Butterfly locs should not be confused with the tightly wrapped faux locs that were popular a few years ago, nor are they the same as bouncy and curly passion twists. Rather, they provide a happy medium between the two hairstyles, offering a beautiful, textured boho look.
While faux locs typically have a straight, neat look, butterfly locs have curly loops within the locs that make them unique and give them their signature butterfly hair look. Another thing that sets butterfly locs apart is that they are often worn in a shoulder-length bob, which gives a cute, chunky look—though you can wear them longer if that’s your preference!
What Is The Best Hair For Butterfly Locs?
There are a few debates out there in the natural hair community about which brand has the best butterfly hair to use for creating this carefree style, but as long as you use some type of water wave hair, you should be good to go. This bouncy, curly hair will give you that boho look you’re going for. You’ll need roughly six to eight packs of water wave hair to create your locs. If you want locs that are longer than your natural hair, you can also use marley braiding hair to get extra thickness and length before you start the loc process.
How To Do Butterfly Locs
There are multiple methods to create distressed locs. Some prefer to use pre-looped distressed crochet hair to insert the locs into cornrows, but for a more natural look, we recommend following the steps described below.
Step #1: Wash and condition your hair
It can be tempting to skip washing your hair before creating your protective hairstyle, but remember: this is your last chance to care for and treat your hair before you put it away for a while. Your tresses will thank you for this TLC moment when you take your butterfly locs down later on and reveal healthy hair.
Step #2: Braid your natural hair
Part your hair based on your desired size for your locs and weave your natural hair into single braids. Make sure that your parts are neat in order to give your style a more defined look.
It’s also important for your hair to be nice and moisturized. As you’re braiding, use a product like Hair Milk Nourishing & Conditioning Shine Pudding to keep hair strong and healthy throughout the life of the style. For those with thinner or shorter hair (or if you just want a fuller look), this is also the point where you can add marley braiding hair for more length and thickness.
Step #3: Wrap your hair
Whether you’re a seasoned braider or new to doing your own protective styles, butterfly locs are relatively DIY-friendly. You can use a crochet needle to insert the water wave hair at the root of your braid, or you can start braiding the water wave hair at the root of your natural braid, and then wrap over it. Whichever way you begin, be sure to run your fingers through the water wave hair to fluff it for a more natural look.
Wrap firmly at first, and then wrap more loosely in order to get the relaxed butterfly hair look. As you continue to wrap down the length of your hair, wrap over your thumb in no particular pattern to create the disheveled loops. For a fluffier butterfly locs hairstyle, create more loops.
Step #4: Seal the butterfly locs
When you’ve reached your desired loc length, you can seal the loc by looping the hair up around your finger, as if you were going to create a knot. If your locs are much longer than your natural hair, you can secure this loop with nail glue and cut off the excess hair, or you can simply continue to wrap the hair up the loc to secure it.
Do you need to dip butterfly locs in hot water?
No! The carefree wrapping and loops secure the hair on its own—no dipping necessary.
The best part about doing this hairstyle is that it’s carefree and boho, so there’s no need to be perfect. If you have to add more hair as you go or if you create one too many loops, you’ll still be met with beautiful butterfly hair as a result.
How Do You Maintain Butterfly Locs?
Maintaining butterfly locs is similar to how you would maintain other protective styles. Here, find answers to all your pressing questions on how to care for locs.
Can you wash butterfly locs?
Yes, technically you can shampoo your hair when wearing butterfly locs, but since your hair is wrapped up underneath the braiding hair and water wave hair, don’t get your hopes up for squeaky-clean strands. What you can focus on instead is getting your scalp clean.
Part your hair into sections and apply the non-stripping Wash Day Delight Shampoo directly to your scalp. Be gentle and rinse directly at the scalp, avoiding drenching your locs more than necessary. Remember, there are layers of hair here, so it will take your hair a while to dry. The more gentle you are, the longer your butterfly locs will last.
In general, wearing protective styles are great opportunities to prioritize your scalp health. The Goddess Strength 7 Oil Blend Scalp & Hair Oil will help keep your scalp healthy and support hair growth while you rock your new style.
How do you sleep with butterfly locs?
When wearing a protective style, or even your natural hair, it’s always best to protect your hair overnight with a scarf or bonnet. This will ensure that you don’t have to remove your locs prematurely because of frizz. Satin pillowcases are also a great way to preserve your style.
How do you keep butterfly locs looking fresh?
This might be a carefree hairstyle, but you don’t want it to be a total mess. There are plenty of cute butterfly hairstyles (like a half-up ponytail) that you can try, but they’ll stay looking fresher for longer the less you manipulate them. To keep your edges sleek throughout the entire life of your style, use the Black Vanilla Edge Control Smoother. It’s also beneficial to regularly use a refreshing spray or a mousse to keep new growth smooth.
How Long Should You Keep Butterfly Locs In?
Even butterfly loc hairstyles don’t last forever. When properly maintained, you can wear this style for four to six weeks. Some say that the style can last even longer, but it’s not the healthiest choice for your hair. You risk your hair becoming matted if you try to extend the life of your hairstyle for too long.
How do you take butterfly locs out?
When it comes time to let your hair down, take your time and be gentle to avoid unnecessary breakage. First, cut the ends of the locs (well below your natural hair), and begin unraveling before unbraiding your hair. Have an oil, like Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Pure Hair Oil, handy to loosen buildup and release tension.
After your locs are out, be sure to cleanse your hair with Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Shampoo to remove any buildup, and strengthen your strands with the coordinating conditioner: the Monoi Repairing Conditioner. Finish up with a leave-in, such as the Monoi Repairing Leave-In Conditioner, and you’ll be ready for your next style.
For continuing your hair-care routine, we recommend the LOC method for natural hair. While in-between hairstyles, it’s also a good idea to care for your strands with quality hair treatments.
Next: Find more protective styles you can try. Check out these 25 Stunning Braided Hairstyles for Natural Hair.