The Case for Dreadlocks

Our African hair was meant to naturally grow in locs.
(By the way sef, is it dreadlocks or dreadlocs?)

Think about it. All that combing and stretching and braiding and “unbraiding” and de-tangling… when all the poor thing wants to do is coil up with its fellow strands, hold hands and sing Kumbayah.

Until I turned 15, I wore my hair really low. But that didn’t stop me from getting harassed everyday about not combing my hair.

“Ada, why didn’t you comb your hair?”
“Don’t you have a comb?”
“Did you comb your hair this morning?”

I kid you not when I say that I got a variation of this question/comment virtually EVERY SINGLE DAY of my life. One day I actually retorted angrily at the “Senior” who asked me that question. Let’s leave the story of the consequence of that action for some other time. At some point I started carrying a small comb with me wherever I went. I’m pretty sure this experience isn’t peculiar to me.

A little older, I grew out my hair for a few months and then came the relaxers. If I got a perm 10 times in my life, my scalp got burnt 9 out of those 10 times.

Then one day I learned that it was actually possible to wear and manage my hair just the way it is, without having to straighten it with relaxers. You dun mean it.

After two years of combing and detangling and hour-long wash days, and weekly twist outs and sleeping with scarves/satin bonnets, and dying at the hands of stylists who knew nothing about handling kinky hair, and being my own hair stylist, I started thinking about what else I could do to escape this life that the universe had chosen for me. Going back to relaxers was not an option. Nah. I’d cut off all my hair and go bald before I subjected myself to such torture again.

Though I said that I think our hair was meant to grow in locs, I still realize that “it’s not for everybody”.
It took me another year before I decided on locking my hair. I thought of everything, every possible angle, I think.

Variety – This is probably the biggest case against dreadlocs.

I’m a very basic person at heart. Simple does it for me. I don’t care about never changing my hairstyle again for the rest of my life. At some point when I still used to get braids in, I wore the same hair style for 6 months. It’d get old, I’d take it out, and get the same hair style re-done. A lot of people (African women especially) can’t come to terms with this. But hey, even with dreadlocks, you can still get a lot of hairstyles done, wear wigs etc. And the longer your locs get, the more amazing things you could do with it, per wearing it in different styles.

The Weird (dirty) Look

Just like how it looked weird to go about with our kinky hair, but it is becoming more popular and accepted, I really do think that in time, people will get used to the dreadlock look.

Convenience – I could sleep on this point.

Think about all the things you hate about dealing with your hair. Poof! Gone.
Caring for locs is a lot easier.
I don’t have to stick to any night routine before going to bed. What is a two strand twist please? Finally I can sleep without covering my hair and not wake up to a state of emergency on my head.
I can jump in the pool on a whim and not worry about my perm getting messed up, or my bantu knot out becoming history.
The rains can come and I won’t start looking for the curls I slept all night in curlformers for.
No long hours spent detangling and washing and sectioning and twisting and air drying… Oh Lord!
It’s easier to maintain a very clean head of hair, because washing your locs doesn’t mean you setting apart a whole day for it (not unless you’re Nnedi Okoroafor haha), or messing up your hairstyle.
I can for real just get up and go.

Cost – Another big one, especially in the abroad.
HAVING to spend (much more) on hair extensions and the labor cost for the more intricate styles. I spend at least 3 times less on my hair now. The hair products I need are fewer now and last longer so I can actually afford to spend more money on the more expensive high-end hair products if I want to, instead of just paying salon fees.

Length Retention – The nemesis of kinky hair
Need I dwell on this? LOL. I’ve heard people say “my hair does not grow long”.
Yes, it’s really difficult to retain length with most kinky hair types. But if you really want to surprise yourself, try dreadlocs.

Now what do you think? Are you convinced about how to go about caring for your hair in as stresslessĀ a way as possible? Tell me what you think! Am I right or amirite?


is a wanderer who doesn't like stress


  • Dekemi says:

    Thank you for this post!!!
    Oh, I had a hard time with ‘why didn’t you comb your hair’ too. Really irritating.
    I have actually toyed with locking my hair a couple of times – my major issue is getting someone to do it well (in Lagos).
    The first time I tried, I had those short, standing ones that I rocked but got tired of…so I unlocked.
    The I tried the ones that would actually ‘sleep’ and should be stylable but it looked wet and I hated the look – I want the dry locs so I unlocked again.
    My hair actually uncombable except when relaxed. I have had my natural hair for about a year (after the last relaxer stint) now and its manageable because I braid with extensions half the time. I’ve been trying to convince myself to loc again but I am not willing to spend money in case I’d hate it and take it out again.
    Can you recommend anyone/salon in Lagos that does it well?

    • Yeesha says:

      Hi Dekemi. You should try Locitude (Instagram/twitter). They’re at Dolphin Estate Ikoyi. They’re really good with locs.

  • A says:

    Haha this makes me want to try out locs. It’s been a year since i cut my very long hair and the growth has been so disappointing even though my sister says its grown pretty well. What you said about length is definitely true, and it falls out even more than when it was long. Sigh

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