After three years I'm just now feeling like my dreads are becoming low maintenance. Dreads really haven't been much less maintenance than my brushable hair. After 18 months or so a few of my ends dreaded up along my nape but I helped the rest a long with a crochet hook. They still aren't all nicely rounded. I like tails though. People make dumb comments. My dreads were almost two and I had someone ask if they were brand new babies! People don't understand how long it takes. Palm roll a couple times a week and I did embroidery floss too for loops....aloe gel to tame the frizz. The white bits are a big problem and I suspect more if your hair is darker. I dye my hair so I don't really notice them.
Conditioning: when I felt like mine were pretty much fully locked up I started conditioning them. I'd say it was shortly after 1 year.
So ladies I really wanted to shave my head for my birthday last week. I just figured it would feel like a fresh start and it would get me motivated to do something crazy. DH talked me out of it. I'm glad. I do love my dreadies. And they're getting nice and long now. And like I said they are finally sort of low maintenance. They're not all growing together at the roots every week! I've got some frizzy issues probably due to dry hair but an apple cider vinegar rinse helps.