Read This Before Your Hair Appointment

I love switching up my hair—I’ve done everything from straight-backs to bobs to box braids. The one look I haven’t tried yet, though? Locs. Sorry, but I’m not into the whole permanent thing. Like, what if I get bored of my look? Thankfully, though, our resident Cosmopolitan braider, Stasha Harris, filled me in on a genius way to get the look of locs without the commitment. They’re called faux locs, and they’re really freakin’ cool.

What are faux locs?

Okay, first thing’s first: Faux locs are a temporary protective style where your extensions are loc’d—not your real hair. They can be installed using two methods, says Harris, the first of which involves braiding your natural hair and then wrapping hair extensions around each braid. The second method? Braiding your natural hair into cornrows and then crocheting the faux locs onto the cornrows with a latch hook. While the crochet method is quicker—it typically takes between four to five hours—the end results aren’t quite as realistic as the wrapping technique, which gives the illusion of real locs coming out of your head.

If you’re not down to sit in a chair for hours to get your hair done, I’d go for the crochet method. But if you’re willing to put in the time to get faux locs that look super realistic, opt for the first method.

What type of hair do you need for faux locs?

You can use synthetic hair for faux locs, which makes them a lot more budget friendly than human hair (think: about $12 for three packs of synthetic braiding hair versus about $75 for three packs of human hair). Just make sure that the hair has the texture and appearance of locs, so go for coarser-looking hair extensions, like Marley hair.

How much do faux locs cost?

Alright, the cost of faux locs depends on a few things, including where you’re located and how long you want your locs. On average, though, the installation will cost you anywhere from $150 to $300. Which, IMO, is a pretty good deal.

How long does it take to get faux locs installed?

Definitely bring snacks to your appointment—it can take anywhere from four to nine hours to get faux locs. Just keep in mind that the length of the process will depend on how long and how small you want your locs—and what method your stylist uses.

Do faux locs damage your hair?

If your faux locs are too heavy, they can cause tension at the root of your hair, leading to some pretty serious breakage—so be sure to work with your hairstylist and decide on a size and length that won’t break off your natural hair. Oh, and make sure your hair is healthy and strong before adding the extensions to your hair. Harris recommends prepping with a deep conditioning treatment to make sure your hair is super hydrated, that way you’re setting up a good foundation for the extensions.

How long can you keep in faux locs?

With any protective style, you don’t want to keep them in any longer than six to eight weeks, says Harris, since your natural hair will have started to grow out by then. Any longer and you’re risking major damage on your natural hair, like breakage. Also, that grown-out look with locs isn’t super cute, IMHO!

How do you wash faux locs?

Faux locs are pretty easy to take care of compared to other protective styles. You can gently wash them with a sulfate-free shampoo and let them naturally air-dry (or, you could buy an at-home hooded dryer).

The verdict

So, are faux locs worth it? IMO, yup, thanks to the fact that they’re both low-maintenance and temporary. If you’re looking for a cute protective style and you don’t have the time to put a ton of effort into your hair on a daily basis, faux locs should definitely be on your radar. Plus, you get to get the appearance of locs without the commitment—what’s not to love?

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