Here’s an exhaustive look into the world of dreadlock extensions. All the details you need on how to get them installed, how to maintain them, plus all the answers you ever needed!
What Are Dreadlock Extensions?
Dreadlock extensions have become increasingly popular in later years. The reason is that people have requested a loc style that can be done without them having to go through the locking process. This takes between six months and a year. Dreadlock extensions also allow you to wear beautiful locs without having to commit. Therefore, if and when you want a new hairstyle, you won’t have to comb them out or worse, cut your hair. All you have to do is remove the extensions and you’re done!
How Much Do Dreadlock Extensions Cost?
It depends on several factors such as their length, their type, quality, amount, color, or thickness. There is no fixed price for a set of dreadlock extensions. However, on average, a set can cost between $300-$800. You will also need to pay for the installation that can costs between $300-$600.
Please contact your stylist or vendor near you and ask for their pricing as each one is different.
Temporary Tie-In Extensions
If you want to test your dreadlock extensions before you commit to them or if you want to try a non-natural color and see how it fits, this is the service you need.
- Appointment time: 0.2-3 hours
- Price: $20-120
Permanent Partial Extensions
Choose your own unique style! You can wear dreadlocks at the back and keep your hair un-dreaded at the front.
- Appointment time: 1.5-5 hours
- Price: $100- 350
Full Head Permanent Extensions
You know what this means. Long dreadlocks without having to wait for your hair to grow! All you need is around 3-5 inches of hair and you’ll walk out with 3-4 feet of dreadlocks!
- Appointment time: 8-12+ hours
- Price: $350-550+
The Pros and Cons of Dreadlock Extensions
You’re already hooked on the pros, but we’ll also give you the cons because we care about you!
- Getting length without waiting for your hair to grow
- Instant gratification
- Dreadlocks match your hair perfectly
- You get to choose the style
- Dreadlocks extensions work with any hair style
- Dreadlock extensions are costlier than a simple installation
- They are fake
- They might fall out
How to Prepare for Dreadlock Extensions
Before the installation, wash your hair as best as possible twice in a row. Use a residue free shampoo. Detangle your hair. Your natural hair has to be completely dry before the appointment.
How to Attach Permanent Dreadlock Extensions
If you want to attach your own dreadlock extensions or if you’re thinking about doing it to one of your friends, here are the steps you need to follow.
- Rubber bands
- Crochet hook
- Create the dreadlock out of your natural hair. Start by sectioning the hair. Take a section and twist it twice around your finger. Flatten, separate, and pull the two strands to the base (twist and rip). Repeat until the dread is formed. (Do not twist more than twice or the hair won’t bunch in the correct place and the dread won’t form normally. Twice is enough). You can alternatively backcomb your hair.
- Make sure your extensions are the same width as your natural dreadlocks.
- Comb the top end of your extension until it’s wispy.
- Lay the top of the extensions parallel to the middle of your natural dread, or where their widths match.
- With the crochet hook, pull the extension hair through your natural dread.
- Secure the ends. Use rubber bands.
How to Attach Single Ended Synthetic Dreadlock Extensions
- Rubber bands
- Mirror (if you’re doing it on your own)
- Section your hair.
- Tie each section with a rubber band.
- Loop the strand of hair through the loop of the dreadlock extension and push the dread up to the base of the hair.
- Split the strand into two sections and braid it into three using the dread as a third strand. Secure the braid with a rubber band.
- Continue with the rest of the strands.
How to Attach Double Ended Synthetic Dreadlock Extensions
- Rubber bands
- Metal tip sectioning comb
- Hair ties for sectioning
- Clips for holding your hair back
- Hair care product to help you braid
- Section your hair. Split one section into two strands and place your dreadlock extension between the two strands. Cross the strands and start braiding them over your extension.
- Pinch the ends of your strands together against the dread and secure them with a rubber band.
- Continue with all the sections of your hair.
Tips on How to Maintain Dreadlock Extensions
Now that you know how to install them, you also have to be able to maintain them. Here are some tips!
For human hair
This depends on how they were installed. With the crochet method, there should be no maintenance. All you need to do is groom your new dreads as they grow for the first time!
For synthetic hair
Treat them like you would your normal hair. Wear them up or down! While you don’t have to wash the dreads themselves, you still have to focus on your scalp. Wash your scalp at least once a week.
