Dreadlock extensions are an amazing way to get creative with your hair and express yourself. Plus, it means you can skip the locking process (which can take up to six months or longer, depending on your hair type).
But it’s important to know the difference between the types. Whether you want to try dreadlocks but aren’t ready to make the leap or you already have locs and want to give them a zhuzh — this post has everything you need to know.
Types of Extensions
You can do a lot with dreadlock extensions, from adding a couple locs for a pop of color to doing a whole head. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s break down the different types.
There are mainly three materials used for dreadlock extensions — real hair, wool, and synthetic — and there are pros and cons to each. Choosing which type you want depends on your own hair type, what look you’re going for, and how long you want them to last.
Real Hair Dreadlock Extensions
These dreadlock extensions are made from 100% human hair and are then treated to “behave a certain way”. These are typically used to lengthen natural locs, making them great for semi-permanent or permanent extensions. Human hair dreadlock extensions are better quality than synthetic and wool locs and require very little maintenance. However they cannot be dyed (because they’ve been treated).
You can also opt for virgin and Remy human hair extensions. “Virgin” means that the hair has never been treated, unlike the extensions described above. “Remy” indicates that all the cuticles in the hair are running in the same direction.And because it’s untreated, you can dye it! This is by the far the highest quality of dreadlock extensions you can get. However, that does mean it’s the most expensive.
Wool Dreadlock Extensions
Wool dreadlock extensions are probably the least realistic looking of the bunch. But that’s also what makes them perfect for adding pops of color and even fun jewels to your locs. These extensions are easy to install and remove. However, they do get a bit heavy after washing.
If you’re looking for a temporary way to experiment with dreadlocks and different styles, wool extensions are for you.
Synthetic Dreadlock Extensions
Synthetic dreadlock extensions have grown increasingly popular. This is likely because they look strikingly similar to real hair without the steep price tag. They’re made of very fine plastic fibers, with the most popular being Kanekalon.
There’s a range in quality when it comes to synthetic loc extensions. The high quality ones, when installed well, look so real someone could hardly tell the difference. However, the lower quality ones look fake and stand out.
Synthetic dreadlock extensions also come in a wide variety of colors, have little-to-no fuzziness, and are a great way to achieve semi-permanent locs.
Maintaining Your Loc Extensions
As with natural dreadlocks, it’s important to know the proper maintenance for your dreadlock extensions to keep them lasting as long as possible.
And since they accumulate build-up (just like natural locs), a residue-free shampoo is highly recommended. There’s no need to wash the locs themselves — focus on your scalp as you would your natural hair.
Installing and Attaching Your Dreadlock Extensions
How you attach your dreadlock extensions depends on what type you’ve opted for. There are single-ended and double-ended dreadlocks. Single-ended extensions have a loop on the end for you to loop your natural hair through and create a braid. Double-ended extensions are one long dreadlock that’s been folded to create two dreadlocks. You’ll want to section your hair, place one loc in the middle of two sections, and braid your natural hair around them.
But for the best results and to ensure your locs stay in place as long as you want them to, it’s best to have a professional install your dreadlock extensions.
If you’re interested in dreadlock extensions, there’s a lot to take into account. Between the different types, the maintenance, and what style you’re aiming for — it can feel a bit overwhelming. But overall, dreadlock extensions are a great, low-risk way to experiment with new styles or add to what you already have.