People fear what they understand or relate to.
And for a very long time, people feared anyone with dreadlocks.
Did you know that an English medical researcher wrote a paper theorizing that dreadlocks were an external indicator of mental illness? It was written in 1843.
Society might be a little more accepting of dreadlocks, but not as much as it should be in the 21st century.
And that is because there are people who have a lot to learn about dreadlocks.
Here are some surprising facts about dreadlocks that you may not know.
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Related: Will DreadLocks Damage My Hair?
It Takes Sacrifice and Years to Grow Dreadlocks
You can't just develop dreadlocks overnight. The closest hairstyle you can get in a few hours that resemble dreadlocks is twisted coiled faux-locs.
Growing dreadlocks require months or years of grooming sacrifice, depending on the texture of your hair. Curly and kinky hair will twist and coil into dreadlocks easier and faster than straight hair.
You need to gently twist and coil individual hair segments with your fingers or palms every day. You could even stop combing or brushing your hair, and your hair will slowly start locking up.
You could also start backcombing your hair from the tip towards the scalp.
Dreadlocks are coiled hair follicles that lock and cling together. The tips of your dreadlocks can become so matted that the hair becomes permanently locked.
It could take a few months or as long as two years for your dreadlocks to fully form. Dreadlocks are not an overnight style, you can assume.
You Can Detangle Your Dreadlocks
Another surprising fact about dreadlocks is that it is not a permanent style. You can detangle and reverse the follicle locking of your hair.
But it won't be a quick process. It will take hours to detangle your dreadlocks. And you will need to sacrifice a length of dreadlocks just to start the process.
The longer that you have dreadlocks, the more permanently fused and matted your follicles will be at their ends.
For example, if your dreadlocks hang down to your shoulder or waistline, then a few inches from the tip will need to be cut. Your dreadlocks follicle ends are so fused and matted that they can't be separated.
Even if you could detangle them, the follicles would probably rip and tear as you do.
Then a little more may need to be cut since your new ends will most likely be split ends.
Each dreadlock is a coiled latticework of locked hair follicles. But the nearest to your scalp and mid-length are less locked than the ends.
So, you will need to oil up each dreadlock generously and continuously. Then with a rattail comb, you will have to untangle every follicle.
The process could take hours. Or even days if done in shifts.
Strangers Will Ask to Touch Your Dreadlocks
In 2022, dreadlocks regularly trend on social media and are popular because celebrities like Justin Bieber and Jay-Z wear them.
But it can be easy to forget that anyone who wore dreadlocks, especially black people, was considered socially undesirable.
This stigma still exists today, but modern society is a little more accepting of dreadlocks than in recent decades.
Depending on where you live and the social attitudes of your region, dreadlocks may seem like a very exotic and frightening hairstyle to strangers.
And the only thing that may be more annoying than being unfairly stigmatized for your dreadlocks is being treated like an alien by people who have never seen dreadlocks up close.
Don't be surprised by curious people who want to overcome their fear and ignorance by invading your personal space and asking to touch your dreadlocks.
Stand your ground. Most other people would be highly offended if the situation were reversed.
You can appreciate someone's curiosity without letting them touch your hair or invade your space.
You Will Save a Lot of Money on Hair Products
Dreadlocks are developed slowly and naturally over a few or dozens of months. You should use organic grooming products for hygiene like any hairstyle, but you don't need to use them as often for regular hair.
The traditional hair grooming market is flooded with products full of synthetic, harmful, and sometimes toxic chemicals.
Straightening your hair with a hot comb burns and damages your hair. And you must put caustic chemicals on your hair and scalp to chemically straighten your hair. Chemical straighteners unnaturally modify the molecules in your hair.
And if you leave them on your head for too long, you will suffer severe chemical burns.
And most people pay a lot of money to use unnatural and toxic hair care products.
The average American woman spends about $450 annually at the least on hair grooming products. Another study found that women spend about $55,000 over their lifetime on hair care products.
You will pay a fraction of that on organic hair grooming products for your dreadlocks.
People Will Make Ignorant Assumptions About You
Life is very unfair. We previously mentioned that society is a little more accepting of dreadlocks, but that is mainly in the case of celebrities, athletes, or businesspeople.
And unless you are a celebrity, most people will personally attribute or openly express unfair and ignorant stigmatizations and stereotypes about your dreadlocks.
People may assume you smoke marijuana, are Rastafarian, or are militantly engaged in civil rights for black people.
Or they may assume that your hair is dirty because of its appearance.
People may automatically assume that they understand you and know where you are from because they listened to Bob Marley once years ago.
They may insist you are from Jamaica, Haiti, or somewhere in the Caribbean without waiting for confirmation.
They may even raise an eyebrow in surprise if you don't speak with a Caribbean accent.
Unless someone physically accosts you, it's best just to ignore ignorant people trying to get a rise out of you to validate their own sad beliefs.
Like Jay-Z once said, never argue with fools. People from a distance can't tell who is who.
You Can be Fired and Discriminated Against Legally for Your Dreadlocks
In 2019, a high school wrestler was forced to cut off his dreadlocks before a match because the referee arbitrarily decided on the spot that it was against the rules. The wrestler's hair was never a problem before.
The referee was later suspended. The state of New Jersey later passed a law banning hair discrimination. Only a handful of states passed laws that prohibit hair discrimination.
And unfortunately, it is entirely legal on the federal level to discriminate against and fire someone from a job for wearing dreadlocks.
A federal court decided in 2016 that while dreadlocks have been culturally associated with the Black race, it is not an "immutable" characteristic.
In other words, employers have a right to enforce race-neutral workplace grooming policies. And it is not discrimination to deny a job interview or fire someone for wearing dreadlocks as a hairstyle.
Unfortunately, this ruling seems to assume that hiring discrimination based on race is something that does not exist. Federally enforced laws exist to stop job hiring discrimination, primarily because of race.
This ruling provides legal cover for any employer to hide behind if they want to discriminate against people with dreadlocks, especially black people.
You may one day have to justify your dreadlocks to get or keep a job.
Only buy organic and all-natural dreadlock grooming products from Lion Locs.