Friday, May 13, 2011

Tips for Tips


The very lovely Ashleigh (who will be Our Daily Dread very soon!) reminded me that while I teach all my clients how to work on their ends before they leave the shop, I haven't written anything down about it to revisit later. Loose ends are so pretty for some, but so annoying when all you want is round blunted tips! The bad news is, ends will dread straight-up on their own schedule, often times staying frustratingly loose while the rest of your hair felts up in record time. The good news is, there are a few super easy things you can do to get that loose hair at the ends of your dreads to knot up nice and tight. It's not going to happen overnight, but if you add this step into your regular maintenance routine you'll have solid tips WAY faster!

I harp often enough on what not to do with your ends (oh man, do I hate elastics) so it's high time I spend an afternoon MS Paint-ing my way through what you can do. Here's my step-by-step-oh-my-stars-isn't-this-the-easiest-thing? guide to getting your messy tips going!

This is Judy. She's totally bummed! What's going on, buddy?

Oh. I see. Judy's bummed because her otherwise awesome locks are loose at the tips. We can fix this. We have the technology.

The first step is to backcomb the loose hairs at the end of the lock, pushing the new knots right up to the solid area of the dread. Use a fine toothed comb or... it like a real caveman would, and use your fingers. No need to get all fancy or nothing.

Once you've pushed all that hair as high up as you can (without forcing it) rub the end of your lock in your palm. Now, some people advise you to do this in a clockwise direction, or a counterclockwise direction - but really, they might as well advise you to bark like a dog. I have a hunch folks tell you that kind of thing just to be able to tell you to do something, you know? You're trying to make knots. Just gently rub it around every which way until it's knotted up. No need to check the phases of the moon or anything.

As always, we finish off our maintenance with a palmroll. This is the key to keeping your locks in great shape! Put the dread between your palms and pretend you're trying to start a fire with two twigs! If you'd like, you can add a very little bit of wax at this stage.

And that's it! There's no wax in these right now, and it took all of 2 minutes per dread. Maybe. Like I said earlier, this isn't something that's going to hold up after just one go. As time goes on, all those loose little hairs will get sucked into the middle of your lock, and the end will round up as the dread matures. Chances are, this'll come out again after you wash your hair for the first while, but if you incorporate this as a regular step in your maintenance routine, your ends WILL tighten up faster and you won't have any of the problems I regularly see from other end-tightening methods. But how does Judy feel about this?

Got questions about your dreads? Leave 'em in the comments, or email me at

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our Daily Dread

Our Daily Dread this fine Wednesday is David, and is anyone else getting "handsome-Jeremy-Piven-meets-Jesus" vibes off these photos? I mean, it's not just me, right? Anyway...

When David swung by the Shop, he was on his way back from 2 months climbing in Mexico (jealous!) and on his way to 3 months planting trees in Northern BC (not jealous.) Perfect timing to get some sweet dreads going, but no doubt getting them going right will make it a lot easier to handle in the middle of nowhere. Starting dreads yourself works great, but it's a lengthy process and most of the time involves a ton of daily backcombing and palmrolling - something not a lot of people are willing to do after hours of backbreaking backcountry work. (I get a lot of Reconstruction work after the season.) I'm confident that he's got the info and determination he needs to keep these looking great, especially since he's only got a fraction of the homework to do.

Dreads really suit him! Can't wait to see them get settled in, so I really hope he manages to hop a train (Yeah, dude can hop a train! One of many rad tales of the road he shared) into town on the way to his next crazy adventure.