Use a residue-free shampoo for locs. Create the lather with your fingertips and rinse. Since they accumulate buildup just like natural dreads, residue-free shampoos are the best.
Only wash synthetic dreadlocks 1-2 times per week. More frequent washes will frizz them out and make your natural hair look messy. Less frequent shampooing keeps extensions tidy! Invest in a shower cap that you can wear on days when you don’t have to wash your hair. Find one that is big enough to fit your long extensions.
Never leave dreadlock extensions on for more than 3 months. After each set, go for a deep treatment as well as a thorough cleanse. Here’s an interesting piece on how to wash dreadlocks!
If your extensions get ratty, re-seal and re-tighten them using steam. Use a pair of scissors to cut off any fuzzies you can see on their surface.
NEVER use a flat iron, blow dryer or curling iron on your synthetic extensions. Kanekalon or synthetic hair is made of plastic. Therefore, your dreads will melt!
How Long Will My Dreadlock Extensions Last?
Taking into account your hair type and the installation method, your dreadlock extensions can last for a few months, a few years or even be permanent.
With the crochet method, Afro hair is permanent while straight hair lasts between one and two years if you use synthetic hair. 2-3 years or more with human hair.
How Many Dreadlock Extensions Do I Need?
It depends on your haircut, how thick your hair is, and the diameter of the dreadlock itself. Here is the average:
- Kinky Afro hair with medium or thick extensions – 40-60 extensions
- Kinky Afro hair with skinny extensions – 80-120 extensions
- Straight hair with medium or thick extensions – 40-50 extensions
- Straight hair with skinny extensions – 60-70 extensions
Can I Dye My Dreadlock Extensions?
It all depends on the type of hair they are made of. There are some types of human hair extensions that are already colored and so heavily processed that they will prove very difficult to dye. However, if they are made of virgin hair, you should have no problem.
Do not use hair color on synthetic extensions. Although you can probably dye them with fabric dyes!
Can I Wash My Dreadlock Extensions?
You should be able to wash all types of dreadlock extensions but we wold advise to advise your stylist that install them on the best way to clean them without damaging them.
Regarding dreadlock extensions that have been attached using the crochet method, washing your extensions will actually make them tighter. We would also advise you to swim in the sea and get the salt tighter your extensions too.
Will My Dreadlock Extensions Fall Out?
Unfortunately, loosing dreadlock extensions happens. The most common reason for that is the poor installation method used. Or the fact that they are at the end of their lifespan and are now super weak. This usually happens after three years of continual wear if you have straight hair.
Can I Remove My Dreadlock Extensions?
Depending on the installation process, yes, you can remove them. Crochet dreadlock extensions are the most difficult to be removed, especially if the installation has been done well done professionally.
Are They Bad for My Hair?
They only way in which dreadlock extensions can be bad for your hair is if you comb them out after installation. Apart from that, they do not damage the hair more than traditional dreadlocks.
Are Dreadlock Extensions Permanent?
They can range from semi-permanent all the way to permanent. It depends on what kind of hair was used to create them as well as on the texture of your own hair.
During installation, temporary dreadlocks will be secured with strings. Permanent and semi-permanent extensions have to be crocheted in.
If you have Kinky Afro hair, the crochet installation will be pretty much permanent in your hair.
On the other hand, straighter hair extensions installed with the crochet method will be semi-permanent since human hair lasts between two and three years top.
Can I Get Partial Dreadlocks?
Of course you can! And it actually looks awesome! Check out the images below:
How Long Should My Hair Be to Get Extensions?
The installation of dreadlock extensions requires at least 3-5 inches (8 to 13cm). If you want small extensions in diameter, which we call pencil size, only 3 inches will suffice. You will need 5 inches for sharpie size extensions or bigger. As you can see, the length depends on how thick you want the extensions to be, how thick your own hair is, and what type of hair you have.
Single Ended and Double Ended Extensions – What’s the Difference?
Single ended (SE) extensions come in a great variety: clips, looped ends, frayed open ends, etc.
SE with loops, you can tie them temporarily. You can also can cut out the loops, fray the ends with a comb and install the extensions permanently.
Double ended (DE) extensions should only tie into your dreads or your natural hair temporarily until you wish to remove them.
