When folks call to get Dread Maintenance done, there are a few questions I ask because I need to determine if maintenance is truly what the client needs. A few of those include:
Are the dreads separate at the root, or joined?
Are the dreads felting together, or is there loose hair in unlocked sections?
Are we only dealing with the new growth at the roots, or do the dreads need weaving from root to end?
In the case of Zach, I was fairly certain that I'd be doing a Reconstruction as opposed to a regular Maintenance service. I'm generally asked to perform Reconstructions on newer, less mature locks that need work from root to tip. (Repair tends to be on more mature dreads that need lumps and whorls pulled in, or major corrections like reattachment done.) Zach had been putting elastics on his new dreads which left him with tiny hard knots at the ends, and large gaps of unlocked hair in the middle. (I totally get it - it seems like such an awesome idea to get your ends tightened up! But to continue with backcomb-and-wax method dreads you gotta be able to keep backcombing. It's a long process.) The hair that was dreading was coming together in flat 's' shapes, with large bubbles due to loose hair joining with neighboring locks. All in all, he wasn't wicked stoked.
The hardest thing to overcome in a Reconstruction is bad sectioning. Luckily, the stylist Zach saw took the time to make great sections that laid in a very nice bricklay pattern - no odd, random shapes biting into each other, no long lines running down his head. With that great base, it was so much easier to do my job! I separated the matting at the roots, and pulled apart the knots at the ends to re-backcomb the sections evenly. From there it's just weaving all that hair back together into a nice cylindrical shape. If he does his homework, Zach's dreads should be fully felted up in less time than it took for him to decide his original set needed help.
Usually a Reconstruction starts at about 4 hours, but Zach had such a good base of sectioning we managed to rock this out in 3. If you're unhappy with any aspect of your locks, or you're overwhelmed and aren't sure where to start, drop your question in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.