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Breakage and Dreadlocks Loss
I got a call the other day from one of my closest friends. She started her locks about a year after I began mine. She wanted to know why her locks were breaking.
Once your dreadlocks are mature, they may unfortunately undergo a stage of regression or loss. As you know, once you're fully dreadlocked, little to no hair is shed. What this means is, hair that would've long left your head through natural shedding remains.
Over the years, these "shoulda been shed" hairs are subject to styling and environmental damage. Thus, the hair that is the oldest (the end portion of your dreadlocks), may actually thin and weaken to the point of breaking off.
Is Breakage Guaranteed?
No. At naani we stress proper care of locks for one simple reason: Poor maintenance will always bite you in the ass eventually.
Individuals who suffer end damage or loss have most likely over-used product during the early stages of locking. If you were/are the type who twisted your dreadlocks incessantly during the baby and teenage stages, if you used products such as Murray's Beeswax or raw shea butter for example, you're far more prone to build-up in your locks. Overtwisting and product build-up can weaken your locks and unfortunately, you may not realize the error of your ways until it's too late.
The best way to prevent breakage is to minimize twisting (twist as necessary) and periodically remove build-up. Products such as naani's naturals Gunk Be Gone!, Aromatherapy Astringent or Cucumber Lime Clarifying Shampoo work to remove deeply embedded build-up and odor from dreadlocks.
It's important to note that where dreadlocks are matted hair, they should not be compacted by products that do not rid themselves easily with regular shampooing. Removing product build-up enables your dreadlocks to "breathe" and therefore reduces the amount of time it takes for them to dry. This is important because standing water in dreadlocks can produce mildew and fungal infections inside your dreadlocks. So where you may not visibly see the bacterial concoction forming in your hair, it will eventually begin to be effected by it and break off.
Thus, this final stage of dreadlocks is years in the making. If you care for and love your dreadlocks as you would any other style, you may not encounter this slow death. If however you engaged or continue to engage in infrequent washing, overtwisting, excessive and/or wrong product application, breakage is just around the corner. Stop what you're doing and work to remove the build-up.