Enlisting the help of my friends, I wrote a question and answer blog post
. I answered all questions to the best of my ability except one, submitted by Sarah. I did not include my response in the previous Q&A post because this question deserved its own thread.
Sarah: How are you going to take care of your dreads on the trail?
I have thick, naturally curly hair which I hate combing. I recall crying as a small child when my older sister would try her damnedest to comb through the layers of unkempt knots that seemed to develop quickly over the week.
Fast forward to young adulthood – I decided dread locks would be more efficient. I never had to touch a comb again, and I was delighted.
For nearly five years I simply twisted my hair, and it was great. I love having dreads. But then I had to have back to back brain surgeries. My first neurosurgeon was very gracious; he found a way to implant my initial shunt by only cutting out a few dreads. Admittedly I felt insecure, but it was simpler to hide the scar.
The second brain surgery was different. The surgeon needed to take out the first shunt to install the second; he cut off all my hair in the process. I cried when he handed me a biohazard bag filled with my hair, as if my hair was somehow hazardous.
Since then I’ve had six more brain surgeries. Along the way, it seemed pointless to regrow my dreads if they would only be removed.
Now that I should never need another brain surgery, I’ve started growing out new locks. The process has been as simple as I remembered.
I bet you are asking, but what about when you’re on the trail? Come on, I’ve got to build up to that. Okay, fine on to the maintenance.
Despite what you may have heard, dreadlocks do not like dirt. In fact, it’s more difficult for your hair to grow if it’s not being nourished and cared for properly. Currently I wash my hair two to three times a week. However, the first 700 or so miles on the PCT is a desert. I think my primary concern will be on quenching my thirst, not my hair.
I use a Bondiband
moisture wicking headband. Moisture wicking material helps to reduce the amount of sweat; sweat equals dirt. Dirt equals, itchy, itchy equals… I’m sure you get the picture.
I also carry two Crystal Gail lock essentials. The first is tea tree oil and the second is seaweed spray.
In itchy, dry areas, the tea tree oil is soothing. I use tea tree oil as an insect repellent, for an occasional toothache and to help prevent yeast infections. Tea tree oil is indeed a multiple use item.
I fill up a small dropper bottle; there’s no need to dilute, and I keep it in a snack size bag. Though great overall, tea tree will leave stains.
Near my home there is a food co-op that sells dried seaweed. I crush it in a mixing bowl, place it in a tea bag, and steep it like I would tea. Then I let it cool and place it in a small spray bottle. The seaweed helps to keep dreads clean, and it’s soothing.
Sarah, I hope this answers your question.
I am currently weighing the option of adding some type of brimmed hat to the mix. I’m open for suggestions.
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