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ShapeShifter Monofiber - Dreading Review
ShapeShifter Monofiber is amazing for loose extensions because it's soft, silky, durable, and has a natural looking shine. It looks and acts more like high quality human hair than any synthetic on the market. It also comes in a huge range of colors that aren't available in any other fiber, which begs the question: can Shapeshifter be dreaded?
The short answer is yes, you can dread it. However, it's not the same as dreading kanekalon. The below article is a review we wrote on Hair Extensions Forum when ShapeShifter first came out, and we focused on dreading so that you can weigh the pro's and con's of dreading ShapeShifter before investing in it :)
We made a color chart for ShapeShifter with pictures taken in natural sunlight, available here: http://ikickshins.net/colorchartssh.php
We've also listed their kk color counterparts where available for anyone who is looking to match the loose hair up to dreads or braids :)
All of the natural colors with numbers are consistent with any other fake hair. The scarlet is like deep cherry kk silky, but a bit brighter. Pumpkin spice is similar to amber kk jumbo braid, but it's a little more muted. Mystic forrest is a close match to SFX Sonic Green dye. Blue Raspberry was very hard to get a good picture of and we're afraid our image isn't very accurate. Its somewhere in between turquoise kk silky and Plastikhaar neon blau.
The Ivory Blonde looks a lot like Afrocares creamy white color and Grape Soda is similar to their orchid -- it's so dark that it looks almost black.
The hair comes in zip-lock baggies with a full color chart on one side (and the color of whatever's in the bag is checked off). One end is rubberbanded and its loosely knotted in the middle. The other end is left loose, but since the hair isn't prone to tangling, it's not a problem.
This stuff seriously feels like human hair. It doesn't tangle at all when you section it off, and you can easily run your fingers through it without hitting any snags. It is extremely soft and silky; it's almost slippery, like human hair that's been conditioned. It looks and feels more realistic than Plastikhaar Monofiber.
We expected ShapeShifter to be difficult to backcomb like any other silky hair, and while it isn't quite as easy to work with and jumbo braid, it backcombs VERY evenly and easily. We didn't have to pull out any knots or put in any extra effort to get a nice, even taper. One problem you will run to, as with any silky hair, is that it doesn't stay in knots as well as jumbo braid. If you do single-ended dreads with a lark's head knot at the top, be prepared to clip them in place or just hold the hair really carefully to keep the knots from coming loose while you work. One you set the hair, it will be fine, but it will take some extra effort up until that point.
Sealing - Boiling Water
ShapeShifter can withstand up to 400 degrees farenheit, which means you'll need to put extra effort into sealing it. We used boiling water for our first try at sealing. Water boils at 212 degrees, and that's not quite enough to get good results.
Here's a dread after being boiled twice. The little wavy part in the middle happened because it's unraveling. We normally pour boiling water onto dreads and then set them aside immediately. You can't do that with ShapeShifter -- the key to getting a good dread out of it with boiling water is to keep it twisted until it cools off. If you don't want to stand there and hold it (who does?), you can put something heavy on the end or pour cool water over it afterwards.
Here's the dread after being sealed a third time and held until cool. Once the dread was cool and relatively dry, it was extremely durable. Even though it felt light and spongey, it didn't unravel at all. That's one thing that takes some getting used to: ShapeShifter is not going to make solid dreads like kanekalon. They'll look the same and they'll keep their shape, but they'll feel soft and squishy no matter how much heat you apply.
Sealing - Straightener
We also tried sealing it with a straightener. First, we went the usual route: cover the dread in a wet wash cloth, then straighten over it to create lots of steam. The results were similar to the first boiling attempt -- definitely dread shaped, but much looser than regular dreads made from kk.
So then we were like "okay, Shapeshifter, you can withstand heat? WITHSTAND THIS." And we soaked the dread in water, turned the straightener up to full power, and clamped it directly onto the dread. It worked pretty well and there was no melting to be had ;)
Thus concludes the ShapeShifter dreading review. Between boiling and using a flat iron/straightener, we definitely recommend the straightener. As far as steam goes, make sure it's really hot. The steam from the wash cloth definitely wasn't enough and we don't think kettle steam would do much either, so if you do use a steamer, make sure its really heavy duty.