Dreadlock Questions

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How do I schedule an appointment with you?

To schedule an appointment please select and read over the service page that applies to you – then in the pricing section of each service page you will notice a button to “Request Quote / Appointment” when you click that button it will launch our service form – fill out that form to get a personalized quote and set up your first appointment.

Once you fill out the form the first time there is no need to fill it out again, simply contact us directly.

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Dreadlock Central Services

How long will my appointment take?

Time will vary dramatically depending on what you need done. A simple root maintenance will take as little as 1 hour and a full installation will range from 6-14 hours or possibly longer for extensions. We will give you a time estimate after we review your form submission.

Where is Dreadlock Central located?

We serve Washington DC, Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and surrounding areas. We do not have a physical shop, instead we travel from home to home as a mobile dreadlock salon and intend to keep it that way for the immediate future. We’re currently based in Westminster, Maryland and Woodbridge, Virginia.

What if I can’t set up an appointment at my house?

We can arrange to meet at other locations, or you can travel to us. This can be discussed if it is an issue. Some of our clients choose to rent a hotel room or an AirBnB or use a friend or family member’s home. If the weather is favorable we’re not opposed to meeting up in a park if you’re the outdoors type.

What forms of payment do you take?

  • Cash
  • CashApp
  • PayPal

What do I need to do before our appointment?

  • Wash or deep cleanse 24-48 hours before your appointment.
  • DO NOT use any conditioner or oils or any other product between this wash and your appointment.
  • Make sure you have a chair that sits medium to low height, high chairs make our work difficult.
  • Make sure you have sufficient lighting, dark environments make our work difficult.
  • Please remove extremely hyper pets or children from the environment while we are working on your dreadlocks if possible.

How much hair do I need for new dreadlocks?

For a new installation and/or extensions 5 inches of length is prefered, however 3 inches is the minimum.

The required length will vary depending on the size of the dreadlocks to be installed. The smaller the dreadlock, the shorter the length that is required and the larger the dreadlock, the longer your hair must be.

How much length will I lose with a new installation?

This will vary depending on your current length, dreadlock thickness, hair type, and also if you want your ends open or closed. Typically you’ll lose 3-6 inches, or sometimes more for longer hair. The good news is that you won’t lose any additional length once we install them since we crochet them.

Can I comb my dreadlocks out if I change my mind?

This is a difficult question to answer. The short answer is probably, however it’s not guaranteed. Most dreadlocks can be taken out when they’re new, however the older they get the more difficult that can be. If you decide to take them out you need to be prepared to put in a significant amount of time and patience, and you’ll pull a lot of hair out, it is not an easy process to comb out most dreadlocks.

Are dreadlocks painful?

The pain level varies between individuals and dreadlock age. The short answer, is a moderate yes. New installations and young dreadlocks tend to be less painful than older ones because your scalp usually increases in sensitivity over time as you wash less frequently. The only part of our process that will be painful is when we’re working very close to your scalp to tighten your roots.

TIP: Be sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration may result in a sensitive scalp.

What if I have to cancel my appointment?

After the first cancellation we require a non-refundable down-payment to schedule your next appointment. This non-refundable down-payment is paid in advance before we schedule an appointment with you again. We prefer not to do this, however we cannot allow repeat cancellations.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Can I wash my hair everyday with dreads?

It is not recommended. Washing too frequently can lead to mildew in rare circumstances. Washing everyday is unnecessary and can lead to quicker buildup of ingredients from shampoos, especially with shampoos that are loaded with ingredients that tend to build up.

How fast does African American Hair grow with dreadlocks?

African American hair grows the slowest at approximately 0.35 inches (0.9 cm) per month or 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) per year.

How fast does Caucasian Hair grow with dreadlocks?

Caucasian hair grows approximately 0.43 inches (1.1 cm) per month or 5.1 inches (13cm) per year.

How fast does Asian Hair grow with dreadlocks?

Asian hair grows the fasted out of all ethnicities at an approximate rate of 0.51 inches (1.3 cm) per month or 6 inches (15.3 cm) per year.

Do dreadlocks grow slower than normal hair?

Hair tends to grow faster in dreadlocks than normal hair in most cases. The reason for this seems to be the reduced amount of washing and stripping the natural oils from your hair and scalp. However, dreadlocks to appear to grow slower than normal hair because all that hair has to knot and tangle up to form the dreadlock.

So if your hair grows three times faster with dreadlocks yet it takes three times as much hair to knot up and form your dreadlock the appearance of length seems to be the same growth rate.

How do I prevent my dreadlocks from growing together?

The most effective way to prevent dreads from growing together is to pull them apart at the roots, isolate them, and get them crocheted or maintained on a regular basis. When separating, you’ll want to first pull the dreadlocks apart and then run your finger along the scalp where the section should be and pull that hair apart as well. Your hair will continue to try and grow together unless you get your roots crocheted or worked on with another method.

Can I swim with dreadlocks?

This answer depends on the method of installation and maintenance and the type of water you’ll be swimming in.

One of the biggest disadvantages of the twisting method is that you cannot swim. However, all other methods you are able to swim with your dreads.

The second concern is the type of water. Salt water pools and the ocean are by far the best bodies of water to swim in with dreadlocks. Ponds, lakes, and other natural still bodies of water are things you want to avoid due to living organisms in the water. If you swim in one of these it is recommended that you do a deep cleanse soon after. Swimming in chlorinated pools are OK, but not recommended.

How does hard water effect my dreadlocks?

Hard water is a very serious concern for your dreads that many people are unaware of. Hard water is simply water that contains minerals and heavy metals. It can drastically reduce the cleaning capacity of your shampoo, it can lead to changes in the color of your hair, and ultimately contribute to an oily greasy scalp. If you can afford a water softener system for your home that is your best option. A simpler solution is using a shampoo designed for hard water and/or rinsing with an ACV rinse after every wash plus doing a deep cleanse quarterly.

