2005
10.31

There are two basic ways to remove dreadlocks – and yes, there are ways to do it without cutting your hair, contrary to popular belief.

Myths:

* The only way to remove dreads is to shave your head, or cut them off very close to the scalp.

* If you don’t shave your head, removing dreadlocks is painful and damaging to the scalp and hair.

Fact:

* It is possible to have dreads, and then remove them no matter how long you may have had them.
Here are the 2 basic methods.

1. Shave or cut dreads

By far the easiest method of dreadlock removal if you don’t wish to save any of your hair.

Materials:

* scissors and/or clippers

Duration:

* less than an hour

Directions:

Whether you want to shave close or cut leaving an inch or so of hair is entirely up to you.

1. Begin by using scissors to cut the dreads off one at a time near the root where the hair is less tangled, and then shaving clean with clippers if you so desire.

(You can also leave 4-6 inches and pick out that amount of hair with a lot of conditioner and a strong metal comb if you are willing to put in a little more work in order to keep some hair. For picking instructions – see below).

2. Finish by washing your scalp and remaining hair thoroughly.

2. Picking out dreadlocks

Extremely time consuming but very successful if you are willing to put the time in.

Materials:

* strong comb (preferably metal)
* high quality de-greasing shampoo
* high quality verrrry slippery conditioner

Note* We recommend the Knotty Boy removal kit, for removing dreadlocks. it has both, they also have metal combs for a good price. It is possible that you will run out of conditioner if you have really long hair or a lot of hair, so you can supplement this with another quality conditioner to finish the job.

Duration:

* up to 15 hours total, depending on your locks. We are serious about this. Typically 4-8 hours but we have heard of it taking 2 days!

Directions:

1. Lay in a bath and soak your dreads completely for at least 10 minutes.

2. Wash dreadlocks thoroughly with shampoo, and with water as hot as you can safely stand it. This will help melt the wax or whatever greasiness has built up over the years. Do this by working small amounts of shampoo into each section of each dreadlock to get the soap into the middle as much as possible.

3. Rinse

4. Work conditioner into each dreadlock and begin to GENTLY pick each dread out carefully with a metal comb, beginning from the bottom and working your way up to the scalp. This will take a LONG time – but be patient – you will get your hair back.

5. Once you have picked out all of your dreads, condition all of your hair again with a lot of conditioner and allow it to sit in your hair for 5 minutes. This will help repair some of the damage caused by picking.

6. Go to a salon and get yerself a nice new hairstyle!

274 comments so far

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  1. im in the process of taking mine out as i type. ive been doing it in a process wheni havethe time. it can hurt and my scalp is sore afterwards but i have all the length back and after i was it the hiar feels just as it did before. dreaded for a year, may put them backone day<3

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  2. Hi. I am getting rid of my locs this summer. Ive been interlocking them for about 2 years now. Can I still pick them out or do i have to cut them? And when they are out is it okay to get box braids as a protective style?

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  3. hi all, read all your comments last night and started to pull out one of my but-length 4a hair-type locks, i got really nervous when i realized a lot of my hair was breaking, but i didn’t give up. with conditioner, lotion a small metal comb i was able to pull one out, my locks are as thick as a woman’s thumb, so it took me 4 hours, 40 more locks to go, also, i only managed to salvage half the length of the lock, so about the length of my bra strap. i ran into some knots from times i interlocked my hair, those were hard to get past. not sure yet if i’m gonna continue, but just wanted to say, it works and is doable, so go for it!

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  4. Hey, I’m 13 turning 14 and I have had my dreads for about 6-7 years. But now I want to take them out. My question is, how could I convince my dad to let me take them out and what would be the best way for me to do it since I’ve had it in for quite awhile, thanks you.

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  5. I haven’t had dreads for very long just a little over a year, though much has happened that has caused me to carry negativity and even though i love my dreads i feel it might be time to truly free myself from the emotions i’ve been carrying. so my question is if i undo my dreads will i feel free of that or should i just cut them all off and start new? because id love to have longer hair but my concern is i wont truly feel better. more like ive failed my dreadys.

