Faux Locs Are the Perfect Protective Style—Heres What You Need to Know


Faux locs are a staple protective style—just ask Zendaya, Ciara, or Rihanna. For those with textured hair, faux locs have emerged as a great alternative to braids or twists. They give you the look of locs sans commitment, are super customizable (i.e., tons of colors and lengths to choose from), and are easy to maintain. Need a few more reasons to give faux locs a try? Let us convince you further. Ahead, hairstylists Yetty Bames, Emily Osei-Blavo, and Davina Morris explain everything you need to know about faux locs.

What Are Faux Locs?

Osei-Blavo says faux locs are temporary locs that can be achieved on textured or relaxed hair. She says they are usually created using synthetic braiding hair, adding, "[Faux locs are] usually achieved with synthetic Kanekalon hair that is coarse in texture." However, Bames says you can also use Marley or Cuban twist hair.

How to Install Faux Locs

Like any protective style, you must ensure your hair is freshly washed, blow-dried, and lightly moisturized before getting faux locs. This style can be installed in a few ways, but the most popular installation methods are braid-in or crochet. When faux locs are applied via the braid-in method, the hair is parted in small to large sections (depending on the size of locs you want), and single box braids are installed throughout the head. "The braiding hair is then installed in a crocheted manner and wrapped around each braid," Bames explains. Since this technique requires prepping your hair with box braids first, itll require more time (i.e., expect to be sitting in the salon chair for at least six to eight hours).

With the crochet method, hair is first braided back in cornrows. Then, pre-made loc extensions are crocheted into each cornrow using a crochet needle. You can usually expect the crochet technique to be quicker (think: two to four hours), but of course, this varies depending on the look youre going for.

The Cost

Stylists consider many things when it comes to how much to charge for faux locs, so there isnt a fixed price. "The length, size, type of hair used, the time needed to install, and the stylists [skill level] all play a role in determining the price of the service," Bames explains. You can expect to spend between $150 to $500 on either style. Morris also adds that some stylists might charge per loc, depending on their expertise.

How Long Do Faux Locs Last?

According to Bames, faux locs can last one to two months, depending on how well they are maintained. "If they are kept in for longer, knotting and permanent loc-ing of the natural hair can occur," she explains. Additionally, faux locs can become heavy over time, and this can cause tension on the roots and edges, so dont keep them in for longer than you should," she explains.

How to Maintain Faux Locs

Faux locs are easy to maintain with the proper techniques and products. To keep your style looking fresh longer, all our experts recommend covering your hair with a scarf or bonnet at night to minimize frizz. Youll also want to moisturize your scalp with a lightweight serum like Sunday II Sundays Soothe Me Daily Scalp Serum ($21). You can tame flyaways using a light, non-sticky mousse—Cantus Protective Style Foam Setting Mousse ($8) and AllDay Locks Braid Foam ($10) are great options.

If you start to notice build-up after wearing your faux locs for a few weeks, dont be afraid to cleanse your scalp. "Due to synthetic hair being used to create faux locs, they dry quickly when washed," Bames adds. You can use a product like Girl+Hair Clear+ Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Hair Rinse ($14) or NatureLabs Perfect Clean Sake Balancing Rinse ($19).

Soft Locs vs. Faux Locs 

Soft locs are frequently brought up when discussing faux locs, but there are differences between the two. The biggest differentiators are appearance and texture. "Soft locs are premade crochet locs that are light in texture compared to faux locs," Morris says. They are usually made with curlier hair that has a sheen to it—theyre also more flexible than faux locs.

The installation process is also different for soft locs and faux locs. "Faux locs take longer to install and can take a few days to settle and loosen up, which doesnt happen with soft locs," Morris explains. Osei-Blavo adds, "With soft locs, the irregular pattern allows for the loc to take on a more realistic, softer form while faux locs tend to be more uniform and slightly neater than soft locs."

The Final Takeaway

Faux locs are a popular protective style for a few reasons. Theyre fairly easy to install, can be customized using different braiding hair colors and lengths, and will last up to two months. However, like with any protective style, its important to choose a skilled stylist to ensure they install the locs properly and minimize tension on your scalp. Its also important to establish a thorough maintenance routine post-appointment (think: wearing a scarf and moisturizing your scalp) to ensure your hair remains healthy and the faux locs last as long as possible.

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