Crochet locs, or faux locs, are a protective style that has gained in popularity as more naturals are choosing the loc their (actual) hair. Not only are crochet locs a good protective style to cover the hair, but they also serve as an alternative to making the commitment to actually locing the hair. Naturals can make crochet locs into some sort of test run if they are considering locing their natural hair.
With it being a protective style, crochet locs are low maintenance, low manipulation, and serve as protection against the everyday environment (harsh weather, dry air, etc). There is the common misconception that protective styles don’t require you to do anything to your hair while it’s in those styles. However, that can’t be further from the truth. Even though the style is low maintenance, there is still some upkeep that must be done to preserve the style as well as the health of your hair! We’ll go over some ways to care for and maintain your crochet locs that will allow you to get the most out of the style. This will be useful for those interested in getting crochet faux locs, those who are about to get them installed, or those with them already installed.
Before getting into the maintenance of crochet locs, let's first explain what they are for those who may not know…
Crochet Locs: What Are They?
Crochet locs are a type of faux loc, which basically means a synthetic loc that is an extension of someone’s natural hair. Crochet locs get their name from how they are installed: with a crochet needle. Even though a crochet needle isn’t necessary to install the loc extension or hair, it makes the process easier and less manipulative to the hair.
A crochet loc can be made from braiding hair, however an option like marley or water wave hair is preferred due to it’s waviness and texture. You can even find pre-wrapped or pre-made locs; this eliminates the need to create the loc structure with whatever hair you’re using. Even when using a pre-made loc, most naturals opt to use additional loose hair (like marley or water wave) in order to hide the natural hair and add to the pre-made loc’s texture.
The installation process is similar to that of Butterfly Locs, the only difference being you are not creating the “butterfly” effect on down the strand of the loc. This makes crochet locs less wispy looking and more uniform. However, this is a style that is quite customizable and can be made to look as uniform and sleek, or wispy and voluminous, as you’d like!
Crochet Locs: How Are They Installed?
Knowing how crochet locs are installed and attached to the hair will help you better understand how to treat the hair after they are installed.
Crochet locs involve threading hair, whether it be a pre-made loc or loose extension hair, through your own natural hair. In order to thread the extensions through your own hair, your natural hair must be collected in either braids or twists.
When it comes to threading the hair, this is done at the root of the twist or braid. Because of this, braiding is typically the popular option as it is more secure and ensures the threaded hair is anchored to the scalp and won’t slip through the hair. Twists tend to be looser and more prone to unraveling, but those with thicker, coarser hair don’t really have to worry about this. If your hair is thin or loose, you’d want to go with braids over twists when creating the base for your crochet locs with your natural hair.
In terms of how many braids or twists should be installed with your own hair, that depends on how much hair you have and how much time you’re looking to spend in the installation process. Putting your hair in individual braids or twists makes for a more time consuming install, however it also makes for the most natural, full look. Putting your hair in flat twists or cornrows will reduce install time, however making the hair appear full may be a harder task simply due to how the hair is layed. Doing your crochet locs this way restricts them to being made in a straight line (or along the line of your braid or twist), leaving more gaps and spaces between each row or section.
If doing flat twists or cornrows, using additional marley or water wave hair along with your pre-made locs will fill out any gaps that may occur. When creating crochet locs, the pre-made loc extensions are actually optional; you can create a loc just from marley or water wave hair. However, when using flat twists or cornrows, this option becomes the preferred method, as it is easier to install. This is because when using braids (plaits in this case) or twists, you have a base to build the loc on. This reduces the need for the pre-made loc, which also serves as a base for the added loose extension hair. Without the base, you would be wrapping the loose extension hair around itself, which makes for flat, flimsy, and loose locs. Since having a solid, steady base to build your loc around is imperative to a successful, those using cornrows or flat twists will greatly benefit from using pre-made locs in addition to loose hair.
When it comes to using loose hair with braids (plaits) or twists, it isn’t necessary but could add more volume and texture to the style. It also is used for those who wish to easily cover their braiding/twisted hair that is left along with the pre-made loc. If you don’t use extension hair to cover the base of your loc, you’ll have to tread the tail of your natural hair in the pre-made loc itself. This route adds more time to the install and can make the roots of the locs look fuzzy, but this is a look that some may enjoy rocking!
Now that we’ve loosely covered what crochet locs are and how they’re installed, let’s get into how to care for them once installed…
Crochet Locs: How to Care For Them
With protective styling, it is important you pay attention to how long you’re keeping the style in for. Leaving a protective style in for too long can actually damage the hair, defying the purpose of the style in the first place. Protective styles using human hair blends typically last longer, and can be kept in longer, than styles with synthetic hair. Even though each natural should pay attention to their hair and use their own discernment to decide when their style has run its course, protective styles shouldn’t be kept in for more than about three months (on average). Like mentioned before, this time is typically shortened when using synthetic hair.
Keeping the hair clean
You want to make sure you are keeping your own hair clean as well as the hair you are using. Some pre-made locs, or even extension hair, can be made from real human hair; no matter if your faux locs are made from real or synthetic hair, you want to make sure it is properly cleansed along with your natural hair.
- If using synthetic hair, you want to make sure to wash it really well to avoid any irritation or reactions to the hair. Some naturals experience some allergic reactions to synthetic hair, so you want to make sure you’re looking into what the hair is made of and how it is recommended you wash it.