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    • Everybody, don’t let the haters bring you down. It’s YOUR hair, and your the one who needs to look in the mirror everyday and love yourself for who you are, don’t let other people change that. ☺️

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  6. I have dreads for 15 years and want them out I live in brooklyn ny can u tell where I can go to get this done

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  7. Help my hairs gone into one MASIVE dread. What’s the best way to get this out ? I’ve already lost so much hair trying. It’s been there about 5mths now please help.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  8. I have a dreadlock. I don’t purposely do it, but my hair gets really tangled, and my mom has to pick it out. Tonight, my mom brought her friends over, and they want to see my hair down. I do mot want to show them! What do I do?

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    • Try this product, it’s made just for tangle-y hair!

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  9. i had my dreads four 13yrs cut them off ;and now want them back oh i kept every one ;now some tell me can it be done and where and i know its going to cost help me somebody

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  10. I have had dreadlocks for about 2 years I did them when I was 12 and had got them messed up had to take them out. So I started again at14 and I’m now 16 and I wanted to take them out before I graduate because I have taken some out in the back and liked how my natural hair had looked I wanted to know should I take them out or not wanting someone else’s opinion

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  11. Hey there! I was just wondering if there is some advice as you guys seem to know a lot about hair.

    I have really thick, curly hair and I recently let it grow long. Now it matts and tangles up and my dad thought it couldn’t be undone so decided to CHOP OFF a section of my hair. Now it’s tangled again and I thought to check out some dreadlock removal tips and these would help but now I have big bald patches in my hair. How could I prevent this from looking ridiculous while it grows back? I really don’t want to cut all my hair off. Thanks in advance – Kayt.

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  12. I cut my dreads and I have balds spots where the parts was in my hair.Any cure from this

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  13. are there any salons in southern california, specifically near the san diego area, that can do this for me?

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  14. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Wait …if your hair locks and un dread able after you wait too long to change your mind you will have to cut your hair.

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  15. Can you pick your dreads out without usingthe knotty boy removal kit?

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  16. I had kinky twists for 4 months and I just took them down yesterday. My hair is thicker and retained a lot of length but I have one problem half of my head has locked !!!! it starts at the midroot and its pissing me off considering I just started my natural hair journey and this shit happens! Helpppppppp!!!!

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  17. hi!i naturally have straight hair, but i want dreadlocks. dreadlocks look unique and i think they look great on the right people. i just wanted to know if it was extremely difficult to take out before i get them. please someone reply. thanks!

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    • It depends on how fast your hair will lock up.If you have them for a short time you can wash them out but if you have them for a long time and they really lock then your easiest way out to cut your hair.

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  18. I’ve had my dreads since I was three (thirteen now) and I think I want to take them out. When I talked to my parents about it, they said that I’d had them too long to pick them out, and they won’t listen to me every time I tell them that I can. I just want a change and don’t want to cut all my hair. Any advice on how to convince the non-believers that it can be done?

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    • Price it can be done ny picking it out yourself is one simple solution :-P

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      • uh… no im a dread stylest for one yes you would have to pick it out but you can also heat it out as well thats the most easyest way out if you want your hair back i did it myself and to my girlfriend

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  19. After reading the steps to taking out dreads by picking them out all I gotta say is its much more simpler than that. All I did was get a cup and filled it with water then one by one, starting from the back I would dip my dread lock in and let it soak in there for less than a minute and then with a metal end of a comb I picked them out. It naturaly took 10-15 minutes to take each dread out and almost 2 weeks to finish. I’ll admit I got lazy at times, but now I have my regular hair and I LOVE IT!! When I get my hair done in a salon my stylist always says I have really nice hair. I dont relax it or straighten it a lot and my gair grows beautifully everyday. When I first took out my dreads my hair was at least on my shoulders and now in a year my hair is touching my bra strap. I did recently cut it to a little past my shoulders, I never was fond of long hair, but ALL I’M SAYING IS GO FOR IT!

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    • Wow
      Im thinking about taking out my 450 sistalocks. You give me hope by saying you were able to keep most of your hair. I am simply ready for my regular hair once again.