Will wearing a helmet effect my dreadlocks?

Generally speaking, yes, however that depends on your installation and maintenance method. For free form dreadlocks it could be beneficial since it is compressing and tightening your dreadlocks. For the twisting method it is very bad because your twist will come undone. The crochet method is the least effected by wearing a helmet. If you wear a helmet with your dreads often you should also be aware that there is a possibility of forming flat dreadlocks.

Will sweating effect my dreadlocks?

Yes, but not as much as most people think. When we sweat our body is pushing out waste, but part of that is salt. Salt is generally beneficial for locking up hair (with the exception of the twisting method). Therefore sweat isn’t the enemy of your dreads. The true enemy is sebum, which is a waxy oily substance that forms from the accumulation of dead skin cells and natural oils from your scalp. If you aren’t washing frequently enough or with an effective shampoo you will most likely deal with too much sebum leading to dandruff issues or waxy oily scalp which is not good for dreadlocks.

Can I wash dreads with just water?

Yes, but washing with water alone won’t actually clean your dreadlocks, and this isn’t recommended. To clean your hair you’ll need a surfactant which is the primary ingredient in just about any shampoo. If you’re looking to moisturize your scalp without using products this can be an option that you can experiment with. Just be aware of hard water and it’s drying effects.

Can you dye dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks can be dyed, however great care must be taken when doing so. Any type of lightening of the hair essentially strips the outer sheathe of the hair follicle which leaves it weaker and more prone to damage. This includes not only bleaching but any lightening. Dying a darker color is much safer and less damaging. In either case you’ll want to be sure to only dye the outside of the dreadlock, do not try to penetrate the dye into the dreadlock – it is unnecessary and causing more stress on your hair. And finally, after you wash all the dye out you should proceed to do a deep cleanse just to be sure, especially when using bleach. You can access our deep cleanse guide here.

What can I wash my dreads with?

It is recommended to wash dreadlocks with a shampoo that is free from residue, waxes, fragrances, sulfates, and dyes.

We recommend avoiding most commercial shampoos because they often contain many ingredients that build up in dreadlocks. We also recommend avoiding castile soaps such as Dr Bronners because they are far less effective in hard water. We recommend avoiding home-made and DIY solutions because the effectiveness and longevity of such shampoos are greatly diminished due to the lack of chelators, effective surfactants, and safe preservatives. We also recommend avoiding shampoos which are mostly comprised of essential oils and saponified oils because they are known to be less effective in hard water situations.

We’ve simplified all of this into a single shampoo guide which you can access here.

Can I wash my dreads everyday?

Washing dreadlocks everyday is not recommended or necessary. Dreadlocks need sufficient time to dry otherwise it is possible for mold or mildew to develop. It is recommended to wash dreadlocks once per week.

Does washing dreads help them lock up?

Generally speaking, yes, depending on the method used to install them. Washing dreadlocks can help them lock up under specific circumstances with the right shampoo. The cleaner and dryer your dreadlocks are the faster they will lock up. In contrast, the dirtier and more oily your dreadlocks are the less effectively knots will form in your hair. If you’re looking for a safe and healthy shampoo please visit our shampoo guide here.

Are Dreadlocks high or low maintenance?

Dreadlocks can be high or low maintenance depending on the method you choose. Younger dreadlocks tend to be much higher maintenance whereas older, more mature, dreadlocks tend to be lower maintenance. The free-form and crochet method is a lower maintenance option. Alternatively, twisting, backcombing, interlocking, twist and rip, and a few other methods tend to be higher maintenance options.

Should I use wax in my dreadlocks?

No, we do not recommend it.

First and foremost, there’s a big difference between beeswax and “dread wax”. Beeswax acts as a lubricant which prevents or inhibits the locking process, whereas dread wax (such as Knotty Boy or Dreadhead HQ products) are much less of a lubricant and can POTENTIALLY help your dreadlocks if you use it PROPERLY. However, most people do not use these products properly and they’re not necessary anyway so we generally discourage using any type of wax for your dreadlocks. In fact, wax negatively affects the crochet method.

Can I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar?

YES AND NO.

These items are great for your dreadlocks, but ONLY if done properly. Do not blindly use baking soda without doing your homework first!

We have an article explaining everything you need to know about Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda. Read our Dread Cleanse Guide Here.

Can I use a conditioner on my dreadlocks?

No! Please don’t do that!

Conditioners are partially designed to be a lubricant to prevent knots from forming. Dreadlocks are essentially knots of hair. Therefore, using a conditioner is counterproductive to forming dreadlocks.

If your hair and scalp is unreasonably dry you can use a dreadlock moisturizer that will do a much better job.

What shampoo should I use to wash my dreadlocks?

This is a very important questions and we’re glad you asked!

We’ve created a shampoo guide which gives you our top 3 pick, ingredients guide, and full reviews of a lot of different products. Read our Shampoo Guide Here.

A salon told me to do x, y, and z. Should I take their advice?

In most cases, no.

African American salons – Typically these salons only have experience with kinky hair types and twisting or interlocking methods. All of which are not effective for any hair type that is not kinky. Therefore, if your hair is not kinky or if your hair is kinky but you use the crochet method we HIGHLY recommend NOT taking any advice from this type of salon.

Other salons – When a stylist is trained in cosmetology school there is practically zero training for dealing with dreadlocks, so most salons just make stuff up or they watch a video on YouTube and just wing it thinking they know what they’re doing. Typically the stylist will act confident in what she’s doing but it’s just for show. I’ve heard so many stories just like this from clients and it’s quite frustrating to be honest.

