Forums > Social Chat > should i chop off my dreads?

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melissaBRONZE Member
156 posts
Location: madagascar, USA

howdy, i am a bit indecive about weither or not to chop off my dreads. in a nutshell i have dreads down to my waste and i am about to move to madagascar for a year. i really like my dreads, they're finally to the point where they are looking halfway decent (i've had them for two and half years...), and ya i admit they offer a sense of security kind of like a teddy bear but growing out of my head. as far as issues to be worrying about this is a bit of a luxery to think about (in comparision to war, famine, disease, etc...) but it has been on my mind for a few months now. i've never had short hair before (except when i was a baby...) so i am a little nervous about being without it. i know i'll have to chop them eventually but when is what i am questioning.

there are quite a few reasons however to chop them, such as:
1)i'm going to be traveling on cramped busses and staying in sketchy hotels where lice is quite common
2)i'm going to be living in the rainforest where it is quite hot and wet
3)i'm going to be climbing trees and i am bound to have dirt,debree, various insects, etc... reguarlly showering down on me
4) social...maybe? from what i have heard having dreadlocks in not really a cultural issue, the fact that i am white is weird enough to have folks yelling "vazaha!" aka foreigner where ever i go. it was described to me that i could be walking around on my hands with a banana up my nose and it would be considered normal because i am a foreigner. however i have yet to talk to anyone who actually has gone to madagascar with dreads to hear about their experiences.

any suggestion? should i chop now or wait until i'm there and absolutly nessesary? thanks


2,419 posts
Location: la-la land

Hiya.. I'd wait till it was nesessary, then you can have the memory of someone you meet on your journey cutting off your dreads sitting on a rock under a palm tree watching the sun set or something.. much better then in your back yard.. you can always wear a bandana or a head scarf till you get to a hairdresser to neaten up - unless you shave it grade one to start with.. you never know - your dreads could be a lot longer and lovelier when you get home.. then you'd still have your teddy bears with you all round the world! A few of my freinds have been round the world with dreds.. few little misshaps, not much abuse and loads of amazing stories to tell.

Have a wonderful time and I really wouldn't worry about it till it happens..

I honour you as an aspect of myself..

You are never to old to storm a bouncey castle..

Pyro_TechCrazy Nutter stuck in Farmidale...
264 posts
Location: Newcastle, Australia

Hey Melissa..!
I faced the same problem only a month ago..!
I have had long hair FOREVER and last month I decided to chop my four year old dreads off and style it short for a new change....
it was VERY drastic for me, but i absolutely love it now as I am sure you will too if you decided to do it...!
You have lotsa reasons for and against chopping them off I believe, but I would recommend that you wait til you get over there and decide that it is completely necessary....
I would only suggest chopping them off over there if it becomes a health and hygeine type concern as you seem pretty emotionally attached to them now that they're how you want them...!
I had exactly the same thoughts as you - I loved my dreads, but I have SO much on this year that it was just too hard to look after them and I was looking like no one owned me as my mother put it...!
Basically, you'll get used to it if you cut them off, but make sure you are 100% sure as they're damn hard to grow back! hehe
Good luck....! Let us know what you decide...!

We all take different paths in life, but no matter which path we take, we take a little of each other everywhere...

1,591 posts
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.

I would agree with misstix. You may not need to get rid of all of them either if you encounter a problem where the only issue is them being to long. You can trim them to something more practical and they will eventually grow back.

Another thing you can do is wrap them tightly in fabric. You can leave the stuff in for a really long time and it actually helps to improve your dreads. Read about wraps here

I just got dreads in last sunday and Im going to keep them wrapped all summer because I am working at a job christmas tree shearing and I don't want my dreads full of tree sap, pine needles and who knows what else and I don't trust a hat well enough to protect them because I worked this job before and I know hoe easily needles and sap get into EVERYTHING.

AdeSILVER Member
Are we there yet?
1,897 posts
Location: australia

hi melissa,
good luck for your adventure!

1. lice - you can get rid of lice if you get them (its not easyor fun but it can be done)- you don't necessarily have to loose the dreads
2. My dreads are waist length - hot and wet isn't generally an issue if I tie them up high enough on my head
3. stuff in your hair? You're just getting closer to nature Seriously, the things that gather in my dreads after a camping weekend are wonderful reminders of where I have been - they come out eventually.....
4. cultural issues.... don't know really...

I agree with what's been said before - wait til you get there...

Fire Mamamember
53 posts
Location: West coast gal,Canada

Hi lovely lady
Happy travels to you.
Sometimes a big a whole different cultural experience...goes hand in hand with physical change. Symbolicaly....cutting off dreds is like a shedding of layers. I feel that they have the ability to hold lots of energy from experiences we've accumulated over the years.I feel that if you need a change...need to shed layers of the past...then get a cut before you go. If not..and you're happy with your present zone...then take them with you to another part of the world and see what goes on. Maybe in some moment during your travels you will feel like you need to physically express the change that'e taking place inside of you.......which inevitably will happen. One way or'll probably return with short hair! Rock on sista

Thru meditation I program my heart to beat break beats and hum bass lines on exhilation....

KatBRONZE Member
2,211 posts
Location: London, Wales (UK)

Not the same as having dreads, but when I went to Thailand, my boyfriend and I decided to get something done for our journey. I had my nose pierced and Kota had all his hair shaved off - bald as a babys bottom.

I agree with the others. Hold on to your dreads for now and if you decide they have to go, it will be a fun travel experience for you.

Safe and peaceful journey to you

Come faeries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.

- W B Yeats

SpannerBRONZE Member
remembers when it was all fields round here
2,790 posts
Location: in the works... somewhere..., United Kingdom

good dreads shouldn't cause you any inconvenience (not accounting for lice, though a good tea tree oil solution should sort them out. ). I only wash water/hemp soap through mine and tighten them for an hour every couple of weeks so they can be low maintenance. I agree with MisStix: don't worry about them, unless your dread routine would have to change drastically while you're away due to water access etc.

"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.



1,591 posts
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.

Anyways lice actually have a harder time living in dreads then they do any other type of hair.

25 posts
Location: Warwickshire

A good tip that you're probably aware of but just in case...

lice hate tea tree, so carrying a small bottle of water spray with a few drops of tea tree oil with you so you can keep spraying it into your dreds if you do decide to keep them should deter any lice in the first place.

A beautiful person needs no other merit than they're own existence!

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