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    • nice :]

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  20. I need somewhere/someone to take my dreads out. Ive done about 20 of them and I’m seriously losing my patience, I’m willing to pay well for anyone who can get them out in a couple days
    P.s. I’m brushing them out and I’m NOT willing to cut them

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    • where are you located? If anywhere near Kansas City, text me 816.287.0289

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  21. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • It’s not fair to say that. I’ve never once heard dreadlocks hold a conversation, or even exchange idle courtesies. To call them “discussing” is to attribute a level of social capability which only higher animals (mostly mammals) can achieve. As much as I love my dreads, they cannot talk.

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  22. I had my locs from since i was 7 and now i am 12 . My locs are becoming stress, but my mom says that i have to wait until i am 16 but i can’t wait any more.What should i do?

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    • I know how you feel. I had mine since I was 9 (16 now) and my mom just now letting mine get out well… Because I have a job. I’m going to take them down today and I will make sure to tell you how/long it took and everything. Regular hair here I come!

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  23. I have had my locks since I was five and I’m thirteen now.I want my natural hair back but now its way too thin and if I try to comb it it falls out. I wish I could have natural hair like the other girls in school and I am bullied and called ugly because of my locks.they’re very thick and are down to my lower back. I just want to be a normal teenage middle schooler but my hair holds me back. I am the only girl in school with locks and people treat me like dirt. I need some tips on taking my hair out. I have taken a short one out and it is thin and extremely curly and breaks if pulled too hard. Help me!

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    • First of all, don’t let anything people say about your hair put you down; it’s YOUR hair, you should be able to do anything you want with it. I know how you feel, I’ve had dreads since I was three and I’m thirteen now. I’ve always been the only person at my school with dreads, and I’m often bullied about it as well. I’ve been thinking of taking mine out, too, but because I want a different style.

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    • i really know how you feel….i mean i started locs when i was eleven and it was for my early birthday.In the seventh grade,i was really made fun of about my locs.I was the only black girl with locs and i was called names,i was humiliated and taunted by the mean cruel people.same people would always ask me,”When are you going to get a perm?” or “when are you going to take it out?” Or they would ask me were them locs or dreads in my hair. I’ve had people call me waka flaca(i know that’s really stupid) and medusa.I was really depressed and persuaded my mother to allow me to take them out but i knew it would really take hours and i was really angry about that…but i just had to defend my self and keep my head up high…i’ve really had bad com ments about my hair and i still do. all my advice imma give to you is no matter what them people say,keep your head up high and ignore the mean people because they are your haters and i still do have haters.

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  24. It isnt damaging to Takedown Locs. Two methods: Dry ( by picking loc w/ any type of creme) or Wet ( by picking loc saturated w/ water and conditioner). Time frame: 30 mins – 1hr per loc. Tools: rat tail comb, dental pick, sewing tool or just a comb. Check out: Kameelean and libberation on Youtube, also my own video @ http://youtu.be/UtBCsOZjxjc

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  25. After 5 years and dread length down to my butt,I decided to take mine out. They were getting too heavy after washing and it was giving me a headache,I had a week off to do this so I figured why not. It took a total of 50 + hours to do this,but I had my length back. I used WEN and a metal comb and when I was done,I had hair to the middle of my back and 2 pounds of waste hair in a bag! I miss them already,but in time I might get them put back in.

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  26. Ive never had dreads but i want them i just turned 13 and my mom let me.

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      • They are not nasty! I have weashed mine weekly and retightened them each week since they have been in. They are only nasty if you don’t clean them regularly.

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    • dont get it im 13 and i got it and im trying to take it out

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  27. umm dude do whatcha wanna do. dreads are beautiful if well kept and if not, they can look messy which is unattractive. some people can pull off anything!

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  28. i had dreads since i was 9 years old. now i am 12 and i want my dreads out so i can get brads. but my sister and mom say i should keep them till i am 35 or older. what should i do plz help me plz comment and tell me.