How often should I wash my dreads?

For dreadlocks that are younger than 6 months and not twisted with gel, we recommend washing twice per week with a tightening shampoo.

For dreadlocks that are older than 6 months and not twisted with gel, we recommend washing once per week, or adjusting according to how your scalp reacts.

Will I see my scalp with new dreadlocks?

Generally speaking, yes, you will see your scalp. However, this can be adjusted to your preference to some extent. Some people want their sections to be in perfect lines and visible where others want a more natural look that hides the lines of your sections. Each hair type varies but this can be adjusted on some level.

Will my dreadlocks stick up straight after installation?

For the crochet method, yes, the shorter your dreadlocks are the more they’ll stick up. With medium length you’ll notice a “lift”, and for longer dreadlocks and extensions you shouldn’t experience any visibly noticeable lift.

The stiff look is only temporary however, if you wear a hat for the first day or wrap them for sleeping they will maintain the way they lay under your hat or wrap. Also, after a wash or two they will start to relax.

How much length will I loose with a dreadlock installation?

The amount of length lost will vary based on your hair type, installation method, and whether you want your ends open or closed.

For Kinky hair, you’ll only loose 1-3 inches in most cases. For Straighter hair with open ends you’ll typically lose 2-4 inches. When you close your ends you’ll typically loose 2-6 inches. And finally, for hair that is brittle or thinned at the ends you will lose more length.

How often should I get root maintenance after my dreadlock installation?

We recommend once every 2-3 months. This time frame seems to be a happy and healthy medium where your dreadlocks will still look clean without over-maintaining. Maintenance that is done too frequently can lead to traction alopecia and we just don’t think it’s necessary in most cases. Maintenance that is done to infrequently will simply result in a messier look, or the possibility of your dreadlocks growing together.

Can I trust a salon or hairdresser to dread my hair?

99% of the time we would say no, with the exception of Kinky hair and African American salons, but many of those salons also cause problems even with Kinky hair because they care more about their paycheck than they do about the client. One example is over maintenance and traction alopecia, another example is using more product than necessary just so they can charge you more. And practically no salons understand how to work with dreadlocks in hair that is straight.. We’ve seen so many clients from all types of different salons and we end up fixing the problems that salons caused.

What is the maintenance after installing dreadlocks?

Followup maintenance for your dreads will depend mostly on the method and hair type. Some people choose zero maintenance to free form the rest of their dreadlock journey, while others prefer to maintain their dreadlocks every month. The most maintenance you’ll have to do to keep your dreadlocks looking clean is done in the first 6 months.

Can you get rid of dreadlocks?

Yes, you can simply cut them off. However, taking the dreadlocks out without cutting your hair is not always possible. The younger the dreads are the easier they are to undo but the older and more mature they are the more difficult they are to remove. The method used for installation and maintenance also makes a big difference. Dreadlocks that are interlocked, especially with straighter hair, is often the easiest to remove. Dreads that are young and twisted would be fairly easy to remove as well. The hardest to remove is dreadlocks that are done with the crochet method, which is one of the only downsides of the method.

Do new dreads shorten your hair?

Yes, it’s very common for dreads to look shorter with a new dreadlock installation. The amount of shrinkage varies depending on your hair type and the method being used for installation.

How long does my hair have to be to start dreads?

For skinny dreadlocks the minimum length should be 3 inches. For thicker dreadlocks the minimum length should be 5 inches. Just keep in mind that if your hair is in fact this short you will experience your dreadlocks sticking straight up immediately after the installation.

How long does it take to install dreads?

The amount of time varies greatly, however most installations are completed within 8-12 hours on average. For undercuts and mohawks with thicker dreadlocks the time can be reduced to around 4-8 hours and with thick hair or very large amounts of dreadlocks (80-120 or more) the time frame may be beyond 12 hours.

How much does it cost to get dreads?

Salons will charge anywhere from $300 to over $1,000 to install a full head of dreadlocks depending on hair length, hair type, dreadlock size, method, and reputation of the salon.

How long does it take for dreadlocks to fully mature?

The amount of time it takes for dreads to fully mature varies greatly based on hair type and installation and maintenance methods. Generally speaking well maintained dreadlocks will fully mature in about 1.5-2 years, and dreads that are free-formed or neglected typically take 3-5 years to fully mature.

How long does it take for dreadlocks to lock up?

The amount of time it takes for dreads to lock up varies significantly based on hair type and choice of method. Also consider that the term “lock up” means to get knots established in your dreadlocks whereas the term “mature” refers more to when your dreadlocks are very well established and fully tightened.

Kinky hair types lock up the easiest whereas straighter hair types take more effort and care.

For twist and rip, backcomb, palm rolling, and free form methods you should expect 12-18 months to lock up and reach maturity.

Interlocking, in some cases never locks up properly for Kinky hair, which mainly depends on how skilled your stylist is with interlocking. For straighter hair types interlocking never fully locks up, it just creates a braided or giant knot effect in your hair that is not truly a dreadlock.

For twisting in Kinky Afro hair the timeframe is typically 6-12 months. Mixed races will experience a longer timeframe with this method. Twisting in Straighter hair types typically falls out within a day or two and is highly discouraged for straight hair types.

For the crochet method your hair is locked up on day one for any hair type! It’s literally instant. This method will also produce the quickest route to fully mature dreadlocks.

How long will I have to go through the awkward phase with dreadlocks?

The awkward phase varies significantly in severity and length of time and is influenced by hair type, installation and maintenance methods, and the products you use.

With the twist and rip, backcomb, palm rolling, and free form methods you will experience the greatest severity and length of time dealing with the awkward phase. Typically around 6-12 months.

