Don’t think of them as dreads
Even though faux locs look and feel like traditional dreadlocks, they shouldn’t be confused with the real thing. Traditional locs are meant to last a lifetime, while faux locs are styled to last for four to six weeks. Re-twisting the new growth on traditional locs is routine as the hair grows out, but you don’t want to twist or style the roots of your faux locs. You may cause damage that will only become noticeable when it’s time to take them out.
Cleanse don’t wash
Faux locs are considered a protective style because while they’re installed your natural hair is protected from heat, environmental damage and breakage from combing and brushing. Therefore, they don’t “need” to be washed during the time they are worn. However, if you feel you need a cleanse, rinse the scalp once every two weeks with an apple cider vinegar solution or other products designed to keep your scalp’s pH balanced.
Hydrate the hair underneath
Oils and leave-in conditioners can be a protective style’s best friend. Applying oil to the scalp will seal in moisture and nourish new growth when the faux locs start to weigh on your roots. Because of their shape, curly or coiled strands (3c and 4c) can have a hard time moving oils from the scalp to the lengths of hair. Things can be more difficult when hair is roped into faux locs because the added strands—whether synthetic, yarn or human hair—absorb the oils from the scalp. To make things worse, because you aren’t shampooing and conditioning as you usually would for a month or longer, you aren’t able to move around the scalp to refresh it.
To keep roots hydrated and intact, apply naturally sourced oils to the roots and scalp. Coconut oil, which has a high moisture retention capacity, can work best since it doesn’t break down or allow moisture to escape easily. Castor oil is a staple in Jamaica and other Carribean countries and a wonder ingredient. It can nourish the scalp, allowing roots to grow stronger, warding off bacteria and helping pH balance.
Locs are a natural style that’s supposed to frizz and look most natural and best when they’re a little ‘lived in.’ But, if you want to keep the frizz to a minimum, look for a sealing product to keep your new growth and the frizz around your faux locs tamed. Look for products that contain shea butter, a miracle product that contains five principal fatty acids: palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and arachidic acids. They provide essential nutrients, improve hair health, fight breakage and (best of all) work to smooth strands of all types.
Protect your edges
Delicate edges are usually left out of faux locs for a good reason: avoiding the edges are the best way to protect them. If you want to keep your edges “laid” keep them moisturized with the same nourishing conditioner you use on the scalp. Depending on your hair’s porosity, you can apply the oil every day or once a week using fingers.
Pro tip: Be mindful of the hair accessories you use using on your faux locs. Headbands and hair ties can pull at faux locs, creating tension on the roots and the delicate edges.
Sleep on silk
The best way to keep faux locs moisturized and neat is to trade in your cotton pillowcases for satin or silk. Because cotton fibers absorb and rub out moisture, you may be engaging in hours of hair damaging activity while you sleep. Whether you prefer a silky scarf, a pillowcase or both, swapping cotton for silk will extend the life and beauty of your locs.
Do your research
Before you invest in faux locs, do your homework. Find a stylist that best suits you and your hair type and who has perfected the craft. Knowing exactly who is going to be styling your hair and the skills they possess will ensure that you’ll walk out of the salon with a style you love.