One of the top inquiries I still get on my site is how to loosen tight faux locs (or yarn wraps). My daughter and I have enjoyed several installments each of faux locs over the past few years. At present, our hair lengths are too long for yarn wraps without them reaching past our waists. Nevertheless, faux locs is a great protective style that looks very natural and actually gets better with time.
I have plenty of resources on the topic of faux locs. The most visited is post on the site is How to Fix Stiff Locs. Simple enough right? Before I migrated from blogger to WordPress, this post had so many comments of women sharing their experiences of stiff locs. It amazed me how some women simply just suffered through the pain for the sake of not wasting time/money. Honey girl, listen up… If I saw my head was inflamed and scalp super tight, you best to believe I would have those locs uninstalled and request my money back. There is no reason to risk hair and scalp damage over some extensions. I do not care if they are braids, Marley twists, crotchets, or whatever. No ma’am. I want my hair and scalp intact, please. All day. Every. Day.
Tight Faux Locs is Normal (Initially)
I want to share an update on ways to correct stiff Faux Locs. If you click the image above, it will direct you to several ways I suggested to loosen the locs. I mentioned giving them some time (up to a week) to loosen on their own. This has proven true anytime my daughter and I got extensions. Now, there is a difference between the actual locs being stiff and the locs being stiff at the roots. Slight tightness is normal at the roots but not a “follicle pulling, white dots appearing, and scalp red” kind of tension. If you are experiencing the typical tightness of the actual loc extensions, like I said, just wait it out. On the other hand, if you have some slight tension at the scalp that is not outside reasonable (and temporary) discomfort, you can try several things.
Let me state this before you go dipping your entire head in water. Locs (especially yarn) absorbs a lot of water. Be prepared for drenched locs for a day or two if you go this route. Water typically increases the elasticity of the hair and causes the locs to loosen. Massaging the roots gently while wet can further release tension from the locs. But note, this method can lead to more frizz at the root sooner than you would expect. In my opinion, the frizziness of the roots is what I loved most about the locs. The frizziness made the locs look more realistic. Alternatively, you can spritz your roots with water (or a light moisturizing spritz) and massage your roots that way. This will dramatically cut down on drying time (super helpful during the cold season).
Changing the Hairstyle
If your freshly styled locs are in a bun or updo, it may be beneficial to take the bun/updo down for a few days. Sometimes, these particular styles can further aggravate your scalp and edges unnecessarily. Once the tension subsides, you can style your locs however you would like.
Massaging the Scalp
I stated massaging with water/spritz but you can also massage your scalp with oils. Some good oils to use are extra virgin olive oil, tea tree oil, and diluted essential oils such as lavender and peppermint.
I cannot vouch for this personally but in my research, I found that some women got relief from patting their scalp. Maybe the patting took some attention away from the actual pain or the constant drumming numbed the affected areas. I will say patting is great for itchy scalps when wearing locs!
Take a Tynenol
If you are tender headed then taking some pain relief medication for a day or two may do you wonders to get through the initial tightness. However, if you tried some of the methods above, took some Tynenol, and your head is still throbbing, then sister, you may have to count your losses. See the next option…
Remove the Locs
What do you value more, you actual hair or money/time? If these methods are not working and you have no other option, then it is time to let go. Yes, removing the locs after a short period sucks. I guarantee that loosing excess hair or damaging your hair line will suck even more. I promise ya. Just let it be a learning experience and move forward with grace.
What I liked about self-installing was that I could effectively gauge the amount of tension applied to my roots from the locs. When you have someone else install them for you, they may not have the same awareness unless you speak up. So speak up. It is okay. You are paying for a service. If your scalp becomes irritated during installation, it will be irritated after as well. It is best to correct the situation during the installation. You can suggest the stylist to not braid/wrap so close to the roots to allow some clearance for tension. Another thing you can do is hold the root of each section with your index finger to prevent the stylist for wrapping too close to the scalp.
Lastly, if you have the time and patience, just do them yourself. With youtube, blogs, google, and etc., you can definitely save yourself a literal headache and lots of money going this route. I have never installed any extensions on anybody’s head, let alone my own, prior to the locs. Yet, I was pleased with my results. Give yourself some credit! You might surprise yourself in the end. If you need some tips, tricks, and guidance on the installation process, check about my Ultimate Yarn Wrap Guide to get you started.