With twisting you will experience loose dreadlocks due to the fact that your hair is simply twisted and not actually locked up initially. The products used while twisting are important to hold the twist in place however they reduce the locking ability in many cases. Typically around 6-12 months.

With the crochet method the only awkwardness you’ll deal with is some fuzziness with certain hair types. But the crochet method is the most effective method to reduce or even eliminate the awkward phase. Typically 0-3 months, with proper maintenance.

What is the awkward phase for dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks are generally a process. They evolve and shape-shift and change through their lifetime as they mature. Young dreads typically take the most work and effort to get started and they are often loose and messy resulting in what is referred to as the “awkward phase”. Fortunately with the crochet method most of the awkward phase isn’t any concern because your dreadlocks are locked up tight from day one! If you are interested in learning how we can crochet your dreadlocks click here.

How often should I get dreadlock maintenance?

The frequency of your dreadlock maintenance will vary based on the method being used and how clean and professional you want your dreadlocks to look.

For our method, the crochet method, we typically see our clients every 2 or 3 months which is also what we recommend.

For those looking to keep the cleanest and most professional looking dreadlocks once per month is optional, however we recommend no more frequently than that. Alternatively, some of our clients only see us once or twice per year just to make sure their roots stay separated. The frequency of your dreadlock maintenance is mainly a matter of personal preference to you.

Will I lose any length with my dreadlock maintenance?

In most cases, no.

For most dreadlock root maintenance sessions no length will be lost. However, some clients may experience a very insignificant amount of shortening that is so minuscule that it’s not even worth mentioning.

Should I palm roll for maintenance?

We recommend palm rolling for brand new dreadlocks, however established dreadlocks usually don’t need it.

Palm rolling has several benefits including reducing fuzziness, reducing the severity of wild loops, and helping to keep the dreadlocks cylindrical. When you palm roll we recommend doing so while your dreadlocks are still drying after a fresh wash. This will also help them dry faster. Palm rolling can be done at just about any time, but like anything we recommend not overdoing it. Anything done too excessively is often a bad thing when it comes to dreadlocks. We recommend only palm rolling in the time frame your dreadlocks are drying as an easy rule of thumb.

Should I root-rub for maintenance?

It is largely a matter of preference to you, however we do support root-rubbing in moderation.

Root-rubbing certainly isn’t a necessity by any means, and it’s not something that we invite our clients to do, but it can help keep your roots locking up between maintenance sessions under the right circumstances. Root-rubbing should only be done when your dreadlocks are 100% dry and free of any products. If you choose to root-rub we highly recommend doing so only in moderation – only do this once between each wash. Root rubbing creates a lot of friction which can be very damaging if overdone, however friction is also what helps to form knots in your hair. It’s far better to do this very infrequently or not at all than to overdo it and cause breakage.

Should I interlock for maintenance?

We are strongly against interlocking dreadlocks for maintenance.

Interlocking has a few benefits: it’s quick, easy, and gets your scalp tight. But what most people don’t understand until it’s too late is that this method doesn’t actually create a real dreadlock. In most cases large groups of hair are basically wrapped in and around the dreadlock creating a braided effect instead of a true solid dreadlock. Dreadlocks need a massive amount of tiny knots to form properly, not giant braided knots.. With certain hair types and certain stylists we’ve seen this yield decent results, especially with some African American clients with small dreadlocks, but for straight hair types and thick dreadlocks we’ve seen very unfavorable results far too many times to support this method.

Should I retwist for maintenance?

We do not support the retwist method in general, and we highly recommend avoiding the retwisting for all hair types that are not Afro hair (this includes mixed race hair types).

Retwisting is terribly ineffective for all hair types that are not Afro Kinky. Even with Afro Dreads, retwisting is a very poor choice in our opinion because there is often an overuse of product which suffocates your scalp, the product is often a pH that isn’t healthy for your scalp, the product is likely lead to sebum buildup, it doesn’t allow you to wash your hair until your next retwist, and traction alopecia (temporary balding) is all too common with this method. Although it may work for many African American clients at forming dreadlocks there are so many unhealthy drawbacks to the method that we completely discourage it and highly recommend the crochet method instead.

Can I trust a regular salon to do my maintenance?

99% of the time we would say no.

The only exception to this statement would be if you have Kinky Afro hair and you visit an African American salon that is experienced with dreadlocks. However, all other hair types including mixed races often have terrible problems after going to an African American salon for dreadlock maintenance.

There are several problems with regular salons and dreads. Our main concern is that there is practically zero training on dreadlocks in Cosmetology school, therefore stylists have to rely on self education in the hopes of being reasonably competent. That leads to the second problem, most stylists rarely ever get clients with dreadlocks so when they get the opportunity they tend to act incredibly confident and just “wing it” and usually do something ridiculous like tying a giant knot in your dreadlock (yes we’ve had several clients that have experienced this). The last main point is that some stylists don’t even care about the client and they just want paid, so they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear just to get you in their chair, some stylists flat out lie to the client. We’re not making this stuff up, we hear it all the time.

We’re not trying to bash normal salons or stylists, it’s just that we’ve heard so many stories from our clients who have had these exact experiences over and over again and we hate seeing people being taken advantage of in this way.

How much do dreadlock extensions cost?

The cost of dreadlock extensions vary depending on many factors. Pricing often takes into consideration a range of variables including type, quality, length, amount, thickness, color, etc. There’s no easy way to answer this question, but you should generally be expecting to pay around $300-800 for dreadlock extensions and a separate cost of $300-600 for the installation. Every vendor and every stylist varies, so you’ll have to contact stylists and vendors to determine specific pricing for your needs.

