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Author Topic: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?  (Read 6757 times)  Share 

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Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« on: 07 May 12 / 02:26 AM »
Hey everyone,

As some people probably know, I'm in the process of cutting out hair that's been bleached from black to blonde. It's almost all out now. I did it over about a 3 month period starting about this time last year. My hair was not fried, it's in good condition and it feels and looks like normal hair, it just splits much faster once it gets past about APL. As a result, I've been maintaining it at more or less the same length for about a year, and it's driving me crazy.

I really want it to be longer, and I've fancied having synthetic dreads for a while. I figure this will allow me to gain length instantly, and also hopefully allow my hair a bit of a rest from being constantly heat treated (I straighten it once or twice every fortnight at the moment) and shoved full of products.

But will this have the desired effect, or potentially damage my hair and slow down the process even more? I'll have to self install (I can barely afford to make the dreads themselves, let alone pay for an install) and I'm a little worried that I might cause damage. Can anyone confirm whether or not this will cause damage? Does anyone have any hints and tips for how not to royally destroy one's hair whilst self installing?
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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #1 on: 07 May 12 / 06:55 AM »
Having had synth dreads for a while before I got my natural ones I can say from experience that they don't cause damage. You won't be washing the hair as much, no straighteners, dryers, brushing etc. So if anything itl help to give your hair a break and I found that when I took them out my hair was noticably longer and in great condition (if a little greasy :p) as for the self install I can't really comment as I had a friend install mine but lots of mirrors and patience I imagine :p and there are loads of tutorials on youtube etc. Hope this helped :)
 

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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #2 on: 07 May 12 / 09:45 AM »
I have used synthetic dreads before to grow out a short bob and undercut.  My hair thrived! No heat treatment and products left my hair in the best condition since I was a kid. Plus I sometimes get bad psoriasis on my scalp and it cleared up! I used to take them out every 3 to 4 weeks ish and wash my hair and stick the dreads in the washing machine tied up in a pillow case. Dry in the airing cupboard over night and pop them straight back in the next day. I don't know if its true, but my hair seemed to grow quicker (I think from the weight of them) but it could just be that you don't see a gradual grow like you normally would? When you take them out/wash your hair, you will have a big handful of hair. This is only from you shedding about 100 hairs a day and them having nowhere to escapade :) It is not damaged hair :)

Installing gets easier every time you do it.  It took hours the first time, but could get it down to about 1 or 2 in the end (my hair is very thick and had about 80 SE dreads) I found that the sectioning took the most part.  Some people section all over and secure with bands.  I just did a row at at a time, using slides and started at the nape and follow a brick pattern (saves on bands).  You will get a feel for how secure/tight you need them.

Good luck if you go for it (Thumbs up from moi) :)
 

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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #3 on: 10 May 12 / 06:50 PM »
I agree with the other ladies - definitely not damaging (at least, not the braided in ones - the wrapped ones (the ones that aren't reuseable) can be damaging, but the reuseable ones definitely aren't!).  And I found the same, I've been using these on and off for about 6 years (not anymore, as I now have real dreads again), and my hair is usually in much better condition when I take them out.  They can be left in for up to 3 months, but I really can't stand going that long without washing my scalp, so I usually left them in for about 6 weeks, then took them out, had a good ol' scrub of the scalp, and left them out for about a week to give my scalp a break from the weight, then re-installed.  You do notice more growth than usual when you take them out, particularly if you leave them in for longer, but I think this is just down to the fact that you're not seeing the small amounts of growth on a regular basis - you probably wouldn't notice the same amount of growth on loose hair, as it'd be gradual.  Definitely a plus for hair health though, as you're giving your hair a break from heat styling, styling products and harsh shampoos for a good few weeks. 
However, you may find that the weight of them is quite a shock to your scalp, so I'd suggest starting off with single ended dreads instead of double ended, and once you get used to the weight of the SE's, maybe go with DE's for the next set if you want more volume.  When you do take them out, you will notice lots of hair coming out with them, and this will probably seem very scary the first time, but it's as mootheblue said - you naturally shed about 100 hairs every day, but you don't notice this with loose hair, as it just falls to the ground.  When your hair is in synth dreads, these hairs have nowhere to go to as they're braided in, so when you undo the braids, about 6 week's worth of shed will come out all at once.  You'll also be left with a rather fetching afro until you give your hair a good wash and deep condition!
If you find your scalp starts to itch when you have the dreads in, there are a number of sprays you can used to help this, Knotty Boy make a good peppermint scalp spray, but it can be expensive.  For a cheaper option, you can make one yourself:
brew up a cup of peppermint tea, and let it sit with the bag in until it cools so it gets nice and strong.  Once it's cool, decant into a spray bottle, add 10-20 drops of each of the following essential oils: lavender, tea tree and peppermint.  Shake thoroughly, and voila - refreshing (and all natural!) scalp spray.  This can be stored in the fridge for extra cooling power!
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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #4 on: 10 May 12 / 08:54 PM »
Thanks guys! Any idea how much kanekalon I'm likely to need? I'm thinking about 4 packets might do it? I want them to be about boob-length?
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #5 on: 10 May 12 / 10:25 PM »
You may need a little more than that, how thick do you want them? Amount of hair used varies with the method you make them with, what 'style' are you planning to make them?
 

