Basic dreadlock maintenance: Lock Lacing

Hair Lacing


Today I am going to discuss a type of lock maintenance that is not for the masses: lacing. I’m sure that there are many different names for this technique but I don’t know any of them, I call it lacing. The reason I say that this technique is not for the masses is that it makes your locks permanent. Some people assume that locks are permanent but this is not true. Locks are simply a controlled form of hair matting and it can be combed out – it just takes patience. One MAJOR exception to combing out dreadlocks is lacing.

Lacing is a technique that loops the lock end through the new growth at the root to create a knot. The amount of times each lock needs to be laced will be determined by the amount of new growth available. Some people using lacing rather than palm rolling as their sole form of new growth maintenance because lacing doesn’t pull the roots of your hair (and thus is kinder to your edges than palm rolling) and it doesn’t wash out. I do not use lacing as my primary form of new growth maintenance because it is very time-consuming. It takes me about double the time to lace my hair than to palm roll my hair. Typically, I lace my roots about once or twice a year.

Start with a clean head of hair. It really doesn’t matter too much if the hair is wet or dry with this technique, unless you also plan to wetset your hair at the same time. It is important to make sure that the hair is moisturized and not so dry it is brittle, however. Brittle hair could possibly snap with this technique. I like to moisten my fingers with a little Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercream before starting each lock.

Steps
Step 1: Take a lock and grasp the new growth. Smooth the hair with your fingers until it is straight enough to make a divide in the new growth with your fingers.

smoothing new growth

Step 2: Divide the new growth into two sections with your fingers

divide the new growth into two sections

Step 3: Grasp the end of the lock and thread it through the new growth divide that you created

thread the lock through the new growth divide that you created

Step 4: Pull the hair through the divide to create a knot.

Pull the hair through the divide to create a knot

Step 5: Repeat until the majority of the new growth is knotted, changing the direction of the knot each time. If you do not change the direction of the knot you will end up with a “V” separation in your new growth and (eventually) your lock.

That’s all! Repeat these steps for each lock in your head.

Advertisements

Wet Sets and Dreadlocks

A Wet Set is a generic term used to describe a hair style that is created by taking wet hair and allowing it dry in a particular pattern or texture. Each specific type of wet set can have its own name, for example a wet set using rollers to create curls can be called a roller set. Wet sets are great because the drying process creates a tighter, longer lasting pattern (curl, twist, wave, etc) than can be achieved using heat alone on dry hair.

People who have natural hair (kinky) and dreadlocks greatly benefit from the use of wet sets. Natural hair is impossible to style using the typical techniques used on permed or straight hair. Using a wet setting technique allows natural hair wearers the ability to create wonderful styles and textures in their hair, as well as recreate styles that are reminiscent of the permed hairstyles of today.

One of the greatest benefits to using wet sets on dreadlocks and natural hair is what I call the “secondary style.” There are almost always two styles encompassed in every dreadlock wet set (with the exception of roller sets). The primary style is the intended result, the reason for the wet set. In the case of a braid out, the primary style is the crinkled hairstyle accomplished by setting the hair.

Braid Out - Front

Braid Out - Front


The “secondary” style is the set itself. As long as you make sure to set your hair in a deliberate and neat fashion, the set is almost always wearable out in public. With the braid out set below, while I did not style my hair for this photo, later I took some hair pins and pinned my hair into a side bun.

Wet Set Braid Out - back

With practice, patience, and creativity, there is no hairstyle that is impossible for people who have dreadlocks and natural hair. In fact, I would go as far as to argue that natural hair and dreadlocks are MORE versatile than permed hair, as perms strip away the hair’s natural texture and fullness.