What are the pros and cons of dreadlock extensions?

Pros

  • Instant Satisfaction
  • Good Length without the wait
  • Can perfectly match your hair
  • Pick whichever style suites you best
  • Can be installed in any hair type

Cons

  • It’s fake
  • Costs more than a standard installation
  • Human Hair Extension collection is often viewed as unethical

What is the maintenance for dreadlock Extensions?

Maintenance methods will vary depending on the method of installation. With the dreadlock crochet method, which is what we use exclusively, there is no maintenance for your extensions other than your standard new growth maintenance that comes along with all dreadlocks!

How long do dreadock extensions last?

Dreadlock Extensions can last anywhere from several months to several years or even being fully permanent depending on the method of installation and hair type. With the crochet method, Kinky Afro hair types tend to be fully permanent, whereas Straighter hair types last around 1-2 years with Synthetic Hair and 2-3 years or longer with Human Hair.

How many dreadlock extensions do I need?

The amount of dreadlock extensions you’ll need varies based on several factors including diameter of the dreadlock, your hair cut, and the thickness of your hair. For Kinky Afro hair types the amount of dreadlocks can range from 40 to 60 extensions for thick and medium dreadlocks and 80 to 120 extensions for skinny dreadlocks. For Straighter hair types the average is typically between 40 and 50 extensions for a full head and sometimes 60-70 extensions for skinny dreadlocks or very thick hair types.

Can I dye my dreadlock extensions?

Dying dreadlock extensions depends on the type of hair used to create the extensions in the first place. Certain Human Hair Extensions are heavily processed and pre-dyed which makes them very difficult to dye later on whereas Virgin hair is unprocessed and is fully dyeable. Synthetic hair should not be dyed with hair color, but is sometimes dyable with fabric dyes.

Can you wash dreadlock extensions?

In most cases, yes, you can wash your dreadlock extensions like your normal dreadlocks. Your stylist will be able to give you an answer that is specific to your method. With the crochet method we certainly encourage you to wash your dreadlocks and extensions which will help tighten and strengthen your dreadlocks.

Can Dreadlock Extensions fall out?

Yes, it is possible for Dreadlock Extensions to fall out. Dread Extensions can fall out for a variety of reasons but the most common reasons are due to poor installation methods and/or they’ve just reached the end of their lifespan and have weakened over time. This is to be expected around the three year mark for straighter hair dreadlock extensions.

Are dreadlock extensions removable?

Dreadlock Extensions can be removable depending on the installation method. If you’re looking for a temporary or easily removable option with your extensions you’ll want them to be tied in with string so that the string can simply be cut to remove the extensions.

Are dreadlock extensions bad for your hair?

Dreadlock extensions can be damaging to your hair only if you decide to comb them out of your hair after they’re installed. Dreadlock Extensions are typically no more damaging to your hair than having normal dreadlocks.

Are dreadlock extensions permanent?

Dreadlock Extensions range from temporary to “semi-permanent” to fully permanent. The age of dreadlock extensions vary based on the type of hair that is used to create the extension and also the texture of your natural hair. Temporary dreadlocks are typically tied in with string whereas semi-permanent and permanent dreadlock extension services are typically crocheted in. With Kinky Afro hair it is typically fully permanent with our method and straighter hair extensions are “semi-permanent” lasting around 2-3 years with human hair.

Can I just get partial dreadlock extensions installed?

Yes, absolutely! Just let us know when you fill out the form.

How long does my hair have to be for dreadlock extensions?

Your hair should typically 3-5 inches for the installation of dreadlock extensions. For small diameter dreadlocks (pencil size) 3 inches is sufficient. For large diameter dreadlocks (sharpie size or bigger) 5 inches is preferred. The minimum length required depends on the size of the section, the thickness of your hair, and your hair type.

Where can I buy good dreadlock extensions online?

We make our own Kinky Afro Human Hair Loc Extensions which you can custom order a personalized set here! For straight hair we do not offer custom extensions as a service but we highly recommend ordering your Straight Hair Dreadlock Extensions from either DreadsUK or Dreadscapes on Etsy.

What’s the difference between single ended and double ended dreadlock extensions?

Double ended dreadlocks are solely intended to tie into your dreadlocks or hair on a removable and temporary basis. Single ended dreadlocks range from looped ends, to clips, to frayed open ends, and more. With single ended dread extensions that have loops you have the option of tying them in a temporary fashion or you can cut the loops and fray out the ends to install them permanently. Frayed single ended dreadlock extensions are solely intended to be used with a permanent attachment.

What’s the difference between Synthetic, Human Hair, Virgin, Remy, and Wool dreadlock extensions?

The short answer: Human Hair, Virgin Hair, and Remy Hair are all cut from a real person’s head. “Human Hair” is processed and chemically altered to perform a certain way or to be a certain color. “Virgin” hair is is completely natural and unprocessed and “Remy” means that all the cuticles of the hair are going in the same direction which makes it the most natural hair. Synthetic hair is made from synthetic fibers which range from realistic to plastic looking depending on the quality. Wool dreadlock extensions are typically very colorful and unrealistic, they are typically used temporarily to adorn your current dreadlocks.

How noticeable is the attached area between my real hair and each dreadlock extension?

If your hair color and texture matches the hair used for the extensions it will be virtually seamless. And even if your hair doesn’t match perfectly it’s still very difficult to notice the attachment in most cases. In some straighter hair types it’s not uncommon to have a slightly thicker section where the connection is made, but it’s only noticeable if you’re seeking it out.

How can I make my dreads thicker?

Making dreads thicker requires making your sections larger by combining dreadlocks or adding additional hair on a very routine basis (which we don’t recommend). You could also tie in extra dreadlock extensions to add volume, which would require regular maintenance to move the extension close to the scalp as your hair grows out.

