What Are Soft Locs? The Hair Used for Soft Locs

Remember those wiggle-like crotchet Locs? They would be shiny in appearance and look like little snakes lined up against eachother–at least to me. Here are some photos below to juggle your memory a bit.

(I mention the terms "Crotchet Locs", "Regular Crotchet Locs", and "Locs". Please note that I am referring to the original term, “Faux Locs”.  Remember, Faux Locs is the umbrella term for different types of Locs done with synthetic hair).

If you ever had these kind of locs, think back on how the texture felt and the weight of the locs. Try to remember the common way most people would install them. When crotchet locs were first introduced, people would have them installed in the most unnatural way. By this I mean they would first have their natural hair cornrowed and then loop the crotchet loc into the braid row by row until everything was installed to reach the desired fullness. This way of installation made the crotchet knot at the roots of the hair rather bulky looking, especially if you had type 4 hair. Having natural hair more than likely led to a visible difference between how your edges looked versus how the actual Locs looked after a week or so–again, unnatural! Those same wiggle-like crotchet locs style have been redefined over the past few years. Today, there is more than one way to install and style crotchet locs.

Transitioning from Crotchet Locs Installation to Soft Locs

As various crotchet techniques progressed, hair stylists came up with variations on how to install Crotchet Faux Locs. The method most people became accustomed to was—and still is–the individual crotchet method. This is the method where the natural hair is parted into small boxed braids and the Faux Locs are crocheted individually into one braid. This was a step towards achieving a more natural look. Depending on what stylist you went to, the knot at the root may or may not have been obvious to the natural eye. Here is a photo of individual crotchet Locs.

black wavy crotchet Faux Locs
Black Crotchet Locs

If you notice closely, the roots have a knot. It’s okay if you don’t immediately notice the knot–that just means it was not as obvious to you. I actually think the Black Crotchet Locs are not too bad, but there are cases where the knots are just super large and screaming at you! On a fine day, someone figured it out. He or she kept playing around with different Crotchet Faux Locs and landed on trying out a seamless look using nu-Locs.

Nu Locs Are Used For Soft Locs

Nu Locs are a type of pre-made Crotchet Faux Locs sold by the Bobbi Boss brand. In fact, the moment one person figured out how to make Crotchet Faux Locs look like they were coming out the scalp, it was over. Nu-Locs has become the go-to for Soft Locs. I believe once Bobbi Boss figured out that people knew how to create an extended version their 18 inch nu-Locs , they started to manufacture extended lengths of 36 inches.

Below is a photo of a client that booked 36 inches Soft Locs in color 1B or Black.

  • black 36 inches soft locs

Soft Locs are the refined version of how crotchet Locs were known to be styled. Regular crotchet Locs typically lack texture and have an unrealistic shine to it. What sets Soft Locs apart are the fact that they are super soft, light-weight, and bouncy from the day you leave your stylist’s chair! I was one of those people that refused to be taken over by the trend of Soft Locs, but after seeing the different colors and styles people were pulling off, I was sold.

What Exactly Are Soft Locs

Soft Locs are pre-made crotchet Faux Locs. They were first recognized by a company, Bobbi Boss, that brands them as “nu-Locs”. These Locs are loved by many and are a preferred protective style for natural, relaxed, or transitioning hair. Because of their popularity, many other brands and hair vendors have produced their versions of the nu Locs. The market continues to expand. Many beauty supply stores are almost-always out of stock when it comes to the nu-Locs. I have been able to bring satisfaction to my client when I styled her Soft Locs in 36. Travel styling is now available for booking, however, you can select the link to book your very own Soft Locs if you reside in the Philadelphia area.

How To Wash and Maintain Faux Locs: Beginner’s Guide

Faux Locs have been trending since 2015. They became popular when installed on Meagan Good. Since then, hair stylists from all over have come up with different ways of doing Faux Locs. Then 2020 came in and introduced the new soft (Faux) Locs that everyone is raving about! Only God knows what variation will come in 2021. A strategic care routine goes a long way in helping your natural hair grow, stay healthy, and moisturized while wearing Faux Locs. Below are some helpful tips on how to wash and maintain your Faux Locs, including how to take care of your hair underneath.

Can You Wash Your Hair When You Have Faux Locs?

The short answer is YES. Faux Locs are a protective style that guard your hair from potential damage caused by lack of consistent hair care. When you have Faux Locs installed, your natural hair is wrapped underneath. I recommend to wear your Faux Locs for a maximum of 3 – 4 months, unless you are wearing 100% human hair Locs. With this protective style, your roots and edges are the only areas of your hair that need attention, especially when it comes to washing and moisturizing. I advise washing your Faux Locs 3 to 4 weeks after installation. This gives your roots a chance to grow out, however if your hair grows out fast, feel free to wash sooner.

