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Soft Locs vs Faux Locs

Soft Locs vs Faux Locs

Are you looking for a protective hairstyle that is gorgeous and edgy? Dreadlocks are usually a permanent hairstyle choice, but you can protect your hair or just switch up your look with temporary versions of dreadlocks, better known as faux locs. Faux locs are a way of having the look without the long-term commitment. We'll discuss two popular types here, soft locs and faux locs. 

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Crochet Dreadlocks

What Are they

Soft Locs

Soft locs are soft in texture - hence the name. They are made when natural crochet locs are installed individually, and then the hair is wrapped around it. These are generally designed to be worn very long - 30 to 36 inches (hip length). In the past, faux locs were stiff, tight, and appeared obviously unnatural. Soft locs are a way to give faux locs a more natural look and feel and make them more pleasant to wear. Their movement is more realistic from day one, and they're tension-free. 

Faux Locs

Faux locs are extensions (not your natural hair) that are then loc'd. This is accomplished by one of two possible methods. The first method takes your own braided hair and wraps it in hair extensions. The second method is to cornrow your natural hair and install crochet locs onto the cornrows with a crochet hook. The second method is the fastest, taking only 4 to 5 hours. Although it's quicker, this method doesn't look as natural as the wrapping method.  

Hair Used

Soft Locs

To earn its name, soft locs use afro kinky hair (distressed) to wrap around the roots of each crochet loc. You may also experiment with other kinds of hair to create a natural, tension-free, soft look. Here are a few you can try:

  • Crochet Faux Locs
  • Water Wave Passion Twist Hair
  • Kinky Wrapping Hair or Afro Kinky Hair
  • Human Hair Blend/100% human hair

Faux Locs

Faux locs usually use Marley hair or some other type of synthetic hair. Synthetic hair is inexpensive, and one of the reasons faux locs are the popular choice. Marley hair is the favorite because it has the closest look and texture to natural locs. You're free to choose a different kind, but make sure that it is a coarse texture, so it closely resembles locs. 

Related: The History of Dreadlocks

Beautiful blonde goddess locs


Soft Locs

There are three ways that you can do your soft locs:

  • Wrapping the roots with distressed, afro kinky hair.
  • Wrap the locs at your root with the faux loc itself.
  • Wrap loc down to the tips

Now we'll look at each of these ways in more detail:

  • Wrapping the roots with distressed, afro kinky hair: This option means wrapping the crocheted loc at the root with distressed hair. This gives it a natural, authentic look and feel. You don't have to wrap the entire loc, just at and near the roots.
  • Wrap the locs at your root with the faux loc: The next option is to take the crochet loc and wrap it around the base itself. This gives your locs a faux loc look while still being soft. 

Pro tip: Unravel the loc and wrap the hair tightly around the base of the loc. Don't wrap it too tightly - find a balance between too tight and too loose.

  • Wrap loc down to the tips: This last option is to wrap the crochet loc down the entire length of the shaft. This process gives the locs a distressed, authentic look.  

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Faux Locs

Installing faux locs can be done by one of a few methods:

  • The first method takes your own braided hair and holding it firmly with one hand; use the other hand to wrap the loc extension around it until it reaches the length you want. This can be a lengthy process. So if time is a concern, this may not be the method for you.
  • As mentioned earlier, another method for installing faux locs is to cornrow your hair and install the locs onto the cornrows with a latching hook. This is the fast method. The disadvantage is that your styling options are limited because of the parts and the cornrows' pattern.
  • A third method for installing faux locs will look the most authentic. It begins with braiding or twisting your own hair, then crocheting the faux loc around each braid or twist. Your braid will end up being hidden on the inside of the crocheted faux loc.  


Soft Locs

The length of soft locs depends on the length of crocheted loc that you purchased. If you buy 30 inch locs, they can't be shorted. You will have 30-inch soft locs. When choosing a length, keep in mind the strength and density of your hair. 

