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What hair is best for butterfly locs?

Butterfly locs are a beautiful protective hairstyle that creates twisted bunches of hair that resemble butterfly wings. When getting butterfly locs, choosing the right hair type and texture is crucial for achieving the desired look and longevity. The hair should be able to hold the twist shape while still looking full and bouncy. So what hair is best for butterfly locs?

Quick Answers

The best hair for butterfly locs is:

  • Kinky curly or coily virgin/natural hair – 3C to 4C hair types
  • Pre-stretched natural hair
  • Synthetic hair like kanekalon braiding hair

These hair types are able to hold the shaped twists and coils that create the butterfly effect. Using the right hair will help the locs last longer and look their best.

Natural Kinky Curly Hair Types

When considering hair for butterfly locs, kinky curly and coily hair textures ranging from 3C to 4C are ideal. These tight curl patterns create the much needed hold and definition for twisted bunches. The coils grip each other to keep the butterfly shape intact. Looser curl patterns like 2C and 3A/B can lose their shape quicker and unravel. Tighter 4C coils tend to hold for the longest.

It’s best to use your own virgin or natural hair for butterfly locs instead of chemically processed hair. The coils and texture remain intact for better hold. Bleached, permed, relaxed or heat damaged hair is too loose and soft to maintain the locs. The twists come undone much faster leading to frizz and an undefined look.

Pre-Stretching the Hair

To get hair ready for butterfly locs, pre-stretching is recommended. This helps smooth and elongate the coils so they are more pliable for twisting. It reduces bulk and tightness as well. There are a few pre-stretching methods:

  • Blow drying – Use a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment. Be sure to use heat protectant.
  • Banding – Section hair and apply plastic bands or elastic bands from root to tip.
  • Braid outs – Braid hair in chunky braids then undo for elongated hair.
  • Roller setting – Roll natural hair onto flexi-rods or perm rods then dry.

Pre-stretching makes hair more manageable for styling into the shaped butterfly locs. It also allows the hair to grip better and last longer by revealing the inner coils.

Kanekalon Braiding Hair

Synthetic kanekalon braiding hair is another excellent option for achieving butterfly locs. Kanekalon fibers can be purchased pre-stretched in the correct texture for locs. The most common types used are kinky curly or afro bulk braiding hair. Benefits of using kanekalon include:

  • Holds style and shape
  • Long lasting
  • Lightweight
  • Adds fullness and length
  • Cost effective

Premium brands like Outre, Freetress and Sensationnel offer durable, quality kanekalon hair. It comes in various colors, styles and curl patterns. A stylist will create butterfly locs using your natural hair combined with the kanekalon for the full look.

Hair Types to Avoid

There are certain hair types and textures that should be avoided for butterfly locs. These include:

Hair Type Reason to Avoid
Straight or wavy Does not hold twisted shape
Fine or thin strands Can pull out of locs easily
Overly porous Absorbs too much product
Chemically processed Weakened and damaged cuticles

These hair characteristics will lead to issues with maintaining the locs, keeping them neat and achieving longevity. The locs are likely to unravel quickly and look frizzy and undefined.

Best Practices for Healthy Hair

Once you have the ideal hair for butterfly locs, proper maintenance is crucial. Follow these best practices for keeping the hair and locs in optimal condition:

  • Moisturize often with water-based creams or oils
  • Use a gentle, moisturizing shampoo 1-2 times per month
  • Sleep with a satin bonnet or pillowcase
  • Avoid too much tension or pulling on the locs
  • Trim ends regularly to prevent thinning
  • Follow up with a stylist every 4-6 weeks

Proper care will help the hair and locs remain strong, hydrated and neat. Be very delicate when washing, detangling and styling butterfly locs.


Butterfly locs require hair that can really hold the twisted coil shapes that create that whimsical look. Kinky, coily 3C-4C hair or pre-stretched natural hair are ideal hair types for locs. Kanekalon braiding hair also works very well. Avoid using chemically processed or straight hair. Take good care of the hair and locs by keeping hair moisturized, gently detangling and trimming ends. With the right hair and practices, you can achieve beautiful, long lasting butterfly locs.