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    • Both dreadlocks and braids are very cool. Since dreadlocks do take such a long time to fully mature, it’s really cool that you already have 3 years under your belt! However, they can always be redone if you end up not liked braids. And in the end, it ultimately should be about what YOU want to do.

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  29. Ok I just started combing/picking my “locs” out because I wanted a change. I loved them a lot (13 years)! But it’s time for a change. It’s a process. I do a little each day. You need patience most of all but I find the olive oil cholesterol cream with the conditioner works best. Oh plenty of all water! Saturate your hair. It was a journey growing them ( I have very fine, curly hair) so I know it will be a journey combing them out. I’m loving the change. Good luck to all……
    To each, his own!

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    • Were you able to comb them out??? I am curious if it really can be done or do I have to cut my hair…

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      • Hi, I haven’t taken out all of mine yet. However, I have had success with 6 locks. I used water on 3 and nothing on the others. Each one took about 30-1 hour. The time varied because I have different textures throughout. I’ve been locked for 7.5 years and they are to my waist. I’ll try the conditioner next just to see if it’s quicker. Good luck.

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      • I am in the middle of combing mine out and im close to half way done I believe! U most definitly can comb them out .I took a portable mirror put it on the table and put on a movie to keep me occupied. Its a bit time consuming but for me worth it ! So the answer is yes u can take them out and ull have ur regular hair back . If u havr any questions Bout taking urs out feel free to ask me :)

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        • I took my son dreads out he said it hurts my problem is washing it cause it gets so tangle and it is so nappy when u comb it.what’s the best way to comb it so it want hurt. His head is sore and he want let me comb it.

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  30. Hi I’m male and I’ve had my dreads since last year and I have very soft hair and still my dreads are not locked all the way til this day so I’m trying to decide whether I should cut the dreads or take them out because their not locked all the way

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  31. I have natural dreadlocks starting right away from my scalp, thickness around 1 inch and length is around 10 inches, they are glued and merged into each other like bunch of small roots as my hairs are curly and I never combed them. so what’s the easiest way to extract from each other without shaving them.

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    • first of all the reason they are fused together is because you didnt take care of them.You could try cutting them down the middle which will make one big lock be aware the other parts may be cut off. Good LUCK

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    • This will hurt like hell— but get a few buddies over, start drinking and once you are buzzed have your buddies take two conjoined locs at a time and pull them apart… The hair wont rip- it will seperate and the locks will become individuals… Next- wash your hair and PALM ROLL!!! Then every 2 weeks go through your hair and pull apart any growth. BINGO! Done.

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  32. so my names Adriana and i got my dreads at 10. My mom actually tricked me. she said i was going to the salon to get twist. so i was a little 10 year old girl and thought hey twist will be cute. after getting them a few months passed and i asked my mom “when am i going to get my hair done” she told me soon. as i went to school people-even my best friend- asked “adri you know i love you but let me be honest. when you gonna get your hair done” i asked my mom and then she said i was growing locks. i was only ten i didnt really care but now when i turned 14 a few months ago i started to miss my old natural hair. my mom said im old enough to decide and make my own decisions and if i wanted to “cut” them out i could. i asked her if i could take them out without cutting them off. because my hair is down my back not by a lot but it is. she told me No because my hair would be damaged forever it would be ugly. so its summer now im going to virginia and while im there im going to take them out without cutting them. hopefully my mom wont be pissed but i dont really care its my life right, you only live once :D

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      • it’s your hair, and it can be done, just make sure you are doing the best way not to lose to cuch hair, Good Luck

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  33. I really like the look of dreads, but I only want a couple, like near the nape of my neck. I’ve seen this on a couple of people and I was wondering if it’s normal. Any comments?

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    • I have 7 dreads around that area :) they look awesome, no regrets

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    • i sarted out with 2….my “tie arounds” now half my head is done…. <3 them… you dont have to do it all to do it!!! just take care of them or your other hair will start to get entrapped in them <3 good luck

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  34. - I’ve had my dreads since March now & only because I’m being forced into this hairstyle . Well i’ll have to keep these for 3 years until I graduate . I get them like updated every two weeks & have somewhat of a lot of hair . Will this work for me when I can take my dreads out in 3 years ?

