FAQ

*** PLEASE NOTE ***  The Dread Pirates are closed for the foreseeable future due to ill health

What is the Sista System?

The “Sista System” is a dreadlocking technique pioneered by the globally renowned Weirdsistas in Melbourne. Unlike many other dreadlocking businesses out there, the Sista System DOES NOT use waxes or chemicals of any kind, nor do we use harsh backcombing to create our dreads – this means that there is virtually no loss of length to your hair once dreaded up.

The Sista System is a two part system: part process and part product. The process of creating and maintaining dreads using the Sista System is achieved by using a crochet hook to gently weave and bind the hair into your desired size. This technique differs from the “crochet hook method” that you may have seen other Lokkticians use previously. The crochet hook method that others use tears the hair and then binds it. The Sista System is much more gentle on the hair and does not rip it at all, and your dreads can even be combed out and your hair can be restored to its previous non-dreaded state without hardly any evidence of damage. Lokkticians trained in this method are able to design dreads to your specifications by using a flower-of-life sectioning process, ensuring you have the size of dread that you asked for upon maturation. We can create dreads as small as matchsticks (AKA Micro Dreads) and any size at all up to a ten cent piece.

The second part of the process is product. The Sista System actually requires very little in the way of product to support your journey, but what products you do use (shampoo, etc) will determine your dreadlocks’ health, longevity and long-term success. We use only Lock Stock & Apparel (LSA) products, which are all-natural, vegan and cruelty free. It is imperative that you DO NOT use conventional shampoos on your dreads (and NEVER conditioner!!) as they are designed to lubricate and coat the hair follicle to make it silky and smooth. This is the opposite of what is required for dreadlocks to survive and thrive. Dreads need a very precise PH level in order to encourage the matting process, and Lock Stock & Apparel products are designed to do just that. We recommend that you use ONLY Lock Stock & Apparel dread shampoo (AKA Lokk Block or Bloke Block), as well as a dreadlock accelerator called LokkUp, which is a daily spray that helps your dreads matte quicker. Lock Stock and Apparel products use only natural essential oils and no artificial fragrances – we also sell unscented options for those that prefer it. There are other products in the LSA range, including products for dandruff or itchy scalp, but the shampoo block and the LokkUp accelerator are the only two that are essential and required as part of the Sista System process. All LSA products can be purchased directly from us at The Dread Pirates, no need to order online.

Only lokkticians trained by Weirdsistas are Sista System certified and as such you can be assured that your dreads are in the hands of a well trained professional when you book with The Dread Pirates, or any of the other Sista System businesses around Australia.

What services do The Dread Pirates offer?

We offer new dreadlocks installation, extension installation and general dreads maintenance. We also run an online shop selling the complete Lock Stock & Apparel product line, as well as various other useful dreadlock accessories including wool extensions, dread beads, clamps, Dread Socks, Lokk Stix, swimming and shower caps, etc.

We are a dreadlocking salon, but we are not a traditional hairdressing salon, and as such we do not cut, colour, trim or shave hair. We also do not have sink facilities in our studio thus we do not currently offer washes or wax removal in-house. If you are seeking assistance with wax removal, we can provide you with some advice on DIY at home before coming to the studio for your maintenance, as hair with wax cannot be maintained using the Sista System until fully removed. Please contact hey@dreadpirates.com.au for more info.

What size dread thickness is right for me?

Naturally this will come down to personal preference, however we do have a sample ring that you can have a look at to help you judge which size you like best. Dread thickness references are often described as follows:

  • Matchstick (also known as “Microdreads”)
  • Straw
  • Pencil
  • 5 cent piece (or “Finger”)
  • 10 cent piece

Bear in mind that dreadlocks take around 6 months to mature to full thickness, with strict adherence to the recommended maintenance schedule and regular use of LokkUp dread accelerator spray. Your newly installed baby dreads will be about half as thick as they will be upon maturity. Dreads take time to expand to their true size, however rest assured that our beautiful sectioning method will deliver the dreads you have been dreaming of upon maturity.

Does it hurt to have dreadlocks installed or maintained using the Sista System?

No, but it can be uncomfortable at times. Typically the discomfort is only when the Lokktician is tightening up bases. If you are particularly sensitive, please do let us know and we can leave your bases looser if that is what you prefer.

How long does it take to get dreads installed?

That depends on your hair; how long it is, how thick it is, and what size dread you are after. As a rule, the smaller the dread, the longer it takes to install. An average installation on someone with shoulder length hair in a medium sized thickness (pencil or 5 cent piece, say) would take an average of 7 hours or more, depending on hair type and condition. As a reference, my own dreads, which are pencil thickness, took 2 Sista System trained lokkticians working in tandem 7 and a half hours to complete my install. I would describe my hair as thick, and my hair was midway down my back at the time. There’s no doubt about it, dreadlocks are a labour of love!

