Saturday, 22 December 2012

Dreadlock Lumps, Bumps, Loops and Shrinkage

Shrinkage

Lumps, Bumps and Loops


Loops and bumps occur as dreadlocks shrink. Shrinking is most common when using the natural and twist & rip methods but can occur in dreadlocks created via other methods too. Dreadlocks are always shorter than the straight hair you started out with, this is because the hair in dreadlocks doesn't grow straight down, it weaves around inside the dread. As your dreadlocks mature they will get tighter and more compressed causing the dreadlocks to shrink more. This shrinkage rarely happens evenly and that's what causes the lumps and bumps. One side or one part of a dread may tighten more (usually after washing and drying) and so will compress a little more than the other side causing the other looser side to look lumpy.

Overtime these lumps and bumps get slightly less noticeable because the rest of the dreadlock will also shrink up and they'll get squashed from daily activity, but they will always be there. Some people recommend palm rolling for trying to squeeze the dreadlock straighter but I don't believe it makes all that much difference because it's not really so much a lump and more a curve in the dreadlock itself. Again for this same reason crocheting isn't really going to be that useful here and I tend to advise against crocheting anyway for a whole different reason.

Fear not though, because these lumps and bumps only really occur in the initial dreadlocks. This means that as the new hair grows out of your head, the dreadlocks formed from this hair won't have lumps and bumps - because this hair doesn't shrink. So slowly overtime these lumps will grow further and further out, until eventually your dreadlocks are long enough that you can trim off of the lumpy length if you so choose!

28 comments:

  1. Help! My head is abstract art right now! Lumps and bumps? I wish! I did one of your deep cleanings today and ended with tangled balls of 1/2 baked dreads. No fault of the wash I think as I have done it before but I haven't had this "nest" before as a result. I've taken loops and zigzags to another level - is it normal to have up to 8 in one lock? I've tried to straighten them out and now have woven giant, heavy and very tight pregnant wonkiness into to lot of them. Is this really going to work itself out?

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    1. Hi, the loops stage is certainly not the favourite of most people! They can be wild and crazy looking... but on the upside, it is a clearly visible sign that the dreadlocks are tightening.. unfortunately the lumps and loops form when one side is tightening faster than another side. The loops themselves are unlikely to go away 100% by themselves. Over time they'll get bashed about from day to day life and the rest of the dread will tighten around them so they'll be less noticeable... but that part of the dread will always have a slightly different texture to the new growth. Palm rolling the dreads while they're damp/drying has helped for some people. Other people slide beads over the loops or tie string over them to hide them. There is of course also permanent fixes in the form of crocheting.. but then it depends on where you stand with regards to crochet maintenance.

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  2. What can I do about excessive undone roots? Very very long undone, some are even only still dreaded about half of my pinky lengthwise otherwise just undone and sometimes loose hairs.

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    1. Well it depends upon how old they are, if you go in and redo them, you'll be starting them over and there would be no guarantee that they wouldn't get back to this point again after the same interval of time. Generally my advice is to leave them alone unless they come out completely.

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  3. I'm about 5 and a half months in all natural only separating the roots. My hair is curly, medium-large curls not small. By personal preference I wanted 2-3 inches of wispy curls at the end of my dreads left undreaded. The longer dreads have done that by themselves. The shorter, more curly, ones I have problems with, a lot of them suck the very tip of my hair back up into the middle of the dread and it almost folds in half upward. It's really thick, and ultimately leaves no loose hair at the tip. Any tips on how I could prevent this or why it's happening?

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    1. Tips are more likely to blunt themselves - lock into themselves - in cases where the individual is freeforming or when the individual has curly hair - as you have both it's not entirely surprising that it's occurring. If you want to get the tips loose again you can 'brush' out the ends of the dreadlocks in question with a sewing needle - you will need to just use it look a one-toothed-comb. For tips to blunt they generally require a fair bit of 'free space' - that's why it can occur more often in freeformed dreads - but if you only 'brush' out a couple of inches they shouldn't have enough free length to be able to blunt themselves back up again and should remain as you want - though you may find that there may be some cases that need further attention as freeformed dreads can change a lot over time.

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  4. Thank you so much. I can't describe how much of a lifesaver finding your site was and has been throughout this whole journey. Be well!

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  5. I really love my dreads but at the moment a lot of them are thin at the top and then there's this huge bumpy lump in the middle before they get wispy at the bottom. How can I even out the width a bit? Its not that I want completely cylindrical and smooth dreads but it would be good if didn't have a huge lump in the middle..?

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    1. It depends how old the dreadlocks are. While they're young and still forming from the existing hair then they will constantly be changing and it's difficult to predict how they will eventually turn out. Lumps and bumps which form may slowly get flattened out by day-to-day interaction, but it's not something that can be guaranteed in every situation. Some claim to have had success by palm rolling the dreadlocks while they're wet/drying, however again, it's not something that can be guaranteed in every situation.

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  6. Hi! My hair were backcombed and crochet about a month ago. I'm concerned about some of them, they feel soft and it seems that the hair inside are straight. It's a combination of knotted hair > straight hair > then knotted hair all in one dread. Do I have to redo them or just wait on what will happen? Thanks!