Here are some things you will need when prepping for the wash:

  • Spray bottle
  • Root Comb Applicator Bottle (*highly-recommended and has ML measurements)
  • Sulfate free Shampoo and Conditioner (hydrating conditioner highly recommended)
  • Water based leave-in conditioner (link to some different kinds)
  • 1 Carrier oil (my go-to is grape seed or almond oil but you can use castor oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc)
  • 1 Anti-bacterial Essential oil (I recommend Tea tree oil or Peppermint oil)
  • 1 Microfiber towel for your roots & 1 regular towel to place around your shoulders

*Anything marked as highly recommended above will help boost the ease of your washing process, however, not required.*

7 Easy Steps on How to Wash Your Faux Locs

  1. Pour in 20 ML of shampoo into Root Comb Applicator bottle.
  2. Fill spray bottle half way with warm water and spray the roots of your hair. Try not to drench your roots with water.
  3. Squeeze out the shampoo from the applicator bottle onto your scalp and then use the comb tip at the end of the bottle to gently massage the shampoo onto your scalp. *If you do not have the applicator bottle, skip step one and apply a dime size of shampoo onto the tips of your fingers. Then massage the shampoo onto your scalp.* Massage for 30 to 45 seconds when using either method.
  4. Head over to your sink to rinse using warm water. Be careful not to drench Faux Locs with water, otherwise the water will add excess weight to Faux Locs until they dry out. Focus on getting the shampoo off the roots/scalp of your hair.
  5. Repeat step 1 and 3 for the conditioning. Apply only to the roots of your hair. Leave the conditioner on the roots of your hair for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
  6. After rinsing, blot out excess water with micro fiber towel. Apply a quarter size of leave-in conditioner onto the tips of your fingers and massage the product onto the roots/scalp of your hair.
  7. Put 1 table spoon of hair oil and 1 to 2 teaspoons of peppermint oil or tea tree oil into spray bottle or root comb applicator bottle. Shake together before applying to scalp. Massage mixed oils into your scalp after application. *Disclaimer: When using the Root Comb Applicator Bottle, you must rinse out one product before proceeding to use a different kind of product. *

It is advised to wash once every two to three weeks when you have Faux Locs installed. You want to focus majority of your time maintaining your Faux Locs and caring for your hair underneath. I have added another section here on the daily maintenance and care of Faux Locs.

Taking Care of Your Hair Underneath Faux Locs

I have found myself in many situations where I would have Faux Locs installed and never oil my scalp or cover my hair at night. It has always led to disasters and seeing balls of excess shed hair when taking down my Faux Locs. This is why I urge you to take this section seriously! Faux Locs are a protective style, yes, but you are encouraged to do your part so that you will maintain hair growth and length retention. When it comes to taking care of my hair underneath Faux Locs, I like to create a mixture each week. My mixtures typically last me a week and I use them every 1 to 3 days depending on if my roots need hydration. If I have some products left at the end of the week, I keep using it till it runs out and store the mixture in cool dark space, like a cabinet.

The mixture is created by mixing water-based leave in conditioner, aloe vera juice (make sure it is organic), any carrier oil, and an anti bacterial oil (tea tree or peppermint). For this mixture, you can grab your spray bottle and insert 3/4 cup of everything, except the anti bacterial oil. You only need between 1 to 2 teaspoons of your essential oil into the spray bottle. I like keep my mixtures warm or room temperature to open up my hair cuticles so that moisture can set in. In order to achieve this, I place the spray bottle full of mixture into hot water to warm it up for about 1 minute before spraying the contents onto my scalp. The aloe vera juice will help block moisture from escaping over a long period of time and the oils altogether add shine, remove bacteria from your scalp, and help reduce itchiness. You can store your mixture by putting it into a fridge, but if it is not empty by the time your week is over, store in a cool dry place and keep using until finished before refilling.

Use Silk Bonnets or Silk Pillows for Your Protective Styles at Night

Before going to sleep, I like to slap on my hair bonnet. Depending on the length and size of Faux Locs, you might need an extra large sized bonnet or a regular sized one. Silk is highly recommended because it retains hair moisture, prevents frizz on your Faux Locs, and helps prevent break outs as a bonus! Silk pillow cases are also great for my ladies with the busy schedules. With a Silk pillow case, no need for scarves and bonnets. You can simply just lax down and sleep off. Although silk is steep in price, it has its many benefits but, you can opt for satin scarves or satin bonnets as alternatives.

