If I had to think of one thing that I get asked about more than anything else, it has got to be my hair!
People love it, study it, and are completely confused by it all the time. From what I can tell, I think there are a lot more people out there who would get dread extensions if they only knew how to take care of them. Now, if you have no idea what dread extensions are then you may want to read up about them in the "Intro to Dread Extensions" essay on this page. If you already have some idea what I'm talking about or have already gotten some braided in and now have no clue how to take care of them, read on!
Can you wash them? Absolutely. Whether you actually need to wash them is quite another thing! I wash mine at least once or twice each month. Some people I know never wash their dreads and they don't seem to have any problem as far as odor or cleanliness goes. Others wash them fairly regularly. It all just has to do with your own comfort, how oily your scalp gets, and how dirty your dreads get over time. If you have light colored dreads, you may find that you have to wash them more frequently. Smoke, dust, dirt, and grime can make blonde and light colored dreads look very dingy and they need a bit more care than the darker colors.
Yup! You certainly can! I get about three or four good wears out of my double enders before I throw them out. Once you remove them from your head, throw them in a laundry bag (a pillow case that zips up works well too), and toss them in a washing machine set on cold. Don't be afraid to use plenty of detergent! Laundry detergent does not harm kanekalon or yaki hair...in fact; it is one of the only things that really cleans it. Once you take them out of the washing machine, drape them over your shower rod or a laundry line to dry. Don't leave them in the bag or heaped into a pile, they will dry all funky looking and it will be hard to make them straight again. Once they are dry, store them till you need them, or braid them back in.
If you don't plan on using them for awhile then you may have to store them away for quite some time. Dread extensions are expensive and you don't want to just shove them into your closet or kick them under your bed. If they sit in an odd position for too long, they may actually stay like that and you won't be able to get them to lie down straight anymore! The two best ways to store them are by either laying them out nicely in a tupperware container or by hanging them.
If you keep your dreads in for longer than a few weeks, you may need to touch up your roots. This is generally no problem at all.Hair dye...even bleach...does not affect the synthetic hair used to make dreads. Meaning, you can slather it all over your scalp without worrying about it touching the dreads. Simply follow my Washing Dread Extensions guide. Once you get to step 13, put your hair dye in. Wait for the amount of time it says on the box and continue on with step 14 and rinse it out. Now how easy is that?
It can take awhile to get used to sleeping with 50+ dreads tied into your hair! If you have just gotten them braided in, you will find it very uncomfortable and even a bit painful to lay your head down. This is normal and it will pass quickly. Usually after about three days or so you should be feeling much better and able to sleep through the night with no problem. But even after your dreads grow out and relax a bit, it can still be annoying to sleep with them in. If you are having a lot of trouble keeping them out of your face, try tying them back in a loose ponytail (a shoe lace works well for this!) or wrapping a scarf or bandana around your head.
If you have fake hair, the only one that should know it...is YOU.
Okay, and maybe your stylist as well, but she's not telling. My point is, you should always do whatever you can to fool, confuse, and baffle everyone around into thinking that; "Hmmm....maybe it is real." If nothing else, the majority of people you meet or pass by in the streets should not be able to take one quick glance at your hair and figure out how it was done. Unless they are experienced professionals (or avid fans of this site!) they shouldn't be able to discern what is your real hair and what is extensions. However, there are some common blunders that I see committed by fake hair wearers that completely give away their facade. So without further delay, I give you.... The Fake Hair Faux Pas.
By far the most fake hair faux pas are committed by dread fall wearers. You know you don't have dread extensions, no one else should. To keep up the pretense that your dreads are real or attached, keep these rules in mind:
Just because they are actually attached to your hair, doesn't mean you are incapable of committing a fake hair faux pas.
If you have wool extensions, you may not be too concerned with how "real" they look. That does not mean, however, that they should look bad!
Whether it is clipped in, tied in, or glued in...be sure to follow a few simple rules...
One of the most popular forms of hair extensions in the subculture genre are Dread Extensions. Easier to install than straight weaves and straight extensions, they also have the benefit of lasting up to two months or more. With very little upkeep! Sooo....
Many people are a little unsure as to how permanent dread extensions are and exactly how they are attached. No worries! I shall explain!Dread extensions are a semi-permanent way of adding dreads into your natural hair. They are more permanent than dread falls and less permanent than real dreadlocks (read more about this in the "Intro to Dread Falls" essay on this page). The extensions are pre-made into dread shape and then simply braided into your hair. Your real hair remains safely wrapped around the extensions, held in place by an elastic band or string.