Can you add extra hair to thinning dreadlocks?

Yes, the crochet method is the best way to add hair to your dreads allowing it to strengthen and thicken the dreadlock.

How can I stop my dreads from falling apart?

Dreadlocks fall apart for several reasons, however the crochet method will almost always be your best solution.

If your dreadlocks are unraveling after being twisted we highly suggest switching to the crochet method, since your hair clearly will not hold a standard twist.

If your dreadlocks young and interlocked, backcomed, or twist and ripped, and coming undone we also recommend switching to the crochet method. In addition to switching methods we recommend avoiding the use of “locking gels”, conditioners, and excessive wax as these can inhibit and actually prevent your dreadlocks from locking and tightening up properly.

How much length will I loose with dreadlock repair?

The length lost will vary greatly depending on the work that must be done.

In many cases no length will be lost, however blunting ends and fixing thin weak dreadlocks may require some length to be lost. If this is a major concern and you are intending on working with us simply ask this question when you fill out our service form and we will give you a personalized assessment based on the photos you provide us and the work to be done.

Can I save dreadlocks that were done wrong at a salon?

In most cases, yes. Many of the clients we see find us after they have problems at other salons and we get them fixed up almost every single time. Many salons have no idea how to work with dreadlocks or they only know how to work with Kinky Afro hair. It is highly recommended to avoid any salon that doesn’t specialize in dreadlocks and if you have straight, wavy, or curly hair it’s usually best if you also avoid any salon that works with Afro hair textures.

How can I get flat dreadlocks?

To achieve flat dreadlocks you’ll want to create long/wide rectangular sections. You’ll want to strive for a ratio of at least 1:2 or even 1:3 for the length vs. width of your sections. The dreads will naturally form much flatter with these ratios.

If you already have established dreadlocks you can combine sections to achieve a long shape and as the hair grows out it will form flatter dreadlocks.

Do keep in mind that hair type also determines the likelihood of flat dreadlocks.

Why are my dreads flat and how can I fix it?

Dreadlocks become flat for several reasons. The most common are very wide sections and pressure, such as laying on them.

To prevent or fix this issue you’ll want to start with sections that are as even as possible. Some examples are squares, or equilateral triangles instead of long rectangular sections. If you already have long sections you could consider re-sectioning or splitting thick dreadlocks by an experienced professional such as ourselves. Other solutions include palm rolling and using beads when the hair is damp to compress and force the dreads into a cylindrical shape or sometimes wrapping the length with string can help.

Will the loops in my dreadlocks go away?

Over time the loops in dreads usually turn into lumps and bumps, but they will never smooth out like the round parts of your dreadlocks. These loops can be contained to some degree by sliding beads over them to contain the hair and maintain the round shape of the dreadlock.

Can you cover up or fix bald spots in dreadlocks?

Yes sometimes, the Loc Bridge Technique is a solution to cover up balding with dreads. It involves a network of string that is created over the bald spot with dreadlock extensions tied into that string to effectively cover up the thinning area. We do not recommend the Loc Bridge Technique if you have a receding hairline, it works best on a bald patch.

How can I fix dreads that are falling out?

First you must understand why your dreads are falling out but in many cases dreadlocks can be seamlessly reattached via the crochet method or thinning bald spots can be covered up with the Loc Bridge Technique.

Can dreadlocks be trimmed and cut shorter?

Yes, absolutely. Just keep in mind that there is usually a flat end as a result of the cut and crocheting the tips back in is more challenging after a cut.

Can you split dreadlocks?

In some cases yes, however that depends on the method of installation and maintenance and the thickness of your dreads.

If your dreadlocks have been crocheted, free-formed, or backcombed and are also healthy and relatively thick there is a good chance you can split them without compromising too much of the strength and integrity of the dreadlock.

Alternatively, with twisting, interlocking, or the twist and rip method we generally avoid splitting dreadlocks because there’s a high likelihood of cutting too much hair that holds the dreadlock together resulting in a compromise of integrity and strength of the dreadlock with the possibility of the dread falling off.

How long does your hair have to be to reattach dreadlocks?

Your hair should be 3-5 inches long to reattach dreadlocks. For thinner/skinnier dreadlocks 3 inches is sufficient in most cases. For thicker/fatter dreads 5 inches is ideal.

If attaching to the end of a pre-existing dreadlock we comb out enough hair to create the attachment. As long as your hair is relatively strong and healthy this can be done without much of a problem.

Can you reattach broken dreads?

In most cases, yes.

If your hair has broken off or thinned out it the dreadlock can almost always be reattached. If you are dealing with balding the dreadlock cannot be reattached to its original section, however it can be fixed with the Loc Bridge Technique.

How can I combine dreadlocks?

There are several ways to combine dreadlocks.

Our preferred way is to simply crochet two dreadlocks together at the root. Or for the full length, we would crochet extra hair down the entire length of those two dreadlocks to hold them together, however this is a very tedious process.

The easiest way is to take two dreadlocks and group them together at the root and put a rubber band or tie string around them to hold them together. As they grow out the roots will grow together effectively combing two dreads into one. Just understand that the length of the dreadlocks will not be combined with this approach and using string and rubber bands can cause problems if done incorrectly. We have a post on rubber bands which you access here.

How do I fix loops and zig-zags in my dreadlocks?

Loops and zig-zags are most present in Straight Hair Dreads, especially ones with the backcomb, twist and rip, and free-form methods. These loops can be prevented and fixed in many cases by choosing to crochet them, palm rolling regularly, or sliding beads over the areas that are creating loops to contain the hair.

My dreadlocks are splitting apart, how do I fix that?

