I was going to just put up a ramble about various things that I've been up to lately and dedicate a large part of the ramble to my burning envy of natural African hair (my hair is straight, like the tracks of my tears) but literally as I started this post I realised that there's a really important point I'm going to make and it deserves a post in its own right.
It's also a point that bears keeping in mind when you're writing.
The point being:
It takes a specific kind of white person to get dreads.
Or at least it used to. Whatever the hell Kylie Jenner thinks she's playing at has somewhat muddied the waters, but I can't see that lasting.
Because dreadlocks look awful on white people and are really bad for straighter and oilier hair types (which includes you, Japan. Don't think I haven't noticed this trend). It won't take long for people who actually care about their physical appearance and the health of their hair to notice that the dreads look dirty, are dirty and are putting completely unnecessary stress on their hair.
Now, don't misconstrue that, I said they look and are dirty on people with straighter and oilier hair types. I never said that they look or are dirty on black people. Natural African hair and natural European hair (which is our main concern in this post) are two very different animals.
You can see this just through traditional methods of maintaining and dressing hair.
Just sixty years ago it wasn't unusual for white women to only wash their hair once every two weeks, and a scant few decades before that, white women would avoid washing their hair for as long as they could. This often meant upwards of a month.
What did they do instead? They brushed their hair with boar bristle brushes and combed their hair with wooden combs. This evenly distributed the oils down into the length of the hair and allowed it to be conditioned. What they couldn't reach with their natural oils, they supplemented with botanical oils.
Let me be clear here, they did this every day.
Hair styles could be left in, but not for more than a few days at a time.
Contrast this with African hair care which developed the 'protective style'.
Natural African hair can't handle the same amount of combing and brushing as European hair. Because of the nature of tight kinks and curls the hair is more fragile and needs to be protected from environmental stress. The scalp is also less oily, so brushing the hair everyday wouldn't have the same effect as it does on a European head anyway.
Protective styles include things like canerows(/cornrows), mini twists, box braids and dreadlocks.
How long can you leave these in?
This depends on a number of factors, but with proper upkeep and depending on the style and the individual, somewhere between three weeks and a couple of months.
Dreadlocks specifically have a potential life of years if properly maintained. I had a hard time finding out about natural African dreadlocks because if you search for information about them on Google then you're going to encounter a lot of white people explaining how to do it on natural European hair.
|White People: Ruining everything for everybody.|
Because they are, and that kind of person is a dirty hippie.
You know the type, organic food, probably vegan, sometimes a raw foodie, goes on about mother nature and the 'chemicals' in everything. Maybe an anti-vaxxer, possibly into new age religions, that kind of person.
Basically every parent's worst nightmare during the Nixon administration.
Notice earlier that I said people who actually care about their appearance and the health of their hair. Dirty hippies do not care about their appearance.
Well, not in the sense that the average square Joe does, you dig? (I know that's more beatnik than hippie, but it'll do.)
Being a hippie means not conforming to society's standards on things, which includes appearance. Since white society values clean, sleek and styled hair, these people have chosen a hair style that has been considered ugly and 'dirty' by white society and decided to roll with it.
All without understanding why dreadlocks were considered undesirable in the first place.
Natural European hair doesn't lock, it mattes. The only way to get European hair to look like dreads is to matte it, so to people who didn't know the difference, dreadlocks would look dirty.
Yeah, hippies are basically like those early European douches who originally coined the term, they do not know the difference between locked hair and matted hair. All they care about is the artifice, the appearance.
They want to appear natural and down to earth, so they wear their hair in a way that they think advertises that, despite the fact that natural European hair cared for by traditional methods does not look like that.
Wanna know what it does look like?
|Yeah, that's her own hair. She was famous for it.|
|You can find information on her haircare here.|
So the only thing to do is to appropriate hair dressing techniques developed for a completely different ethnic group.
So yeah, if you're writing a white character and you're considering giving them dreadlocks, this is the kind of person you're going to make them look like. A pretentious idiot who doesn't understand how their own hair works.
Since I am attempting to illuminate here, here's a link to a website that has information on the upkeep of natural African hair types, go and research my children and write natural African hair appropriately.
Please don't just take my word here, you've seen me, I'm clearly not an expert.