section is twisted by using either a two-strand or a coiled technique. In the beginning stages of locking your hair, leave it alone. Don't wash your hair, or even touch it excessively for at least a month. Give your strands a chance to settle, tangle and intertwine. When you start seeing "buds" (a pea-sized clump of hair in each twist), you'll know you're on the right track.
The budding stage of dreads can be exciting; it means your locks are finally getting to the point where they won't unravel during shampooing, sleeping, sweating and other strenuous activity. Buds occur either toward the middle of the dread lock or at the end; they are a pea-sized tangle of hair that indicates your separate strands of hair are locking into place.
Length of Time
You will arrive at the budding stage about three months after you initially twist your hair to anticipate the growth of dreadlocks. The stage when you first twist your hair is often referred to as "Coils." Once your hair begins to bud, this is known as "Budding" or "Sprouting." The budding stage can last anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on the texture, length and thickness of your hair.
Be patient with your hair during this time. Realize that locking your hair is a process and it won't happen overnight. Suppress your impulses to twist your hair excessively to keep it looking "neat" or pat and press down your hair because it doesn't look exactly the way you want it to, or wear hats or scarves because you're self-conscious. Leaving your hair alone in the beginning stages is a large part of growing dreadlocks successfully. Every two weeks or so, run your hands through your hair and feel whether the parts you initially separated are still sectioned off, or whether your twists are beginning to grow and bud towards other twists rather than simply budding within themselves. If you notice this happening, gently pull your twists apart.
What Comes Next
After the budding stage comes the "locking stage," also known as the "teenage" stage. It means your dreads aren't babies anymore. but they aren't quite grown up. The buds will expand within your twists until all the strands in your original coil are wrapped up, tangled and intertwined within each other. During this stage, your hair will fall down naturally (rather than sticking up) and begin to look like what you imagined when you first decided to lock your hair.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.