Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Synthetic Dread FAQ


What ARE those things?!
Synth dreads are faux dreadlocks, made of very fine synthetic fiber. They're a great option for folks who like the look of dreads/bright colors/LOOK AT ME hair, but are unwilling or unable to commit to natural dreadlocks or lots of damaging hair color. They can be worn either as extensions (which are plaited in to the natural hair and secured with a tiny hair band and last up to 8 weeks) or as hair falls (strung on lace or elastic and tied into place over ponytails/buns for a totally temporary, one night only look).

What is the differenc
e between double-ended, single-ended, and falls?

d dreads are essentially two dreads linked in the middle by a small section of un-dreaded hair. One side is braided into natural hair, and the other side falls over the top, creating the illusion of "natural" dreadlocks. These are great for those of us with thin or fine hair that want lots of volume (but be careful if you're REALLY thin/fine, as they may be a bit too heavy!) or anyone who would like to downplay the braided pieces.
Single-ended dreads are one dread with a small loop at the top through which natural hair is threaded and then braided around the hairpiece and secured. These are perfect for clients that would like to use them for both extensions and falls.
Falls are completely temporary hairpieces (strung along a length of lace or elastic) that can be removed easily in ten minutes. Natural hair is put up in one or more buns atop the head, and falls are tied around and secured with hairpins if needed. They're fantastic for those of us with professional day-jobs that want to get crazy at night!

What do "transitional" and "candy cane" refer to?
So glad you asked!

[Please note that all images are the work and property of Imp And Petal.
Image theft will not be tolerated.]

Transitionals are dreads that start out one color at the root, transition in to another color at the ends.

Candy Canes or "Swirls" are dreads that include two contrasting colors that create a swirled effect down the entire length of the dread.

Blends are dreads custom blended by your dread artist. Two generic colors are blended by hand to create a different effect!

Harlequins are DOUBLE ENDED dreads that have a different color on either end, that meet in the middle. They're great if you want to hide the installation braids by matching one side up to your natural color.

Naturals are a messier, less streamlined version of dreads. They are fluffier, softer, squishier, and are often times not twisted at all. The idea is to mimic the messier look of "natural" dreadlocks.

Knotty Wrapped dreads are usually larger, and more stiff. They are what they sound like! Instead of ending up smooth and twisted, they're wrapped with various lengths, colors, and thicknesses of synthetic hair, giving them a fabulous "popcorn" sort of texture.

dreads are similar in technique to the knotty version, only with the goal of blending all added colors in to a smoother, blended shape.

How long will they last?
The pieces themselves are completely reusable and if properly maintained can provide you with a lifetime of fun, funky hairstyling possibilities. When worn as extensions, you can usually go between 6-8 weeks before needing to be tightened, depending on how fast your hair grows.

Can I dye them to suit my tastes once they arrive?
No, unfortunately that is not possible. Synthetic hair is made of very fine plastic fibers, and therefor will not respond to any bleaching or coloring. The hair comes in every color under the sun, though (including glow in the dark and black light reflective colors!), and you can specify which colors you'd like when custom ordering.

Why do I have to place my order so far in advance?
Synth Dreads are very time consuming to create, especially if you want great quality. In order to offer plentiful and customizable color options, I order your colors in specific quantities from my supplier when you place an order, which can sometimes take up to a week to reach me. Once I have the materials in my hands, a set can often take 10-20 hours or more to create. I work as a hairstylist 30 hours a week and usually have more than one order of dreads going at the same time.
Often times your kit will reach you sooner than expected, but I like to make sure and give myself enough wiggle room in case I need it! For an additional fee, rushed shipping can be applied on both the shipment of materials and finished product, as well as my undivided attention if you need something right away. Please ask in advance to make sure we can accommodate you!

But if someone pays extra for a rushed order, won't that unfairly push my waiting time back?
No! The added fee of a rushed order makes it possible for me to take some time away from the salon, not my usual night job of dread making. When you purchase a rushed order, I am able to take a few hours that I would normally NOT be working on custom orders to focus completely on getting you what you need and FAST!

