Distressed Locs Hairstyle Basics and Care

Distressed loc is a variant of hair extensions known as “faux loc”. These locs can be washed or retouched. By either forming a loop on the locs like a butterfly or a naturally distressed look, these forms of loc installation create a little bit messy yet beautiful appearance.

The best hairstyle to choose if you want to give your hair a break is one that reduces manipulation and tucks the hair ends away. That’s exactly why locs are a protective hairstyle, it safeguards the hair from environmental factors that could result in hair breakage. Distressed locs can be done on wavy, kinky, and curly hair types. 

What kind of hair extensions work best for “distressed locs”?

hair extension for distressed locs

The key to getting that distressed look is the type of hair extension used. Two types of hair extensions are required for distressed locs.

The locs itself and wrapping hair, you’d get to see why this is necessary as the article progresses. Feel free to experiment with several hair extensions but I would recommend trying out these:

  • Spring twist hair
  • Water wave hair
  • Kinky hair 
  • Passion twist hair.

There are also premade locs with a distressed appearance; all you need to do is crochet them into the hair.  

How to install distressed locs, DIY

Distressed Locs
Instagram / @locs-queen

Before installing, ensure your hair is clean and remove product buildup. You also want it to stay hydrated and moisturized because it would be tucked in faux locs.

Start by washing your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo

Sulfate in shampoos helps in removing product buildup and dirt from the hair. The only drawback is that they do their work so well that they remove all the moisture and hair oils that the hair needs to keep healthy.

Using a sulfate-free shampoo allows your hair to stay moisturized.

Deep Conditioning Treatment 

Your hair needs to be hydrated, and a deep conditioner is a sure way to do that.

Deep conditioners penetrate the hair cuticle’s inner cortex and work their magic from the inside out, as opposed to regular conditioners, which are made for everyday use and can only penetrate the hair cuticle’s outside layer.

After shampooing, apply your deep conditioner to your hair shaft and work your way up from tips to roots. Because the hair scalp doesn’t necessarily lack moisture, conditioners shouldn’t be used at the roots. But always make sure to concentrate on the roots when shampooing.

Next, using your fingers spread the conditioner evenly throughout the hair ends.

Detangle Thoroughly 

Use a brush, fingers, wide-tooth comb, or anything to delicately detangle conditioned hair and smooth out the knots without causing hair breakage. 


Now that the washing process has been taken care of, start by sectioning your hair. 

Sectioning is when you square off your head into a chess board type of arrangement. When you are done doing that, it’s time for the installation process.

Two techniques are used for installing the locs, the crochet method using premade distressed locs and the wrapping technique.

Using a Pre-made Distressed Loc

Take a section, braid it down, and do it for all sections. Spray hair oils on the scalp once the braiding process is complete to keep it hydrated.

Depending on the length you want and the thickness of your hair, you’d need between 4- 8 packs of loc extensions.  Open the loop in the loc, attach it to the crochet hook and pass it through the braid roots. Take the lock ends, open the crochet hook, and pull it in through the loop making sure the loc is secured.

Once you realize the braid and loc are separate, you take a crochet hook, insert it into the loc, open the hook, and attach the braid, pulling it into the loc. The length of your braids will determine how frequently you repeat this step until your braid is completely covered

The Wrapping Process

Distressed Locs Hairstlye
Instagram / @houseoffaux_

Take four pieces of passion twist and fluff by running your fingers down the entire length, this would make it easier to split them. Carefully pull apart the pieces to avoid creating a knot.

Crochet four pieces through the braid roots. One side should be significantly longer than the other, take the shorter side and combine it with the loc and braid. The longer side is the wrapping piece; wrap three or four times tightly at the root to ensure it’s firm and secure, and as you proceed downwards switch between wrapping tightly and loosely to be able to pull out the loop giving it a distressed look.

On getting to the ends of the loc, you could add in a tiny bit of nail glue to secure it. Do not place it on the hair; make sure to palm roll each locs. If you run out of a piece for wrapping, take a small piece and place it over the ending piece, make sure to secure it, and then continue wrapping. Palm roll once finished.

Keep in mind the following when installing the distressed locs:

  • After you’ve inserted the locs, feel them by lightly pushing them in various directions to check for tightness.
  • To make the locs seem nicer and ease tension in particular regions, use smaller pieces just around the ears, sides, or temples.
  • Any hair that is poking out from the locs should be trimmed with scissors.

Are distressed locs washable? Yes! It’s not as challenging as it seems. The best way to wash faux locs is to keep your fingertips on the scalp only, allowing the shampoo to wash down the locs. This will prevent you from applying too much friction, which will eventually cause the locs to loosen and fall out.

Distressed Locs Hairstyle Maintenance Tips

Bohemian distressed locs
Instagram / @houseoffaux_
  • If you plan to keep your locs in for more than four weeks, wash your hair as usual.
  • If you don’t intend to wash your hair, use a dry shampoo or an apple cider vinegar hair rinse to get rid of dirt and product buildup on the scalp.
  • Apply mousse to your braids to tame flyaways and occasionally add shine.
  • Wear a silk bonnet or scarf as you sleep at night.

Pros and Cons of wearing locs as a protective hairstyle

  • It is cost-effective and could stay on for up to 6-8 weeks.
  • It is very lightweight and could get a bit heavier above 20 inches. 
  • The older it gets the more beautiful it becomes.


  • Wearing certain styles can put tension on your nape, edges, or sides. Be sure to avoid over-styling.
  • The bulk of the hair makes it difficult to shower and sleep.
  • The wrapping hair could snap on your jewelry.
  • If the locs are not installed correctly, you would experience difficulty taking them out which could be damaging to your hair.

How to Remove Distressed Locs

Worrying about the removal process damaging your hair is unnecessary if the installation was done correctly.

But you must be careful when taking out the locs to avoid breaking your hair. Before gently separating the wrapped hair, cut the locs at their base.

In the case of the premade locs, you might need first to retrieve the braid and pull out the loc. This is a simple procedure. The next step is to undo the braids below. To avoid hair loss due to product buildup, I advise massaging the braid roots with oil or water.

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