How to Do Synthetic Locs

Saleemah of HydraTherma Naturals is currently rocking synthetic locs. Check out her explanation of how to apply, style and care for them.

Why did you get synthetic locs?
Honestly, I love the look of locs. I think that they are gorgeous. I’ve always wondered what I would look like with them. I love the look of my loose hair so I never took the plunge and made the commitment to lock. In August, we started the Hydratherma Naturals 20 week protective style challenge. I needed a great protective style that I could wear for a few weeks and this was the perfect opportunity to try the temporary protective locs. I absolutely love them and I think that locs may be in my future one day :)

Where did you buy the hair?
I bought the hair from my local black owned beauty supply store. I used regular kanekalon braiding hair. (3 bags for $10) to braid and synthetic Marley braid (about 5 bucks per pack) for the wrapping of the braid. Both of these hair types can be purchased from your local beauty supply store or online. The braid can also be wrapped with human kinky hair. It is much more expensive ($30-50 a bag). If someone is planning to leave the locs in permanently, I would suggest using human hair because it will lock with your hair better and will give you more of a natural loc’d look.

How do you put them in?
It is very simple but time consuming :) It is basically a two step process that consists of braiding and wrapping the braid. First, you have to determine the thickness of each loc. You can make the loc as thick or thin as you want it. Your base braid will determine the thickness and length of the loc. After braiding the hair in box braids, it is time to wrap each braid with the Marley braid hair. The Marley braid hair comes separated in strips. You can use the strip ‘as is’ or separate the strip further for a slightly thinner loc. Begin wrapping the Marley hair around each braid from the base of the braid to the end. Be sure to wrap the hair tightly around the braid to prevent unraveling later. If the hair strip that you are using runs out while wrapping just add another strip of hair and continue to wrap until you get to bottom of the braid. Once you get to the bottom, begin to wrap upward (to the base) until the hair runs out. You can burn the tips for more security but it is not necessary. You can experiment with different colors to give the appearance of highlights. I used #2 and #4 colors. I mixed the colors for every other loc and it gave me a very natural look of highlights. For those who like visuals, here’s a video tutorial

It took 8 hrs to braid and 10 hrs to wrap! I probably could have finished sooner but I took many breaks.

Are they heavy? Do they weigh on the follicle?
I must say that the only con to this style is that fact that they are a bit heavy. You can always add less hair to each section to lighten them up a bit.

How long do you plan to keep them in?
I plan to keep them in for 6-8 weeks. I don’t suggest keeping them in longer unless you want the loc extension hair to mesh with your hair permanently. I must say that the longer you wear them, the better they look. It has been a little over a month since my install and they are looking more frizzy and realistic :)

How do you style them?
Because the hair is wrapped and protected, I don’t have to sleep with a head scarf at night. Needless to say, this style gets points from the hubs simply because of that. When I get up, I finger comb the locs, moisturize and seal with the Hydratherma Naturals products. I pat the moisturizer and oil through the locs and they soak up the moisture. The moisturizer penetrated without a problem. Typically, I wear my locs hanging straight down. I have been experimenting with updos and braid-outs.

If anyone is thinking of trying this style, give it a go! It is so much fun!!!!

Great explanation Saleemah! What do you think ladies? Would you give synthetic locs a go?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast.

  • Shanice

    I love yarn braids- my friend did them and it took 20hours!!! and I also have kind of weak natural hair, like when i put braids that are too tight it pulls from the root, so i have a lot of white dandruf looking patches which unfortunately aren’t dandruff :(

  • Andrea

    This is right in time. I have micro locs that are currently about chin lenght. I want to see what larger and longer locks would look like. I plan to take larger loc sections braid or twist them and then wrap with the synthetic hair.

  • Sita

    I have worn these as a protective style for for years and even even my then new roommate, who’d had waist length locs for 6 years at the time, did not know they were faux. But I do not use the hair she is describing. I use a synthetic kinky bulk hair that wraps much nicer and blends well with natural hair, as it is a mix of type 4 hair.

    • Melony

      Sita, can you tell me where to get the hair you use?

  • Nia


  • I’ve utilized this process to repair individual ‘locs throughout my 8 year journey. I decided not to bleach my ‘locs again when I wanted to go blonde this summer, so I wrapped instead. It took about a week since I only had after work and weekends to get it done, but it’s been worth it!

  • I am getting this done on Sunday. Hit me up if you want to know how long it took.

  • Shanda

    I have to try this as my protective style,soon, this style is beautiful:) Thank you for posting it.

  • This looks fabulous… when you’re taking them out please also give us a video tutorial lol

  • Loving all the comments! I think that this is one of my fav protective styles. Will I wear them again? I definitely think so. I didn’t like the time that was involved in doing them but it was worth the time overall. I think that I may give yarn braids a go next year! Blessings!

  • Joan B.

    These are beautiful! I’d seen them some years ago and just wondered how locs were so smooth and silky. Seems like something I might try, but would have to make the braids larger.

  • I’ll definitely give it a try next time I’ll do my hair which means next week-end^^

  • Cassidee

    got these done two weeks ago and i love them!

    • Cassidee


      • Amina

        I want to know where you get those done. All salons charge $1200 :-/

  • LesinSF

    OMGGG Salima thank youuuu! I am going through a phase where I really want to wear box braids/yarn braids/synthetic locs and I would love to incorporate some beautiful and funky colors so this method will certainly enable me to do that. Also, you have the prettiest big brown eyes I’ve seen!

  • LesinSF

    Oops sorry meant Saleemah :)

  • I just finished my synthetic locs and it took a day to braid and another day to wrap… I didn’t mind how long it took to wrap because I liked the transition look (: They are a bit heavy but I just put em up in a top knot to even out the weight. I did burn the ends on some but for some it wasn’t required, after I finished I dipped them all in hot water which softened them and took away some frizziest. I dont mind them not looking real enough its a unique look that I love.

  • Amina


  • Pingback: 6 Braid and Twist Extension Styles to Try This Summer | Black Girl with Long Hair()

  • Christian Ram

    I really want to start off my locs via loc extentions but because I am a college student who’s ballin on a budget I want to install them permanently myself (with human hair of course). Is this a good idea? Im in serious need of some gudiance here. Thanks for the help!

  • luclilu

    I need to no what do people charge to put in synthetic locs? Please let me no as soon as possible. Thank you.

    • parkwest88

      Lucilu: I just got mine done for $350 and I LOVE them. I should have done this years ago! I am in upstate NY.

      • Wallencia Williams

        Are yours permanent?

        • parkwest88

          Yes Wallencia, they are permaenent.My own hair will soon mesh with the synthetic locs. Also everyone who has seen them believes they are my own.

          • Gena

            You use synthetic hair to crest permanent locs? Is is the same process as temp extensions but just waiting for it to loc?

  • Anonimizz

    does anyone know how to how to make these locs lighter and less stiff. I love them and I’ve only had them for a day but lord knows my head and neck is killing me.

    • KaylaSimone

      Naptural85 has a great tutorial for faux locs that are more lightweight than the standard faux loc method. :) Check it out on YouTube!

    • Lisa

      Hey there :3 It’s been a while since you asked this but I hope it can help you or someone else. You can try to leave the braiding hair loose after your natural hair has been plaiting/twisted into it instead of braiding it all the way down, then wrap as usual :)