Protective styles and a natural hair girl are frenemies. On one hand, protective styling helps to retain length; on the other, it can be too much tension on your scalp. First, what is a protective style? A protective style is a hair-do that keeps your hair tucked away for a lengthy amount of time. It can protect your hair from external conditions and yourself. The idea is less daily styling and low manipulation promotes length retention.
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Many naturals turn to braids, updos, and weaves as protective styles. When done properly and with the right balance, it can be a healthy practice. But, when done too much or incorrectly, it can be your hair’s worst enemy. So here I am to share my own experience with faux locs. I will give you the pros and cons of self-installed faux locs. Also, the technique I used to install them in my own hair.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional, so this is my testimony of a self-install.
Pros and Cons of Faux Locs
Faux locs are a great bohemian style. They can make any girl look regal and free-spirited. Once, it is installed it is low maintenance. Here are some of the positives:
- Low maintenance
- It lasts long (up to four weeks or more).
- Inexpensive self-install
- No appointment necessary
- Practice makes perfect
- Lots of Compliments
Although, the style is low maintenance, it was a lot of tension on my scalp. Here are some negatives:
- Time consuming
- High manipulation during install
- Risk of damage
My faux locs were probably by far my favorite protective style. Since I’ve been natural, I’ve installed marley twists and box braids. Both styles were beautiful, but faux locs fit my style and personality best. With that in mind, it was worth it. Before, I attempted the style, I studied various YouTubers(listed below). My install took 8-9 hours over a span of two days. I never installed faux locs before and it is a lot more complex than marley twists. The first four hours were spent trying to master the technique. Admittedly, it was not very easy. My arms were extremely sore halfway into the style. Every natural hair girl knows once you start, you have to finish.
During the four weeks, I had severe irritation along the edge of my hair. My hair is very fine near the perimeter, so I believe the loc extension was pulling. To soothe my scalp, I rubbed Jamaican Black Castor Oil into the agitated area. Well, it turned into a rash which caused me to worry. Since, the install took so long, I was not ready to part from the style. I cleansed my scalp with an apple cider vinegar rinse and Organix Tea Tree Mint Shampoo. Then, I conditioned my scalp with Sulfur8 Medicated AntiDandruff Hair & Scalp Conditioner. Lifesaver! Within 24 hours, my scalp looked ten times better. For the future, I highly suggest having this stuff on hand after any braid extension. It doesn’t smell the best, but it gets the job done.
When it was time to take down the style, I noticed that my own hair began to loc. I had to be very careful to not pull out my hair. Before untangling my hair, I gave myself a hot oil treatment using olive oil. This made the detangling process easier. From my experience, the take down is where you can risk the most damage. It took me four hours.
Depending on your patience level, the time invested into faux locs may turn you away from the style. Or, maybe the possibility of damage runs you right into a professional’s salon chair. I would not blame you. However, I will tell you that with any style the first time is the most difficult. Once, you’ve mastered the style, you get to enjoy the full benefits of the protective style. There are a few things I would do differently the next time. And, yes, there will be a next time.
Furthermore, I accomplished what I needed to by installing the faux locs. For less than $40 , I retained an inch of length over a span of four weeks. The investment was worth the risks. If you are like me, you need to learn how to fish rather than to be given the fish.
Beginner-Friendly Faux Loc Technique
- 4-6 packs of SENSATIONNEL SYNTHETIC KANEKALON BRAIDS AFRICAN COLLECTION REGGAE BRAID
- 2 packs of FREETRESS SYNTHETIC HAIR CROCHET BRAIDS BOHEMIAN BRAIDS 20"
- Crochet needle (local beauty store)
First, wash and condition hair. It is very important to deep condition your hair. Remember, you will not be able to touch it for a few weeks. I will post my wash day regimen soon. Let your hair air-dry. I do not use heat. To stretch my hair, I put it in two cornrows a day prior to styling.
Next, I started my loc extensions. I finger-parted my hair because I wanted my hair to have a bohemian look. I braided my hair with the FreeTress hair until the end of my natural hair. I would suggest adding the Sensationnel hair, too. It gives the hair more weight so the loc isn’t tugging at your own hair too much.
Then, I used the crochet method to add the hair for the loc extension. At the base of you braid, you pull the hair through with the crochet needle. This technique is better understood visually. I used BeautyCanBraid Latched Hook Method. Also, I combined a few methods from other YouTubers. Below are the YouTubers and the methods I used:
NappyDanny D.I.Y. Realistic Carefree Goddess Locs
After, I installed my loc extensions, I burned the tips with a lighter. This is where I caused damage to my hair. I hadn’t realized the true length of my hair. My natural hair ended up being as long as some of the locs. Be careful to not burn your own hair. Next time, I will make my locs longer. Lastly, trim the FreeTress hair to your desired length.
Finally, take bomb selfies and post to Instagram.