Here is a video below demonstrating how I moisturize my hair underneath Faux Locs. I did not use any of the carrier oils I mentioned because I had a wild growth oil, which is essentially a mixture of essential and carrier oils for promotion of hair growth. Hope you found this information insightful and helpful.

6 Mistakes That Ruin Your Twist Outs (4C Hair Care)

If you’ve got thick 4C hair, you probably experience super puffy or uneven twist outs. Let’s try to avoid those mishaps!

 

4c-hair-twist-outs-on-black-girl

You are probably here because you are a 4C babe, like me, and struggle with achieving the perfect twist out. Perhaps you twist outs tend to be frizzy, and, or end up looking flat with little to no volume. No worries girl, I got you! Here are a few things to consider the next you attempt twist outs again. I do have a visual representation on my YouTube channel. Make sure you subscribe as well (:

1. Your ends are not trimmed

Keeping your ends nicely trimmed does wonders for your twist out. This is highly important when you want length retention and definition in the way your twist-outs turn out. I used to make the habit of getting twists and not actually trimming my hair. A few things that happened was that my ends would get either knotted up and tangled in the process of  taking down my twists. I would end up doing a lot of separation of curls just to get the ends to stop snagging onto one another. This is also why I made a tutorial on how to avoid single strand knots. Trust me, it goes hand in hand with the information laid out in this article.

2. You have build up/product build up

As a stylist that specializes in protective styles for natural hair, I have noticed many 4c hair clients tend to also fall in the low porosity range. In short, this is the type of hair that collects build up easily and finds it hard to absorb moisture.  Product build up occurs when ingredients of hair products are are sucked into the shaft without being thoroughly cleansed, leading to build up. I cleanse my natural hair with Bentonite clay mask every 6-8 weeks to rid my scalp of any product build up. Sometimes I will simply make use of a clarifying shampoo because it does just about the same thing as a Bentonite clay mask, except it is less messy and it is removing my build up in a different way than Bentonite does. 

4C-Hair-Twist-outs
Hey look, It’s with my Twist outs again. These were 4 days old by the way (:

Another cause for product build-up on could be the choice of ingredient(s) we pay attention to (or don’t pay attention to) when purchasing natural hair products. Gels containing significant amount of alcohol and other products containing silicone do not improve the health of your hair. In fact, products like those tend to sit on top of the hair strands and cause build up or dandruff if not properly cleansed out of your hair. This is why clarifying your natural hair is important.This does not mean you HAVE to clarify or use a bentonite clay mask every time you apply gel into your hair or around your edges!

3. You are “accidentally” borrowing your hair from parted sections

GIRL. Don’t do this anymore. If you want defined results in your twist-outs, it is important that when you are parting your hair, you part evenly, not taking hair from one section to another.We need to start seeing and understanding that our natural hair is out crown. 4C hair is naturally course in texture. There are even people with type 4 hair that carry all or some mixture of 4A, 4B, and 4C. Either way, type 4 hair has to be treated with gentleness and care. We defeat the purpose of achieving healthy hair growth when we do not part twist-outs evenly. Making such a mistake in twists can actually lead to some hair breakage and some tension in your hair, trust me, I have had my fair share of going to sleep in pain. Yeah, I’m tender headed in some areas, don’t laugh at me (:

 Borrowing strands not only leads to snagged ends and tangles, but also frizzy twist-outs. Once you become more cautious about how you manage your hair, you will make fewer mistakes.

4.  You are using the right product in the wrong quantity

The being “at the right place at the right time?” principal inadvertently applies to the use of products when styling our natural hair. Some people tend to overload their hair strands with products, especially if they have trouble getting moisture in. We just have to be careful though, because putting the wrong amounts of the right product or just putting the wrong products into your hair can be a contributing factor to why your twists outs are not turning out right. Lathering too much product weighs down the hair and causes it to take longer to dry. When premature twist-outs are unravelled, a frizzy hair style is born.

5. You are not retesting your twist-outs every night

When you have afro-textured hair or simply thick course hair, your hair strands tend to be springy or coily in appearance, causing the hair on the ends to hang on to one another. This will more than often lead to snags and tangles. Re-twisting your natural hair every night, as tiring as it sounds, is your best shot at allowing your twist-outs to last.

