Faux locs have become one of the hottest trends in fashion and protective styling, with celebrities like Eva Marcille, Tyra Banks, Meagan Good and more rocking them. If you’ve ever admired someone with locs but commitment issues held you back or you are considering a new protective style, faux locs might just be the one to consider.
Is Faux Locs Hair Better Than Braids for Protective Styling? Faux locs offer more freedom than braids for protective styling. While braids tend to look best when freshly installed, faux locs actually look better and more natural as they age. There’s a lot less pressure with faux locs to have a “perfectly coifed, fresh from the salon” look and creates less stress for the wearer. Plus, because of the way faux locs are installed and worn, there’s less tension on your edges and thus less risk of damage that can result from pulling too the hair tight. It is for this reason that we believe faux locs are better than braids as a protective style option.
Protective Styling: the Short & Sweet of It
A protective hairstyle is a hairstyle that keeps your natural hair covered with the intention of prohibiting over-manipulation, excess tension, exposure to the elements (both natural like wind, rain & snow and artificial like blow-drying) as well as decreasing shedding and breakage It’s primary job is to hide your detangled ends from exposure so that you can maximize length retention while your hair grows.
Now let’s be clear, even though faux locs are trending right now, the journey to loc nation is not one to be taken lightly. Transitioning from starter locs and faux locs to true dreadlocks is an entirely different topic altogether. In this article, we’ll focus mainly on faux locs as a protective style (i.e. temporary).
However, seeing a celebrity or someone else you admire with faux locs or only knowing what you want your faux locs to look like isn’t enough to make the decision to get them. Before rushing off to the nearest salon for an appointment, you need to consider if this style really is for you.
Low maintenance: Faux locs are really great for protective styling because they are low maintenance, low manipulation– you literally do not have access to your hair for as long as you have the locs in.
Growth: Low manipulation contributes to length retention of your hair because your hair will be left alone.
Fake it till you make it: As mentioned earlier, it is also a way to have beautiful locs without making the longterm commitment. A way to preview the look if you are considering making the full-time commitment to natural locs.
Longevity: They are long lasting compared to some other protective style options. Plus the older they get, the more natural they look.
Faux locs have some cons which you should take into account before making the faux commitment.
Pain: Gripping your hair tightly can cause tension resulting in hair loss, and severe pains. This is why having a good loctician or stylist install your locs is recommended for the best experience.
Heaviness: Faux locs can be heavy and also lead to breakage if moisture is not sealed in before the installation and maintained throughout their wear.
Time Consuming: The process itself takes long hours to complete. But this largely depends on length, style, method and other factors.
Discrimination: Another con of having faux locs is discrimination under the pretense of ‘unprofessionalism.’ Locs –whether real or fake are still considered unprofessional in majority of corporate America.
If you have decided you still want faux locs, let’s examine some things to consider when picking a style.
Yarn, synthetic, and human hair are the most common extensions used for faux locs. Each material gives a different look and feel.
Yarn locs always appear smooth and dull, they are lightweight and affordable. Synthetic hair such as Marley hair is the most common material used, due to how well it mimics natural hair.
Human hair extensions are best for goddess locs, they have a shiny, silky feel and if your natural hair texture is similar, it would look more natural on you. However, human hair extensions are not any way near cheap. If you are a penny pincher but want goddess locs, you could still opt for synthetic hair. Although it won’t look 100% the same, your hair would still be beautiful.
Length and Size
The length and size of your locs determine how long you will be in the stylist’s seat, what styles you can do, how many packs of extensions to buy and how comfortable it will feel on your head. Smaller locs will typically take lesser time to complete than bigger locs, and shorter locs will be completed faster than say, waist length faux locs.
When picking a size, consider your hair’s density and width. If you have less dense and fine hair and you want big faux locs, the stylist might consider making this on smaller sections in a bid to make your hair appear “full.”
While this would be good for aesthetics, the weight of the faux locs could weigh down your natural hair, leading to hair loss. On the other end, if you have thick hair and looking to install small faux locs, it would lead to using a lot of packs and increase heaviness that would take a toll on your neck and back.
If you love styling your hair in buns and other updos, longer medium-sized faux locs are for you as they are easier to wrap around for your desired look. This does not limit the styling versatility of short faux locs as they can achieve various styles too.
Style: Faux Locs vs. Goddess Locs
There are two faux locs styles currently popular in the afro-textured hair community, regular faux locs and goddess locs.
Regular faux locs mimic classic locs while goddess locs have loose human/ synthetic hair dangling from the bottom for a boho chic look. Goddess locs were made popular by the famous actress, Meagan Good. Her loctician, Dr. Kari Williams admitted the locs were fashioned after Lisa Bonet’s natural locs which is made of loc-twisted sections as well as some loose and unlocked hair.
