I actually feel bothered by the subtleness of the title of this post. Truth is, I cringe.
Before I start though, I need to reiterate that the following post and my thoughts on this is the case for South Africa. I am well aware that other countries have amazing faux lock artists who’s products as well as their work is reputable and of good quality. Over here, not so much though. It is rare.
I sometimes get asked if I do faux locks. No, I don’t do them. I get asked to fix the disaster afterwards however and ‘that’ is the part that gets to me.
In short, it can be a nightmare and an expensive nightmare at that. It is upsetting to see hair in such a state. One’s hair is an important part of our self-esteem. It’s deeply personal. I think its fair to say that anyone who embarks on a dreadlock journey, be it faux or natural hair, have been thinking it through and have generally been wanting it badly for a long time.
Well meaning members of the public recommend supposed “professional salons” on social media which happen to be the exact ones who create these disasters. The recommendations come from people who have no idea and know no better.
I am going to explain and also show you why I say this.
Firstly. The clients I’ve helped and consulted with were horribly overcharged. Think about this. The “hair” being used is plastic fiber. Nothing grand or fancy. In the better cases, faux lock artists make use of Kanekolon fiber and they have developed their skill to make the actual faux lock look like decent and beautiful. Sadly the rest cannot be called “better of cases” as the end result is not deserving of such a description.
The faux locks victims who have landed up by me have all had poor quality plastic hair installed. That fiber is sold by the bundle, isn’t too difficult to find and it is very cheap. When I say “cheap”, they come at an average from around R35 per pack. Out of such a pack one can make many faux lock extensions which is then sold either individually or in a set. The money paid for the faux lock catastrophes I’ve worked on were all horrendously overcharged considering the low quality fiber it is created from and the shocking “dreadlock technique” that is used to create these “locks”.
And no. They cannot be called “dreadlocks”. Most definitely not these ones I am referring to.
Part of the disaster …
The natural hair is sectioned in parts that are far too thin – then plastic extensions get added by knotting or braiding them in. The purpose of this is to fit as many faux extensions in as possible. The reason for this to create a head of faux locks that temporarily appears fuller. But. Over and above that, it is first and foremost for profit. Why add, lets say, 20 faux locks to a person’s hair at x amount per lock if you can add way more simply by sectioning it thinner?
Of course this is easy and deceptive sales talk to the person who already feels insecure about their hair that is actually thin. When not, the clients are made to feel insecure by telling them their hair is thin when in reality it truly is not. More faux extensions sold individually either way – a thicker and fuller end result – more turnover.
Next, the client is ‘not’ advised or instructed on the “after” part so this faux do turns into a nasty mess.
If this is a road you’d like to take and you are sure about your choice – there is literally only one artist I would recommend within SA. Their work is always lovely and in all the years I have fixed disasters, none have ever been from them.
Even so, the faux locks need to be seen to on regular intervals and not left to do their own thing for weeks and months on end. The natural hair braided into the synthetic lock knots up, making it very difficult to remove without cutting any of the natural hair.
How about starting dreadlocks out with faux locks?
Of course I am aware that some think that by installing temporary faux locks that it’s a great way to start out natural dreadlocks as their own hair will start growing out.
Remember the part where I mentioned the sectioning that’s done too thin for the sake of making use of more individually sold faux locks?
They end up growing out, thinly knotted and matted – and sadly one cannot call those dreadlocks. The matted new growth is much thinner than even a thin dreadlock should ideally be. Even when thin dreads are created, they shouldn’t look anything like that. Some are connected by a very little amount of hair, or a few hairs in some cases. When you go a bit down the “dread” there is this fat, unruly, unkept looking part where the faux locks have been fitted onto the clients natural hair. Too thick to look neat and clearly plastic as they become like olden day doll hair, hard with coily bits.
See what I mean?
The cost of such a shocking job gets to me every time.
Literally thousands of Rands get charged for such a cheap-skate product with sub standard, shoddy locking skills. Please don’t allow someone to rip you off like this, it’s so unfair.
How to fix this?
Only one way. To fix it and have any chance on decent looking dreaded hair, those plastic things would need to be removed.
Cut it off . . . CUUTTT IIIT OOOOFFFFF !!!!
After the snipping, I fix the shorter bits of natural hair that is left by reshaping it, combining it with other thin pieces where necessary and possible. I extend those shorties with human hair after that, turning them into what they should have looked like right from the start.
This is a timeous procedure that is not always fixable in one session, but its definitely worth while at the end. Clients who cannot afford to do that all at once has an option to at least start the process by removing, fixing and replacing the plastic extensions that look the worst. As long as we start somewhere.
The human hair dreadlock extensions would be custom made according to the client’s own hair colour, texture etc. I wrote and article here to show and give information on how that is done. From here onwards, the clients natural hair would simply grow out, looking as if the extensions and natural hair fits together without seeing where the one ends and other begins. Please note that I still recommend maintenance at regular intervals afterwards.
Examples of the process and sometimes it really is a process . . .
The following images are from a sweet client whom have become a good friend as well. Her faux rescue job has been quite a journey. I started out replacing the ones that were the worst, first. The fact that her creation was / is a mix of blonde, light brown and silver grey made interesting so I prepared human hair dreadlocks for her in those shades.
A couple of years later and just look how far we have come. Much hair growth, well maintained dreadlocks and one would never say it use to be what it started out as.
Another example . . .
The most recent fix up was for this sweet woman who traveled far to see me. Same thing. I cut it all out and replaced them with good quality human hair I source and import. Over the festive season when she’s back this side we’ll carry on and add some more locks for her.
It is my strong suggestion that temporary dreadlocks made from synthetic fiber is perfectly okay IF they are installed by a reputable artist for short term purposes. Something like an event, a festival, Afrikaburn, a wedding, photoshoot etc. Basically, faux extensions added for fun and artsiness for a short period of time, then removed or adjusted (moved up) before havoc sets in. Also, Kanekolon fiber is a far better option than a cheap junk fiber.
- Please familiarise yourself with cost and procedure
- Carefully look at images on social media business pages of loctitians who do faux locks
- Look for complaints and testimonials but also don’t be gullible when looking at recommendations. Sadly clients walking around with such chaos actually don’t have the knowledge nor experience to know for certain that the work that was done, as well as the synthetic product is great or terrible. One cannot blame them, they truly don’t always know the difference.
- Don’t be shy to ask the loctitian you are considering to use to send you close up images, especially in the areas where the join is as well as close to scalp.
It is necessary to be very picky with the person you allow to work on your hair. You are completely within your right.
What you can do – very important please
Its great to be kind and work out things if you are not satisfied. Dont have too much grace and tolerance however.
If you have been one of those who have had an experience like this, please discus this with the person who did the work firstly. If no resolve is found – go leave a review on their business pages. It will at least help warn others before they go down the same road.
An uninformed or poor choice may leave you with much unhappiness, a wonky self-image and great expense.
I wish you a beautiful outcome. We all deserve to feel good about ourselves.