Synthetic Dreadlocks Guide

Synthetic dreads are made of synthetic fibers, similar to doll hair, and they’re quickly gaining popularity due to their outstanding versatility. They can be installed on dreaded and undreaded hair and are available in a variety of colours. In this article we’re going to cover their different uses and benefits, here’s a quick look: 


  • If you don’t have dreadlocks and are unsure about committing, synthetic dreads can be installed and removed easily for a temporary look 
  • If you do have dreadlocks, synthetic dreads can be added for more volume or for an extra colour kick, without needing to dye your hair
  • You can also use crocheted synthetic dreadlocks to extend your natural dreadlocks

Synthetic dreadlocks installed on undreaded hair

Here at DreadLab we stock a wide variety of synthetic dreadlocks. The main differences are between:

  • Single Ended (SE) and Double Ended (DE) dreadlocks
  • Crochet dreadlocks and back-combed dreadlocks

These characteristics define their uses, their quality and their durability. Different types also require different installation methods. Let’s first take a look at the SE and DE dreads:

Single Ended dreadlocks 

SE dreads are manufactured with a loop at one end. Our SE extensions (see link) come in 2 different lengths: 30 or 50 cm.

 You can choose between a natural colour or some colour contrast.

Let’s see how to install them.

  • If you don’t have dreadlocks 
  • You’ll need some mini elastic bands and a rat tail comb

    Section your hair first. For instructions, check our sectioning guide. Then:

    • Pick a section of hair and pass it through the loop of your SE dread
    • Pull the loop as close to the roots as possible
    • Separate your section of hair in two and braid them together with the synthetic dreadlock in a 3-strand braid
    • Then secure everything with a mini elastic band
    • Repeat the steps with the next sections

     

    There are several video tutorials online that show this technique in detail, for example this one by Doctored Locks.

    The recommended amount for a full head is at least 50 SE dreadlocks. We have full-head kits of 50 dreads each, half-head kits of 30 each and single packs of 10 each.

  • If you already have dreadlocks
  • You can use SE dreads to add some extra volume or colour to your natural dreads. 

    For installation:

    • Insert the tip of your SE dreadlock in its loop and pull it through, but stop before the end
    • You’ll have a bigger loop now, that can be tightened
    • Insert one of your natural dreads in this loop, making sure the loop is as close to the roots as possible and tighten it to hold in place

    To see this technique in detail, check out this video tutorial from Tessarr. 

    Double Ended dreadlocks: 

    DE dreads literally look like double dreads, and they’re used folded in half, so each single DE dread will look like two dreadlocks. Our DE dreadlocks (see link) have two lengths: 25cm (outstretched 50cm) or 45cm (outstretched 90cm). These dreads are high quality and can last a long time, but in case you’d like a slightly cheaper option we also stock Elysee Star dreadlocks in many different colours.

    As you can see from the detail, DE dreads have no loop but are folded in half.

    Let’s see the different uses:

  • If you don’t have dreadlocks
  • With DE dreadlocks you’ll have 2 dreads for each section of hair, so you’ll be able to create less sections for the same amount of dreads. This is why DE dreads are often quicker to install. For installing, you’ll need mini elastic bands and a rat tail comb, and to know how to create sections.

    • Once you have your sections, pick one to start
    • The DE dread will be placed with its middle segment on top of the roots of your section
    • Then you’ll split the section in two and braid together those two parts plus one half of the DE dread

    Ch527kerosene made a wonderful video tutorial of this process.

  • If you already have dreadlocks:
  • Just tie a knot with your DE dread around your natural dread and pull it as close to the roots as possible. This knot could be quite visible, so it’s recommended to place it at the back of your head. 

    How long can synthetic dreadlocks last?

    Our dreads can be installed, removed and re-installed several times. 

    This is why our packaging is also re-usable, so that you can store your dreads properly. Synthetic dreadlocks can last you months or even years, depending on how well you treat them, but generally speaking the higher their quality, the longer their lifespan will be. 

    Quality depends a lot on the creation process. Most synthetic dreadlocks are backcombed: they look like a bunch of hair that has been twisted on itself, and overtime they will come undone. On the other side, crocheted dreadlocks are made with a crochet hook and look like real dreads. They will last much longer.

    Some of DreadLab’s crocheted dreadlocks

    Backcombed VS crocheted synthetic dreads

    The creation process for crocheted dreads is remarkably longer and this explains the price difference, but depending on what you're looking for, a little investment might be worthwhile. Some of the benefits of crocheted dreadlocks are:

     

    • They look nearly identical to real dreads, whereas backcombed dreads are not meant to look natural
    • They can last years, even if you wear them constantly
    • They can be worn and washed like natural dreads and are not as delicate as backcombed dreads
    • They can be installed as extensions of your natural dreadlocks (see paragraph below for instructions)

    Photo by fauxels from Pexels

    How to install crocheted dreadlocks as dreadlock extensions

    For this you’ll need exclusively crocheted dreads as backcombed dreads cannot be attached to your dreads’ ends. For installation, simply cut the loop off, or cut as much length as you want, and attach the cut end to one of your own dreads using a crochet hook. There are several tutorials online, for example this one by Elise Buch. 

    Elise is matching her extensions to her natural hair colour, but you can consider a different colour to get an ombre effect.

    About the author

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