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Whilst many people believe dreadlocks were invented by the Rastafari Movement, they have been around much longer than that. However, it was certainly the popularity of reggae music and Bob Marley who made 'dreads' trendy in the 1970s.
The earliest record of dreadlocks dates back around 3600 years to the Minoan Civilisation. The technique was also popular with the Ancient Egyptians, and mummified remains of dreadlock wigs have been discovered.
Dreadlocks spread throughout the world, worn by everyone from holy men to warriors, and Spartans to the famous Whirling Dervishes.
Despite the far-reaching popularity of dreads, there is still a lot of confusion as to how they are made. Sometimes referred to as locs or Jata, a dreadlock is basically a braid. However, they can also be made by matting, rolling, backcombing, and a technique known as 'twist and rip'.
Twist and rip involves twisting sections of hair towards the scalp to create knots. This is considered a natural way of forming dreads. It is similar to the 'free forming' or 'neglect' technique, which basically means leaving your hair unwashed and uncombed until dreads form!
If you want some uniformity to your dreads, it's better to go for a salon or 'manicured' technique.
It's best to choose a salon that specialises in dreads and can also advise you on caring for your new look. Some salons use a technique called a dread perm, which basically means using rods and chemical to trick the hair into locks.
Dreads can also be made using a hook, a bit like an old fashioned crochet hook. This is a method used for tightening and maintaining existing dreadlocks, too. Dread experts say the crochet hook method is quicker and doesn't hurt as much. You don't lose length, either.
As you would imagine, there are plenty of myths about dreadlocks, the main one being that they are dirty. The truth is, dreads need to be washed regularly just like any other hairstyle. There is a particular way of doing this - and it's more like washing a sponge. It's recommended you use residue-free soaps and shampoos.
Another misconception is that dreads are high maintenance. Again, not true. The process of forming the dreads is lengthy, and the first month requires some effort to perfect the look, but overall they are low maintenance.
It is for this reason that many sportsmen and women adopt the look. It's an easy style when you're busy training and competing. Interestingly, it's not restricted to track athletes - dreads are now very popular in professional American football.
There are some quite outrageous dreadlock rumours out there. For example, dreads will damage your scalp and make your hair fall out. The truth is quite the opposite. Due to the lack of brushing and damaging chemicals - and thanks to that residue-free shampoo - dreadlocked hair is usually healthier, and grows thicker and stronger.
One of the best rumours is that when you want to get rid of your dreads, you have to shave your head. It's true that you will need to have the dreads cut out, but you will still have some length of hair. You certainly don't need to shave your head.
In much the same way as braids, dreadlocks still offer plenty of versatility. Leave them loose, tie them up, wrap them around your head, decorate them - just use your imagination. One thing's for sure, it's a popular look for celebs right now - why, even Justin Bieber has tried them!
We recommend searching for dreadlocks here on Bookwell, to find a salon in your area, and then ask for their advice. Remember you can always try the style out first with dreadlock extensions.