Locs are a style that gets better with age, but it takes many people years to get their hair locked to their desired length and texture. Soft locs are a way to get the look of locs without waiting all that time to get your hair how you’d like it. We’ll cover basic care tips along with styling ideas so you can try this traditional hairstyle out for yourself.

What are soft locs?

Soft locs are a type of faux loc that give you the look of locs without investing years into growing out your hair. This type of loc is popular because it’s lighter, better for sensitive scalps, and more versatile than other types of faux locs.

How are soft locs installed?

Soft locs can be installed as a crocheted braid into either cornrows or box braids. To install soft locs into cornrows, bundles of hair are crocheted into the cornrows, then the hair is locked to form soft locs. Sometimes, stylists use pre-formed locs and only need to crochet them into the cornrows. To install into box braids, the soft locs are crocheted at the root and wrapped around your natural hair.

Installing soft locs can take anywhere from three to 10 hours. This depends on how long your natural hair is, whether your natural hair is already braided, and whether you’re wrapping or crocheting your soft locs. In general, wrapped soft locs take much longer than crocheted soft locs.

Once installed, soft locs are a great protective style that lets you get creative with your hair without damaging it with heat, chemical treatments, or dye.

How to care for soft locs

Since soft locs are wrapped around your natural hair, the key to making them last is reducing friction. Invest in a silk bonnet or pillowcase to help protect your locs from the harsh tossing and turning of sleep.

You should wash your locs at least every other week, but some people will need to wash more often. If you live an active lifestyle, live in a hot climate, or have a naturally oily scalp, you’ll probably need to wash more frequently.

As with any hair extension, you should pay attention to your scalp while you’re sporting any soft locs hairstyle. Avoid washing the locs themselves, but gently cleanse and moisturize your scalp to keep new growth healthy.

Soft locs vs. faux locs

Faux locs are a hairstyle that uses extensions to mimic the look of traditional locs. It can take years of growing out natural hair to reach your desired length for locs, so faux locs simplify this process. Soft locs are a type of faux loc that are lighter and are more flexible than other faux loc types. 

These qualities make soft loc hairstyles exceptionally versatile. Other faux locs can be too heavy to wear comfortably in updos, but soft locs work well for ponytails, space buns, and more. Keep scrolling for some soft loc inspo.

1. Soft locs bun

Everyone loves a bun for a quick way to get your hair out of your face. Soft locs work great for making a voluminous ballerina bun. Pull some loose locs out to frame your face and make this polished style feel more casual.

Woman with soft locs bun.
Classicbraids by Nancy

2. Soft locs pony

When you’re on the go, nothing feels better than tossing your hair in a quick pony to get it off your neck. Soft locs are light enough that you can sport a ponytail any time you’d like. Add a scarf or ribbon to tie back your hair if you’re looking to accessorize.

Woman with a soft locs pony.
Tah-Jay Henry

3. Soft locs space buns

Space buns are a favorite style, whether you’re spending the weekend at your favorite festival or grabbing brunch with friends. Pull your locs into two buns at the top of either side of your head to try out this cute soft loc hairstyle.

Girl with soft locs space buns.
Lineice Williams

4. Soft goddess locs

Soft goddess locs have lots of volume. You can have curled locs, leave some curled hair unlocked, or just curl the ends a bit to get this look. Goddess locs look great, whether you keep them classic or incorporate charms and beads for more personality.

Woman with soft goddess locs.
The Vision Hair & Beauty

5. Soft locs with beads

If you can’t resist a good accessory, ask about adding charms or beads at your next soft locs appointment. Some charms are easily removable, too — perfect for if you get bored of styles easily and want a change before your next hair appointment.

Woman with soft locs and beads.
Denesha Brown

6. Wavy soft locs

Locs are perfect for boho styles, which means they’re flawless with beachy waves. Wavy soft locs always look perfectly tousled, whether they’re left long or short and bouncy.

Woman with wavy soft locs.
Adetoun Adeyemo

7. Long soft locs

The best part about any extension is that you can sport long locs even if your hair grows at a snail’s pace. Because soft locs are so much lighter than other faux locs, you can go super long without a headache.

Woman with long soft locs.
Lestanique Woodside

8. Short soft locs

If long hair isn’t your thing, you can still sport soft locs. Soft locs also look great in a bob or other short styles and retain lots of volume and bounce.

Woman with short soft locs.
Sharlene Anthony

9. Blonde soft locs

A benefit to extensions is you can try out new hair colors without worrying about the damage. Blonde soft locs are a popular choice. (Are you curious if blondes really do have more fun?) 

Girl with blonde soft locs.
Cookie Saint-Amour

10. Colorful soft locs

Take your locs one step further and use them as an opportunity to inject some color into your style. Colorful soft locs are perfect if you’re not ready to commit to having pink hair permanently but want to have fun with this  style.

Woman with colorful red soft locs.
Jaye Johnson

11. Textured soft locs

Textured styles like butterfly locs are an easy way to mix up the look of your faux locs. This is usually done by using curlier hair, like water wave hair, to create your locs.

Woman with textured butterfly soft locs.
Sephora Michel

12. Crown twist soft locs

A crown twist is one of the most popular ways to style locs. For this style, take the locs from the top of your head and gently twist and tie them back. This creates a pretty halo effect that’s easy to do daily.

Woman with crown twist soft locs.
KB Beauty LLC

13. Soft locs with laid edges

The cardinal rule of natural hair care is not to forget about your edges. Your edges shouldn’t be locked because this can be harsh on them, so make sure you have your gel ready and play around with different ways to do your edges.

Woman with soft locs and laid edges.
Nina F. Louis

14. Ombré soft locs

Ombré hair is one of the most popular ways to dye hair, so why not try it on your locs? These will gradually change color from roots to ends, letting you experiment with endless color combinations.

Woman with ombré soft locs.
Chloe Emanuel

15. Shaved side soft locs

If you love the look of soft locs but feel like they’re not quite your style, a shaved side is a great way to add some edge to your look. You can experiment with shaved designs, different loc lengths, or try an undercut instead of a shaved side to make this look your own.

Woman with shaved side soft locs.
The Vision Hair & Beauty


How long do soft locs last?

Soft locs typically last for two to four weeks, depending on how they’re styled and installed.

Do soft locs damage hair?

When installed and cared for properly, soft locs don’t damage your hair. They’re actually a protective style and can help you grow your hair longer while minimizing damage.

Are soft locs better than faux locs?

Soft locs are a type of faux loc. If you have a sensitive scalp, want a versatile style, or prefer the look of distressed locs, then soft locs might be a better choice for you than other types of faux locs.

How many packs do I need for soft locs?

It typically takes four to six packs of hair to install faux locs. This number will vary based on the size and length of your locs.

When you’re ready to give faux locs a try, soft locs are a trendy and stylish option to help take care of your natural hair. Get in touch with a loctitian on StyleSeat to help you make your dream soft locs a reality.