I love my very short hair, but sometimes a girl just needs a hair garden to stick stuff into! So, at last year’s Cues and Tattoos, I walked up to the Diva Dreads booth, pointed to my head, and said: “I’m an ATS dancer. What can you do for me?”
Brandie, the owner, knows and loves the aesthetic, so she understood: I didn’t want anything dangling down, and I wanted height and a certain shape. So she invited me to have a seat, and whipped out a set of dreads. In just a few minutes she had created a “hair turban,” mostly pinning the dreads to themselves, and had clipped in a few flowers.
It was pretty good. But I showed it to Carolena, who was vending from an adjacent table, and she made that face I’ve come to know so well: good idea, but the execution needs some work. Carolena pointed out that my head shape is pretty round, so I should try for some height next time rather than going with a round shape. So I took the dreads home and started playing. And now, a year later, I am happy to share how I make this happen!
I’ll be sharing pictures as we go through this tutorial. Please forgive the blurriness – I took most of these in a hurry from the hotel room where I was getting ready for the Tessera performance at this year’s Cues.
As a reminder, here’s where we’re starting. It’s a bit of a long pixie right now, but still too short to effectively make a solid ponytail.
You’ll need a set of dreads threaded onto elastics big enough to go around your head. If your preferred vendor only puts them on ponytail elastics, you could make a simple modification — or just talk to Brandie and she’ll make you a set that will work for you. You’ll also need a scarf and boatloads of bobby pins.
Here’s what the dreads look like. I store them wrapped up in the scarf I usually wear with them.
Step one is to put the elastics around your head, with the dreads dangling down the back. The sets of dreads don’t overlap with each other, they just sit side by side. Like this:
Next step, I start wrapping the outside-most dreads over the top of my head, alternating sides, and bobby pinning in place behind my ears.
I do that until I’ve got most of the top of my head covered. Next up, I start pinning the center dreads up to where the back of my head meets the top of my head, usually two at a time. Make an X with two bobby pins to keep every section in place.
Continue pinning until you have two small chunks (just a few strands) left on either side.
Now, flip your head upside down and start twisting. The placement of the sections in your hands will determine the overall shape of the updo; bring them tight and slightly to the back to create a stronger vertical line and avoid too much roundness.
Next, twist into a fairly high bun, and pin the crap out of it! I recommend using more bobby pin “X” shapes, since mostly you’ll be pinning the dreads to themselves and single bobby pins are unlikely to stay.
You can fine-tune the shape with more bobby pins.
Finally, grab your scarf and tie it over to cover the elastics. Tie it snugly at the nape of your neck. I like to then twist up the ends and bring them up and over the headband, pinning the ends in place.
Finally, put all of your flowers, jewelry, whatever you like into your ‘do. You look MAHVELOUS.