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Soft Locs vs Butterfly Locs: Main Differences

aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Fact checked by Annie

Key Takeaways:

  • Soft loc and butterfly loc is characterized by crocheted, knotted, and wrapped hairstyles.
  • These hairstyles are known to be a part of the umbrella of faux locs, which are utilized mainly by individuals with Afro-textured hair. 
  • Soft and butterfly locs can best fit any type of hair, yet soft locs are preferred in short and softer hair, while butterfly locs are often used with longer hair.
  • Soft and butterfly locs are easy to recreate; you must wash, dry, braid, crochet, knot, wrap, and style.

In a sea of people in the US, more than half have Afro-textured hair. Afro-textured hair is characterized by kinky, coily, or wavy hair.

Moreover, the styles you can make for this type of hair vary from faux locs, braiding, twists, dreadlocks, cornrows, short styles, and ponytails.

Given this reach, many confuse one style with another. However, they have differences only the keen eye can spot, and we’ll help you by identifying soft locs vs. butterfly locs in this article.

This article will give you a glimpse of how they differ in style, type of hair, texture, pricing, hair care maintenance, and more!

What Are Soft Locs?

Soft locs live by their name: soft, free, and loose. Nonetheless, soft locs are part and parcel of a bigger style group – the faux locs.

Yet, identifying a soft locs hairstyle is easy because of its distinct characteristics, such as:

  • Loose
  • Mostly crocheted
  • Natural-look

In addition, soft locs can be used as a style for both thick and thin hair strands and any hair length. You can even style your straight hair in these traditional locs.

What you need to ensure when dealing with softer crochet locs is that your hair length must be enough to grip for braiding.

Nonetheless, these locs have been used by individuals dating back to the olden age of Europe and India hundred years before the common era [1]

However, it only started its popularity in Western countries when the Rastafari Movement began. [2]

This sociopolitical and religious movement from Jamaica was made significant in the USA because its social actors wore the dreads or the now-known Marley hair. More so, it is where soft locs originated.

FUN FACT: The Marley hair is named after Bob Marley, and the Marley hair is also characterized by locs and twists when worn.

Benefits of Soft Locs

  • Natural Look: Soft locs mimic the look and feel of natural locs, offering a seamless blend with natural hair.
  • Lightweight: Due to their soft texture, they are lighter on the scalp and more comfortable to wear.
  • Versatile Styling: Soft locs can be styled in various ways, including updos, ponytails, and braids.

Pros of Soft Locs

  • Soft looks natural
  • Wrapping hair protects the natural hair
  • Low maintenance
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to recreate

Cons of Soft Locs

  • Creates scalp tension
  • Needs a careful hair care
  • Can be irritating

What Are Butterfly Locs?

Butterfly locs are similar to softer locs in using the crochet method. Yet, butterfly locs differ in that softer locs are cleaner looking, while the principle in butterfly locs is: the messier, the better.

Also, butterfly locs have with it their own set of hairstyle characteristics that make them stand out on people with Afro-textured hair, such as:

  • More textured
  • Gives volume
  • Has loops

The brain behind the beautiful butterfly locs is Chelsea Lauryn, a loctician based in North Carolina.

In doing her signature butterfly locs, you need to do it similarly with soft locs but more unrestricted in wrapping hair after the braid-in method.

Benefits of Butterfly Locs

  • Unique Texture: The textured, messy look of butterfly locs makes them stand out from other types of locs.
  • Bohemian Vibe: Perfect for those who love a boho-chic aesthetic, butterfly locs offer a fun and youthful look.
  • Protective Style: Like other types of locs, butterfly locs protect natural hair from environmental damage and promote healthy hair growth.

Pros of Butterfly Locs

  • Elevates the traditional locs
  • It lasts up to six weeks
  • Protective in nature
  • Outstanding texture and volume
  • Painless to the scalp

Cons of Butterfly Locs

  • Oil buildup in the roots
  • It takes six hours to do
  • It can cost up to $500

Soft Locs vs Butterfly Locs – What Are the Differences?

You need a reminder of how and where they differ when getting lost in the middle of soft locs vs. butterfly locs.

In this section, we will show you the main differences between soft locs hairstyles from butterfly locs and vice versa.

First, they differ in visuals. Soft locs, in this case, bear these characteristics similar to the image below:

  • More neat-looking
  • Tight
  • Straight direction

On the other end, butterfly locs, like the image below, is more of the contrary of soft locs, as it leans more into the following features:

  • Modern messy trend
  • Loose and relaxed
  • Loopy

Next, they differ in the technique used to perfect them. Soft locs tend to be traditional, which means the usual dreads we see daily:

On this account, butterfly locs are more fitting in modern times, as they do not conform to the strictly neat-and-clean vibe, yet they still look presentable:

Nonetheless, both can perfectly highlight texture and volume.