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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #6 on: 10 May 12 / 10:36 PM »
I'm as of yet a bit undecided, I was thinking of trying 'natural' style ones, but they look a little trickier than the rolled and steamed smooth ones, so I was planning to make a few and see.

I want them relatively thick at the top, then tapering down. A little like this girl's gorgeous ones, (
http://www.murderotic.com/ scroll down for pictures) but probably a little thinner since I've never worn them before and am a bit worried about the weight!
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #7 on: 10 May 12 / 10:42 PM »
I would also warn that they are heavy - if your hair is damaged then it might break more easily from the weight or if they get tangled with your natural hair it may break when you take them out!  Mine only lasted a week because they were too heavy and I couldn't tie them up to exercise!
 

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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #8 on: 10 May 12 / 10:48 PM »
My hair isn't particularly damaged, it's just that the ends are a little more delicate and prone to heat damage than they should be due to multiple bleachings last year. It's not gooey or stretchy, and usually feels pretty smooth and strong down to the last inch or so. The roots are really strong and healthy, so I think it should be okay?
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost
 

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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #9 on: 10 May 12 / 10:51 PM »
Sounds fine then.  I don't have much experience but I'd say try to do as few dreads as possible so it's lighter, at least while you get used to it so you don't give up like I did! :)
 

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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #10 on: 11 May 12 / 04:19 AM »
I'm really excited for you, Mouse!  I have also been considering doing synthetic dreads.  But as I'm looking for a job right now, I'm going to wait til I get one to take the next step.

It sounds like you shouldn't wash your hair with the synthetic dreads in?  Is this correct?
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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #11 on: 11 May 12 / 10:38 AM »
The girl in the pictures looks as though she as dreads that have been backcombed and lightly twisted as they are sealed. They look reasonably light, in my experience it is easier to make natural style to conventional style, but this is a sort of mix of the two so you should be okay, where are you going to get your hair and how will you be sealing them? The way you seal can have an impact on the eventual look and feel.
Have a look at hairextensionsforum if you have not already, lots of useful info there :)
As echoed before, try not to use too many dreads if you can help it, some discomfort at the beginning is normal, but it shouldn't go on for more than a day or so.

Cijadon, it is certainly possible, but not really needed and very uncomfortable, better to take out the whole lot, wash, then reinstall. I could go six weeks with extensions before my hair got too bad. I wouldn't recommend any more though as the extensions loosen after a time and your hair  grows, as such putting strain on your hair when they are sort of 'hanging' a bit. Much better to retighten  and wear comfortably
 

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Re: Synthetic Dreads - damaging?
« Reply #12 on: 11 May 12 / 08:09 PM »
Thanks!  I imagine it will be nice to not have to wash my hair twice a week. :)

I was thinking of making dreads in a darker shade of whatever is in my hair at the time.  Do you think braiding a lighter shade over darker dreads will look good?
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