The Dread Pirates will be operating as a sole trader business and, as such, if you have long hair and you would like smaller dreads, you might expect to have your dreads installed over 2 (or even 3!) days. I reserve Saturday appointments for installations exclusively and, if necessary, the following day might be used if we aren’t able to finish your installation within 8 hours. However, most installations of average sized dreads, shoulder length or shorter, should be able to be completed on the day. I can provide you with a much more accurate quote on time and cost if you send me a picture of your hair and let me know the size of the dread you are after.

All in all, it’s a long day at the salon, but we do have a range of entertainment options to make the time pass sweetly by, while you are being transformed into the “new you”. Choose from whatever kind of music you like – EDM? Reggae? Justin Beiber? You’re the boss! Or would you rather watch a movie or catch up on Game of Thrones? Done. Feel free to bring your own iPad or device with content, or use our in-house loaner. Or maybe, like me, you like to keep it a bit more old-school and read a book or a mag. No worries. We’ve got you covered. We’ve got an eclectic library that you are welcome to borrow from, or BYO Kindle.

How long does it take to get extensions installed?

If you are considering adding extensions to your dreadlocks, installation will typically be done across 2 appointments. The first appointment will be to dread up your natural hair (see above), and the second appointment will be to attach the extensions. The process of attaching the extensions can take on average 4 – 5 hours, depending on how many dreads you have. Human hair extensions expand over time, just as natural dreadlocks do. This means that we can get you in again within days of your install to attach your human hair extensions; however for synthetic hair extensions you will need to wait until your newly installed natural dreadlocks mature and expand (usually 6 months) before having the synthetic extensions attached. This is because synthetic hair extensions do not expand the way that human hair does.

How long is a standard maintenance appointment?

Maintenance sessions for dreads that have been well maintained previously, of average length and thickness, will take anywhere from 2-6 hours typically for both bases and lengths. How long an appointment takes is entirely dependant upon the condition of the hair itself, and how many and what size (thickness) dreads you have. If you have your dreads regularly maintained, your appointments will be much shorter (and cheaper! our flat rate pricing applies) than another with similar sized dreads who only comes in once a year. Additionally, once your dreads become very mature, the lengths will require very little attention during maintenance sessions, effectively cutting your appointment time down by almost half.

If you have some serious business that needs seeing to (dread surgery/separation etc), this will be in addition to the time stated above and will be entirely dependant upon the unique requirements of your hair. Please advise us when booking in if you feel you have serious repairs that need attention during your maintenance session, as we can then lock you in for a longer appointment time to accommodate. If in doubt, shooting us through a picture of your dreads will help us to give you a more accurate quote of time and cost.

How often do I need to come in for maintenance?

Mature dreads only need attention once every 3-6 months, depending on how fast your hair grows and how well they’re cared for at home. We offer an incentive for those who keep their dreads in great condition by offering flat-rate pricing; this is available to clients who come in within 3 months of their last maintenance appointment.

New “baby” dreads will need more attention and maintenance to ensure they mature quickly and without problems. Dreadlocks that are not well maintained in the baby dread phase take much longer to mature and can even fall out or “un-dread” over time if not taken care of. They also tend to form more lumps and bumps, and can even matte into one giant nest against your scalp! Regular maintenance is essential to having a great head of dreads.

The maintenance schedule for new (baby) dreads* is recommended as follows:

  1. First maintenance is 2 weeks after install and is for lengths only, no bases. Depending on the number of dreads, this session usually takes around 2 hours and is charged at a flat rate of $80.
  2. Second maintenance session is 4 weeks later. This appointment, and each one after, typically take around 4 hours depending on length and thickness of dreads (longer for microdreads or long hair, shorter for top knots and very short hair). Both bases and lengths will be tidied and tightened up.
  3. Third and subsequent maintenance sessions are every 6 weeks until you hit the 6-month mark, or once your dreads reach maturity. Dreads will mature faster with regular maintenance and by making sure you only use dread friendly shampoo and product (especially LokkUp dread accelerator).

*PLEASE NOTE: Microdreads will require maintenance every fortnight until they have reached maturity, and once mature will require maintenance every 4-6 weeks.

How much does it cost? 

This depends on two factors: how long your hair is, how many dreads you have, or which size dreads you are seeking. Our flat rate pricing EXCLUDES microdreads, which are charged at a rate of $100 an hour for installation and $80 an hour for maintenance.

When booking in for an install, a non-refundable deposit of $50 is required to secure your booking, which will be put against the balance of your installation at checkout on the day of your appointment.

