We all love the look of locs. They are one of our favorites among the many different types of braid styles. From freeform and traditional to wavy and micro, locs are an attractive and versatile natural hairstyle that never goes out of fashion.
If you’re a locs lover, too, but are wary of the responsibilities for care, cleaning and maintenance, you may be wondering about alternative styles that can capture the essence of the look without the long-term commitment.
That’s where faux locs and soft locs come in. These loc styles imitate the look and texture of traditional locs by using hair extension while still keeping your strands well-nourished—and flourishing.
But which style is best for you? Depending on the look you desire, the options you want for styling and the amount of time you want to spend caring for your hair, you might prefer one to the other.
To help you choose, let’s discuss the differences between soft locs vs faux locs.
What Are Faux Locs & Soft Locs?
Before we outline the similarities and differences between soft locs and faux locs, let’s be clear about what we mean when we use each term.
What are Faux Locs?
Faux locs is a blanket term that refers to any kind of imitation loc style—including soft locs. All styles of faux locs use synthetic hair extension with your natural hair, but they vary when it comes to how the look is achieved.
There are two methods for obtaining faux locs:
Of these two faux loc styles, the braid-in method typically results in a more authentic, natural look. That said, the crochet faux loc method is a much quicker process because, aside from the cornrowing, it doesn’t require any of the braiding or twist of the braid-in method.
What are Soft Locs?
Although soft locs are grouped under the faux locs hair category, they’re a distinct style of faux loc that require a specific installation method and synthetic hair extension type.
For soft locs, pre-formed crochet locs are crocheted into your natural hair.2 Usually, sections of your natural hair are plaited—unlike the crochet method for standard faux locs which requires cornrows.
Once the crocheted locs are installed, each one is wrapped with a hair extension. Most soft loc styles use a passion twist or spring twist hair for wrapping. This type of hair uses FreeTress Water Wave braiding hair which has a curly, buoyant texture.
The wrapping also gives the locs a slightly fluttery look, which is why soft locs are also sometimes called butterfly locs.
Faux Locs vs Soft Locs: Similarities and Differences
So, what are the differences between faux locs vs butterfly locs (or soft locs)? In both cases, you’ll achieve a fun, trendy, and authentic-looking loc style that you can love. Which locs style you choose—and which installation method—depends entirely upon your personal preferences for care and protective styling.
That said, aside from installation, there are other characteristics that distinguish faux locs and soft locs. These include:
Another thing to know is that choosing faux locs will likely give you more freedom when it comes to choosing the length of your locs.3 Although crochet locs are available in different lengths, they aren’t individually customizable. On the other hand, you can cut faux locs for a shorter style.
Caring for Your Faux Locs
One of the biggest appeals of a faux loc hairstyle is that it requires minimal care and maintenance, especially compared to natural locs. Faux locs and soft locs are temporary styles that are ideal for protecting your natural hair from:
- Heat exposure
- Damage from brushing and combing
- The environment
That said, all faux loc styles should be removed after 6-12 weeks. While they’re in, you won’t have to do much to keep them in good condition. In fact, caring for your faux locs is more about what you shouldn’t do than what you should do.
Whether you opt for a faux locs or soft locs hairstyle, your method of caring for and maintaining them will be similar. Here’s what to know:
Caring for Your Locs During the Day
Although they require minimal care, the biggest threat to your faux locs is frizz. They’re a frizzy style by nature, but there are a couple of tricks to help keep the flyaways at bay. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re caring for your scalp and any new growth while you’re wearing your locs.
Store these style and maintenance tips in your bag of tricks the next time you’re rocking locs:
Caring for Your Locs at Night
Faux locs are an excellent style for protecting your natural hair from the damage that sleeping on it can cause. That said, you still need to take the appropriate steps to make sure the hair extensions and your natural hair are getting the care they need while you snooze.
Caring for your faux locs at night means:
Styling Faux Locs & Soft Locs
Faux locs and soft locs alike give you plenty of styling options to keep your look fresh and otherworldly. Here are just a few styling ideas to consider:
Pamper Your Curls with PATTERN Beauty
Aside from giving you endless options for achieving whatever look you want, whenever you want it, soft locs and faux locs are perfect if you are interested in trying out a protective style that can help keep your hair healthy and happy.
Wondering how you can further support your hair care journey? PATTERN’s hair products for locs can help keep your hair well-nourished and hydrated, whether you’re rocking faux locs, soft locs, or a natural hairstyle.
You and your hair deserve more than a little love. Go ahead and pamper your curls with PATTERN Beauty.
- Pometsey, Olive. "Just A Super Useful Guide To Getting Faux Locs." Elle. 15 June, 2018. https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/hair/a21525769/faux-locs/#
- Denesik, Marco. "What are soft locs?" Movie Ultists. https://moviecultists.com/what-are-soft-locs
- "Soft locs vs faux locs : pros and cons." Jorie. 9 July, 2020. https://joriehair.com/soft-locs-vs-faux-locs-pros-cons/