Everything You Need to Know About the Trending Style

Whether you’re rocking braids, twists, or locs, there’s no denying how essential protective styles are. Not only do protective styles keep your hair healthy, but they also prevent breakage and even encourage hair to grow. If you’re on the hunt for a new protective style that makes a statement, why not try butterfly locs? The protective style stands out if you’re looking for something both stylish and boho. 

Similar to regular locs, butterfly locs differ because they offer a more lived-in version of the signature look and are created using either a crochet method or a braided method. This style has been seen on countless celebrities like Zendaya, Teyana Taylor, and Ciara. Not only are these locs lightweight and affordable to achieve, but they’re incredibly versatile and can be styled a number of different ways. 

Celeb natural hairstylists Sandi-Kaye Henry and Antoine McCants give us an expert scoop on how to get the boho look and how to care for it. Read on for everything you need to know about installing, maintaining, and taking out butterfly locs.

  • Sandi-Kaye Henry is a natural hairstylist
  • Antoine McCants is a makeup artist and hairstylist

What are Butterfly Locs?

Butterfly locs are a faux loc hairstyle that is also a protective style that has an ‘undone’ look to them. While regular locs are typically straight and smooth, butterfly locs have ‘wave’ to them, and are characterized by looking more distressed and lived-in than traditional locs, giving them a signature boho vibe. Butterfly locs are achieved by either crocheting wave hair into cornrowed hair, or via a braiding method where the natural hair is braided and the wave hair is wrapped around creating a faux loc.

“Butterfly locs have been characterized as a natural style that say ‘neat isn’t the only way to show beauty.’ Natural styles have always been the talk of the industry, but butterfly locs took it by storm due its diversity of styles,” explains McCants. Butterfly locs are more whimsical, and as the name suggests, more playful.

How to Install Butterfly Locs

Butterfly locs are achieved by adding wave hair into natural hair or braids. “It’s always best to have a professional install and remove your style,” explains Henry. If you’re a skilled stylist aiming to create the signature look at home, watch a number of videos before attempting, and ensure your hair is freshly washed and dried before styling. There are two different methods to install butterfly locs—crocheting faux locs into braided hair or braiding hair down and using a wrapping motion to create the signature look. When in doubt, reach out to a stylist who has experience creating faux locs.

How Long Do Butterfly Locs Take?

“Butterfly locs can take four or more hours to do. Different factors contribute to the time. For instance, how fast the stylist/braider is, the size/length you desire, if the stylist has an assistant helping (double team), and if your natural hair is really long and thick. These are only a few factors out of many,” states Henry. The key to minimizing breakage or snapping hair is to go slowly—you don’t want to rush take down.

How to Maintain Butterfly Locs

Although butterfly locs are a protective hairstyle, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your hair stays looking its best and the locs look fresh. Using a clarifying shampoo once a week helps to keep the locs looking their best. Wearing a bonnet to bed is essential in reducing any friction and unwanted frizz. “Try not to add a ton of edge tamer/foam to keep build-up to a minimum. Just keep it simple—wake up, remove your bonnet, shake your hair, spray some sheen and go,” says Henry. Although butterfly locs are super versatile, it’s important not to wear styles that create too much tension. “I know we like the tight ponytails but don’t tug on your locs too much when styling. Make sure the styles are comfortable. Please make sure you moisturize your scalp two to three times a week using an oil—it will help keep the scalp from becoming itchy and promotes healthy hair growth”, says McCants.

When Do You Know It’s Time to Take Butterfly Locs Down?

While butterfly locs will typically last four weeks or longer, anytime the scalp becomes irritated, or the style is simply not comfortable, it’s time to take it down. To remove butterfly locs, snip the end of the loc and unravel the hair, being extra careful to remove slowly so as not to pull out the natural strands. 

Butterfly Loc Inspiration

1 / 15

Top Buns

Take it from Teyana Taylor—butterfly locs look amazing in two top buns. The look is even cooler when you add in a few adornments.

teyana taylor butterfly locs
Unique Nicole/Getty Images

2 / 15

Half Up Half Down

Model Uche Natori looks stunning in a mid-back length butterfly loc half up half down style by BraidsByFels.

IG: @braidsbyfels

3 / 15

Half Up to the Side

The Little Mermaid herself looks absolutely striking in butterfly locs—especially when they’re this long and glamorous.

halle bailey butterfly locs
Don Arnold/WireImage/ Getty Images

4 / 15

Long and Loose

We’re taking notes from Zoe Kravitz on her infamous boho beautiful long locs. They’re so beautiful, it’s no wonder why it’s her signature look.

zoe kravitz butterfly locs
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

5 / 15

Traditional Bob

Short and sweet, butterfly locs look great even when they’re styled as a traditional bob.

IG zurihairstudio

6 / 15

Top Bun

Whether you’re going to a wedding or a red carpet, butterfly locs look effortlessly elegant in a top bun.

ava duvernay butterfly locs
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

7 / 15

Half Up with Top Bun

Want to show off your butterfly locs and wear them down too? Butterfly locs are so versatile you can wear them half up in a bun and loose in the back for a multi-dimensional look that is anything but boring.

half-up top bun butterfly locs
Callum Mills via Getty Images for MTV

8 / 15

Ombré with a Twist

Butterfly locs are already whimsical and ethereal, and adding ombre to the ends makes the look feel even more boho chic.

ombre butterfly locs
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

9 / 15

Loose Pony

Long butterfly locs look great tucked into a low pony, just be sure to use a wide enough elastic or satin hair tie to keep them looking their best and not cause any tension on your neck.

loose ponytail butterfly locs
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

10 / 15

Messy Top Bun

Bri Steves looks adorable in a messy top bun with a few face-framing loose butterfly locs.

bri steves butterfly locs
Chris Haston/NBC/ Getty Images

11 / 15

Side Part Bob

For a more dramatic take on a butterfly loc bob style, try a side part. If you’re having trouble with any baby hairs or flyaways, add a touch of wax to your part to keep things looking smooth. 

side bob butterfly locs
Prince Williams/WireImage/ Getty Images

12 / 15

Platinum Blonde

Feeling bold? Try platinum blonde butterfly locs for a stunning statement.

platinum blonde butterfly locs
Joy Malone/Getty Images

13 / 15

Two Tone

If you’re looking to add some dimension to your locs, try two-tone hair colors like this style. Plus it’s a dreamy way to show off your length if you’re going extra long.

two-tone butterfly locs
Mike Marsland/Getty Images

14 / 15

Bob Top Bun

Just because you have a bob doesn’t mean you can’t rock a top bun! Butterfly locs look extra cute in a bob top bun.

bob top bun butterfly locs
Marc Piasecki/WireImage/ Getty Images

15 / 15

Middle Part

When in doubt, a middle part hairstyle just works. Even butterfly locs look great with a middle part.

middle part butterfly locs
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *