Maintaining Your Butterfly Locs: Tips and Tricks

Butterfly Locs

Butterfly locs are a stunning and versatile hairstyle that can offer both a protective benefit for your natural hair and a stylish look. However, like any good thing, they require proper care and maintenance to keep them looking fresh and beautiful. This guide provides essential tips and tricks to maintain your butterfly locs, covering everything from washing routines to nighttime care.

Understanding Butterfly Locs

Before diving into maintenance, it's important to understand what sets butterfly locs apart. Unlike traditional locs, butterfly locs are a type of faux locs with a distressed and bubbly appearance. They are typically installed by wrapping hair extensions around braided or twisted natural hair. This unique style needs specific care to maintain its signature look.

Regular Maintenance Routine

  1. Keep Them Clean: While butterfly locs don't require frequent washing, keeping your scalp clean is crucial. Use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your scalp every 2-3 weeks. When washing, focus on the scalp rather than the locs to avoid frizz.

  2. Moisturize Your Scalp: Your natural hair and scalp still need hydration. Use a light oil or a spray leave-in conditioner to moisturize your scalp and natural hair at the roots. Avoid heavy products that can cause buildup.

  3. Refresh the Locs: If your locs start to look a bit frizzy, use a light mousse to smooth them down. Apply the mousse along the length of the locs and gently pat them to keep the butterfly effect intact.

Washing Routine

Washing butterfly locs can be a bit tricky due to their texture and volume. Here’s how to do it without causing frizz or damage:

  1. Dilute Your Shampoo: Mix your shampoo with water in a spray bottle for easier application.
  2. Apply Gently: Spray the diluted shampoo onto your scalp and gently massage with your fingertips. Avoid rigorous scrubbing.
  3. Rinse Thoroughly: Carefully rinse your scalp and hair, ensuring all shampoo is washed out. It's important to avoid drenching your locs excessively as they can become heavy and take a long time to dry. 
  4. Dry Carefully: Pat your hair gently with a towel to remove excess water. Avoid rubbing as this can cause frizz. Air drying is recommended, but if you're in a hurry, you can use a hooded dryer on a cool setting.

Nighttime Care

  1. Wrap Your Hair: Before going to bed, wrap your locs in a silk or satin scarf or bonnet. This reduces friction with your pillow and prevents frizz and tangling.
  2. Pineapple Method: If your locs are long, gather them into a loose, high ponytail (known as the pineapple method) before wrapping. This helps maintain the locs' shape and volume.

Managing Itchiness and Scalp Health

  1. Use a Scalp Serum: If you experience itchiness, consider using a soothing scalp serum or oil with ingredients like peppermint or tea tree oil.
  2. Avoid Buildup: Be cautious with product use. Excessive use of products can lead to buildup, which can irritate your scalp.

Refreshing the Style

  1. Retwist the Base: If your butterfly locs start to loosen at the roots, you can carefully retwist them. This should be done sparingly to avoid putting too much tension on your natural hair.
  2. Touching Up Frizz: For frizzy areas, use a crochet hook to gently tuck in any stray hairs back into the locs. You can also apply a bit of mousse or edge control for a smoother look.

Styling Tips

  1. Be Gentle: Avoid tight hairstyles that can put unnecessary stress on your locs and roots.
  2. Use Light Accessories: Opt for lightweight hair accessories to avoid weighing down your locs or causing tension.

When to Take Them Out

Butterfly locs, like any protective style, shouldn't be kept in for too long. Generally, it's recommended to remove them after 6-8 weeks to give your natural hair a break and prevent matting.

Removing Your Locs

  1. Be Patient: Take your time when removing your locs to avoid cutting your natural hair or causing breakage.
  2. Use a Conditioner: Applying a conditioner can help loosen the locs and make the removal process smoother.

Post-Removal Care

  1. Detangle and Condition: Once you've removed the locs, gently detangle your hair and follow up with a deep conditioning treatment.
  2. Rest Your Hair: Give your hair some time to rest and recover before installing another set of locs or other protective styles.


Maintaining butterfly locs requires a balance of proper care and gentle handling. By following these tips and tricks, you can keep your locs looking fresh and beautiful while also ensuring the health of your natural hair. Remember, the key to any successful protective style is not just the installation but also the maintenance and care that follows. Enjoy your beautiful butterfly locs and the versatility they bring to your hairstyle repertoire!

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