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Maintaining Your Synthetic Dreads

 In this article, I am going to share some tips on how to maintain your synthetic dreads. 

Comparing to any other hairstyle (often even to natural dreadlocks!), maintaining synthetic dreads is incredibly easy and doesn’t require any special products. There is however a number of things you need to know to keep your dreads and your natural hair in perfect condition. 

There are two basic rules you need to remember when it comes to synthetic dreads: 

  1. Don’t wash them too often;
  2. Don’t wear them for more than 2-3 months at a time. 

Both are very important. 

It is recommended to wash your dreads once per 7-10 days. Since you will be using shampoo, each wash will make the hair fluffy and cause the ends of your hair to slip out of the rubber band (or a thread), which eventually results in shorter wearing period. This is why you don’t want to wash them too often.  7-10 days span is optimal and it really is easier than it sounds:) 

Washing the dreads is also easy. You will need your usual bath sponge and as much shampoo as you’d normally use for your hair. Simply pour the shampoo on the sponge, foam it up and gently apply to your scalp and the roots of your hair. There’s no need to rub it (especially intensively!), just apply the foam and wash it off. You can also apply some foam to the dreads, just remember to wash it off really well since you don’t want any shampoo sitting in your hair long after you’ve washed it. 

It’s important to not use any hair masks or conditioners while having the dreads in! Unlike shampoo, masks and conditioners are heavy products and require more effort to wash off the hair; with your hair braided in, the products may not wash off completely and stay in the braid for as long as your dreads are in – you don’t want it there for that long! Your natural hair doesn’t require conditioning while it’s braided in – you’ll have time to do it after you’ve taken the dreads off:) Simple shampoo is more than enough to take care of it. 

As for the time you should keep your dreads in – 1-2 months at a time is optimal, 2-3 months is the longest time before taking the dreads off. While normally the weight of the set is light enough to keep your hair safe, having the dreads in for too long may cause some hairs to fall out. Even though 1-2 (or even 3, for thick healthy hair) months is perfectly safe, it is not recommended to wear them longer than that. Instead, take them off, give your hair some rest and treatment and then install them back in a few days. Usually (unless heavily damaged) the dreads are reusable and can be installed as many times as you like. You can also mix them with new dreads or only put in a part of the set – it’s totally up to you. 

Other than these two rules, there is also one thing worth mentioning, and it is actually way less harmful than it sounds.  Sometimes, after installing the dreads, it might get itchy. This is absolutely natural and here’s why. First of all, depending on how tight they’re braided in, dreads can sometimes pull single hairs too much while in a ponytail or a bun. This is why it’s generally not recommended to style your dreads in tight hairdos right after you’ve installed them; instead, give it a couple days to get used to them, make sure it doesn’t feel too tight when you move the dreads around. Even if it’s tight at first, they loosen up a few days after installing, so just give them some time to do it and then you can style your hair the way you like. Besides that, it’s natural that the synthetic pieces will start touching your scalp and neck skin after installing. Sometimes, it causes the skin and/or scalp to itch, and if you scratch it, it itches even more. It’s also fine – after all, you have fluffy synthetic dreads in your hair, something it’s not exactly used to 🙂 To help the itching go away, follow these recommendations: 

  • Try not to scratch the skin/scalp. It only feels nice for a short while and then it’ll itch even more;
  • Get a spray bottle (or use the one that helped you section your hair before!) and some camomile or green tea. Pour it into the bottle, let it cool down in the fridge and then simply spray on the skin between the dreads. It helps calm down the itch and treat the skin:) 
  • Do not use any products containing alcohol on your scalp and skin! They will dry it and only result in more itching. Instead, use the herbal sprays, thermal water sprays, or any alcohol free product you’d normally use to get rid of a rash. Remember that it is not an allergy, and it doesn’t happen often! Most of the times, it just takes a bit of patience and adjusting – wearing the dreads for a month or two is totally worth those couple days of slight itching. 

That’s about it! If you have questions or anything to add – please feel free to comment below! Thank you for taking the time to read the article:)