Aging with Dreadlocks: Embracing Hair Loss and Loving Ourselves
When we first start wearing dreadlocks as young people, we often go through what is called an “ugly phase”, but eventually our hair rewards us for letting it grow naturally. We usually experience a wonderful time of thick, lusciously full hair of varying levels of tree branch likeness.
Life happens though, and sometimes through no fault of our own, hair loss occurs. With dreadlocks, there is nowhere to hide when this happens. Many of us go through a second “big chop” and start wearing wigs. Some of us with the option go for loose hair or start over. Whatever decision you make when or if hair loss happens, no one should judge.
I personally chose to shave off the areas that were patchy, start over where I could in the back, and leave the rest loose. I have only 10 intact locs left from before the time I had to take steroids because of some dental surgery complications. I style them into an updo. We need to love ourselves and love our hair through the changes. Whatever you decide to do with yours, shame should not be a factor. Not everyone’s look is the same, and not everyone’s locs are the same.
Some tips though, from various Jamaican and African herbalists, if you’re experiencing hair loss, aloe vera gel and a tea of rosemary mixed together and used as a conditioner will help. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it out. It will at least cleanse and stimulate your scalp so that what hair follicles you have left that are intact, can grow hair freely. This has helped me, and places that I had serious bald patches on the right side are now growing hair. So I may get a do-over in the front as well eventually. If I don’t then I will brush it back, and just be one of those people with loose hair in the front. It’s fine with me.