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What are the cons of soft locs?

Locs are a popular hairstyle choice for many people with naturally curly or coily hair textures. While locs can look beautiful and express personal style, there are some potential drawbacks to consider before starting the loc journey.

Soft locs are a specific type of loc created by twisting the hair with a comb or brush instead of traditional backcombing or palm rolling methods. The resulting locs are typically lighter, fluffier, and have a less defined cylindrical shape than traditional locs. While soft locs have gained popularity for their lightweight, romantic look, there are a few cons to consider.

Time Commitment

Locing your hair requires an initial time investment as well as ongoing maintenance. It can take 6 months to a year for soft locs to fully form and mature. During this time, expect to spend extra time shampooing, drying, and styling the locs as they set. Even mature locs require more time washing, drying, and styling compared to loose natural hair. Some estimates suggest locs may take 2-3 times longer than loose natural hair when it comes to your regular hair care routine.


Getting soft locs installed and maintaining them can get expensive. Initial installation fees at a salon typically range from $100-500 depending on your location and the stylist’s rates. Ongoing maintenance like tightening and re-twisting can cost $60-150 every 4-8 weeks. You also need to factor in the cost of specialty hair products like residue-free shampoos, locking gels, and moisturizers. Those with longer, thicker hair may spend more on product. Here’s a breakdown of estimated costs over the first year:

Expense Estimated Cost
Initial installation $200
Maintenance every 6 weeks $480 ($80 x 6 sessions)
Products $300
Total first year cost $980

Complex Wash Routine

Washing and caring for locs requires a specialized routine. Because locs do not unravel like loose natural hair, you have to take care to thoroughly saturate, cleanse, and dry each loc to prevent mildew and buildup. This often means washing locs in sections, using your fingertips to scrub the scalp, and siting under a hooded dryer for over an hour. The wash day process can take 2-4 hours total depending on your loc length and thickness. Some find this wash routine too difficult and time consuming to keep up with long term.

Hair Thinning

The tension created by twisting or braiding the hair into soft locs can cause breakage and thinning over time. Those with already fine or damaged hair are most at risk for thinning locs. Traction alopecia, a form of hair loss caused by pulling on the hair follicles, is also a concern particularly around the front hairline if the locs are too tight. To minimize thinning, be extra gentle when washing, drying, and styling the locs.

Weight of Locs

Soft locs add weight and length to the hair, which can take some getting used to. The added weight may cause headaches or neck strain for the first few weeks. Thick, waist-length locs can weigh over a pound! Ensure your locs are not too heavy by keeping them a manageable length and thickness.

Less Versatility

One of the cons of soft locs is you lose some of the styling versatility of loose natural hair. While locs can be worn down or in simple updos, you won’t be able to achieve more intricate styles like braids, weaves, and wigs. The locs make it difficult to alter your look dramatically or temporarily. Those who enjoy frequently changing up their hairstyle may find the reduced versatility of locs limiting.

Trimming is Tricky

Trimming locs to prevent thinning or remove damaged ends requires skill. Since each loc is like a miniature braid, you can’t simply snip across the ends as you would loose hair. The stylist has to carefully trim inside the loc which takes time and precision. Improper trimming can cause frizz or unraveling. Loc trims typically cost $60-100 every 8-12 weeks.

Sleeping Difficulties

Some people have trouble getting comfortable enough to sleep with locs. The added bulk and weight on the head along with potential rubbing against the pillow can make it hard for side sleepers to rest peacefully. A satin bonnet or pillowcase may help reduce friction overnight. Others find the locs shift and tug painfully on the scalp during sleep.

Itchiness and Dandruff

Having locs puts you at increased risk for itchy, flaky scalp issues like dandruff. The tension on the hair follicles can trigger inflammation and irritation. The locs make it more difficult to directly access, exfoliate, and treat the scalp compared to loose hair. Staying on top of moisturizing and keeping the scalp debris-free helps prevent itchiness and dandruff.

Loc Unraveling

No matter how carefully you care for them, soft locs may start to unravel over time, especially around the hairline and nape of the neck. Excessive fuzziness or loose hairs sticking out can develop, requiring repairs. Wetting the locs and re-twisting the trouble sections weekly helps minimize unraveling. However, extensive unraveling may eventually require loc reinstallation for a fresh start.

Difficulty with Short Styles

Cutting your locs into a short style takes skill to avoid damaging the locs. Very short locs are harder to manage and maintain their shape. The sections need to be thick enough not to unravel yet flexible enough for nighttime comfort. A short loc style may also not last as long before needing a restart. Most loc experts recommend only cutting locs to medium length or longer.

Can’t Achieve Solid Color

Dying soft locs an all-over, vivid color is challenging. Because you dye the locs individually, its difficult to get the color perfectly even throughout the head. The color is also less concentrated compared to dyeing loose, untwisted hair. The dyed locs tend to look slightly muted and variegated rather than solid. Frequent touch-ups are needed as the color fades and grows out quickly.

Sensitive Attached Scalp

The twisting and tightening of soft locs can cause scalp sensitivity for some. Traction alopecia along the hairline is a risk if the locs are installed too tightly. The tension on the follicles can make the scalp tender to the touch even if no visible thinning occurs. Taking over-the-counter pain medication before tightening sessions can help.

Difficulty with Exercise

Vigorous exercise presents challenges when you have soft locs. The added weight and motion of the locs during cardio or strength training may cause discomfort like headache or neck stiffness. Sweat and oils also buildup rapidly in locs during workouts. Pulling the locs into a tight bun or ponytail helps control the movement. Always shampoo after exercising to avoid residue buildup.


While soft locs offer a unique, carefree look for curly and coily hair types, there are some notable drawbacks. The lengthy time commitment, high maintenance, and potential for breakage, unravelling, or matting mean locs require diligent care and patience. They also reduce your styling versatility compared to loose natural hair. Weigh the pros and cons carefully to decide if embarking on the loc journey is right for you.

With proper technique, quality products, and reasonable expectations, soft locs can be a fun way to express your personal flair. But being prepared for the realities of loc maintenance will help you make the healthiest choice for your hair.