Cost of Installation: 

Top Knot/Half Head
*Includes up to 40 dreads (5 cent piece, Pencil). Add $50 if between 40-50 (Straw). 

  • $250 (shoulder length or shorter)

Full Head
*Includes up to 80 dreads (5 cent piece, Pencil). Add $100 if between 80-100 (Straw).

  • $460 (shoulder length or shorter)
  • $560 (between top of shoulder and shoulder blade)
  • $650 (between shoulder blade and small of the back)
  • $750 (between small of the back and waist)

Cost of Maintenance: 

Top Knot/Half Head
*Includes up to 40 dreads (5 cent piece, Pencil). Add $25 if between 40-50 (Straw). 

  • $95

Full Head

  • $190 (51-65 dreads)
  • $250 (65-80 dreads)
  • $310 (81-100 dreads)

*NOTE: Flat rate prices for maintenance are available to clients who have had maintenance within the past 3 months, and includes all bases with minimal attention to lengths. For clients whose last maintenance appointment exceeds 3 months, or who need more attention to their lengths, we charge $60 an hour.

Cost for Extensions:

We offer both synthetic hair extensions (which are more economical) and human hair extensions (which are pricey but by far the best choice if you can budget for it). We can get pretty much any colour of the rainbow in synthetic hair, and we have an excellent range of natural colours you can choose from in the human hair. We recommend coming in for a free consultation to check out our colour ring in person. Please note that we will order in your hair especially for your extension job, and as such pre-payment for the cost of the hair will be due 3 weeks before your extension installation appointment, to allow plenty of time for shipping and processing.

Synthetic hair:

Regular length (up to 30 cm)

  • $300 installed

Long length (31 – 50 cm)

  • $500 installed

Human hair:

Regular length (up to 30 cm)

  • $650 installed

Long length (31 – 50 cm)

  • $850 installed

Self-sourced hair extensions: 

Alternatively, clients are most welcome to source and provide the hair they wish to use for their extensions ahead of time (typically a 3 week lead time is required), so that these may be dreaded up in advance of your extension installation appointment. Clients choosing this option will be charged as follows:

Regular length (up to 30 cm)

  • $250 installed

Long length (31 – 50 cm)

  • $450 installed

**The prices listed in ALL CATEGORIES above are inclusive of up to 70 dreads, installed. If you require more than 70 dread extensions, you will be charged an additional $3 ($4 long length) per dread for synthetic hair and $6 ($8 long length) per dread for human hair.**

What should I expect at my installation appointment?

You will arrive in the morning and be with us all day. If we do not complete your install within 8 hours, we will get you back the following day, so clear your calendar! Please bring along plenty of snacks and something for lunch (you are welcome to use our fridge). I advise thinking of your dreadlock installation like you would a long-haul flight: its gonna take awhile! It’s a good idea to bring along a device with pre-loaded content (or you can use our in-house loaner), have a book on hand or you can check out our eclectic in-house library. We are a friendly crew at The Dread Pirates and love a good chat, so the time usually passes pretty amicably despite the time in the chair. You are welcome to get up and stretch whenever you need, and we have an outdoor patio that we can work from if you prefer, or if you need to step outside for a smoke. We are located at a residential address in Grovedale, just 15 minutes from both Geelong & Torquay. Oh and, we have cats. They won’t come in the studio, but if you’re allergic…just FYI.

What should I expect during the “baby dread” phase?

Dreadlocks are considered to be fully mature typically between 6-12 months post-installation. Using the Sista System and staying faithful to the recommended maintenance regime and schedule will mean you will likely reach maturity much closer to 6 months. Newly installed baby dreads will be MUCH thinner than what you can expect from your dreadlocks upon maturation. It will take several months for your dreads to plump up to the desired size. You can expect that your baby dreads will feel tight on the scalp, especially in the 48 hours after installation and after each maintenance.

Dreadlock Care:

You most likely will have a fiercely itchy scalp (try not to scratch!), and you will likely have a bout of dandruff in the very early days, though both are unlikely to be long lasting or very serious. It’s just your scalp’s way of saying WTF is going on here?! The scalp will eventually adjust to having your hair matted into sections, as opposed to free moving from each follicle, and after an initial period of scalp rebellion (a few weeks or so) the dandruff and itching will settle down. Lock Stock & Apparel (LSA) have a product that works wonders for dandruff removal called Xfoliate, and another called Khilla that can help keep the itchiness at bay. You can purchase these through our online shop at www.dreadpirates.com.au or in the studio on the day of your appointment.

