As a professional hairstylist, who is also expert at making

dreadlocks, I often get a few dread “researchers” who are definitely disappointed that I do not have locks flowing down my back.  I guess they associate the hair with a lifestyle so today I want to discuss: what do dreadlocks symbolize? To many of the clients I have been allowed to start on their journey or just to help lessen the speed bumps on the way, it meant many things.  

As a young girl I observed the social pressures

many Rastafarians endured to keep their hair.  People with dreadlocks have it quite easy now because of the trials and tribulations they overcame. The songs from Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and other reggae artists were not only for listening pleasure but for motivation from everyday stresses.  To see people on Facebook and other platforms who have been defeated by mere words is the reason I wrote this post. What do dreadlocks symbolize for you?  You need to know why you do anything so here are a few reasons people have given me for doing dreads:


  • Religion:  Rastafarians use it as a sign of their religious beliefs.  Others may not have a formal religion but feel growing their hair is connecting them with their spirituality.
  • Freedom:  After years of being forced by society and family to use relaxers and other chemicals to straighten their hair.  Black women who had these issues wholeheartedly embraced adulthood and the chance to finally wear their hair in its’ natural form.  Men who had long wanted to grow their hair to have many hairstyling options aside from a fade also love the freedom of Locks.
  • Scalp relief:  Black women who had used relaxers for years and now had experienced hair loss and pain, adopted the style because it released them from repeating the “madness” every six weeks.
  • Rebel With A Cause:  Many children downtrodden by family choose the style because it was likely to drive the parents nuts!  All their life they conformed to parental pressure and this was their way of getting back.
  • Green footprint:  There are some people who believe the hair is to be left to grow freeform and take pleasure in  it’s wildness.
  • Cool, fun fashion:  many people today only like the look!  They seriously do not care about anything but the hairstyle in case you still have those old school beliefs and prejudices.
  • Natural Way To Grow Longer hair:  For many people who have longed to grow the hair longer, this is by far the most successful method.


Call (613) 789-2179 For An Appointment If You Are In the Ottawa, Ontario Area.
  • For those who have never considered  what do dreadlocks symbolize on a personal level,  I hope this has helped you find a reason for keeping it the next time someone says an unwanted comment. 

    By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design  (

    Buy my e-book:  Dreadlocks:  A Hairstylist’s Manifest (