Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rising South African Hair Thefts Uncover Dreadlocks Being Sold As Dreadlock Hair Extensions

by Melissa L. White
Licensed Hair Stylist
Certified Hair Extension Artist

There's no doubt that hair extensions are sought after here in the United States as more and more women are electing to get them for a variety of reasons including bald or thinning hair, inability to grow hair long, or simply want fuller, longer hair. Hair extensions, in different forms, have been used for many years, and have been worn by women of all ages and many different ethnicities. Now, news out of a trend that is rapidly spreading in South Africa of dreadlock thefts.

The number of reports out of Johannesburg has been steadily growing. Both men and women have been assaulted, with thieves cutting or shearing off long dreadlocks as they bypass cell phones, wallets and other valuables. While women with long dreadlocks are typically targeted, men have been victims of the growing trend as well. The rash of thefts are being dubbed "cut and runs," and if you live in Johannesburg while sporting long dreadlocks, you could easily be targeted.

Johannesburg area hair stylists report that the rising popularity of natural dreadlock extensions is most likely the reason for the sharp increase in these crimes. Reports are that shoulder-length dreadlocks are sold for $22 to $77 each, with longer ones as high as $277. In this part of Africa, dreadlocks are becoming very popular and it has been reported that stylists can receive as many as ten requests per day from people wanting to lengthen their hair with dreadlocks!

Interestingly, the thefts are not being reported to the police, and it is apparently being assumed that the victims are too embarrassed to report theft of their hair, so little is being done to curtail the new phenomenon. It takes a long time to grow long dreadlocks, with many people investing ten years or more to achieve long dreads. When they lose them in this manner, it can be traumatizing.

Bob Marley's long
dreadlocks were easily
Dreadlocks even
appear at awards
Dreadlocks have reportedly been used in ancient times by the Egyptians and other cultures. As a matter of fact, dreadlocks are one of the oldest hairstyles worn. Jamaican star Bob Marley helped introduce dreadlocks to mainstream America, and perhaps helped to influence the popularity that took hold here. There are, in fact, dozens of famous people who wear or have worn dreadlocks. They include Hawaiian-born actor Jason Momoa. You'd recognize him from Atlantis Stargate, Baywatch, and Jason Family Vacation. Author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Terry McMillan also wears dreadlocks. You'll also recognize Whoopi Goldberg, boxer Lenox Lewis, baseball player Manny Ramirez, and Lil Wayne. And there are many more.

Dreadlocks do not always
appear dirty or unkempt
Here in the United States, dreadlocks are often worn as a statement by urban youth, whether they are black, white, hispanic or other ethnicities, and those that wear them do so by choice. They've been around for many years, and their popularity seemed to have hit its peak about 5-10 years ago.

Although many view dreadlocks as looking "dirty" or "unkempt" the men and women who choose to wear them devote a lot of time and attention to their hair, especially at the start, which is difficult. Most people keep their dreadlocks very clean.

As a hair stylist who specializes in hair extensions, I deal with women who understand the value of nice hair. I know first-hand how important it is to feel good about your hair, and what it's like to have to deal with thinning hair or a medical condition which leaves you unable to grow a long, full head of hair. I feel bad for anyone who is a victim of hair theft and hope that they can stop the thefts soon.

REFERENCE & RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION: - Dreadlock Facts & Rumors - How To Information About Dreadlocks (variety of articles) - Are Dreadlocks Black Culture or a Unique Hairstyle For the Entire World?

Melissa White is an experienced, licensed hair extension artist and stylist whose passion is to bring out the natural beauty in everyone by enhancing their own individual features with the use of exquisite hair extensions. Melissa has over 10 years of extensive training with the industries top hair extension companies in the newest techniques. Melissa is also a certified Brazilian Blowout stylist. Originally from Boston, Melissa has been in San Antonio for the past 8 years. She believes that everyone should be able to access and afford the hair of their dreams . . . thus the creation of Extensions of Yourself, San Antonio's first salon which specializes exclusively in quality hair extensions.