While I don’t have dreadlocks, I’ve seen enviously beautiful heads of locked hair, which grow so long. However, why is their hair growth so noticeably abundant? Now, there is a conflict of theories when it comes to locks and African Americans who have them. There are some people who say, that African Americans can not grow long hair, but then I see an African-American person who has grown their dreadlocks down their back, which basically discounts the aforementioned theory. Who is right?
Some people may argue, that most of the hair that those with dreadlocks have is shed hair and not real growth. While shed hair does remain on the hair strand and contributes to the length (Khumalo, Doe, Dawber, & Ferguson, 2000), locks also contain new hair. The hair strands themselves while locked are intact from top to bottom. If you pull someone’s dreads, they won’t just pull apart like cotton or wool. The person will feel the pull at their roots, which means the hair has grown from root to tip in length.
The research article, African Hair Morphology: Macrostructure to Ultrastructure, reports on a study of people of African descent with natural tightly curled hair. Participants have experienced breakage to the point that most of the hairs collected from the comb for observation were broken and not shed, so “combing is in fact like a daily haircut. (Khumalo, 2005 p.11)”
The suggested reasons for the broken hair found in the study is in strict contrast to those who dreadlock their hair where no combing is done at all. The study states further that perhaps this may be the reason “people who twist their hair into “dreadlocks,” which are never combed, can achieve great hair length. (Khumalo, 2005 p.11)” The hair is allowed to grow, undisturbed by any styling tools such as combs, brushes, hot curlers, blow dryers, flat irons, need I go on? This technique of leaving hair to its own devices may be the key to naturals achieving longer length.