6. You are not protecting your hair with a silk bonnet or scarf

Many stylists, including I, will tell you that you need to “wrap your hair up at night”. It has been the unfailing mantra that hair stylists use as a first line of defense, especially when it comes to preaching about maintain neat braids. In the same regard, I recommend silk scarves to tie your hair with or silk pillows for you to lay down on without the twists being covered. Silk can be very pricey, although, it brings the best result There are also workable substitutes, such as simply getting a bonnet or just a hair scarf should help.

 

Why Pre-Pooing is Beneficial: Natural Hair Care Tips

Many of you might have heard of the term “Pre-Poo” and to simply put, Pre-poo, is a pre-shampooing or pre-cleansing process commonly done with oils , a Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, or Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or even conditioners to prevent things, such as hygral fatigue and single/double strand knots. Pre-poo acts as a conditioning treatment that overall protects and strengthens the hair. Check out my Wash Day Routine video to view how I apply my Pre-Poo method on my Low Porosity 4C hair.

Why should you do a Pre-Po treatment?

You should Pre-Poo to reduce snags or tangles, improve moisture, maintain length retention, and boost hair elasticity. The main goal of a Pre-Poo treatment is to protect the natural hair strands from oil stripping often caused by shampoos, more so cleansing shampoos.

Without Pre-pooing, we face the risk of our natural hair sebum being stripped not only from the hair strands, but also from the scalp, leading up to excessive dryness. While those are great reasons to Pre-poo, an even greater one is to maintain hair elasticity and prevent moisture (from the water molecules ) from escaping the hair. Read more on Hygral fatigue and how it relates to Pre-Poo here.

Pre-Poo Reduces Snags and Tangled Knots

Natural hair has its perks, however, there are some underlying factors we deal with, especially with coarse textured, otherwise known as 4c, natural hair. I am also a 4c/coarse textured babe and I know what it feels like to constantly have to de-tangle your ends. Pre-Pooing before your cleansing process will create slip in your hair and make the washing and conditioning process smoother so you do not have to loose massive amounts of hair. The slip also reduces the snags and tangled knots that often occur in coarser textured hair. In my recipe for Bentonite clay mask tutorial, I even mention how Pre-poo might benefit you in the removing stubborn lents or flaky build up that tends to remain on the hair even after you have washed it. The oil helps with providing slip in that regard so that whatever type of wash you perform, is bound to actually result into squeaky clean tresses.

Pre-Poo Improves Hair Moisture

As I mentioned earlier, most shampoos, whether it be a clarifying or cleansing shampoo, contain an oil stripping property. When you pre-poo overnight, under a heated cap or under a blowdryer (on low heat, ofcourse) , you coat you hair strands with penetrating oil that fights against those harsh properties that cause the natural hair sebum to be stripped. After pre-pooing, what happens is that, the shampoo is able to remove the necessary dirt from your hair and the oils you need for your hair stay put.

Pre-Poo Helps Maintain Length Retention

This circles back to my point about reduction in strand knots and snags. While split ends play a factor to why you may not have length retention, stranded knots, play a huge role in preventing you from achieving your desired hair length. Now you can promote length retention when you do a pre-poo before your hair wash routine. The length retention inadvertently comes into play when you are also using pre-poo to avoid unwanted snags at the very ends of your hair.

Pre-Poo Boosts Hair Elasticity

Okay so remember what I mentioned about hygral fatigue? Hair elasticity ties into it as well. For those that love to apply water into the hair strands almost every day, be aware that you are not only reducing your hair elasticity, but also making your strands vulnerable to hygral fatigue. Your hair’s elasticity is its ability to “bounce” back. Think of when you stretch your curls and what happens when you let the stretched curl go, does it bounce back into its form? Or does it not? The ability for your curls to bounce beautifully is a huge part of your hair’s elasticity. That is where hygral fatigue comes in: when you suffer from this issue, it is because you most likely applied much more water than your hair actually needed, which then lead to loss of hair elasticity. Be careful with this, but know that Pre-Poo can help fix your elasticity and fatigue issue. One thing a lot of my natural sistas fail to realize is that you cannot make efforts to fix an issue while doing other things that promote the very thing you are trying to stop from happening. Do not fix elasticity with Pre-Pooing if you are going to keep applying water onto your strands as an everyday routine.

Is Bentonite Clay Good for 4C Hair?

Bentonite-clay-mask-low-porosity-hair

Bentonite Clay (or Aztec Clay) is a natural healing clay that is formed after a volcanic ash has aged. It is loaded with negatively charged ions that attract positively charged ions, such as the dirt, toxins and impurities that build up on hair. What makes Bentonite Clay good for 4C hair is its lack of harsh chemicals and the ability to draw out built up toxins from your hair, while bringing your natural curls into definition and maximum hydration. This attribute is unlike that of most cleansing shampoos, which tend to have drying agents at the expense of cleansing your hair.

