Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lopsided Dreads (Backcombing's Infinite Possibilities)

As I mentioned in my dread-forming overview post, I sectioned my hair before the backcombing party in an effort to increase the uniformity of my dread distribution - randomly sized and shaped dreads, mostly larger (1-2 inches across), with a few smaller ones thrown in for variety and adorableness - but there were still three people who helped me dread my hair (mega thanks to all three of those people: Jim, Cara, and Rena!). That's four people total (including myself) who helped section, backcomb, and twist and rip my hair. If two people braid someone's hair, their braids will look different, right (one looser than another, etc)? If two people put pony tails in, their pony tails will look different, even if slightly. Well, it stands to reason, that if four people put dreads in, there will be some variation. And there was! Right after we finished putting all of my dreads in, I went to bed, but the next day, when I woke up and took the, "yay, my dreads are born!" pictures, it was obvious that one side of my head looked completely different from the other!

 The dreads on my right side were very distinct and appeared to stick straight out from my head. They give the appearance of being so thick and tight that they stick straight out. Appearances are deceiving though; upon touch, a lot of these dreads felt very loose (this may have something to do with the comb that was used - more on combs further on in this post!), and in truth, many of them are not sticking straight out, but rather looping towards the back of my head a bit (in this picture, you can see them leaning up and to the left). This may have been caused by the fact that as they were backcombed, they were twisted counter-clockwise.

The left side (my left) looked markedly different than the right. In fact, these dreads hardly looked like dreads at all! From appearances (at least, without looking closely), one would think that the hair on this side is free-floating and loose. Oddly enough, the dreads on this side are full of tiny, tight little knots. They also lay flatter and more naturally than the dreads on the other side of my head do; for the most part, they tend to lay downwards, rather than twisting up and to the left, like the ones on the other side.

Three different people helped make the dreads on this side of my head! So how did they all come out so consistently (and different from the other side)?

Part of it may be coincidence: most of the dreads on this side seemed to be twisted clockwise as they were dreaded, rather than counterclockwise. This may not be significant, but as I was researching dreads, I did stumble upon the rather random fact that your hair (apparently - I can't vouch for the source) naturally tends to flow in a clockwise direction over a counterclockwise direction. So, for example, more cow licks move in a clockwise direction than in a counterclockwise direction. So maybe this came into play here, in that the dreads twisted in a clockwise direction lay more naturally on my head, while the counterclockwise-twisted dreads stick up and about at odd angles and loop over themselves. This is just an idea; honestly, I have no idea how or why, but for whatever reason, the clockwise twisted ones lay flatter than the counterclockwise twisted ones, though this may be completely coincidental.

What isn't coincidental is the comb that was used to form these dreads. Almost all of the dreads on the left side of my head (my left) were formed using a thick, plastic brush with three rows of prongs. I have no idea where this comb came from (it belonged to my late husband, long before I met him), which is unfortunate because it was awesome at making dreads!  If you are thinking about backcombing your dreads, and you happen to have or find a comb like this somewhere, I'd recommend using it! I used it when I backcombed my very first baby dread, and it worked great. It formed a nice, tight dread that has survived over a week of being treated almost exactly like my normal hair (since the rest of my hair wasn't dreaded until a week after I made the first one); that means it survived even getting wet! Also, each one of the three people who helped me backcomb my hair declared that it was the best of the combs that I had available for backcombing. Backcombing seemed to go more quickly when they were using the yellow comb than when they used the other combs, and if the end result is any indication, the yellow comb may have also made tighter dreads!

These are the other combs we used. The plastic comb on the left was only used for about half a dread before the prongs began to bend. We had to run out and buy another comb! Since we couldn't find another awesome one like my yellow one above, we settled for a metal comb with one row of prongs (yes, it's a flea comb for pets - I'd heard plenty of sites recommend flea combs for doing dreads). It worked way better than the plastic comb (hey, metal won't break, right?), but seeing as the right side of my head turned out so much looser than the left side of my head, I'm thinking that it didn't work as well as my uber-cool, yellow 3-rowed plastic comb. Also, metal is a little bit more slippery than plastic is, so every now and then, it'd slip out of the dread and come sailing towards my head. I'm glad it didn't puncture my scalp. 

Even from the front and at a distance, the difference between the dreads created using the yellow comb (the dreads in the right of this picture) and the dreads created using the flea comb.

What you can't tell just by looking are the details that I listed up above: that the fuzzier dreads (the right side of this picture - my left) are actually the tighter ones and that they lay downward rather than up and to the left.

I didn't really dig this lopsided look, but no worries, it didn't last long!
The difference between the two sides of my head was pretty bad the first day, but hope was not lost! I took a shower right after taking those "just dreaded" pics, which helped to calm some of the dreads that were sticking straight up, and Jim helped me by re-backcombing a lot of the ones on the right (my right - onlooker's left) which were really loose. He used the yellow comb, of course, so they turned out nice and tight! Now, my head is looking a lot less lopsided. There's still a little more work to do on my right side, but the awkward dreads are fewer and not as obvious as they were before: my hair is looking much more uniform now! Also, I combed out one of my really big dreads and made two little twist and rip dreads, which added a little spunk (you can see one of them resting on the top of my head, on the left side of this pic). Much better, don't ya think? I definitely think so!      <3 ~~~LUVZ!!~~~ <3

1 comment:

  1. I'm two years late, but I just had to say thanks for this post. It was super helpful, and I've been reading the rest of the blog to see how things are coming along (or, starting, actually).
    I have very fine, short hair that I'd like to grow out/keep long(er), but I just can't stand it long. All the stray hairs... *shudder*
    Anyway, I've been contemplating growing them out in locks, and this post will be so helpful in helping me get the hair of my dreams, so, thank you thank you thank you!! :D