What Sets Apart Different Types of Extensions?
There are numerous types of dreadlock extensions: human hair, remy, virgin, wool & synthetic.
Human hair, remy, and virgin hair all come from real people. The hair has simply been cut of from a person & washed.
- ‘Human hair’ has been chemically processed so that it can behave a certain way (curly, wavy…) or even to be a particular color.
- ‘Virgin’ hair means that the hair is all natural and has never been processed in any way.
- ‘Remy’ stands for hair whose cuticles all go in the same way. This is what makes it look almost real.
- Synthetic hair such as Kanekalon, of course, is made from unnatural fibers. They go from more realistic ones to complete plastic looking. Quality is what sets them apart.
- Wool dreadlocks are the most unrealistic ones but they are only used temporarily and because they are so colorful and fun.
Will People See the Area Between My Hair and the Extensions?
If the crochet installation has been well done and if you have chosen a hair texture and color that match you perfectly, you should be good to go. But even if it isn’t a perfect match, it will still be very difficult to see. If you have straight hair, the connection will appear a little thicker. But that can only be seen if you get very close.
You will be able to see the area between your extensions and your own hair on temporary extensions as your hair is braided around the extensions.
What Type of Dreadlock Extensions Do You Recommend?
If you would like to dye your dreads after installing your extensions, choose virgin hair. It’s the only hair extension type that can be dyed and it’s also the most realistic one.
Tip – Color your hair before you get your dreads installed (with or without extensions). The result will be more uniform.
If you want a more colorful but also a temporary option, you should go for wool dreadlocks. That are pretty easy to install. Ask your friend for help.
The Different Types of Dreadlocks Hair Extensions
Let’s see a rundown of all the types of hair typically used to make dreadlock extensions.
100% Human Hair
This hair type is sourced from an actual person. It is then processed to get it to look and behave in a certain way. What does that mean? That the hair will be stripped of all its cuticles, then dyed and coated with a layer of silicone.
Because the hair has been dyed already, it is more difficult to change its color. Which is why you should not attempt to dye human hair, especially Jet Black (color #1).
- Less expensive than virgin hair
- Better quality than synthetic dreadlocks
- Fantastic when it comes to semi-permanent or permanent extensions
- Will last longer than synthetic dreadlock extensions – 2-3 years on straight hair and more than 5 years on Afro hair.
- Very little maintenance once it’s installed.
- The hair is not completely natural since it was processed
- You cannot dye it, especially not jet black #1 color.
- It is a factor in bad ethics of the hair industry.
You will definitely be satisfied with human hair and its realistic finish. However, this is not the solution for you if you want to color your extensions after installing them. In this case, we would advise you to choose virgin hair instead.
Virgin and Remy Hair
Virgin Remy Human Hair and Remy Hair represent a category of hair that is sourced from an actual person and that has never been processed in any way. This is what ‘virgin’ stands for. While ‘Remy’ represents that fact that all the cuticles of the hair run in the same direction. This is the highest quality of hair you can find on the market today. The main reason being that it has never been processed.
- Best solution for permanent extensions
- As close as possible to real hair
- You can color it
- It has not been processed
- The dreadlock extensions made from it will last a long time – straight hair – 2-3 years and Afro hair more than 5 years.
- Acts like natural hair in the sun – will fade and lighten – this makes it look natural.
- No maintenance required after you install it.
- High price
- Very difficult to get
- Dreadlock extensions with Remy hair for Afro are very hard to create.
- It adds to the bad ethics of the hair industry.
Virgin hair and Remy hair are the best quality hair you can find. They are very pricy. If you are thinking to dye your extensions, we would advise you to get virgin hair over human hair.
Synthetic Dreadlock Extensions
They are made of very fine plastic fibers which can resemble human hair super closely. The most popular synthetic dreadlock extensions are Kanekalon.
There is a huge range of quality in synthetic extensions: the high quality ones are so well done that no one will ever suspect it’s made of plastic. However, the lowest quality looks cheap and fake.
- It has the lowest price.
- Comes in the widest range of colors.
- Vegan friendly
- The high quality one can look like natural hair.
- There is no fuzziness to it.
- It’s the perfect solution if you want colorful and short-term dreads.
- It does not add to the hair industry’s bad ethics.
