Synthetic Braid Hair Guide

Among our selection of synthetic dreadlocks in the menu above, you’ll see that we also sell Jumbo Braid Hair, pre-stretched Braid Hair, and Afro Kinky Hair.

Let’s see them one by one:

  • Jumbo Braid Hair: these are high quality undreaded “kanekalon” hair that come in large bundles, braided to keep them tidy. There are plenty of colour choices and they can be used for braids and for dreadlocks.
  • Pre-Stretched Braid Hair: these are less heat resistant then jumbo braid hair, and they tend to tangle less, which makes them really suitable for braids, box braids and cornrows.
  • Afro Kinky Hair: the texture is similar to natural kinky hair and as such it is ideal to be used on kinky hair, for braids and dreads.

In this article you’ll find the following ideas:

  1. How to create customized Single Ended or Double Ended dreadlocks
  2. How to create customized dreadlocks extensions (for dreaded hair only)
  3. Adding volume and/or colour to your braids or box braids 
  4. Unleashing your creativity for other hairstyles

Plus we’ll offer some tips on colour selection.


 Jumbo Braid Hair, Pre-stretched Braid Hair, Afro Kinky Hair available on DreadLab


Before we start: what is “kanekalon” hair?

Kanekalon is known as the best synthetic fibre to replicate human hair. Unlike regular, synthetic “doll” hair, it can be easily crocheted into dreadlocks and is very durable. It is also designed to be manipulated with steam or boiling water, however it is recommended to avoid using heat styling tools directly on it.


1.How to create customized Single Ended or Double Ended dreadlocks 

If you don’t know what Single Ended and Double Ended dreadlocks are, find the information in our Synthetic Dreadlocks Guide. 

To start, undo the jumbo braid hair and free it from the elastic band that holds it on the top. Start dividing it into sections, each of which will make one SE or DE dread. Keep in mind that for Single Ended Dreads you’ll need to fold each section of hair in two, to create a loop at the top, so the final thickness will be twice as much as what you’re taking. 

To transform this synthetic hair into dreadlocks you have two choices:

  • Back-combed dreadlocks
  • Back-comb the kanekalon hair, then twist it, and seal it in place with heat. Ideally you’d use a steamer, but there is a trick method using a heat styling tool, some water and a towel. Project Pterodactyl, a YouTube Channel, created two detailed tutorials where you can see this technique for Single Ended dreadlocks and for Double Ended dreadlocks. 

    Kanekalon hair is the best to create backcombed synthetic dreadlocks, because it reacts to heat in a consistent way. Also, it doesn’t melt into liquid form, and is flame retardant, so it is safer to use than other synthetic fibers.

    1. Crocheted dreadlocks 

    Crocheting kanekalon is like crocheting natural hair. This technique takes a longer time than back-combing and twisting, but the result will look more natural. Crocheted dreads are also significantly more durable.

    For the crochet technique, please refer to the Dreadlocks Creation Guide on our website, paragraph titled “Create your dreadlocks manually, one by one”. You’ll need to prepare the kanekalon hair by back-combing or twisting & ripping it before crocheting, exactly how you’d do with natural hair.


    Girls hair showing dreadlocks installed using synthetic braid hair from dreadlab

    Crocheted dreadlocks and dread extensions made with DreadLab’s Jumbo Braid Hair


    2.How to create customized dreadlocks extensions (for dreaded hair only)

    In case you’d like to have very long dreadlocks, kanekalon hair make inexpensive and very realistic dreadlocks extensions. 

    To create extensions you’ll need to crochet your kanekalon hair: back-combed synthetic dreads cannot be installed as extensions of your own dreads. Again, the crocheting technique is explained in the Dreadlocks Creation Guide, paragraph “Create your dreadlocks manually, one by one”. 

    Customized dreadlocks extensions give the best results, because you can match the thickness and colour of your own dreads. We looked at how to install dreadlocks extensions in our Synthetic Dreadlocks Guide: if you haven’t read it check it out at this link


    Girl with hands on head playing with dreadlocks

    Photo of jumbo box braids by Gustavo Spindula on Unsplash


    1. Adding volume and/or colour in your braids or box braids (for undreaded hair and thin locs)

    This method is also known as jumbo braids or “feed in” braids, depending on the technique you choose. 

    • For the “feed-in” technique you’ll need to pick some kanekalon hair, fold it in half and place its middle on top of the braid you’re about to create. Then you’ll braid your hair together with the kanekalon adding more and more of your own hair as you go. To understand this technique better, take a look at this tutorial. This method is used to create thick and/or colourful cornrows, plaits and dutch braids, and gives stunning shading effects.
    • Jumbo braids (where this synthetic hair gets its name from) are braids or box braids with extra synthetic hair to make them look thicker. To create jumbo box braids sectioning is very important: if you haven’t yet, you may want to give a look at our Sectioning Guide. For instructions on jumbo braids, check this very detailed tutorial.


    More variations of the jumbo braids are the jumbo twists (tutorial here) and box braids over dreadlocks (tutorial here). The latter is only doable if you have very thin locs.


    Girl posing with jumbo twist black and white hair

    Silver jumbo twists - Photo by Tomaz Barcellos from Pexels


    4.Unleashing your creativity for other hairstyles

    Jumbo braid hair is especially used at festivals, parties and dress-up parties but depending on your lifestyle and on the colours you choose it can also be used in your everyday life. It’s installed in a variety of ways: buns, space buns, bun with faux fringe, the list goes on. For an example of a very colourful, creative look, check this: YouTube video. To see how to create a faux fringe with a bun, here is an example.


    single tone jumbo braid hairs laid out showing colours

    Some of our ombre colours for jumbo braid hair



    Kanekalon is famous for its virtually limitless colour options, however, you can mix the colours together to create different nuances. For instructions, watch this tutorial from Doctored Locs. This trick is useful for creating several colour variations by buying only two or three colours, and makes colours look more organic. Mixing is especially handy to reproduce natural nuances. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that our natural hair never has a fully consistent, solid colour.

    There’s an extra trick for creating natural-looking dreadlocks extensions: pick the tone that seems more similar to yours, plus one or two lighter tones. On extensions, slightly lighter tones will look way more natural than darker ones.

    On the other hand, if you create dread extensions with a different colour you’ll have a beautiful ombre effect. 

    As you can see, kanekalon hair is an open door to creativity and allows you to experiment and play without limits. Don’t forget the tag #DreadLab when you share your creations, we would love to see them!


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    About the author

    Margherita Orso Pletti - Italian dread maker, youtuber and blogger living in the UK. Creator of, website in Italian about dreadlocks.

    girl with dreadlocks walking through trees