Choosing the stylist who starts your dreads is the most important decision you’ll make in this process. It’s kind of a big deal! Dreadlocks are tough to change once started, and mistakes or miscommunications in the creation of your locks can leave you uncomfortable and unhappy, and potentially lead to costly overhauls. Here are 7 things to consider when looking for a loctician you can trust.
- How much experience does the stylist have? Are they a specialist in dreadlocks? Ten years of hairdressing experience is wonderful, but someone who does dreads ‘once in a blue moon’ in between highlights and trims can hardly be considered an expert. A stylist with fewer years, but daily experience, with dreadlocks may be the better option. If you can find a loctician with experience and traditional hair schooling you’ve hit the jackpot; with knowledge of color, cut and style they’ll be able to offer you more options than someone with a less rounded skill set, and you know they’ve been trained in proper sanitation procedures to keep you safe.
- What techniques does the stylist use, and are they appropriate for your texture? Not all dread methods will work for all types of hair, so do your homework! Make absolutely sure your potential loctician has experience working with your hair’s specific texture.
- Are there photos of the stylist’s work you can look at? Is your hair texture represented here? Look for a stylist with a portfolio featuring various hair types; there’s no better way to see if the loctician is able to produce the end result you’re looking for. Most importantly, be sure the pictures you’re looking at are actually the work of the salon you’re going to, and not photos from a Google Image search! Check for photos of more matured locks to see how the dreads will age; if they aren’t what you imagined, try another stylist with another method.
- Does the stylist offer maintenance services, as well? Many people offer creation/installation services, but a loctician who also offers maintenance on dreads will have insight on how they’ll mature, and be able to guide you through common problems associated with each stage.
- How’s the atmosphere? Whether you are in a salon or a home-based business, safety and comfort are important. Is there barbicide or similar disinfectant for combs? A suitable chair? Will you be comfortable in your surroundings for the lengthy service?
- What is the aftercare required? Will you need to revisit regularly? All dreadlocks will require some upkeep, and a few salon visits a year is totally normal, but any starter method that requires you to revisit the stylist more than once a month is not worth paying money for. Before you start your dreads, ask your potential loctician to outline a home care routine for you. If it sounds like too much work, try contacting another stylist with a different technique. Just remember, no dreadlocks are completely ‘care-free’.
- Are chemicals used? Some starter methods use perm solution or other chemicals. In the hands of a stylist professionally trained in their use, a ‘dread perm’ should not damage your hair and can yield interesting results. However, a dread perm is not necessary to start dreads in any hair type, it’s simply a preference. If you would prefer to use more natural methods, find another loctician with techniques that will work with your texture.