With regular faux locs, you would need a base extension and another for the wrapping while goddess locs require three: base extension, wrapping extension and a wavy human/ synthetic hair extension for creating loose ends. Both styles are effective for protective styling and beautiful, which one to choose depends on the look and feel you are going for.
How To Install Faux Locs: Methods
Faux locs can be installed by wrapping and crochet methods. With wrapping, sections of your hair are either braided/twisted first or held tightly against the base extension with one hand while the other hand is used to wrap the loc extension around until it reaches your desired length. Due to how time-consuming this method is, more ready-made extensions have been produced to be installed using the crochet method.
There are two ways to install the crochet method: the cornrow method and the hidden individuals/Jazz Nicole method. The cornrow method involves the locs being crocheted into a cornrow base, this is faster but styling versatility is limited due the obvious parts and predictable patterns it creates, especially if you favor updos.
The individual/Jazz Nicole method, on the other hand, is more versatile thanks to the faux locs being crocheted into individual braided/twisted sections. The procedure is done in a way that the single braids/twists are concealed within the faux loc crochet extension itself.
Hair Hack: Both methods can also be incorporated for a cheat. If you love to pack up your hair in buns and ponytails, you could do the individual method on the perimeter of your head, while the cornrow method is left for the middle part!
Finding a Good Loctician and/or Stylist
Armed with the information above, you should now know what you want or at least, what your options are. These would guide you in picking a good loctician to install your faux locs.
Asking people you know and searching on social media are two good ways to find a reputable stylist for your faux locs. Instagram is an especially good platform because you also get to see what the stylist is good at and a history of their work. Consistent outcomes is what your looking for.
When using social media platforms, check to see if the images used are original and not borrowed from Google or Pinterest, read comments and visit customer’s pages to see how their faux locs are faring, assuming the stylist tags them. When you find one you like, book a consultation.
Consultations are important because you get familiar with the stylist, ask questions, ascertain their level of professionalism and decide whether or not they are the right fit for your hair.
At consultations, ask for prices because you do not want to be that person who gets a price that’s higher than what they budgeted for. If you have a specific hair type, confirm that he/she has experience with it and can work with it.
Now if you are allergic to certain ingredients in products you need to know that your stylist will take that into account when installing your faux locs. Sa for example that you want Meagan Good-level goddess locs, confirm that the loctician has taken the Dr. Kari training or at least has a good portfolio of past experience with this style.
You also need to check for comfort, because you’ll be there all day especially if you’re aiming for individually wrapped faux locs. You want to be sure that it’s a salon you’ll be comfortable sitting in for long hours.
Also, verify that the salon has the material you need. For example, if you plan on getting crochet faux locs:
✔ Do they have the type you want?
✔ In the color and length that you want?
✔ Or would you rather buy yours?
These are some of the questions to ask at consultations.
Maintenance of faux locs starts before the install. Clarify, deep condition, moisturize and seal in the moisture before installing.
Caring for faux locs follows a similar routine of cleansing, moisturizing and protecting just like you’d do with other protective styles. To cleanse, avoid drenching your head in water. Rather, mix your favorite shampoo and water in a spray bottle and spritz on your scalp. Lightly rub your fingers on your scalp to wash (using a dreadlock shampoo brush to wash your “dreads” without messing them up is a good idea), and rinse off with water.
Make sure the locs are held up or have someone hold it up for you to avoid getting it soaked. Not only does soaked hair make your locs heavy and hard to dry, but it can cause them to loosen.
Follow the cleanse with a light moisturizer and oil your scalp with a light oil to prevent easy buildup (we currently recommend Jojoba, as it is an oil that most closely resembles your hair’s natural sebum). For night time maintenance, you will want a big satin bonnet or braid cap to cover every single faux loc on your head.
Other than that, you might encounter some of the following issues if your faux locs were installed by wrapping:
Frizz and sticking: If you find your locs are frizzy and sticking together, apply a light moisturizer and trim the body. Although frizz makes it look more natural, it will likely gain momentum and become unmanageable if left unchecked.
Lint: You might also pick up lint but it’s nothing the lint lifter tool can’t solve.
Stiffness: On the day of your installation, your faux locs will be stiff and stick out depending on how tight the wraps were wound. To solve this, have the stylist dip your faux locs in hot water to loosen them. Or better yet, have the stylist do a sample loc at your consultation so you can judge how tight they operate. Again, you don’t want too much tension and risk damaging your hair follicles, which would defeat the purpose of the protective style.
Unravelling: This might occur when the locs are not wrapped tightly or the wrong method was used for you. For example, natural kinky hair might be able to hold wraps without the natural hair or base extension being braided while finer and straighter hair might slip off easily if not braided first.
Pain: When locs are wrapped to close to the scalp or gripped too tight, they cause a lot of pain. To solve this, have the section redone loosely or consider an individual crochet method.