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    1. Backcomb does not create finished dreadlocks - backcomb simply holds the hair in knotted sections and over time these sections will lock up and form 'proper' dreadlocks. These backcombed sections will loosen over time, and then begin to lock. As long as they don't wash out completely, then they just need more time.

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  7. Sorry to ask a question so similar, but - I am in almost the same position as the comment above, way of putting them in, time since, and knotted and straight hair. There's about 60 of them, but the sides are shaved and I have a fringe so they're pretty wispy.
    I have noticed through reading the website that you are not the biggest advocator of crocheting, so I'm not really expecting you to advise me to do it. However, for the first 2 weeks I did crochet them very gently, avoiding as much breakage as possible, but I've stopped because I didn't want to do permanent damage or prevent locking. Apart from the couple of days I put them in, I have also not backcombed them even once - do you think this would 'undo' them in the same way as crocheting has the potential to do, or would it be worth a try?
    Unfortunately they're getting pretty loopy and it is a huge pet hate of mine to see even on other people, my least favourite look, but I guess I'm just going to have to suck it up... although in one of your replies you said "There is of course also permanent fixes in the form of crocheting.. but then it depends on where you stand with regards to crochet maintenance." - so you think there is a possibility that crocheting them could be a permanent fix? Just interested to probe a bit further about what you think some of the pro's of crocheting could be? Its easy to find someone who uses the crochet method but I'd rather ask someone who seems doubtful about it?
    I had dreads before but they were big chunky extension types that we're never going to be in my head longer than a few months so I didn't learn much that time.

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  8. My hair was backcomb a month ago, some of the are already forming loops. I'm excited about the loops, but is it normal to have them at this early stage?

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    1. Loops can start forming as early as the first wash.

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  9. Does it mean that they are already shrinking or wearing out?

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    1. It means they're starting to lock up.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. I see.. :) Thanks for the info! I really appreciate it! Last question, I often tie my hair at work, does it affect the locking process?

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    4. Having the hair tied up may inhibit the movement of the hair, potentially slowing the process.

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  10. I know shrinkage is normal and now I'm about 7 months in but I feel like they have shrank even more in the last month or so. Will they keep shrinking? My roots aren't locked in yet does this play a role in the process of shrinkage? I also live in extreme heat so frizz is non avoidable but I try and avoid being outside due to me melting lol. I wash my hair 1-2 times a week depending on my week. I used to have hair to the middle of my back and it is now barely at my shoulders. Is there anything I can do to help lengthen them?

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    1. They will pretty much shrink until they're locked tight and can't shrink any further and there's really not anything you can do about it other than wait for them to be locked and for them to start growing again.

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  11. I have lumps after they locked up and my stylist used the palm roll procedure and that's when those appear, will they shrink overtime or I can get them trimmed later on once fully grown and matured?

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  12. I have lumps after they locked up and my stylist used the palm roll procedure and that's when those appear, will they shrink overtime or I can get them trimmed later on once fully grown and matured?

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    1. They will usually shrink somewhat as the dreadlocks tighten throughout and mature. I wouldn't personally recommend trying to cut them off as that will sever quite a lot of hairs and can produce a noticeable weak spot. Crocheting, while still potentially damaging, would be less damaging than cutting the loops clean off.

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  13. So, my dreads are 11 months old now and my roots are finally looking like they should. I did twist and rip, and i knew to expect some loopage and bumpage, however they ALL have some Crazy loops (some are like 2 inches wide!) and balling going on about 3/4 of the way down. Most have even sucked the tip in. Now i know eventually i can cut the loops out, but that seems like a waste of alot of hair! (wish there was a a hairstylist in town that knew how to crochet dreds :/ ) Would it be possible to start detangling them and take the dreds out just up to the loops, then twist and rip and/or backcomb them back in, while leaving the top half of properly dreaded hair in?

    Also i seem to have TONS of loose hair between every dread. Not enough to make a new dread but makes my hair look half dreaded half straight, will it eventually find its way into a dread or do i have to manually intervene to get it to go somewhere?
    Thanks in advice man, you are awesome!

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  14. I have been growing my locks for 13 years. I have noticed that for the last couple of months, they stopped growing and possible became shorter/shrunk. I have not changed the routine. My friends keep asking me why I've decided to cut my locks, yet I have not. What could be the problem?
    Bev from Kenya

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  15. I have a few locks that have shrunk and there is straight hair sticking out from the middle. How can I fix this? I hate the way this looks!

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  16. Hi there I've had my dreads for about 5 months now and loving them but I think I'm in the loopy stage Just a few concerns I did them all by twist and rip and have done a lot of palm rolling after a wash so 1. Do you think washing them once a week is enough or too little? 2.And then I have lots of pieces about half way down the dread where it's completely understand raveled itself and there no knots then nots up again at the bottom and they are really wavy looking - not sure what to do with this?
    3.Also the roots are getting extremely matted like flat matts and was trying to twist and roll them to make them more circular but it's not really doing anything please help lol thank you

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