Dreads often split apart due to poor interlocking or very wide sectioning.

To fix a dreadlock splitting apart due to interlocking we suggest not using the interlocking method again and scheduling an appointment with us or another trusted profession who uses the crochet method. If your section is very wide you may want to consider splitting the dreadlock in half or re-sectioning.

How can I fix thinning dreads at the root?

It depends on what is causing the thinning.

If your scalp is too thin and there’s not enough hair to pull into the dreadlock it cannot be fixed permanently. However, it can be fixed temporarily using the “Loc Bridge Technique” where dreadlock extensions, or previously fallen out dreadlocks, are tied into a network of string that spans across the bald spot.

How can I fix weak spots in dreadlocks?

Weak spots in dreads can easily be fixed with the crochet method. In some cases additional hair may be added to the weak spot to strengthen it.

What is Dreadrot?

Dreadrot is an instance where residue and moisture accumulate inside the body of the dreadlock resulting in mold growth.

Mold and mildew, although uncommon, can be a serious problem for people with dreadlocks. A usual cause of dreadrot is the use of wax or improper shampoo combined with excessive washing. Dreadlocks take a very long time to dry when they mature, therefore it is very important to give them adequate time between washing to allow your dreadlocks at least 1-2 days of complete dryness.

You can follow our Dread Cleanse Guide to remove buildup and give your dreadlocks a refreshing soak to prevent or even reverse dreadrot!

“I want to use proper shampoo so that I don’t end up with dreadrot!”

What is Residue or Residue Buildup?

Residue or residue buildup is any substance that remains inside the body of the dreadlock which is unable to be rinsed out.

Almost all residue buildup is a result of poor shampoo choice and/or the use of wax. Most shampoos, including some that claim to be residue free and even many shampoos designed for dreadlocks, will leave residue in your dreadlocks. We will be writing a detailed article on choosing the right shampoo in the future, but for now you can read our Dread Cleanse Guide to remove any residue buildup you currently have.

“I only use shampoos which are designed for dreadlocks to avoid residue buildup in my dreads”

What are Open/Wispy/Loose ends?

Wispy Open Dreadlock Ends

An open end is when the end of a dreadlock is left “un-dreaded” or “un-locked” allowing the original hair to remain free flowing.

Some people prefer this look, others prefer to “close” or “blunt” their ends. This is simply a matter of preference and does not positively or negatively affect your dreadlocks in any way.

“Some people really like their natural curls so they want open ends for their wispy curls.”

What are Blunt/Rounded/Closed ends?

When the tip of a dreadlock is fully “dreaded” and knotted up resulting in ALL of the hair being held inside the dreadlock.

This is completely a matter of preference. Often times people who want a more neat and professional appearance opt for closed ends.

“Can you please blunt my ends? They’re open and I want them rounded.”

What is Kinky Hair?

Kinky hair is hair with very small and tight curls – this term is most often used to refer to African American hair types

“I doubt you’ll be able to use the backcomb method to install your dreadlocks because you have very kinky hair.”

What are Baby hairs?

Baby hair is the short fine hair along the hairline that typically only grows to a maximum of 1-2 inches.

Many people are frustrated with baby hair because it can never be pulled into a nearby dreadlock. This hair leaves a messier, unkempt look simply because it remains loose and outside of the dreadlock.

“I’m frustrated with my baby hairs; they never stay in my dreadlocks”

What is Coarse hair?

Coarse hair is when the diameter of a strand of hair is larger than average.

The coarseness of your hair will affect how your dreadlocks act when being installed or maintained. Straight coarse hair is sometimes difficult for us to work with, whereas kinky coarse hair is among the easiest to crochet.

“Since you have coarse hair you probably won’t see results from root rubbing”

What is Fine hair?

Fine hair is when the diameter of a strand of hair is smaller than average.

The fineness of your hair will affect how your dreadlocks act when being installed or maintained. Fine hair often backcombs and knots up easier, but it can also be damaged easier.

“My dreadlocks formed very easily because I have fine hair”

What is Hair Texture?

Hair texture is the measure of the circumference of each hair strand.

Different hair textures include fine, coarse, and medium hair. This term is not to be confused with Hair Density, which is a completely different term.

“I’ll need to know your hair texture before I can help you.”

What is Thick hair?

Thick hair is when someone has a higher than average number of hair per square inch.

Thick hair generally takes longer to install and maintain, and will often result in having more dreadlocks or thicker dreadlocks than the average person.

“You have very thick hair”

What is Thin hair?

Thin hair is when someone has a lower than average number of hair per square inch.

Thinner hair often results in having thinner or fewer dreadlocks compared to the average person. People with thin hair are often concerned that their hair is too thin for dreadlocks, which is rarely an issue. The only issues we’ve seen from thin hair and dreadlocks are the results of pattern balding.

“You will have a smaller number of dreadlocks because you have thin hair.”

What is Hair Density?

Hair density refers to the amount of hair strands on the head.

Different types of density include thick, medium, or thin hair. This term is not to be mistaken for hair texture, which is a different term altogether.

“What is your hair density like?”

What is a Dreadhead?

A dreadhead is simply a person who has dreadlocks.

“I have a lot of friends who are also dreadheads!”

What is Backcombing?

Backcombing is a dreadlock installation method that uses a fine tooth comb to “backcomb” the hair toward the scalp to create many small loops.

The loops that are created by backcombing are either left to tighten on their own over time or they are palm rolled and/or crocheted to facilitate a dense dreadlock. Backcombing is also referred to as “teasing hair” in the traditional cosmetology industry.

“I broke all the teeth on my comb when I backcombed my dreadlocks, I would suggest getting a real dreadlock comb if I were you.”