Why are your dreads so much more expensive than a lot of the sellers I'm seeing around?
Because, my little dreaded darlings, I'm worth it! :P Allow me to explain (because I'm not some stuck up artist, I swear).
The basic reasons: I've made thousands of dreads (literally, thousands), I use a high-powered steam sealer for softness and exceptional hold, I have excellent reviews, and I've worked very hard for a very long time to be able to do what I do now.
I have years of experience it will take some of these girls another decade to acquire, not just in the artistry of dread-making it's self, but also in running a business and working with people. I value customer service just as much as I value product quality. I will never EVER leave you hanging, or feeling like you are not an active participant in the process. I answer every question happily and to the best of my knowledge, and am more than comfortable giving suggestions.
I PAY MY TAXES! 9/10 dread-makers runs what the US government considers an illegal business. Now, I'm all for fighting the system in appropriate ways... but I'm not willing to risk the livelihood of my family for a few extra bucks under the table. Small Businesses are taxed harder than hell, and if I didn't charge what I charge, I wouldn't be able to stay afloat and keep making you guys gorgeous!
Plus, I not only work with hairpieces, but with human hair -- attached to the head! -- which has provided me with an extensive knowledge of hair and scalp health, as well as color theory, which is a true passion of mine.
"How does color theory help me?" you ask?
First of all, it means your color options have just been upgraded to the Hundreds, possibly Thousands. Did I mention all types of blends are completely free through Imp And Petal? FREE. Choppy, swirly blends? Free. Blended transitionals? Free. Complete Blends to create new colors? 100% FREE. Which brings me to my last and possibly most valuable claim to fame.
I am simply talented in color and design. I don't allow myself many excuses for being overly proud, but I'll give myself that. I can tweak the tone of a color that would otherwise not get along well with your skin tone or the scheme of a set, and make it work. I effin' ROCK with this stuff and that's that!

Can I curl them?
Well... you can try. You're most likely going to end up with a molten hot plastic mess, though, so I highly suggest leaving the curling up to me. Please feel free to inquire about options and pricing, if this is something that interests you.

I've heard that when you have dreadlocks, you can't wash your hair. Is that true?
Absolutely not. Whoever told you that should be dragged in to the street and sprayed with patchouli. Washing is definitely possible and recommended. See the "maintenence" section below for washing instructions.

How do I install my new dreads?
They're quite simple, and can easily be installed with the help of a good pal (a lot of us even self-install!) but if that isn't an option for you:
If you live in the Southern Oregon/Northern California area, I can install them myself for $30-$50 an hour ($30 if you've purchased your dreads from me, $50 if they're coming from an outside source). If you live too far to travel here, check your local salons and see if anyone can help you (basically all they need to know how to do is a simple 3-strand braid, or you can direct them to one of the many fabulous tutorials scattered all over the web).

How do I wash this mess of hair on my head?
You are best off using diluted shampoo if any at all, to start with. I recommend a peppermint or tea tree shampoo, personally. Use your fingers to work the mixture between your partings, and be very careful to rinse thoroughly!! Any left over buildup of product can result in a very itchy and irritated scalp. Conditioner is not necessary; the natural oils from your scalp will be plenty good enough while your dreads are installed.
Make sure to get them completely dry (no hair dryers, unless you like to be crunchy) to avoid smelling mildewy. Grab a towel, you will be dripping for at least an hour!

I smoke like a chimney, and my dreads are starting to stink. What can I do?
I've heard Febreeze is great, but be mindful not to get any on your skin. I usually just run a few drops of essential rose oil through the lengths and that suits me fine. Try rinsing them out with water, as well.


  1. Hi, just wondering, do you have any suggestions for keeping elastics in the dreads and stopping them from snapping? I had some in last year and within three days all of the elastics were snapped.... I'm going to have some different synths in this summer and i'm going to a lot of festivals, so I don't particularily want to have to keep on putting new elastics in... if you know any good strong elastics that would be great. thanks :) :)

  2. Some people have wretched luck with this. I've heard great things about ortho bands and tattoo gun bands!

    I always have great luck with Goody brand black elastics, but i have a client that has the snapping problem with everything but tattoo gun bands!

  3. Hi I have had synth dreads in before and one of the things about single loop dreads is that i didn't like how the loop looked exposed. Is there any way of installing single loop dreads that will cover the loop and make it look more "natural"? I'm trying to leave some of my natural hair alone so the dreads look a bit more "grown out". If that makes sense.