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  35. ive had my sisterlocks in for 11 months and it is too expensive to maintain i want to take them out

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  36. I am considering getting dreadlocks. I’ve always wanted them after seeing my Rasta cousin with his knotty dreads. I’m hesitant because what if later, I feel like un-tangling them? I’m lazy :p

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  37. I’ve had my locks now for five years. I love them. I can do all the things with them that most women can do without them and more. I curl them, I braid them, I wear cute hair accessories, I pin them up, I dye them. I get compliments on my locks all the time. So why am I on this page? Because I want to join the military and unfortunately locks are not allowed. I figure I can get my locks back whenever I want but I won’t always be able to get into officer candidacy school. So I want to wear some other natural hair style while I’m in the military and go back to my locks once I get out. So thanks for the info. No need doing a big cut if I don’t have to.

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  38. I really want to get dread locks but am scared to get them ..is it worth it

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  39. Hi everyone. I grew up with my natural hair , but then i turned 11 & my mom decides to get me DREADS!!!!! Now im 13 & i still hate them. Im bullied & teased & i never wanted locks. Everytie i cry & beg my mom if i could take them out ( Ive tookin out about a few noqw & twisted them back so i wont get in trouble ) She talks about jesus , & natural hair blah blah blah blah. But i want to be able to sleep over my best friends house & paint nails & braid eachothers hair. I want to wear bangs & Have cute bows with my hair. Okay “Jesus had dreads. its my natural hair” If so, how come i came out the womb with curly soft hair . . . . thats my natural hair & i want it back. You cant blame me for wanting to be a GIRL!!!!! ITS MY LIFE LET ME LIVE IT. . . . lol sorry i went journal entry on yall , but yea there comin OUT In 5 days , my birthday Wish ME LUCK :)

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    • hi im 12 .i got dreads when i was 5 . sometimes i cry because i want to be able to dye my hair and cut it but my rents’ wont let me i want to cut it all out sometimes but then i get worried “what if i want them back after i cut them ” any advice? p.s im emo . but the dreadz kinda kill the emo look *sigh * dont know what to do? :(

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      • well if im honest i can’t really speak for you. if you decide to make the decision of cutting out your dreads then go for it. maybe you’ll miss them but you can always get them back. and if its something you really want then do it. and i know some emo girls and yea it kind of does kill the emo look lol

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    • obvious troll is obvious

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  40. i am 11 and had my dreads since i was 2 yrs old. i want my hair out because i go on google and to school and see beautiful pretty girls with long hair and all the boys tell me that I’m pretty but my hair i mean dreads make me ugly i wanna do this because i want to have pretty hair I’m hoping it will work #ipray

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    • What? I think everybody here would agree that dreads are beautiful, no? I know this sounds cheesy, but I think the most beautiful people are the ones who do their own thing and don’t care about what others think. Today’s media industry tells us that we women have to look a certain way and dress a certain way, because this is how they manage to sell us more and more things that we don’t need, and keep us locked into a system of slavery – to all look the same believing that this is what beauty is. If you start looking to change yourself in order to fit in with some kind of mold of what ‘pretty’ is, you will get caught in an endless trap. Girl, keep it BEAUTIFUL keep it RASTA and don’t be afraid to be that freaky girl: secretly, other girls will envy you because they don’t have the courage, and the (more interesting) boys will be drawn in by your mystique.

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      • you tell it sistah !!!! i ve had dreads for 7 years now !! EMBRACE THE RASTA !!!!

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          • hey urself, thats not cool raggin on people u dont know, let them have their own opinion please, and if u look at the constitution, maybe they moved here from great britain just so they could say rasta, and now ur screwin it all up for them. arent rastafarians supposed to be laid back and easy going and nice to people? cuz ur coming off like a bit of a prick. lahdamercy.

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        • how old are you now

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    • Your hair doesnt define your beauty! Your beautiful because of who you ARE. If you choose to unlock your hair let that decision be based on a personal style preference and NOT the approval of your peers.

