My name is Louisen, I’m 18 years old and I live with my family outside of Göteborg, the second biggest city in Sweden. This year I am graduating from Hvitfeldtska Gymnasiet where I’ve been studying music. I play the piano and have been doing so for about nine years now. I’m a very creative person and I love to express myself, organize stuff and enjoy life. I’ve got loads of interests, some of them are writing, music, photo, cooking, film, history, travelling, books and design.
I started to think about dreadlocks during the autumn in 2010 together with a friend. I can’t really remember how we came up with the idea in the first place, I just really felt for it. In February we did them and I’m not going to lie, mine wasn’t pretty at first. They were made by the backcomb-method in a studio in Göteborg which hasn’t got such a good reputation, but I took really good care of them and soon they started to look really nice. Making the 37 of them took about 7 hours and they turned out much shorter than my normal hair had been, I’d say they were about one decimetre. I also decided to leave my bangs as normal hair, something I’m still comfortable with.
1. Before getting dreads, 2. Same day that the were made, 3. Minutes before I ripped out the nasty syntethic extensions the get new ones (almost exactly 1 year after last picture), 4. New real extensions before bleached and coloured.
The first year I had synthetic extensions to make them a bit longer as you can see in pic 2, and after that I chose to rip them off and went to the studio again to put in extensions in real hair. I’ve still got those even though I don’t really need them (my own goes beneath the breasts) but I enjoy the extra 10-20 centimetres. Although I am thinking about making new ones by myself because these ones are getting worn out. They are sadly not as thick and nice as they were when I first got them (pic 4). The studio was as I said not very good at what they did, so the extensions are just getting thinner and thinner, 12 of them have even disappeared because they got so thin. The good part though is that you can’t really see it since my own by now are pretty long, thick and well-shaped, the only one who think about it is me.
So how do I take care of them? Well first off I palmroll them after every shower which is about every other week. I use different kinds of shampoos, I don’t really have a special one. I also fingerroll the roots pretty often. To not make them flatter I sleep with them above my head, I just drag down my pillow a bit and put them there. I have never used wax and I never will. My hair is naturally brown and so I dye it every month. I’ve had my hair red since I was 13 so I was used to the process before getting the dreads, but I can’t dye them on my own so my little sister helps me so I don’t miss any spots.
When I decided to get dreadlocks most people thought it was cool, my parents supported me all the way and even paid for them. I’ve never heard someone say one bad word about them, but I often get compliments. What I do have experienced is a lot of prejudice, but almost only about marijuana, nothing like that they are nasty or dirty. The cops took me aside just the other day at the airport and searched my bag for weed. That sucks but what can you do, if that’s the only negative thing about having them – sure.
By now my dreadlocks are counting almost 4 years and I have no intentions to get rid of them. I usually just let them hang forward, but sometimes I put them up in a big, big knot or pick out a few on the front on each side and tie them together in the back. I’ve also got some beads which I used a lot before.
I can’t tell you how many times my dreads have helped me in different situations and connected me to people. It’s pretty accepted to have dreads in Sweden, at least in my opinion, so I’ve never felt that it has been a problem to be a dreadhead. Kinda the opposite.
I feel that my dreads have helped me to find my identity. Even though they are a lot of work I still love them. Sometimes I even have nightmares where they’re gone.
If you want to follow me you can do that on facebook (Louisen Dreadhead Nilsson) or www.oneticket.tumblr.com where I post and write whatever I feel like. Everything from thoughts and pictures to music I like. And oh yes, it’s in Swedish.