How To Soften Stiff Synthetic Dreads?

How to soften stiff synthetic dreads

Dreads or Dreadlocks are all about embracing your natural hair texture in a unique way.  But the process of having fully matured dreads is very long and tedious. If you have short hair, it can take forever to grow and become mature. But dreadlock extensions can save you from all those time and hassles.

With synthetic dreads, you can have long and thick dreads at once, without the long-term commitment like your actual dreads. But synthetic dreads can become super stiffy sometimes. They can be really hard to touch, seem unnatural, and sometimes irritate the skin. Well, do not get frustrated yet. You can easily remove the stiffness from your synthetic dreadlocks by following some simple rules. To help you with that, in this article, I am going to explain everything about how to soften stiff synthetic dreads and maintain them.

Why Your Synthetic Dreads Are Stiff?

Why your synthetic dreads are stiff
Why your synthetic dreads are stiff

Synthetic dreads are great for protecting your hair while maintaining aesthetics and functionality as well. But it comes with a disadvantage as well. The synthetics dread is pretty heavy and they can feel stiff and very hard to touch. Sometimes, they even can feel stiff if they are tightly attached to your hair. They are just like any other wig but in a dreaded pattern. They even feel inflexible sometimes which can create pressure in your hair and make your dreads feel uncomfortable.

Since synthetic dreads naturally can be stiff, there is nothing to worry about why your synthetic dreads are stiff. The synthetic dreads will soften over time if you maintain the following ways properly.

5 Ways to Soften Stiff Synthetic Dreads

Synthetic dreadlock extensions are a very normal thing to get. With some easy steps, you can easily remove the stiffness from your synthetic dreads and make them soft. For instance:

1. Soak your synthetic dreads in Hot Water

If your synthetic dreads are stiff, soaking in hot water will be a great help. But never soak your actual hair in the hot water. It will make your hair extremely brittle and your hair will be unable to retain its moisture naturally. Your hair will be very prone to breakage as well. Although it will take a whole lot of time, you have to take off your synthetic dreads before soaking them in hot water to keep your natural hair healthy. Taking off your synthetic dreads is very easy; you can even do it yourself. after taking them off soak them in the hot water for 20-30 minutes. You can also add any conditioner you have to give it additional softness.

Soak your synthetic dreads in hot water
Soak your synthetic dreads in hot water

2. Use shampoos That Are Chemical Free

To keep your synthetic dreads soft, try using a shampoo that is sulfate or any other harsh chemical free. Sulfate works as a detergent and strips away all the moisture and oil from your hair. your natural hair constantly gets oils that are produced by the scalp. But the synthetic dreads cannot get them. Once they become stiff, it is hard to get them to soften up once again. So, to keep your synthetic dreads soft, you need to keep them away from chemicals.

Use shampoos that are chemical free
Use shampoos that are chemical free

3. Condition your synthetic dreads like your hair

After shampooing, never skip the conditioner. Conditioning will help to retain the moisture; your hair has lost after shampooing. The conditioner works the same for your stiff synthetic dreads as well. But do not use conditioner if your actual locks are new as well. Try to wait for at least 8 weeks to use conditioner on your dreads. But if your dreadlocks are formed and matured, you can use conditioner on your synthetic loc extension anytime you want. You can use leave-in conditioners for better hydration. You can also use coconut milk, oat milk, curd, or aloe vera gel as a hair mask. Take any of them, leave them in the dreads for 20-30 minutes then rinse off properly.

Condition your synthetic dreads like your hair
Condition your synthetic dreads like your hair

4. Keep your synthetic dreads moisturized

Moisturizing works on your synthetic dreads, just as well as your natural hair. You can moisturize your synthetic extensions with hair oils like argan oil, coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, etc. You can also use moisturizing butter like shea butter, mango butter, or cocoa butter to boost your dreads as well as synthetic dread extensions with moisture. You can also spray a mixture of rose water and glycerin to hydrate with synthetic dreads to reduce the stiffness.

Keep your synthetic dreads moisturized
Keep your synthetic dreads moisturized

5. Use silk or satin pillowcases or caps

Try to use a satin or silk pillowcase when you sleep. If you do not have a pillowcase, try using a silk or satin cap to cover your dreads before going to sleep. Cotton pillowcases create friction in your hair and friction creates frizziness. Frizzy hair tends to be stiff, prone to breakage and damage. It is the same case for your synthetic dreads as well. To keep your synthetic dreads away from stiffness consider switching your pillow cover.

Use silk or satin pillowcases or caps
Use silk or satin pillowcases or caps

3 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Synthetic Dreads

To keep your synthetic dreads free from further damage and stiffness, you should avoid the following consideration:

  1. Do not wash your synthetic dreads more frequently to keep them soft and not stiff for a longer time. Also, synthetic dreads take longer to dry out. So, you need to invest a lot of time to dry them out completely to avoid additional damage to your natural hair.
  2. Do not use any heating tools for your synthetic dreads. Synthetic dreads can get severely damaged or even melt wet if it comes in contact with heating tools. Try to avoid any kind of direct heat to keep your synthetic dreads not stiff.
  3. Do not cut off your synthetic dreads. If you want to cut your dreads, remove the synthetic dread extensions first. Then reinstall the dreads to your natural dreads. Cutting the synthetic dreads will make your dreads look stiff and choppy.


1. Do synthetic dreadlock extensions damage your hair?

Synthetic dreadlock extension does not damage your hair. However, the plastic material of synthetic dreads can irritate your skin sometimes. Also, the dreads will become extra heavy for these extensions which can be pretty uncomfortable to some.

2. How to dry your synthetic dreadlock extension?

After washing, press and squeeze the dreads along with the extensions very gently. Then pat dry your hair with a microfiber towel and let it sit in your hair for removing the excess water. then you can use a blow drier with its coolest setting and dry your hair. try using a bonnet cap with your drier for a faster result.

3. How long can you wear your synthetic dreads?

You should not wear your synthetic dreads for an extended period. You should give your headrest once in a while since the extensions are much heavier and put stress on your hair. Try to take off your extensions after 1 or 2 months. Try to give your dreads moisturizing treatments while the extensions are off.

4. Can you style synthetic dreads?

Yes! You can style anyhow you want with your synthetic locs as long as they are not done by heating tools. You can wear braids, buns, ponytails, updos, or even beads or other jewelry to style your synthetic dread extensions.

Final Thoughts

Synthetic dread extensions can be very stiff on their own. But softening them is not very hard of a task. You can easily soften your dreadlock extensions by following some simple rules. Soaking your synthetic dreadlock extensions in hot water can really help, but before doing it do not forget to take them off of your head to keep your natural hair healthy. You should condition and moisturize your synthetic locks regularly to keep them soft. Keep away chemicals or heating tools from your synthetic dreads to avoid damage. You just need some time and patience to make your stiff synthetic dreads soft.

Key Points

  • Synthetic dreads more likely are stiff naturally.
  • Synthetic dreads can be softened easily by soaking it in boiling hot water for a short period.
  • Always condition after washing and moisturize your synthetic dreads regularly.
  • Use satin pillowcases or caps to keep them soft for longer.
  • There are common mistakes that people make with synthetic dreads which causes them to stiffen, so you should be avoiding those.
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