The latest protective style you're already seeing everywhere.
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Soft locs
Credit: @protect_yo_strands

Faux locs come in different shapes and sizes these days. But I'm not going to lie, even I find it hard to remember the difference between bohemian locs, butterfly locs, goddess locs, and even soft locs — the latest look to gain popularity.

Just like the name suggests, soft locs are softer than regular faux locs and have more movement when they are first installed, which makes them easier to style. "The key to getting the soft locs hairstyle is the type of hair used," says Erinn Courtney, StyleSeat hairstylist. "I like to use crochet faux locs because they don't require you to wrap your hair down all the way, but you can also use kinky wrapping hair as this type of hair can be wrapped various ways for different looks."

If you want a style that looks like dreadlocks but you're not ready to make a long term commitment, soft locs are a great temporary alternative and look natural. Below, we asked Courtney to share everything you should know before getting soft locs.

Why Are Soft Locs a Good Protective Style?

If you want to give your hair a break, it's best to go for a style that keeps the ends of the hair tucked away and minimizes manipulation. "Soft locs are a good protective style whether they're done individually or crocheted, because they enclose the natural hair in the loc, protecting it from environmental damage," says Courtney.

How Long Does It Take to Install Soft Locs?

If you've had box braids or any other protective style, you'll know they usually take a while to install, and you've probably made a habit of not booking anything else on the same day as your hair appointment. So you'll be pleased to know that soft locs can be pretty quick — they take anywhere from two to five hours to install, depending on the length and size of the locs.

How Are Soft Locs Installed?

"Soft locs can be done individually by wrapping hair around the natural hair or crocheting pre-made soft locs into cornrows," says Courtney. The key to perfecting soft locs is the type of hair used. Most stylists recommend using crochet faux locs, kinky wrapping hair or afro kinky hair or water wave passion twist hair.

VIDEO: How to Protect Your Baby Hairs While You Have in a Protective Style

What's The Best Way to Care For Soft Locs?

If you want your soft locs hairstyle to last longer than a week, you're going to have to put in a little TLC. Firstly, you can't jump into bed without covering your soft locs as they'll become frizzy and possibly start to loosen. 

According to Courtney, the best way to care for soft locs is to wear a silk or satin bonnet or scarf at night to prevent the soft locs from getting frizzy while you sleep. The hair stylist also recommends wearing a shower cap while showering to prevent the soft locs from getting wet, as this can cause them to slip down your natural hair and expose frizzy roots after drying. 

Keeping your hair hydrated is also important when caring for your soft locs. Even though your natural hair is not exposed it still needs moisture to stay healthy. "Use necessary hydrating products to ensure your hair is staying healthy and moisturized and to protect the strands of the soft locs from fraying," says Courtney.

Can You Wash Soft Locs?

The answer is yes. Washing soft locs may seem tricky but it's really not that hard. "The best way to wash soft locs is to focus your fingertips on the scalp only and let the shampoo wash down the loc without manipulating it," says Courtney. "Creating too much friction on the locs will cause them to loosen and eventually come undone."

How Long Do Soft Locs Last?

Soft locs last anywhere from four to six weeks and are perfect if you want to give your hair a break from heat treatment and other processes. However, it's recommended that you don't leave the style in much longer than this period as the added weight of extra hair on the head can pull on your roots, and excessive tension can cause stress on your scalp leading to weakened roots and breakage.

How Do You Know When It's Time to Remove Soft Locs?

You'll know it's time to remove your soft locs when the roots of your hair have grown out significantly. "The synthetic hair added to create the loc will become heavy and pull on the natural root," says Courtney. "At this point, you should remove the locs to prevent any damage."

What Is The Best Way to Remove Soft Locs?  

When it comes to taking out soft locs, I have some good news — removing them is a lot quicker than installing them. Courtney recommends cutting the locs about six inches under your natural hair and unraveling them from there; this will ensure you don't cut your actual hair. "You can also use conditioner to help soften the hair as this will help the soft locs to slide out," says the hairstylist.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Soft Locs?

Soft locs can cost anywhere between $200 to $400 to install depending on the city you're located in, the length of your locs, and the skill level of the stylist.

This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.