A number of the requests for maintenance at the salon have to do with ways to repair thinning
dreadlocks. Quite a few people will ask for thin dreads when they are first being made. This is fine, except as the dreads mature, they lose some “width” and slim down in the locking phase.
I let clients know that not every hair texture can sustain thin dreads for long. When the dreads are above the shoulders, they are usually fine. They will grow quite strong until they fall over the shoulders and start going down the back. This is when they are tightly locked and the hair on the scalp will be at its thinnest. The weight of the dreads naturally pull the hair until it is so thin, any pressure can rip it off. You will see this on people with these dreads that are thicker on the ends and hanging as if by a thread from the scalp.
Here are a few ways I will fix this depending on the hair type:
I use these techniques either alone or together to repair a full head, so you have to decide where each is appropriate:
- If there is a huge gap where the hair was not maintained for a long period of time and there is now a huge thin area from the scalp to the locked part of the dread;
- the hair has thinned somewhere along the shaft and is about to snap off and there is no way to crochet it together to close the gap.
Twinning: I will use this technique if:
- two dreads are beside each other and one or both is too thin to go on. I will either twist them together if they look better that way or sew them if the dreads are too thick on the ends to join nicely.
- Sometimes the dread is thick enough where it is thinning and I will run a thread through it and pull it up so it joins and fill the gap and the dreads looks seamless.
I use these techniques because I like my dreadlocks to look even and natural. People have come in with ones where hair or thread is wrapped around the area that has thinned. The problem with this is over a period of time they loosen from washing and the hair is messy.
In the quest to have the best looking dreads I am sure we will come up with more ways to repair thinning dreadlocks in the future.
By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design
Buy my e-book: Dreadlocks: A Hairstylist’s Manifest (Silkielocks.com/Amazon.com