Loc extensions, also known as Faux locs, are becoming a more popular styling option. People are now able to experience a loc style without going through the loc’ing process, which can take 6 months to a year. You can also wear locs without the commitment that is inherent with the style. When you are ready to change your look, you don’t have to cut your hair or spend weeks combing them out. You can simply remove the extension and transition to another fabulous style.

Before installing loc extensions it’s important to have information about how to properly prepare your hair for the style, the process of creating the style, maintenance and how to properly remove the style so that you don’t damage your hair. I will share these important tips with you in this article.

1. The Prep!: Before going into any long term protective style, I highly recommend making sure your hair is in healthy condition. Wearing a protective style typically means you are not manipulating your hair, thoroughly cleansing your scalp or infusing moisturizers and protein in your hair strands to prevent damage for at least 4 weeks. With loc extensions, your hair is completely wrapped and covered for at least 8 weeks, leaving your hair strands vulnerable to matting, excessive dryness and ultimately breakage when you take out the extensions. To prevent this, you first want to thoroughly detangle your hair by removing all knots and matted areas. Next, thoroughly cleanse your hair and make sure you remove all dirt and build up from the scalp. Follow up with a deep conditioner that will replenish the moisture balance in your hair strands and strengthen the hair. Last, seal the moisture into your hair with natural and essential oils. I recommend the AnnCarol Essentials line, which includes products formulated to establish a foundation for healthy hair.

2. The Process: Creating loc extensions is a two-step process that can take 6-12 hours based on the length and density of your hair; the size and length of the loc extensions that are being created; and the speed and technique of the technician. The base of the loc is first created with a braid, twist or a combination of the two. Human or synthetic hair can be used. If you are interested in starting locs with loc extensions, human hair is recommended. After the base is installed, it is wrapped with more hair that completely covers the braid or twist and creates a cylinder shape that resembles an authentic loc. Locs created with synthetic hair can be heavy, so I don’t recommend loc extensions that are longer than your shoulder blades. The weight of the extensions will make it difficult to style and can cause hair loss due as a result of tension and traction. Wrapped correctly, the end of the loc will be sealed, but some stylists will burn the ends. Burning the ends can only be done with synthetic hair.

3. The Maintenance: Maintaining loc extensions is very simple. The style can typically last 10-12 weeks. A touch up is highly recommended between 6-8 weeks. This involves taking out 2-3 rows of the loc extensions around the hairline and re-installing them. This will eliminate the hair loss and damage that can happen with the manipulation of the extensions around the hairline, especially as they get older. To keep the hair healthy while in the style, mist light oil on the scalp and hair. Refrain from using heavy greases, pomades or cream conditioners on the hair because they will embed in the loc and create build up and residue. To keep the scalp free of dirt and debris use a clean cloth with witch hazel or sea breeze. If you need to shampoo your hair, I recommend going into the salon so that if any of the extensions come out they can be repaired immediately. Additionally, you must make sure the locs are completely dry or they will mildew. So sit under a dryer for 30-60 minutes.

4. The Take Down: Taking down loc extensions definitely requires assistance so that you don’t cut your hair by accident or cause excessive breakage. Depending on how long you have worn the extensions, there will be a considerable amount of dirt that has accumulated at the point where the extension starts. This accumulation creates a matted section of hair that requires a lot of patience and the right product to properly detangle the hair. To eliminate excessive breakage and make it easier to detangle, massage AnnCarol Cleansing Conditioner into the matted section. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then gently start to separate the hair using your fingertips. If the area is really matted, use the end of a rattail comb to slowly pick through the matted section. Make sure you are detangling each section of hair as you remove the extension. Do not shampoo your hair until the entire head is thoroughly detangled, or you risk the hair matting more.

This information will help you prepare to enjoy your loc extension style while preserving the health of your hair.

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