There are some terrible misconceptions floating around out there that need to be cleared up:
Not everyone can sport a full head of neon green dreads 24/7. Work, school, family, and even the area you live can set standards for your hair. Most jobs will not tolerate dread extensions...even natural colored ones! Many schools have similar policies and regard dread extensions as being "too distracting" to fellow students. Your own family can set rules against them. Even the area you live can make it hard to have dread extensions without attracting a great deal of negative attention.
For those of you who are not "allowed" dreads, please remember...it is just hair. No hairstyle (no matter how fabulous) is worth your job, your grades, your safety, or your place to live. But don't despair, life changes fast and the opportunity to have extensions put in may arise one day. You just have to be patient!
Another thing to keep in mind are your hobbies. For example, if you are an avid swimmer, dreads may not be for you. Although they can get wet, submerging them completely in water can make them very heavy. This can result in them stretching out your real hair or the dreads themselves loosening up. Other hobbies, such as those that involve wearing a helmet, getting excessively dirty, or working near a flame, may be hazardous if you have dread extensions. Keep these things in mind before choosing to commit to fake dreads!
Just because you are allowed to have them, doesn't always mean you can or should! There are a few factors to consider before having dread extensions braided in:
When you order (or make) your dreads, you'll have the option of having them made as "double ended" dreads or "single looped" dreads. Here is the difference:
A few other things before you can begin braiding your dreads!
There are a few ways to braid dread extensions...
Dread extensions are easier to take care of than most people think! Check out the following links to learn how:
Many confuse the two, and really, isn't that the point?
But if you are one of those people who aren't sure of the difference, let me take some time to explain:
When installed properly, both of these temporary dread methods look almost identical. Check out the image below and see what I mean. I (on the left) have dread extensions and my friend April (on the right) has falls in.
Both of these methods are similar in the sense that they allow a person to sport a dreaded look without actually having to commit their real hair to being dreaded. That way, if your lifestyle or job situation changes, your hair can too!
But although dread extensions are only semi-permanent, most people are not in a situation to be able to have dreads on a daily basis. School, work, parents, sports, and even hobbies can play a huge role when it comes to choosing a hairstyle. It is for all of you who have these limitations that I write this essay. Just because you can't don hot pink dreadies 24/7, doesn't mean you can't indulge once in awhile. So if your inner diva is craving some enormous chunky hair...err...but only when hitting the clubs, read on!
It is a sad fact that people with real dreads look down on people with dread extensions. And people with dread extensions look down on people with dread falls. Well, I say, it has got to stop! When it comes to dreads, we have options! So why not take advantage of it?
So what if your hair isn't real? As long as it looks friggin fabulous, who gives a damn whether you grew it or bought it?
Keeping that in mind, let's talk about the advantages of dread falls...
You may want to learn even more about them or try them out for yourself! Check out the following links:
Years and years ago, before I started to get dread extensions, I was an avid dread fall wearer. I wore mine almost every single day, so I had a lot of practice putting them in and fussing with them to get them to look more natural. In fact, when I switched over to dread extensions, no one even noticed! Most people figured that my dreads were always braided in. Many still don't realize that in my very first SG set I am actually sporting falls, unlike all the others where I am wearing extensions.
So how did I keep up this clever ruse you ask??
Simply by developing some easy tricks to making dread falls look a bit more natural. Tricks and tips that I am more than willing to share with all of you...
With this trick, we simply want to make it look as though the dreads are actually braided into the hair. This is very useful for covering up the back of your head if it tends to show and it also helps blend the hairline into the dreads better. After all, nothing gives away falls as well as a smooth hairline being pulled up into a heap of dreadies.
Another way to make falls look more natural is to just confuse the bloody hell out of anyone who might try to determine otherwise. The harder it is to discern two separate falls, the more realistic they end up looking.
Out of sight, out of mind! Hiding the smoothness of your natural hair underneath a headband or scarf can keep people guessing as to whether or not your dreads are real or fake. Many people may assume they are fake if you have a headband, but can they really know? Nope. After all, my dreads are braided in but I still wear headbands from time to time. And several of my friends who have real dreads wear bandanas once in awhile to keep their dreads out of their faces.
If you aren't pressed for time, or happen to be an incredibly fast braider, than you may want to consider braiding in a few loose dreads along with your falls. My friend Lauren did this all the time and I always thought she had extensions until she taught me this trick. All you need is a few loose double ended dreads that match your hair color (or at least the base color of your falls). About six to eight dreads will do fine and cover quite a bit of the front.