Faux Locs: The look of natural locs minus the time of growing them yourself
By Leah Fletcher
When Joanne Walker considered converting her hair style to dreadlocks, she thought about the commitment and the months of shaping and treating her hair to obtain the desired texture. It also meant a hairstyle that would remain for the long haul.
While Walker pondered her dilemma to loc or not to loc, her friends urged her to consider faux locs, which would give her the look of actual locs minus the time and maintenance of growing them herself. They reasoned that it would allow her to try out the look of “dreads” before committing completely to the hairstyle, which are intentionally matted and sculpted ropes of hair, which take planning and intensive maintenance.
The faux locs trend has been popular in the black hair industry for quite some time, according to loctician Mada Jones, who noted that the option is a great alternative before making a decision to “dread” one’s natural hair.
“It has become increasingly easy to create temporary dreads with only some basic styling tools, yarn or synthetic hair, designed especially for this process,” explained Jones.
Faux locs, in addition to being temporary or permanent, may also be semi-permanent according to Jones. “For permanent locs, you have the option of going to a salon that specializes in dreading,” said Jones.
But for those who don’t want to lock their natural hair, faux locs or dread extensions are a great alternative. The method generally requires braiding your own hair or adding braided extensions to your own in the form of individual braids and then wrapping with yarns, or synthetic or human hair.
This temporary system, according to Jones, may last up to three months and is called a protective style because it does not require altering the chemical or physical state of the natural hair.
There also is a permanent form of faux locs. The key word is permanent. To achieve this style, human hair is wrapped around the natural hair or actual human hair locs are attached to your roots. Natural hair can be re-twisted and turns into a loc as the hair grows.
While there are various options for “locking” ones hair, the temporary dreadlocks hairstyle has exploded with the process of crochet faux locs. Their popularity has created a new niche in the dreading genre. It is the choice of most women, who like Joanne Walker, are seeking something “new, stylish and convenient” all wrapped into one hairstyle.
Crochet braiding was catapulted to popularity because it reduced the traditional braiding time from a minimum of seven hours, depending on the degree of braiding complexity, to two to three hours. And the easy removal system was considered a bonus. The process, pushed by the inventiveness of stylists and crochet braiding aficionados, who found a way to re-invent dreadlocks.
To create crochet braids loose hair extensions are interlocked into cornrows in your hair using a crochet needle or latch-hook tool. To begin, the natural hair is cornrowed straight back into at least nine rows, depending on how thick you desired your finished style. Using the crochet needle, the hair is latched onto the cornrows and tied until each cornrow has a full row of extensions. When the procedure is complete, this look creates a full head of free flowing braids or hair, depending on the texture of hair used.
“If using Marley hair or kinky twist hair with the crochet braiding method, you achieve wild, Afrocentric, dramatic hair that can be styled in many different ways and with synthetic loc extensions, designed for this installation, you achieve a dramatic head of dreadlocks , “said. Jones.
The hair industry has responded to the demand and now offers packets of synthetic dreadlocks, expressly designed for this crochet installation process. The product offers all manner of length, color and texture. The cost to install faux locs is inexpensive, with packets of the synthetic locs priced between $5 and $6 . Prices for traditional braiders and dreading services begin at $120.
For do-it-yourselfers, there are a range of instructional materials that range from videos to hair blogs that provide instructions on how to install the synthetic dreadlocks.
While Walker ponders whether to faux loc or not faux loc, she has a myriad of options that will assist in her decision making. If convenience, flexibility and costs are factors are consideration, then her final choice should be an easy one.