Synthetic Dreads FAQ

Synthetic dreadlocks are made of synthetic hair, they come in different types and materials, and can be installed on both dreaded and undreaded hair. For a detailed description of the different types and how to install them, see our Synthetic Dreadlocks Guide. In this article we’ll look at the most common questions regarding their use on loose hair.

Man with sunglasses looking to the left with synthetic dreadlocks

Rainbow hair: each synthetic dread can have a different colour. 
Photo by Terrance Douglas

1.Why wear synthetic dreadlocks?

Natural dreads require commitment and are not suitable for everyone. Synthetic dreads on the other hand are easy to install and remove, there’s no need for commitment whatsoever and this is why they are so popular. 

Just imagine: you can wear them only on the weekend, change colour and style any time you want, all without ruining your natural hair. Wearing synthetic dreads actually protects your hair from breakage and pollution.

2.Can I install them on myself?

If it is your first time it is always recommended to see a loctician, but many choose to try on their own. The good news is, if you make a mistake you can always remove your dreads and try again. For more instructions on how to install them go to the Synthetic Dreadlocks Guide. If you’re looking for a loctician in the UK or Ireland, check the directory on this website. For Germany, Austria, German Switzerland and Luxembourg, check the German directory.

3.How long does my hair need to be to install synthetic dreadlocks?

The longer the hair, the more secure your synthetic dreads will be. The minimal length required is normally about 10cm. Of course you can try to install them on shorter hair but they will be more likely to slide off. 

4.How should I divide my hair to install them?

For hair sectioning refer to our Dreadlocks Sectioning Guide, where you’ll see illustrated examples of the most common patterns.

Woman in yellow bikini looking to the right with sunglasses on and box braids

Picture: box braids made with jumbo braid hair. Wear these following the same recommendations. To learn how to create them, see our Jumbo Braid Hair Guide

Photo by David Gomes


5.What washing routine should I follow with synthetic dreadlocks?

You don’t need to use any product on your synthetic dreads while you’re wearing them. When you wash, focus more on your scalp and natural roots, using some dreadlocks shampoo diluted with water. You can also use refreshening and cleansing sprays and these conditioning oils (avoid regular hair conditioner), always focusing on the scalp. For a better idea of how to wash your head while wearing synthetic dreads, check this video demonstration from ch527kerosene.


6.So how can I wash my synthetic dreads?

 You can shampoo them like regular dreads if they are crocheted, because they won’t get undone. Crocheted dreads are made to endure virtually anything. The back-combed and twisted ones (Single Ended or Double Ended), however, will get a bit undone if you shampoo them. To wash them, simply remove them from your head and hand wash them gently in warm soapy water. Air dry them and put them back in their case when they are completely dry.


7.For how long can I keep them on?

 It’s not recommended to exceed three months of continuous wearing. Ideally you’d keep them on for about a month or two, then remove them and keep them off for at least a couple of days, to let your scalp rest. 

Woman smoking looking to the left 

8.How long do they last? 

The crocheted type is made to last virtually forever, while the back-combed and twisted type is likely to get loose. However, you can repair them as many times as you want. You only need a flat iron or a hair straightener, a microfiber cloth and some water, then seal them as explained in the Jumbo Braid Hair Guide, section “How to create customized Single Ended or Double Ended dreadlocks”, subsection “Back-combed dreadlocks”.


9.What if they itch a lot?

Always wash your new synthetic dreadlock set in warm soapy water before wearing them, to remove any trace of chemical irritants from the factory. If you’re prone to skin conditions, before wearing your dreads try rubbing them on your wrist and wait to see if your skin reacts. If there is no sign of reaction you can install them. If you experience some itch, keep in mind that with natural or synthetic dreadlocks (but also with braids), the creation/installation process causes some tension at the roots that can make you itchy for the first day or two. If the itch persists, check out our step-by-step Itchy Dreads Guide.


10.How do I sleep with synthetic dreads?

The recommendation of using a dreadlocks night cap is always valid, especially if you have synthetic dreads installed on loose hair. The satin cap will keep your hair put and minimize frizz at the roots.

Woman with white dreadlocks smiling and leaning over a counter Photo by Jeffrey Paa Kwesi Opare


11.Can I swim with synthetic dreads?

Of course you can, but we recommend using a swim cap to keep them clean from floating dirt, and to reduce the amount of water they absorb (it would make them very heavy).


12.Can I dye or bleach my synthetic dreads?

It’s not possible to dye them, but you can get more colours and even create your own synthetic dreads by mixing different colours of Jumbo Braid Hair. For more info check out the dedicated Guide.


13.Why synthetic hair, and not human hair?

The main difference between human and synthetic is the price: human hair costs a fortune! And not for their quality or versatility but because of where they come from. They come from someone’s head, somewhere in the world, and growing them takes years. Be mindful: very cheap human hair sold online can actually be synthetic, or it comes from exploitation of girls and women in some of the poorest parts of the world. To know more about this matter we recommend watching this documentary on YouTube.

For dreadlocks, using human hair is not necessary. The synthetic fiber we use, called kanekalon, reacts to heat in a certain way, which makes it possible to create beautiful dreadlocks very quickly. The cost is lower, the process is faster, and the colour choice is much broader.


We hope you found this guide helpful! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #Dreadlab when sharing your work online!



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 looking up and walking through trees