      Good luck Beloved

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    • Sweet heart kids are cruel and when you get older you will realize how much their opinion DOES NOT matter in the grand scheme of the world.

      Trust me honey there are plenty of people who will find your locks lovely, and beautiful. ( trust me I get compliments everyday). Be confident, even if you don’t feel like it…and less people will mess with you.

      I’m combing out my dreads only because I did not take good care of them, and I know until I restart them I will miss every inch of them.

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  41. So I had a dread my dreads for over four years. And I’m thinking of taking it down. My hair falls almost to the middle of my back.Can I keep all of my length if i detangle it very carefully?

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  42. now, this is the link that’ll work world-wide….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ywx5_S4ps8M

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  43. so, you combe them out while they are still wet? normaly wet hair is much more hard to combe because the hot water opens the hair-joints…this is the way they DO dread…normaly…..has anybody tried conidioning them very much, then blowtrying them and combing then????
    any experience?

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  44. This is useful – my mom’s best friend spent 2 weeks in the hospital with waist-length curly hair. 3/4 of her hair is now in 1 dread at the back of her head. We’ve combed through half of it, and this is encouraging to do the other half. THANK YOU for your information! It is much appreciated!

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    • I spent 1 month in the hospital n now I got the same exact situation, I don’t kno bout u n ur friend but I’m a white girl too. But my hair is soooooo thick n curly. I have a very important and Extremely formal dinner to be at Tom nite. I kno I’m gonna have to cut thru ALOT of it, but I want to try n keep as much as I can……aaaahhhhhhhh I just wanna scream. Good luck every1, GOD knows I need all the help I can get….lol

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  45. to each his own….

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  48. So If Had My Dreads For 4 Years Now And Im Thinking About Taking Them Down .Because When I Wash My Hair It HELLA Heavy And When I Dye My Hair It Break Off .But I Juss But My Head In Some VERY VERY VERY HOT Water And I Felt My Hair Getting Very Soft So I Took A Comb And Comb A Dread Out And My Mom Stopped Me And Was Like Maleaha Your Really Gonna Hate You Did This Because When You Hair Wasnt Lonq And You Complained About Me Pulling Your Hair When I Combed It Because It Hurted You Begged Me To Twist Your Hair And Let It Dread Up So Think About That And I Took One Down And LOVE<3 It Because I Just Wanted My Natural Hair Back : ]

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  50. I have had dreads since 2nd grade so about 13 yrs now… As i was growing up i always had thoughts of cutting them and as i am older i have grown to love them but i still would like to have my natural hair without the dreads. i want to know what it feels like and see my self in a different way. i am very scared because i do not want to regret this decision. my dreads are past my but and if i do go through with combing them out i want the process to be a sucess. maybe i will try to take one down and see how that goes????

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    • hey there! if you are not afrait of cutting them (so as to have fairly short hair), you can cut them and then combe the rest (shoulder length or whatever)…and if you do not like it the natural way, you can start dreading the left-over hair and then, once angain crochet your safed dreads on the “new dreads”! this works pretty well!
      I have mine for more than 10 years now, had to have them removed once for a medical treatment and are now thinking about putting them down for good….

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  51. I have undone / removed my dreads twice now-first time i had had them for five years -they were breaking off from the weight and I was getting bald ugly patches at the forehead. i did it myself over months whenever I had the chance as each one did take about an hour to detangle-heaps of conditioner oil and comb. I must say each dread would have probably two handfuls of dead hair come out and not much real hair attached was left-but i have heaps thick hair so it was good. It was very frizzy and weak but had length so I spent the money on a keratin Protein treatment($500 and it turned to silk-amazing. well worth it as Im not good with short hair due to the curl/ soon got sick of doing my hair-washing straightening and being boring so went back to dreads, but the same issues returned -itchy scalp, and balding, so out they came again-a lot easier this time though -as I detangled I replaced with a braid so end up with conditioned braids that all came out in 10 minutes. If you want to keep the length its worth it but I wish I looked ok short as it really would be heaps easier and less expensive than having to re condition the hair to just shave it off

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    • CUT IT

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