The History of Synthetic Dreads
The dreadlocks hairstyle is rooted in many Cultures around the world dating back thousands of years ago from Eastern Europe to the plains of Africa. Their popularity stems from their unique look and lack of need for extensive upkeep that other hairstyles are known for. Ancient Greeks sported theirs for artistic purposes or to express leadership, specifically the Spartans. Native Americans wore dreadlocks for a number of different reasons, from style expression to counting the number of victories in battle. The Vikings sported the hairstyle in order to ignore regular hair upkeep.
Synthetic dreads often look and feel natural but are made from synthetic material, which means that there are endless possibilities. From bright fantasy colors to natural hair colors, ombre transitions to blended colors, anything is possible with synthetic hair.
Single-Ended VS. Double-Ended
One of the first questions a first-time synthetic dread shopper needs to ask themselves is which type of synthetic dreads they would like to have installed. There are two main types to be aware of: single-ended and double-ended. We recommend double-ended dreads for your first set as they are easier to self-install.
Single-Ended Synthetic Dreads
Single-ended synthetic dreads are dreads that have a loop on their roots that your hair is looped through. This option is more popular for experienced dread shoppers who know how to install single-ended pieces. Single-ended dreads may also be ordered as “Extensions”. In this case, the loop on the root is cut in order so that the dread may be attached to existing natural dreads. Typically for a full head, 70 single-ended pieces is enough, but you may want more or less depending on the look you’re going for. If you’re unsure, it’s better to contact us or your local stylist to determine how many you should plan on getting. This option is best for those who are having their dreads professionally installed AND would like a more natural look. This is also the option for those who are looking to extend their natural dreads.
Double-Ended Synthetic Dreads
Double-ended synthetic dreads are dreads that have a fold in the middle, giving them two ends, hence the name. This option is the most popular choice for first-time dread shoppers due to their ease-of-install and their look. Typically, for a full head, 45 double-ended pieces is standard, but sometimes sets as low as 35 pieces may be enough. Remember, each piece is two ends as the fold in the middle essentially creates two dreads. This is the option for you if you are installing your own set or if it’s your first time with synthetic dreads.
All About Length
Why Length Matters
When you’re looking into purchasing your first set of synthetic dreads, one of the next biggest decisions you’ll need to make after deciding on single-ended or double-ended is length. There are several different methods to approximate where a certain length of dreads will land on you, but the easiest is to simply grab a tape measure and measure from the top of your head down to your desired length. This will closely line up with where the dreads will land on your back.
It’s also important to note that the weight of the set is heavily dependent on the length of the set. We recommend 10 or 15 inch sets for first time buyers as they are lighter than any length above that. 20 inch sets are perfect if you’re looking for an ombre look as this length allows the most color to show.
Color Patterns and Styles
Where to Start
Now it’s time for the fun part: choosing your colors and style. since you are considering synthetic dreads that are made with synthetic material, the possibilities are as endless as you can imagine. It can actually seem a little overwhelming at first, but don’t worry! You’ll always find something that works just for you. First, let’s go over the style options available from us and most other dreadshops specializing in synthetic dreads.
There are 6 styles of dreads we provide at LaetiLocs: straight dreads, curly ended dreads, and curly dreads. We have certainly popularized curly ended sets within our shop. Some of these styles may even be combined, such as dreadwisps and curly ends.
Benefits of Dreadwisps
Dreadwisps are one of our newest styles that is taking off by storm. Not only are they softer, lighter, and easier to wear, but they also ship up to 60% faster than crocheted synthetic dreads. This is due to how quickly they can be made.
After you have decided on a dread style, you’ll need to choose the style you’d like your colors to be in. The different styles available are: solid-colored dreads, ombre transitioned dreads, and blended-colored dreads. We use a soft ombre technique for our ombre dreads as it lessens the workload and has a gorgeous look to it. Typically, you’ll want your ombre set to be at least 20 inches to show the most amount of color, but 25 inches is also an excellent choice.
Dreads Vs. Braids
Braids are an excellent way to accentuate any set of synthetic dreads. The set pictured below called Greased Lightning has some braids in it as you can see. The set to the right is made up entirely of braided dreads. If you want to complement your set, you can never go wrong with adding some braids in the mix!
Partial Sets, Mini Sets, and Full Sets
Typically here at LaetiLocs, we distinguish three types of sets separated by the number of pieces included in each. It’s important to know how many or around how many pieces you’ll need so you don’t buy a set that’s too small or too big for what you’ll be using it for! Please note that these terms are specific to LaetiLocs and may not be understood by other dreadmakers.
A full set by LaetiLocs standards is either 45 double-ended pieces or 70 single-ended pieces. This is enough for a full head and is most likely what the vast majority of dread shoppers like yourself are looking for if it’s their first time. While it is possible to install more than this number, such as 90 single-ended or 50-60 double-ended pieces, This will only increase the thickness and may feel too heavy on your head depending on how many there are.
A partial set by LaetiLocs standards can range anywhere between 20 and 40 double-ended pieces or 35 to 50 single-ended pieces. Partial sets are great for those who have a hairstyle that doesn’t require a full set, such as an undercut. They can also be great for those who would like to mix and match their sets. For example, if you’ve purchased and worn your full set, you can order a partial set of a certain color to highlight or accentuate your full set.
A mini set by LaetiLocs standards can range anywhere between 5 and 15 double-ended pieces or 10 to 25 single-ended pieces. A mini set is great for those looking to accent an existing full or partial set. It can also be a great choice for those who only want to accent their natural hair with colorful dreads.