The Hot New Style
"For spring, [look for] a lot of updos," says Debra Ottley, star stylist at NYC's Jelani's Naturals, and responsible for L-Boogie's fly-as-hell-dreadlocks phase." But nothing to Odone.' This is a casual, controlled-messy look." Start with a center part, and make two loose braids on either side. Sweep hair and braids into a messy bun on top of your head. If your hair's medium length, gather the top half into a bun., Randomly pull down some locks with your fingers for a breezy finish. After Ottley twisted Soul Food's Vanessa Williams' hair into this style, it became wildly sought-after among her clients." Dreadlocks can be very heavy," she says." My clients love this look because it takes the weight off your shoulders -- perfect as the weather gets warmer."
Maintenance Do's & Don'ts
Do get rid of that not-so-fresh feeling in between shampoos. Before oiling your scalp, wipe it with an astringent-soaked cotton ball or pad." This cleanses your scalp of oily buildup, and re-energizes the scalp." Try Dickinson's Astringent Cleanser Pads with Aloe ($2.99, Drugstore.com).
Do remember that" just because your hair is natural, doesn't mean you don't have to maintain!" There's nothing worse than a head full of fuzzy, half-locked, every-which-way dreadlocks. You know who you are.
Do avoid heavy pomades and gels -- they cause lots of buildup and get stuck in locks." I've cut locks before that are totally white in the center, from product overload," she warns. Not cute. Instead, give thirsty locks a daily dose of hydration by lightly rubbing a non-greasy, essential oil-based product through hair. Try John Masters Organics Dry Hair Nourishment ($11.90, JohnMasters.com).
Do wrap locks in a silk scarf at night, or sleep on a silk pillow. Cotton materials sap moisture from the hair.
Don't use a comb to lock hair (despite what you've heard!) -- it stresses the cuticle, causing breakage." Instead, gently roll locks between palms," she explains.
Don't use products containing alcohol (they're super-drying), or beeswax (they change hair color!).
Don't forget to shampoo and condition your hair once every three weeks, to" rejuvinate your natural oils and re-hydrate hair."
Don't ignore a dry, itchy scalp." Locks are very drying, they literally suck up moisture," advises Ottley. Oil your scalp twice a week, religiously, with a super-light, botanical-based serum like Philip B. Rejuvinating Oil ($27, PhilipB.com).
Sex Up Your Style
If you were under the impression that you couldn't curl locks, think again." For a quick change, do a hot roller set. Just wrap three or four locks on each roller, roll upwards, and you've got a chic, Farrah-flip," says Ottley. Or, ask your stylist to wind your hair on rods, giving you a super-skinny, spiraled look." For ringlets, you have to rod hair when it's wet and sit under the dryer," she explains." Since dreadlocks are usually so thick, it can take up to two hours for them to dry."
Brighten up a bad hair day by rubbing a dime-sized drop of an all-natural pomade along your roots -- the emolliants will weigh down the frizz." If all else fails, brush the roots back with a gentle baby brush, and tie hair back in a cute scarf or headwrap."
Keep Your Hair Healthy
Nutrition:" Women with dreadlocks need lots of beta keratine in their diets to keep hair healthy and shiny," says Debra Ottley." If you don't usually eat fruits and vegetables, a great way to get it in is with smoothies." Her favorite? Carrot juice mixed with apple and parsley.
Right now, the must-have accessories for dreadlocks are headbands and scarves -- they keep hair out of your face, and look effortlessly chic Try: Cacharel Silk Scarf; $99, Wrap Star Head Wrap in Wasabi; $35, Wrap-Star.com or a bandana from Babushkah.
Color for Your Dreadlocks
Highlight just the tips of your locks a honey-gold shade for a hot new look. For a sun-kissed, natural style, just select locks around your face. For at home color, try L'Oreal Feria Colour Strands Quick Shimmer Highlights Kit in Natural Swirl ($9.99, drugstores).
Tools of the Trade
Carol's Daughter Loc Butter ($7, CarolsDaughter.com) is the perfect emolliant to use when palm-rolling your locks.
Aesop Gentle Scalp Cleanser's ($18.50, 888-223-2750) lavender and rosemary blend is a godsend for extremely flaky scalps -- massage into scalp before shampooing.
Dred Soap ($10, Dreadlocks.com), is a vegan-friendly shampoo that contains a coconut-based surfactent, and no buildup-causing additives.
Bumble and bumble Sunday Detox Shampoo ($30, (888) 963-1124) rids hair of any dulling product buildup.
Better Locks Light Almond Conditioner ($5.22, BeautyGiant.com) is a lightweight conditioner designed to give life to your locks.
Frederick Fekkai Hair Mask ($22.50, Sephora.com) is full of moisturizing African shea butter. For amazing shine, leave it on hair for ten minutes before rinsing.
Conair Instant Heat Rollers ($52.19, Clyde Chemists, 800-RXCLYDES) give limp locks instant glamour.
Zitomer Small Boar Bristle Brush Mixed with Nylon ($28, Zitomer.com) is gentle enough to brush back roots on bad hair days.