- If using human hair, make sure you wash it as well. You normally don’t have to look into how the provider recommends you wash it since it can be washed like you wash your own hair. However, double checking could help you avoid any issues like shedding.
- After installing your locs, you want to make sure you’re cleansing your actual hair regularly. You can start washing at the frequency you normally do, whether that be every week or every other week. As time goes on, don’t be afraid to change up this frequency based on how your hair is reacting to your style.
- Protective styling is low manipulation and your natural hair is tucked away, there is little need to use products daily or frequently throughout the week. Because of this, product buildup on the hair will be reduced, possibly reducing the need to wash your hair as much as you once did. Even if this is the case, you don’t want to go more than a month without cleansing your hair and scalp, as it is needed to maintain the health of the hair and scalp.
- When washing, you can simply focus on the roots of your hair. Using a shampoo that is equally as cleansing as it is conditioning could be beneficial since deep conditioning may not be useful with this style. You can find conditioning shampoos (or some may call them cowashes) that will help keep your hair hydrated while clearing up any buildup. Our Low Poo Miracle Cleanser is a great example of a cleanser that softens the hair while clearing the scalp of any dirt or product.
Even though we are big on pushing deep conditioning, it may not be necessary with faux locs seeing as the majority of the hair is tucked away. With protective styling, the only parts of the hair that are exposed are the roots. Since the roots are the newest part of the hair, they don’t need as much attention in terms of hydration (in comparison to the ends of the hair). They are fed by the naturally occurring sebum your scalp produces, making a nourishing treatment like deep conditioning less needed. However, if your scalp is naturally dry and in need of deep moisture, deep conditioning. Deep conditioning would also prove useful to those whose style is worn in with new growth. Because more of the hair is exposed, the deep conditioner will reach more of it. Deep conditioning also is a good choice if your locs aren’t thick to the point where your natural hair is completely covered.
To sum it up – if you know the deep conditioner will reach your natural hair, go ahead and deep condition. It will keep the hair nourished, conditioned, and properly moisturized between washes and throughout the week. Otherwise, you’d be applying product to synthetic hair. If you are using human hair (or a human hair blend), deep conditioning can help keep the hair looking and feeling fresh, allowing you more uses than one.
It is important to note that this point on deep conditioning is made with our deep conditioners in mind. Because they are made from fresh ingredients and have a shelf life, they may not stay fresh for the time you have your protective style in. For example, our Ice Cream Treatment Deep Conditioners last three months in the freezer. Three months is also the maximum amount of time a style should be left in. Even if you wash your hair every week, you won’t be using enough deep conditioner on your hair (since it is hidden within the style) within a three month period before the treatment goes bad.
- After cleansing, you want to follow up with a conditioner to soften the hair and give it a boost of moisture. This should always be done, as opposed to deep conditioning in this case, since conditioners are applied similarly to shampoos and can be used more sparingly than deep conditioning. The conditioner will restore any moisture loss during cleansing and will soften the roots of the hair (or whatever hair it reaches under the locs). You want to work the conditioner down the length of your loc since the shampoo you rinsed out also hit the length of loc (making it possible your natural hair was also hit with shampoo). This is where a conditioning shampoo comes in handy and reduces time.
- During this process of cleansing and conditioning, you want to make sure you’re rinsing your hair thoroughly to get all of the product out. Product left on the added hair can leave it feeling stiff, dry, and prevent it from being used again.
Keeping the hair moisturized
Between wash days, and especially after a cleansing (on wash day), it is important that you moisturize your hair so it remains healthy while in loced. You want to make sure any exposed hair is provided with enough moisture and hydration so that it doesn’t become dry and break off. This is especially important to do for your roots that have extensions added to it. Even though there isn’t a lot of manipulation of the hair, the added weight of the hair you’re using can create tension on the scalp, pulling on the hair from the roots.
Using leave-in conditioner or moisturizer will help to prevent your hair from breaking from the roots. You also want to make sure you’re working the product down the length of the loc, to wherever your natural hair ends. This will ensure every part of your hair is being moisturized and taken care of. It is important you take the time to go past your roots since when washing, the whole length of the locs are hit with water and shampoo.
Preserving your locs
We’ve covered how to preserve the health and condition of your natural hair, but let's discuss how to preserve the actual style of the crochet locs.
There are two things that will make your locs last as long as possible:
- Retwisting at the roots: As your hair grows, the new growth will not be contained to a braid or twist like the rest of the hair. This exposed hair can lead to your locs looking frizzy at the roots. This also can happen overtime as you wash your hair. To reduce this friz and refresh your locs, you can simply go in with a twisting paste or gel and gently twist your new growth from the roots.
- Covering your hair at night: Securing your hair at night is important whether you have a protective style or not. Putting your hair up before bed will help keep your roots and locs fresh while reducing the friction on the hair and tension on the scalp.
As time goes on, your locs will naturally become worn in and frizzy. Some naturals love this look while others wish for a sleeker style. If you’re in the latter group, getting a pair of scissors and snipping away at any friz will easily take care of the problem. If you wish to use actual product, you can also go in with a twisting paste and roll the locs between your palms, smoothing out the strands.
We hope this guide leaves you feeling confident and prepared to care for your crochet locs! Let us know in the comments below if you have any tips and tricks to share with other naturals!