Styling Soft Locs & Butterfly Locs

It has been established that soft locs and butterfly locs differ in technique. To know it in-depth, here’s how they compare:

  • In soft locs, you need to use kinky wrapping hair extensions (Bobbi Boss Nu Locs), while in butterfly locs, you’ll need a FreeTress water wave hair extension.
  • 8 packs of Bobbi Boss Nu Locs are needed for your soft locs, while 8 packs of FreeTress water wave are enough for your butterfly locs.
  • Soft locs last when you use the crochet locs hair combined with spring twist or passion twist hair technique in a tight and straight direction, while butterfly locs utilize the same method, but loose.

How to get soft locs and butterfly locs?

Having hairstyles like soft locs and butterfly locs take time and effort.

Sometimes, it’s pretty time-consuming, with the former averaging two to five hours and the butterfly locs hairstyle can take four to six hours. But we don’t want to leave you hanging.

In this section, we’ll show you a step-by-step guide to achieving both hairstyles:

  1. First, wash your hair with a Lion Locs shampoo and ensure you have a clean canvas before wearing soft and butterfly locs. Then, towel dry.
  2. Second, lock strands in sections of braids using a rat tail comb. Ensure that the areas of your hairstyles are not that thick or too thin.
  3. Third, crochet hair by pushing the crochet needle downward at the top of a braided section. Entangle the extension to the hook of the crochet needle, and pull the needle upwards.
  4. Fourth, knot the pulled strand with the natural strand at the top, and the faux locs tend to be at the bottom.
  5. Fifth, wrap the natural hair with the faux locs by fluffing the latter and using it to wrap the former in a spring twist hair method.
  6. Sixth, style your crocheted locs in a bun or any other hairstyle you want, and detail with an edge control from Mielle Organics.
  7. Seventh, apply hydrating products on curly hairstyles, like the Lion Locs Spray, once in a while to keep each strand of curls moisturized.

How much are the soft locs or butterfly locs?

Soft and butterfly locs for your natural hair also differ in how professional hairstylists price them. Softer locs are priced between $200 – $400, while butterfly locs run around the price range of $150 – $500.

This hairstyle pricing is not solely reliant on the technique of doing the faux hairstyle, but it will also depend on the following:

  • Products used in a loc
  • Time consumed in doing your locs 
  • Length of your hair for a loc
  • The density of your hair

Which hair is optimal for soft locs vs. butterfly locs

As mentioned in the previous sections, to achieve soft locs, you’ll need to crochet your hair in kinky wraps. On the other hand, butterfly locs demand water wave braids.

Nonetheless, all hair lengths and types can be styled for the best faux locs in soft locs and butterfly locs.

Yet, a stylist may say that soft locs are for long hair while butterfly locs are better for short hair

Regardless of the length, it’s most important to ensure that the method used is enough to hold on to for the crochet faux locs or the braids.

Does soft loc or butterfly loc require more maintenance?

Both hairstyles, soft locs and butterfly locs, require maintenance so that you will not get stiff locs, continuously protect your hair from damage, and have moisturized roots.

However, it would be best if you were extra careful when you have the soft locs hairstyle compared to the butterfly locs hairstyle. 

In soft locs, you need to remember the following tips:

  • Don’t use shampoo for scalp cleaning, only the mixture of apple cider vinegar and water
  • Use a shower cap when showering to protect the slippage of the natural wavy hair wrapped in spring twist 
  • Wear a satin cap or silk bonnet before sleeping to prevent stiff locs on your hairstyles and achieve beautiful and fresh soft locs for a more extended period

Nonetheless, butterfly locs are easier to maintain. Here are what you need to follow:

  • Use a shampoo for cleaning your hairstyle once a week
  • Ensure dryness of strand
  • You can use an apple cider and water mixture to prevent irritation

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Final Thoughts

Wearing the right style, whether soft locs or butterfly locs, will depend on your preference and comfort.

Whatever you choose, the two hairstyles will make you stand out, with the other leaning more into the traditional side (soft locs) and the other a more modern and boho look (butterfly locs).

Just remember our tips and step-by-step guide to doing the type of hair locs you want to recreate, and you’re good to go in achieving a natural look for your next faux locs endeavor!

aida turner


Founder & Hair Beauty Specialist

I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty and make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!