For some reason, I notice that a lot of hair enthusiasts are often skint. Me included. Not sure why; maybe because most of us are just normal folks working for a living and life’s mishaps often keep us down. Though it does make me wonder why more well off folks don’t like dread extensions… hmph. Anyways, off point. If you are struggling to get your hard working hands on some dreads, I want you to know that with enough digging, luck, time, and compromise you can get dreads at discount prices.
I’d like to emphasize that last word in the list: compromise. When trying to buy anything at discount prices you’re probably not going to get exactly what you’re looking for. It’s great to have a dream set of dreads in mind, but it’s also good to aim for something close-ish to that dream that’s the right price. Be flexible with length, thickness, texture and especially color.
So how do you find these reduce cost dreads? Pay close attention to the various Facebook groups that cater to dread extensions. Some of these English language pages are: Dreadlock Kingdom, Synthetic Dread Society, Dreadlocks Appreciation and also checking out Alternative type trade/sell pages.
On these pages second hand dreads will pop up often, and they are roughly ¾ to ½ the price of new dreads dependent on how many times they’ve been worn, if they are resealed/washed, and the original maker. Also, individual makers hosting sales will often advertise such sales on these pages; JUMP on these sales fast as makers usually limit the number of kits they’re willing to do at reduced prices. And dread makers will also advertise their contests for free dreads on these pages as well; we’ll talk a little more about this later.
Another longer, more time intensive way to get dreads at cost of materials is to watch the up and coming talent; many times when a dread artist is first starting out they will offer kits at cost of materials plus shipping. Of course, they are also new comers to the hair world—extra attention must be paid to the photos they post of their work, how seasoned vets respond to those photos, and lastly checking up on the newb’s selling/buying reputation. It’s not so hard to find out the reputation; ask for the new seller’s Etsy name or eBay name and go through their feedback on both. If the feedback is spotty, STAY AWAY! If it looks stellar then the person is probably trustworthy. But, keep in mind that a new seller may burn you, so be sure to always pay with Paypal (NOT as a gift) and do not hesitate to report them within the 45 day time period should you believe something fishy is going on.
A note on contests. Some contests are run like raffles; buy tickets, the more you buy the higher your chance to win. Some contests are completely free and randomly picked by number. Some contests are based on photographs or descriptions. This last type of contest is not “easy” to win, but as a maker that has hosted one I’ll give you some pointers. First of all, dread makers are by nature creative artists so you want to wow them on a creative level. If it’s a photo contest, that happy slappy photo of a rainbow over a lake with butterflies probably isn’t going to win; and even though I don’t feel like I should have to say this, sending in a photo of another dread maker’s work will only piss off the dread artist running the contest. Find a photo that is 100% unique and also tell the dread artist WHY you chose it. If it’s a “dream dread kit” type written contest don’t think that an entry for “red and black swirled dreads” is going to win. That may be what you want, but that isn’t going to tickle the creativity of an artist. Remember, you’re not placing a custom order here; your inspiring an artist to exercise their own creative muscles. So don’t say “20 DE sharpie thick dreads in red, black, and burgundy that are 20 inches long.” Give them a description “I want the teal tentacles of a sea witch that curl around her gold, scaly tail.” Give the dread artist a story, a photograph in words. That will get you at least put in the “considered” pile rather than tossed away with the “rejects.”
Yes, dreads at reduced cost are possible. It will take longer, it will not be exactly what you want, and it will take work, but it can be done. Just pay attention to the dread pages, compromise on your wants, amp up creativity in those contests, and keep a wary eye out for new makers.
My very first self made dreads; also a way to avoid high costs!