What is T&R/Twist and Rip?

Twist and Rip is a dreadlock installation method where two sections of hair are pulled apart in opposite directions repeatedly to create small loops which turn into knots to create loose dreadlocks.

This method is often used in conjunction with either palm rolling or crocheting or both. The dreadlocks created from this method are often very loose and fuzzy, which is why many people palm roll and/or crochet the dreadlocks after using this method.

“Which method did you use to install your dreadlocks? T&R or backcomb or something else?”

What is ACV?

ACV is the acronym for Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is used as an effective cleaning agent typically following a Dread Cleanse or a standard shampoo wash. ACV is a powerhouse cleaner that balances pH levels, helps remove residue buildup, and so much more! It should be a staple in your dreadlock care arsenal!

It’s good to make an ACV rinse to balance the pH of your scalp.

What are Zig Zags/Loops?

Zig Zags and Loops are terms that describes a series of large loops which tend to create a ‘zig-zag’ effect down the length of the dreadlock.

Zig Zags are very common for those who chose the neglect method. These Zig Zags often turn into bumps as the dreadlock matures. There is nothing wrong with having these big loops in your dreadlocks, however if they bother you and you want them gone please DO NOT cut them. Cutting Zig Zags can compromise the strength of the dreadlock!

“I didn’t backcomb my dreadlocks thoroughly and now I have a lot of zig-zags.”

What is Twisting/A Retwist?

Twisting and/or re-twisting is a dreadlock maintenance method which involves twisting the root of each dreadlock, applying moulding gel, clipping the dread (so it does not untwist) and allowing the gel to dry.

This method is widely used in Salons that specialize in African American dreadlocks. The pros are that it’s easy to find a Salon to retwist your dreadlocks, the cons are that it only works for kinky hair types and no other hair type, there may be a heavy use of product, you cannot wash your dreadlocks or swim because the gel will dissolve and the twist will come undone, and if you retwist too often you may end up with traction alopecia (aka temporary balding).

“It looks like your locs are due for a re-twist.”

What does it mean to Loc/Lock hair?

“To loc, or locking hair” is the act of creating a dreadlock or allowing one to form naturally. This term is also used to describe the encouragement of knot formation within a currently established dreadlock.

This term is most often used within the African American Dreadlock Community. There are several methods used to lock up hair. You can read about various methods HERE.

“How long did it take you to loc your hair?”

What does it mean to Dread Hair?

“To Dread the hair” is the act of creating a dreadlock or allowing one to form naturally. Sometimes this term is also described as the encouragement of knot formation within a currently established dreadlock.

There are many different methods and approaches to dreading hair. You can read our blog posts about various methods HERE.

“I root-rub and crochet my dreadlocks monthly to dread my new growth”

What is Root-rubbing?

Root rubbing is a maintenance method in which the base of the dreadlock is rubbed against the scalp in a circular direction to facilitate matting, and therefore knotting, of new growth.

This method is one that is easy to over-do, and if obsessive root rubbing occurs the hair can become damaged and brittle causing obvious negative effects to your dreadlocks. If you choose to root rub we recommend only doing so once or twice per month within 1-2 days after you wash your dreadlocks. The drier and cleaner the hair is the better.

“Not all hair types work well with root rubbing, but it works great for me!”

What is The Crochet method or Crocheting Dreads?

The crochet method is a technique that uses a very, very small crochet hook to install or maintain dreadlocks.

This method is not to be confused with latch hooking. Latch hooking is also known as Interlocking and is a method that salons often resort to when dealing with a situation they don’t know how to handle. We’ve had many clients come to us to fix their problems due to latch hooking.

“I have a monthly routine of crocheting my dreads to keep them very professional looking.”

What is Interlocking/Latch Hooking/Root Flipping?

Interlocking is a maintenance method which involves flipping the dreadlock through the root in order to tighten the root.

This method is most effective with thin African American dreadlocks and is discouraged for all other hair types because it creates more of a braid than a dreadlock and it also makes the dreadlock weak for certain hair types. You can read our indepth article on Interlocking Dreads HERE.

“I made the mistake of letting someone interlock my dreadlocks and now they look weird and I have weak spots…”

What is the Free Form/Neglect/Natural Method?

Free Form Dreadlock with the Neglect Method

A dreadlock installation and maintenance strategy that involves very little or no effort.

With this method you simply stop combing your hair and you ‘allow nature to form your dreadlocks’. This method is often very, very messy looking for the first 3 years, then around year 4 or 5 the dreadlocks start to look like what most people consider “Mature Dreadlocks”.

“I met a Rastafarian who let his dreadlocks free form naturally, I’m also thinking about going the neglect route.”

What is a Congo?

Dreadlock Congo - Combined Dreadlocks from Neglect

A dreadlck congo is a term describing when two or more dreadlocks merge into one dreadlock.

Congos are often a result of the neglect method. The roots of the dreadlocks grow into each other and merge into one dreadlock. This can happen to two dreadlocks or ALL of your dreadlocks. This is something that most people want to avoid as will not only look ridiculous but it may lead to headaches and scalp issues.

“I didn’t want my dreadlocks to congo so I pull them apart after every wash.”

What are Locs/Locks?

An alternate term for dreadlocks which is most often used when referring to African American dreadlocks.

“How long have you had your locs?”

What are Sisterlocs/Sisterlocks?

Sisterlocks are very, very small dreadlocks, which are typically installed and maintained with the interlocking method.

This type of dreadlock is almost exclusively worn by African American women. The reason for such a small diameter dreadlocks is to be able to do intricate and detailed braids and styling.

“Check out that woman’s sisterlocs.”

What are Dreads?

An alternate term for dreadlocks.

“Your dreads look tight!”