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A model with faux locs in a natural setting.

What Exactly Are Faux Locs?

Dreadlocks and dreadlock-associated culture have become relatively popular in society, especially in celebrity gossip culture.

And for people who don't want to or can't commit to traditional dreadlocks, there is the option of wearing faux locs. And even if you have never been exposed to dreadlock culture, you have probably seen and heard about faux locs hair culture.

TV and film star Zendaya was the victim of a race-tinged insult while appearing at the 87th Academy Awards celebration in 2015. While Zendaya was walking down the red carpet, Guiliana Rancic, a style commentator for the E! Cable network and the Fashion Police show, said that Zendaya looked like that shelled like "weed" or "patchouli oil."

Rancic was projecting the stereotypes that anyone with dreadlocks, even someone wearing faux locs in Zendaya's case, is a Rasta, smokes marijuana, or is a connoisseur of essential oils. 

Zendaya protested the insult and the inherent stereotypes it projects on wearers of dreadlocks and faux locs on social media. And not long after the incident, Rancic issued a public apology to Zendaya.

The incident proved that no one, not even an actress and celebrity like Zendaya, who recently starred in the blockbuster film Spider-Man: No Way Home, can escape the racial stigmatization that comes with wearing dreadlocks. Even if you are wearing faux locs.

So, if you are curious about wearing faux locs, you may as well consider getting the real deal, dreadlocks. Dreadlocks are 100% natural, the world's oldest hairstyle, and don't require you to use the multitude of toxic hair care products on the market.

And it is worth noting that most of the toxic hair care products on the market, hair care products that chemically alter and damage hair and even cause users to develop cancer, are marketed to the black community.

So, what are faux locs? What are dreadlocks? And what is the difference between faux locs and dreadlocks?

Lion Locs produces the best vegan and all-natural dreadlock grooming products in the industry.

Related: The Best 2 Strand Twist Styles for Locs

Faux Locs 101

 A model in sunglasses wearing colorful faux locs.

Faux locs are hair styled to imitate dreadlocks or synthetic hair manufactured to mimic the dreadlock look aesthetically. 

For example, you can have a hairstylist coil your hair in a way that aesthetically mimics dreadlocks. This was the faux loc style that Zendaya was wearing at the Oscars in 2015, although she may have also been wearing faux locs coil extensions as well.

In other words, you can have a stylist coil your hair to aesthetically mimic dreadlocks. Or, you can have coiled extensions weaved into your hair to achieve the same effect.

There are also synthetic faux locs that are designed to look like real dreadlocks. A stylist can weave them into your hair to make short dreadlocks look longer in appearance.

Basically, you can wear faux locs to approximate the aesthetic experience of wearing real dreadlocks without making the inherent time and style sacrifices to get them.

So, let's talk about dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks 101

Dreadlocks are probably the world's oldest hairstyle. 

The oldest recorded documentation of dreadlocks dates back over 4,522 years in ancient Hindu scriptures. But dreadlocks undoubtedly existed long before its first recorded documentation, as human have only been chronicling their existence with words for 5,00 to 6,000 years.

And the modern human race arose and migrated from Africa more than 300,000 years ago. So, while anyone can wear dreadlocks, the hairstyle is culturally connoted to the black race.

Additionally, black hair's curly, coiling and kinky texture is optimal for the development of dreadlocks relative to the hair types of other ethnicities.

Dreadlocks are a thick twisting, coiling, and fusing of multiple hair follicles that convert into a rope-like strand of hair. Famous black celebrities who are known for their signature dreadlocks include reggae legend Bob Marley and rap icon and business mogul, Jay-Z.

The best way to think about dreadlocks is to consider the internal dreadlock matrix concept.

Think about the coiled faux locs we were talking about earlier. A fully developed dreadlock strand has the texture of a fuzzy rope on the outside. But on the inside, that dreadlock strand is a vertical spiral lattice of coiled hair follicles that have locked and fused together over time.

The hair at the scalp is usually a mass of loose hair follicles that constantly fuse below the scalp as you keep twisting them. And the very end of the dreadlock tip is a mass of irreparably fused follicles. 

Various Dreadlock Development Techniques

There are various methods for developing dreadlocks. And the method that you use will determine the length and thickness of the resulting dreadlocks.

You need at least three to six inches of hair length to begin growing dreadlocks under optimal conditions.

Freeform Dreadlocks

You don't have to do anything to your hair to achieve freeform dreadlocks. In fact, you just need to stop styling it and manipulating it.

Throw away your brushes and combs and stop brushing your hair. It will take multiple months and maybe more than a year, but your hair will slowly develop into dreadlocks.


You can braid your hair into thin or thick strands and just leave them alone. Your braids will naturally develop into dreadlocks over time.

The Two Strand Method

Divide your hair into box-shaped sections on your scalp. And then divide each section into two strands apiece.

And then twist each strand of hair under and over the other strand. Instead of a braid, you are making a two-strand twist variant of the style.

Two-strand dreadlocks develop with more aesthetic volume and thickness than traditional dreadlocks, but they take a long time to develop.

The Twisting Method

This is the most traditional method for developing dreadlocks. Section the hair on your scalp into squares as big or small as you prefer. The thicker the square on your head, the larger and thicker the dreadlock will be.

And then, you will twist each sectioned strand of hair daily or every two days until the dreadlocks form.

It takes at least eight months to two years for dreadlocks to form, so be very patient.

The Difference Between Faux Locs and Dreadlocks

A model in close-up with long faux locs.

Wearing faux locs allows you to enjoy the aesthetics of dreadlocks and escape the time sacrifices that are required to grow real dreadlocks.

However, if you are interested in faux locs, you may as well just get dreadlocks.

You must pay for faux locs and spend hours in a salon chair to install them.

Dreadlocks are free, natural, and don't require the use of toxic hair products, which will also save you money.

And you will be judged for your faux locs as if they were natural dreadlocks.

Just ask Zendaya.

Always use Lion Locs dreadlock grooming products to groom your locs in a vegan, all-natural, and non-toxic way.

Related: What To Know About Maintaining Frizzy Dreads

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