Faux Locs Styles: Inspiration
Styling faux locs is the fun part, just like braids there are many ways to style faux locs. Check out 10 style inspirations below…
Faux locs bob
2. Medium length bun
3. Accessorize like Eva Marcille
4. Curly and versatile crochet locs
5. The goddess locs
6. Head wrap
7. Short and pulled back
8. Colorful crochet loc bun
9. Sleek yarn loc updo
10. Short, thick and accessorized
Common Questions When Considering Faux Locs:
Can faux locs get wet?
Yes, faux locs can get wet. You can swim, shampoo and work out just like you normally would. However, because of the volume of additional hair used to create this style, they could easily get very heavy. So they will take longer to dry and will feel heavier when wet. It’s important to protect the weight of the hair on your scalp and edges when they are wet.
Can faux locs be cut?
Yes. You can cut your faux locks into a shorter style if you want to switch things up after a few weeks. Sometimes, faux locks will need to be burned again after cutting to seal the fibers, so keep an eye out for signs of fraying and unraveling!
Can faux locs be washed?
Yes – in fact, it’s recommended! Maintaining the hygiene of your own hair and scalp during your faux locs protective style is key to ensuring that you keep your hair healthy. Wash your hair once or twice a month at least to keep odors and buildup at bay.
Can faux locs grow your hair?
Faux locs themselves do not grow your hair. Faux locs (when properly maintained and moisturized) allow your hair to take a rest from daily maintenance and manipulation, which allows you to retain more of your hair that’s already growing.
Can faux locs become permanent?
No, faux locs are not intended to become permanent. Loc extensions, however, are used for this pupose. Faux locs are meant to be removed after a few months of wear. Extending this time can risk damage to your hair.
Can faux locs turn into dreads (i.e. loc up)?
With that being said, any hair can loc up when left long enough. Especially if the hair is textured.
Can faux locs be done on short hair?
Yes. Any length of hair that is long enough to grip for braiding can have faux locks installed. It takes a bit more skill and practice, but faux locs can be done on as little as two inches of hair.
Can faux locs damage your hair?
Only if neglected. Faux locs require maintenance just like any other style. Neglecting your hair’s needs will lead to damage, including excessive shedding and breakage.
Can faux locs be dyed?
Blonde synthetic dreads can be dyed. Also, hair chalks can work on some faux locs as well.
Can faux locs be dipped in hot water like braids?
Yes, but burning is a more effective way to seal the locks. For faux locs done with Kanekalon hair, dipping in hot water is more effective than faux locs wrapped with Marley hair.
Do faux locs hurt?
Yes, if they are installed too tightly. When braiding your hair in preparation for faux locs, braiding too tightly is not advised. Faux locs can be quite heavy, and this places extra stress on your roots, causes pain and can damage your follicles. Instead, leave a bit of room at the root of your braid, or do chunkier sections to avoid discomfort.
How long do faux locs last?
Depending on the type and your maintenance habits, faux locs can last 3 weeks to 3 months.
When to wash faux locs?
You can wash faux locs as often as you would your loose hair. How frequently you need or want to wash your hair is totally up to you.
Are faux locs stiff?
Some brands are. They will loosen as they get older.
Are faux locs reusable?
Reusing old faux locs is not recommended.
Are faux locs hard to take out?
No. Not at all. To remove faux locs, simply cut right above where the ends have been burned, then unravel the hair gently. You can also cut midway through the lock to save time, but if you have longer hair, be sure not to cut too high up!
Are faux locs dreads?
No, faux locs are not dreads. However, the mistake is understandable because they do look very similar and can even be made to look just like dreadlocks when done with a natural look in mind.
Are faux locs heavy?
They can be, depending on how much hair you add or what type of hair you use to braid and wrap. Faux locs done with Marley hair, for instance, are heavier than faux locks done with Kanekalon hair.
What are goddess faux locs?
A style of locs using human hair that tapers into loose curls at the end.
How do you pronounce ‘faux’ locs?
And the biggest question of all…
Will faux locs look good on me?
Only you can know that for sure. If you rock your faux locs with confidence, yes, they will look good on you. And even if no one else likes them but you do, that’s all that matters in the end. Just remember to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize so that when you take them out, you get the payoff of protective styling in the first place:)
Having gone over all there is to know about faux locs, will you get them?
Remember, even in protective styles, you should still moisturize your hair on a regular basis. You don’t want to risk months of dedicated protective styling only to have it all shed due to dryness and breakage once removed.
If you are committed to taking care of your hair and scalp while wearing this style. Faux locs are the ultimate low manipulation protective style, and the most economical because it gets better with time.
With different methods of installation to suit different style needs and comfort, what’s not to love? Plus you are now armed with all the right information to guide you on what to expect, method or style to choose, maintenance tips, and everything in between for the best experience.