Mark Our Words: Invisible Locs Are Going to Dominate 2023 (and Here’s How to Rock the Look)

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We’ve seen a bunch of protective styles sweep the internet in 2022 (think: goddess braids, flat twists and layered braids). But we’re getting ahead of the new year with a prediction for the one style that’s going to take the beauty world by storm. Say hello to invisible locs. This flat twist technique is going to be everywhere, so we tapped two hairstylists to share how you can rock it in 2023 and beyond.

Meet the Experts:

11 Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair That Are Trending in 2022

invisible locs trend a design photo of three women with invisible locs
Dasha Burobina

What Are Invisible Locs?

“Invisible locs begin by twisting your natural hair, then adding feed-in extensions inches away from the roots to form double strand twists throughout the lengths,” explains James. “The protective style gives the illusion of traditional locs minus the full commitment, so if you’ve ever been interested in the classic style (but not ready for the permanent look), consider rocking some invisible locs in the meantime.

Is There a Difference Between Invisible Locs and Faux Locs?

Believe it or not, these two popular styles are not exactly interchangeable. “Invisible locs are a form of faux locs because hair extensions are added, but they’re not crocheted at the root like regular faux locs. Instead, the extensions are twisted into the natural hair—similar to a feed-in braid—and then twisted around another section of hair,” explains Stevens.

Why Is This Trend So Popular?

In the beginning of 2022, stylists pointed out that both flat twists and faux locs were going to be a bit hit, so it’s not all that surprising that a look that combines the two styles would eventually gain traction on social media. Just look through the hashtag and you’ll find 13k related posts on Instagram and 33.6 million views on TikTok.

In addition to invisible locs, other variations of locs (like butterfly locs and goddess locs) have also been popping up, which means 2023 will be about merging the traditional technique with more modern interpretations. When it comes to this protective style, it’s a low-maintenance look you can wear all year long. “Invisible locs give you the ability to rock your style without over-manipulating your hair. It’s convenient, versatile to style, requires little to no maintenance without the hassle of wash day for a full month,” says James. “Overall, it’s a fresh technique for a loc style, which yields a unique finished look that is still versatile with less tension at the roots and provides a level of longevity.”

How to Achieve Invisible Locs

If you’re not an experienced braider, consider getting the look done at a salon. A helpful tip: Bring a few reference photos to your appointment to give your braider a better idea of what style you actually want.

To recreate the trend at home, you can try the twisting technique. There’s also the crochet method that follows the same steps but adds a crochet needle to the mix. (Here’s a helpful tutorial to get you started.) Before you begin with either technique, gather these products below.

What You’ll Need:

Your Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Wash and style your hair as usual.
  2. Use a rat tail comb to divide your hair into four equal sections. Start by parting your hair down the center before running the comb from ear to ear to create two sections on the top and two on the bottom.
  3. Work on one section at a time (and tie up the other sections you’re not working on so they’re not in the way).
  4. Then take your large section and use your comb to divide again (starting at the bottom of the section) before clipping the rest of your hair for later. Then split this new section vertically into smaller portions (Note: this part will depend on the desired thickness of your loc).
  5. Grab one of the small portions of hair and apply gel before flat twisting inwards (towards your middle part). Stevens suggests securing it with a duckbill hair clip, so it doesn’t unravel.
  6. Grab ⅓ of fake hair and start wrapping it around the small piece in the same direction to thicken the strand.
  7. Repeat steps four through six with another small section, but this time, twist the strands in the opposite direction.
  8. At the root, combine both pieces together in the flat twist technique and your first invisible loc is done.
  9. Repeat steps three to eight until your whole head is complete. Then secure the ends with elastic bands and apply mousse for shine.

How Do You Maintain Your Invisible Locs?

Similar to other protective styles, you’ll want to invest in a haircare routine that minimizes frizz and buildup. (We’ve got you covered in that department). Stevens recommends using a hair oil daily to add shine and keep your scalp moisturized while you rock your locs. One more thing: Sleep with a silk head wrap (or bonnet) and a silk pillowcase to keep your invisible locs looking fresh and frizz-free.

If you follow these steps, the style should last between three to four weeks, depending on your hair type. According to James, the locs shouldn’t be worn past a month, and trust us, you’ll know when it’s time to take them out: “Since the base of the loc starts with flat twist on your natural hair, not only does it begin to fray, frizz and loosen, the added extension hair just beyond the root can become weighed down, causing tension as the style wears,” she explains. “If your hair is fine or thin, wear them for two to three weeks tops. But if your hair is average or coarse, no more than four weeks is ideal to ensure you don’t compromise the integrity of your hair.”

Before You Go

Whether you’re getting invisible locs done at the salon or doing it yourself at home, James notes the total cost will depend on a variety of factors: location, stylist’s experience level, preferred sizing and service time. On that note, the average price can be anywhere from $150 to over $500. When it comes to trying it out at home, the cost will boil down to the materials (see above) and the number of hair bundles you purchase (or even the quality of the hair) for this style, which can total up to $100 to $300.

Also, be mindful that getting invisible locs will take time and patience. Your time in the braider’s chair will depend on the thickness and length you desire, so have a Netflix show queued up. Once they’re in, have fun with your new look by trying a few different hairstyles (like creator Sade Andrews above).

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Chelsea Candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...
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