Faux Locs

With faux locs, you can adjust the length to be as long or as short as you'd like. The length of your own hair doesn't even limit you. For instance, if you use the cornrow method, no matter how long your hair is, you can still have a cute, short bob in faux locs. Your hair is bound in the cornrows, so don't affect the length of your faux locs.
Soft Faux Locs

Flexibility and Tension

Soft Locs

With soft locs, you should have tension-free, flexible locs immediately. There should be little to no tension on your roots, and you should be able to put your new locs up in a bun without any problem. 

Faux Locs

With faux locs, expect them to be stiff at first with some tension on your roots. Even if they are dipped in hot water to increase flexibility, they may take a few days before they 'feel' okay. Such hairstyles like up-dos may have to wait.  

Related: What is the Spiritual Meaning of Dreadlocks

How much do they cost?

Soft Locs

The cost will depend on the hair used, the length of time in the chair, and where you live. But generally, expect to pay around $300

Faux Locs

Due to the use of synthetic hair, faux locs are usually significantly less expensive than soft locs. Expect to pay between $150 to $300, depending on where in the country you live.  

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What are the disadvantages of soft locs?

Most people find that the advantages of soft locs outweigh the disadvantages. However, soft locs can be tricky to maintain initially and are not as customizable as faux locs. Your locs can only be as long as your hair, so if you have short hair and want long locs, you must buy faux locs. Soft locs can be pricey if you need help from hair stylists, though you can save money by making your own locs.

Are soft locs good for your hair?

Soft locs can be good for your hair because the braids protect your follicles from damage and make your scalp easier to clean. As the name suggests, soft locs are not too heavy, so they won’t strain your skin or muscles if you don’t pull on them. 

Why do soft locs itch so much?

Your scalp can become very itchy if your skin or hair becomes dry. The solution is to moisturize your scalp with shampoo and warm water at least once a week. Ensure your shampoo does not get caught inside your locs or follicles; you can use a towel to blot your skin dry, and you should sleep with a scarf around your locs so you’re not sleeping with wet hair. Consider using tea tree oil and other natural substances to kill microbes in your hair and skin that may contribute to your itchiness. 

Can you swim with soft locs?

You can swim with locs, though you should be careful. A few hours before swimming, you should apply essential oil to your locks that will protect your hair from salt or chlorine. You may want to wear a swimming cap specifically for locs, especially if your locs are new. 

Once you’re done swimming, you should use a towel to squeeze the excess water out of your locs. You should then go home and rinse your hair until you get all of the chlorine or saltwater out of it. Dry your hair with a hairdryer to remove any residue you may have missed.

What are the pros of soft locs?

Soft locs are more natural than faux locs because they use your natural hair and don’t modify the texture or color. You can wear long locs and maintain them for months or years with minimal effort. You can match many outfits to them, dye them, and cut them to different lengths whenever you want. Wearing dreadlocks is an important religious and cultural practice in many traditions, including Rastafarianism and Hinduism, and soft locs can fulfill your religious obligations while keeping your hair stylish. 

How many soft locs make a full head?

Most people need four to six packs of soft locs to make a full head. You may need more than six if you have a large head or want a thicker head of hair, as some locs can be very thin.

Do soft locs get heavy when wet?

Yes, water can become trapped inside your locs, so your locs can feel very heavy when wet. You should dry your locs thoroughly but carefully after showering or swimming; you can blot your hair with a towel, squeeze your locs with your fingertips, or use a hair dryer. Do not rub a towel against your locs, as you risk bending them or pulling hair out of your head.

How long do faux dreadlocks last?

Faux dreadlocks can last 12 weeks if you maintain them properly. You can expand their lifetime by washing your scalp with a dreadlock shampoo, drying your locs, and keeping your hair not too tight or loose.

What are the disadvantages of faux locs?

The biggest advantage of faux locs is that they can seem artificial or tacky, though you can modify your locs to make them seem natural. After your hair is done, your scalp may feel tingly or uncomfortable for a few days. Your locs can also be very heavy and thick and can pull out of your scalp if you don’t maintain them carefully. You should talk to your stylist about how to maintain your locs.

How much does it cost to get faux locs?

The cost depends on what type of faux locs you get, where you live, and whether you need extensive maintenance. You may pay anywhere between $150 and $300. Remember that faux locs have additional costs; you must buy shampoo and combs to maintain your hair. These products can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can save money by buying bulk hair care packages.

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