True Power

True Power

Friday, January 8, 2010

Layla Dudley--Hair Stylist and Dread Wearer


1. How long have you been a hair stylist?
I've been licensed for about a year and a half, but had been working with synthetic hair, including dreads, braiding, hair falls and extensions since 2005.

2. What hairstyle do you have and for how long?
I'm currently growing my first set of natural locs that I started by braiding in dreadlock extensions in early October , and then had the sections backcombed in early December, so they're still brand new. They're teaching me so much!

3. What is the number one problem in maintaining dreads?
This is speaking mostly from experience with Caucasian hair, as I have had far more clients with moderately curly to wavy, Caucasian hair types than more coarse, curly ethnic or African hair types. For this hair type in newer dreads, loose hairs. When hair is not naturally extremely curly, new dreads will try to separate and take on a loose or flat appearance without fairly regular self touch ups and lots of rolling. Depending on the maturity of the overall dread, this can be controlled by a fairly aggressive campaign of self maintinence, including rolling, reshaping and forming dreads when hair is damp after showers and swims, as well as utilizing wax, tightening gels and so called accelerator sprays that are mainly salt water and minerals. The best accelerator that I recently experienced was a healthy dose of the Pacific Ocean this winter in Sayulita, Mexico.

5. How often should they be washed and conditioned?
Initially, a lot less, about once a week to really cleanse the scalp, but in the formation stage, this is when the shape of dreads can be most disrupted, as well as most easily reformed. Once dreads have reached a healthy stage of maturity, which varies greatly but can be up to a year, dreads can be washed as you would your unlocked hair, every 2-3 days depending on your activity level (sweating) and length (drying time). I would definitely recommend using a residue free soap on dreads (I use Dr. Bronners) and conditioner only on the mature parts of dreads when necessary, and if dreads are long or dense, help the drying process along with a hair dryer to avoid problems with mildew.

6. Do you see natural hair styles as a fad or a hairstyle that will be around for a while?
I think dreads in my community here in Eugene, OR for all types of people have always been a part of our style and community identity, and I see them as becoming more and more an acceptable look for any race as long as they are done with style. My dread clients have varied greatly in age, background, and motivation for getting dreads, but all were eager to explore this hairstyle as a chance to transform some part of their image and thus part of their ego, and I think that curiousity and desire for change will continue to drive people of all raves to explore the possibilities of their hair.

7. What is the average number of your clients with dreads? Natural hair?
I currently have about 15 clients on whom I have either installed (initially backcombed), maintained or colored existing natural dreads, and at least 3 on whom I have removed their locks by either cutting or combing out as much hair as possible. I have seen some only once for the initial appointment, but some I've seen many times along the journey. One particular friend I have been working on her dreads that started fairly naturally (not sectioned or backcombed at all) with waist length wavy Caucasian hair for almost 2 years helping her create more neatly formed sections and weaving hairs back into larger dreads. Basically some major restructuring work that I sometimes see more as a combination of weaving and architecture more than doing hair at times. I estimate I've spent at least 20 -25 hours total on her hair and there's always more to be done. From this experience, I've learned that starting with shorter hair can actually be a lot less work in the long run.

8. Are more women or men going natural and choosing dreads?
Out of my current clients, its roughly half and half. Men tend to mistakenly assume this will be a relatively low maintainece hairstyle, women tend to come in having done at least some of the research, but of course this is just generalization. It is my experience though that women are a bit more invested in the outcome of the dreading process "looking good" than men.

9. What state are you from? I grew up in the Northwest and currently reside in Eugene, OR

This is for myself:

1. When and why did you decide to wear dreadlocks?
It was part of a long term plan hatched about this time last year when I decided to go from a level 3 brown back to blonde. Its was a nasty process chemically and mostly trashed my hair. I had to lose a lot of length, but I was ready to let it go. I think it was them I decided if I could live with a shorter cut, I could try out dreads. Over the next few months, I started going blonder and blonder and soon I was off the chart white platinum. My hair was getting chemically coarse and was alreadly a moderately curly texture, so that by the time I was ready to commit to this journey, my hair was more than ready to act like velcro just as I had planned. The first step to create my dreads was braiding in my last set of extensions that I'll be wearing for awhile to start some sections with little seed dreads in my hair. This worked great and I ended up wearing them for almost 2 months before we removed them in early December '09 and backcombed the loose hair in to each of the "seeds." We then tied a string around each section to keep them from creeping together, and now about a month later I'm starting to pull them out and replace them with fresh rubber bands.

So there's the when and how, the why... well I've always been fascinated by locs as long as I can remember. The idea that hair can vary in thickness and texture, and bind together like ropes has always contained an otherworldly beauty for me. The images of famous dread wearers like Bob Marley and Whoppi Goldberg have of course stood out to me as some of the earliest in my memory, but these days there are so many amazing locs that you see on all types of hair - inspiration is literally everywhere!

2. What was the initial response to your hair style from friends, family, and peers?
All good. In fact, I was racking my brain to think of anyone who was surprised in the least or made any negative comment (at least to my face). I think mostly because everyone in my life was used to me changing my hairstyles so rapidly in the last couple years, and the fact that I like to use my own hair to experiment with various styles that I would do on others. I count at least 12 different styles including braids, dreadlock extensions, short and fun haircuts and various colors in the last two years, roughly one every two months. In that way, locks are going to be a change for me as I plan to wear them for at least a year or longer depending on how I think they are going at that time. I do have a vision of myself with long natural locs and I'd like to see them with a bit of length, si I know I'm committed to the process. I'll of course be having plenty of fun with hair dye along the way, but for now the white platinum will stay and later become a great canvas to create any number of different color schemes.

3. What do you like or dislike about your hair?
I like the size of the locs I've started I like the feeling of the little locs as they start to become more and more solid. I like the way I look in dreads and I like the response I get to them. They make me pretty darn happy. I dislike washing them at the time being, but if feels great to scrub my scalp. I dislike how much I have to form them at their early stages, but its helping me realize just how cruital the early stages of formation are to a nicely formed lock. Overall the likes outweigh the dislikes and it keeps getting better as the process goes along.

4. Have you noticed a boost in confidence or any other personality changes?
Not distinctly from many other of the styles I've had over the years, simply because my natural locs looks a lot more "normal" compared to some of the other styles I've had over the years. I'm used to getting a lot stranger looks than I get now. I do like the concept that I'm going to be dedicated to this style for a long time, so it will give me a sense of stability that I haven't had for some time.

5. What is the response to your hair now?
Again, great! But it hasn't been that long in the big scheme of things.


6. What state are you from? Eugene, OR

6 comments:

Cialis said...

Dread weaving seems so difficult!

Elliott Broidy said...

Very interesting

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