You will need to shampoo and deep clean your dreadlocks on a regular basis, and it is essential that you use products that are designed for dreadlocks only, as conventional shampoos and products typically have silicon and other moisturizing agents that are the enemy of a dreadlock that is only just starting to matte. Dreadlock shampoos such as LSA’s LokkBlokk or BlokeBlokk are excellent for getting a fabulous clean for your dreadlocks; they are vegan, made from all natural ingredients and they smell amazing. A regular shampooing regime of anywhere between every week to every fortnight is probably the ideal. If you are preparing to get dreads and you currently shampoo your hair with conventional shampoos every day, this would be a good time to start weaning your hair off of that schedule, and try to align it more with what will be ideal once you have dreads. For some, this is once a week. For others, it is once a fortnight. It is probably best not to go longer than that between shampoos. It is important too, conversely, not to wet your dreadlocks TOO frequently. Daily washing or wetting can lead to the dreaded dread rot!!! Dread rot is mould trapped inside the dreadlock shaft, and it would mean a very foul and stinky death to your beautiful new dreadies. Fear not though, if you love your daily shower. We sell dreadlock shower caps in our online shop and in the studio. Additionally, if you are a swimmer please avoid exposing your dreadlocks to chlorine. We sell extra roomy dreadlock swimming caps for those that love the pool, though if you can manage it instead, a swim in the ocean will do wonders for your dreadlocks while they are matting. Salt water helps accelerate the matting process. For those who aren’t able to get in the sea for a swim, using LSA’s LokkUp spray is a very close second option. This essential product is a twice-daily spray for your new baby dreads, and has a sea salt base combined with a really divine medley of essential oils. It is a brilliant dreadlock accelerator and, along with regular maintenance, is the one thing that is going to help your dreads mature the fastest.

In addition to regular shampooing, every few months or so it is a good idea to give your dreads a good soaking in a LokkBomb, which is a deep clean that will help shift any trapped or built up dirt inside of the dread shaft.

Aside from keeping your dreads clean, it is also advisable to try to avoid friction on your new dreads as much as possible. I recommend purchasing a Dread Sock to wear to sleep everynight (or a silk pillowcase will do the job nicely too); they are excellent also for protecting your dreads during sport or high impact aerobic activity.

Lastly, though you may be tempted to install beads and wraps on your beautiful new dreadlocks, you must resist the urge until your dreads are fully mature, otherwise the dread will not be able to expand properly and it will be vulnerable to dread rot. Don’t do it! Soon the baby dread stage will have passed, and you can rock whatever kind of awesomeness you want up in those new dreads of yours. Dreadlocks can certainly be an exercise in patience…in their installation, in their maintenance, and in their maturation. Embrace it!

Is there anything I need to do before my maintenance appointment?

Within the week leading up to your maintenance appointment, you should wash your dreads and scalp with a dread shampoo. If it’s been awhile since you had a good clean, you might want to blast those bad boys with a Dread Lock Bomb ahead of your appointment to get the grime and stink out.

For most people it goes without saying that you should only ever turn up to an appointment with appropriate attention to personal hygiene, there are others who might be less self-aware. If you do not have any dread shampoo at home, we can post you a sample size if you aren’t keen to buy a whole block. The important thing is that your dreads have been recently cleaned before coming in for maintenance. Brushing your teeth on the day of an appointment is always appreciated too! Just sayin’…

If you have any wax in your dreads at all, this will need to be removed entirely before you come in to see us, as we cannot use the Sista System on dreads that have wax in them. If you need help with wax removal, see “How can I remove wax from my dreads?” below.

How can I remove wax from my dreads?

This is not a service we offer in house at the studio, as we do not have a sink or plumbing facilities. You can do this at home with a bit of time and patience. A friend to assist you is always a bonus.

You will need:

  • 1 part Lavender essential oil
  • 1 part Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1 part Witch Hazel
  • a spray bottle

Then watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAvz_b4LAT8 

What kind of payment types do you accept?

Everybody knows cash is King, but we accept credit and debit cards too, though these will incur a service fee of 1.6%. For online orders we also take Paypal.

Do you offer layby?

Hells yeah, we do! If you’re dreaming of a full dread installation with extensions by Christmas and its only May, layby might be an option that works for you. Shoot us an email on hey@dreadpirates.com.au if you are interested in organising a layby payment for services down the line.

Do you offer any discounts I should know about? 

Funny you should ask, yes we do! If you check-in on Facebook at The Dread Pirates – Geelong & Surfcoast on the day of your appointment (and ‘Like’ the page), we’ll give you 5% off your total at checkout – this includes LSA and accessories too! Follow us on Facebook for periodic additional discounts and sales, or asked to be added to our mailing list to be the first to know when we have a deal going.