Here are a list of what Bentonite Clay contains:

  • 7.8% Moisture
  • 18.1% Aluminum
  • 2.3% Sodium
  • 0.01% Potassium
  • 0.04% Calcium

Bentonite Clay Mask Benefits for Low Porosity Hair

When you have low porosity hair, build up tends to form rather easily. Bentonite Clay acts as a pure detox to help rejuvenate dry dull hair, promote hair growth, and restore back hydration. It is very important to understand your hair porosity in order to know how often you should use Bentonite Clay for your hair. One of the factors low porosity hair face is the cuticles are tightly bound or shut, making it difficult to absorb more moisture. Low porosity hair is also prone to product build-up mainly from products that are not water-based. What makes Bentonite Clay beneficial for low porosity hair is that its p.H levels are high enough to raise the hair cuticles. The p.H. scale (shown below), previews alkaline and acidic levels, which can help you in deciding what products work for your hair’s p.H level. Bentonite Clay has a p.H. falling between 8.3 to 9.1, causing it to belong in the Alkaline range of the p.H. chart.

Products containing an acidic P.H between 4-6 cannot be used to open the hair cuticles.

What Does p.H. do to hair?

It is important to know this because products containing alkaline with a a p.H. between 8 and 9 help open the cuticles of low porosity hair. What’s even great about the Bentonite Clay is it acts as a substitute for clarifying shampoos. Now, I don’t want anyone to think I am bashing the benefits of a clarifying shampoo, but we must realize that it strips the hair of its natural oils in the process of removing excess dirt or build-up. That’s a win-lose situation to me and I want all my naturalists out here to have a win-win with any hair product they find fitting for their hair.

Bentonite Clay has a ph of 8.3-9.1, causing it to fall in the Alkaline range of the PH chart above. It is important to know this because products containing alkaline with a a PH between 8 and 9 help open the cuticles of low porosity hair. What’s even great about the Bentonite Clay is it acts as a substitute for clarifying shampoos. Now, I don’t want anyone to think I am bashing the benefits of a clarifying shampoo, but we must realize that it strips the hair of its natural oils in the process of removing excess dirt or build-up. That’s a win-lose situation to me and I want all my naturalists out here to have a win-win with any hair product they find fitting for their hair. In efforts of moisturizing low porosity hair, one must understand exactly what kinds of products and ingredients to look out for in order to correctly manage low porosity hair. If you do not take that time out to learn about what works, you risk having dry hair, weaker strands, protein over-load, and hair breakage.

Bentonite clay mask should be done at least every 6-8 weeks to draw out build up. Sometimes I do some pre-pooing if I notice there is build up caused from having a protective style, such as braids or Faux Locs, or if I simply have gunk stuck in my strands from heavy product. The pre-poo helps with slip during the washing process. It also helps remove any tiny lents or stubborn flaky particles on your hair. From my experience, the clay mask causes my 4C hair to retain moisture. I have found myself not needing to add additional products to moisturize my hair throughout the first week and a half post the Bentonite clay mask process.

How to mix and apply Bentonite Clay on Low Porosity Hair

In my tutorial below I use a smaller quantity of the clay mask and Apple Cider Vinegar, but I have a small head. If you want to make a larger quantity for storage purposes or if you have fuller /thicker hair than mines, adjust the quantity used. Remember, if you have not clarified your hair in months, you might want to pre-poo overnight first before following my steps on how to use Bentonite to detoxify your hair. View my tutorial below for a visual representation, however, adjust the measurements as written below:

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Put your safety cloves
  2. Grab the plastic bowl and pour the Bentonite Clay into bowl
  3. If you prefer your water to be on the hotter side, like I do, grab the hot water or warm water, pour into the bowl and slowly mix together
  4. Add Apple Cider Vinegar into water+clay mix and mix together to achieve a smooth consistency
  5. If you have a small head, like me, part your hair into small sections. If not, part into 6-7 sections so the product can be properly dispersed.
  6. Grab spray bottle pour in warm or hotter water and spray into sections of hair from root to tip, DO NOT DRENCH your hair in water
  7. Apply the clay mixture into each section of hair from roots to the tip of the hair
  8. Leave mask on for 30 minutes
  9. Rinse with room temperature water
  10. Follow with moisture repair/ sulfate free shampoo and deep conditioner , such as Urban Hydration. These products contain Honey, a natural humectant for trapping and retaining moisture into low porosity hair.
  11. Rinse and Style as you wish!