Ask The Attic – Unraveling Dreads

Q: I have synthetic falls and some of the dreads are starting to become unraveled. How can I fix this myself?

A: Synthetic dreads, over time, can unravel for a number of reasons. A lot of the time, these reasons involve zippers, piercings, or kittens, sometimes these things just happen. Whatever the reason for your unraveling woes, most synthetic dreads can be relatively easily repaired.

The most simple method is to take your dread, and lightly spray it with water. You’re going to want to “mist” the thing, not jet it. You don’t want to soak it, you just want it slightly damp. Now, once it’s been misted, twist it back into the lovely smoothness it once had, and, VERY CAREFULLY, use your hair dryer on it on the hot setting. Start with your dryer at least 8 inches away from the dread and move closer slowly. Go up and down the length of the dread, keeping it tightly twisted as you work.  Remember, most synthetic fibers will melt under intense heat and you don’t want that. What you’re hoping to achieve here is a re-binding of the fibers. You can repeat this process several times until your dread is tight again, always giving a re-mist before the next pass.

Another method you can use to re-seal your dread is to boil it. Twist away, like you’ve just done for the previous method, secure both ends in your sink, NOT  using your fingers (you can use any kind of clip, or weight, or combination of both, but since you’re using boiling water here, we highly recommend you NOT use your fingers to hold the dread in its twisty shape. Once the dread is tightly twisted and secured, pour boiling water over it. Give it a good, hot soak and then remove the dread from the sink and place it on a doubled over towel to dry. If you can, keep it twisted while it does so. Once it’s dry, your dread should be happy again!

Finally, you can also use a straightener to re-seal your dread. Using the same twisting method, again mist the dread with water and going quickly up and down the length of the dread, clamp the straightener down on the damp faux hair, paying particular attention to the end. This method requires extreme care because synthetic hair melts very easily and you can end up with hard clumps in the dread, a ruined flat iron, melted plastic dripping onto your skin (which is VERY UNPLEASANT. We cannot stress that enough) or any number of other miseries. Still, it’s an option, so we’ll mention it, if not recommend it.

A last note, if you’re hoping to make your own dreads or falls, there’s good news! Any and all of these methods can be used to make dreads from scratch after you’ve done a good deal of backcombing to the hair. We’ll be giving a full (and by full, we mean, photos, the works!) tutorial on making falls in the future, but until then, try these tips to help you get your unraveling head back into clubbing form!

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