- This is not natural hair.
- Will only last one or two years.
- If you buy the cheap kind, it can look very fake.
- You can color it darker in some instances, but never lighter.
- Do not use hair dye on it
Although we prefer human hair for permanent dreadlocks, synthetic dreadlock extensions are great if you are on a budget, don’t need to colour your extensions or want a semi-permanent style. Some synthetic dreads are now so well done that nobody will guess that is plastic!
Nylon and Wool Extensions
While super colorful, wool extensions are also extremely unrealistic. When it comes to Nylon, they are very low quality synthetic fibers. That’s why all dreadlocks made from them look quite fake.
Nylon and wool extensions are great to decorate the dreadlocks you already have.
- Super cheap
- Should only be temporary
- You can tie them in yourself or ask a friend
- Perfect if you want to experiment with dreadlocks.
- Should not be used for permanent dreads
- They don’t look like real dreadlocks
- They have to be maintained every two to three months depending on your hair growth.
If you would like to experience a colourful temporary dreadlock style, nylon and wool extensions are perfect for you!
What Should I Use – Single or Double Ended – Loops, Frayed or Clips?
Single ended (SE) dreadlock extensions
There are several types of SE dreadlock extensions:
- A clip or loop at one end – they are temporary extensions. Simply tie the loop at the base of your section near your scalp and braid the extension with your hair.
- Frayed at one or both ends – These extensions are for permanent crochet installation.
Double ended (DE) dreadlock extensions
- Closed ends
- Open ends
These are temporary hairstyles. Fold them in half and tie them into your hair at the middle point. You will have to repeat the entire process every two or three months as your hair grows continually.
You can easily do at home by yourself.
Crocheted, Backcombed and Twisted Dreadlock Extensions – What’s the Difference?
Crocheted Dreadlock Extensions
These dreadlock extensions look exactly like real dreadlocks. They have been crocheted by hand and no product has been used. You can lengthen your existing dreads or braid them into your hair.
Crocheted dreadlock extensions can be synthetic or human hair. Although they are made of 2 different materials, they look very similar.
However, human hair dreadlocks are usually softer than synthetic hair and behave similarly to your own hair.
Synthetic Crocheted Dreadlock Extensions
They come in double ended (DE) and single ended (SE) versions.
DE extensions are great to add to your hair when you don’t have dreadlocks. DE are super long so that you can fold them in half right at scalp level and get two dreads out of them. You just braid them with your hair.
On the other hand, if what you want to add length to your existing dreads, then cut your DE extensions in 2 and crochet them in each bottom of your dreads.
SE extensions will only come with one loop.
Backcombed & Twisted Dreadlocks Extensions
High quality synthetic or Kanekalon hair are backcombed, twisted until the dreadlocks are formed and then sealed with heat. Those dreadlocks are great for people who don’t already have dreads. They are braided with the loose hair.
Backcombed and Twisted dreadlock come in both Double Ended and Single Ended types. SE extensions have one have a loop when DE are folded in half at the scalp to get two dreads out of them.
How to Extend Existing Dreadlocks
To add length to your own dreadlocks, get Crocheted Extensions either in Human Hair or Synthetic Hair according to your budget or if you want to color your extensions. You can crochet them at the bottom of your own dreads. If the color and the thickness match perfectly, then you won’t even notice the difference!
How to Add Volume to Existing Dreadlocks
In this case, go for SE dreadlock extensions. They can be looped around the base of your dread to add more volume to it temporarily. Use a stitch to secure them in place.
How Do I Remove Extensions?
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Wide tooth comb
- Comb for detangling
- Rat tail comb
Steps for removing synthetic dreadlocks:
- Using your stitch unpicker, remove the rubber band.
- Unravel your hair from the dread. If it’s too difficult, use some water to provide some lubrication it.
- When the dreads are completely unbraided, you can remove them.
- With the wide tooth comb, detangle all your hair. Repeat the process for all your dreads.
- After your done, you can proceed to wash your hair but not until you are completely sure it’s detangled.
Steps for removing permanent dreadlocks:
- If you are able to see a difference in color, you need to cut the dreads very close to the limit between your own hair and the extension.
- Apply conditioner to your hair.
- Start unpicking your locs at the bottom using the rat tail comb.