Natural Hair

5 Important Things to Know Before Starting Your Locs

May 18, 2022
A black woman with Locs in the teenage stage

It has been one year since I started my Locs and the journey has been beautiful. I love watching my hair transform and the process has given me my freedom back!

Since I hit my one-year anniversary, I thought it would be great to do a post on important things to know before starting your Locs. If you’ve been considering this new path, these tips will help you prepare accordingly.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

What to Know Before Starting Locs

How Will You Start Them?

Two strand twist starter locs on natural hair

One of the first things to know before starting your Locs is which method you want to begin your journey with.

There are a variety of ways to start Locs such as:

  • Comb Coils
  • Two-Strand Twists
  • Braids
  • Loc Extensions
  • Instant Locs
  • Freeform

I chose the two-strand twists because I already knew how they would look on me and it seemed like the easiest option!

It’s important to figure out which method you want because it’ll determine how your Locs will mature in the future. This is the foundation of your journey and you want to weigh the pros and cons of each method before committing to it.

Locs Go Through 5 Stages

There are 5 different stages that your Locs will go through. This is a process that requires a lot of patience!

Locs can take anywhere from 1-2 years to fully form, therefore, you want to know what to expect from each stage and how to properly care for your hair.

Remember, everyone’s hair won’t progress at the same rate. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s! Focus on your growth and enjoy each stage.

Here are the stages for Locs:

Starter Locs (3-6 months)

Starter locs at one month

This is the starter or “baby” stage of your journey. Your hair can easily unravel, therefore, low manipulation is key. You may notice that your hair will become frizzy and have a lot of shrinkage after washing it.

Budding (6-12 months)

6 month starter locs also known as the budding stage

Also known as the “sprouting” stage, this is when your hair starts to mat together and get thicker. Your new growth will be puffy and/or frizzy.

Teen (12-15 months)

Starter locs during the teenage stage

Your Locs will start to expand in size and plump up. Some people refer to this as the “ugly stage” because your Locs may seem to go in every direction. If you experience this, it’s a great time to invest in headwraps and try different styles.

Mature (15-18 months)

Locs are firm and denser. You may not have to get your new growth retwisted as often and won’t deal with as much frizz. If your Locs haven’t matured as much as you want them to, be patient! Looser hair textures may take longer to lock.

Rooted (18 months – forever)

The rooted stage is when your Locs are firmly in place, feel heavier, and hang differently. This is the last phase and will continue as long as you’re on this journey!

Related Post: Why I Decided to Loc My Natural Hair After 3 Years

Your Parts and Size Matters

Before starting your Locs, you want to choose your parting pattern and the size you want.

This will be the last time parting your hair, therefore, it’s important to choose a pattern that looks best for your texture.

Here are examples of parts you can get:

  • Square – The most common pattern and easy to do
  • Diamond – Advanced + best if you have thin/fine hair and want a fuller look
  • Crescent or “C-Shaped” – Locs will fall in a way that frames your face
  • Organic/Freestyle – Randomly sized + foundation for freeform Locs

For the size, you want to consider the final look you’re going for in the future. As your Locs mature, they’ll expand and get thicker. You want to ensure they aren’t too big or too small because they can end up breaking off.

The different sizes you can choose from are:

  • Sisterlocks – The smallest size
  • Microlocks – Bigger than sisterlocks
  • Traditional Locs – You can choose small, medium, or thick

I decided to get medium-sized traditional Locs with square parts and have a total of 91. This is the perfect size and amount for me!

Locs Need Water to Thrive

I’ve heard some people say to not apply anything to your hair during the beginning stages, however, water is essential for your Locs to flourish.

They will begin to look dry and dull if they aren’t moisturized properly, and this can eventually lead to breakage. Since less is more when taking care of Locs, you only need a few products to keep them looking fresh.

I recommend using lightweight moisturizing sprays that won’t cause build-up and applying a nourishing oil to lock in moisture.

My favorite moisturizer is the Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin and I love using Jamaican Black Castor Oil after spraying it on my Locs and scalp. These have done an amazing job of keeping my hair shiny and hydrated while providing relief from a dry, itchy scalp.

Another product that I recommend is the Jamaican Mango & Lime No More Itch Spray. Not only does it smell amazing, but it also keeps my Locs moisturized and my scalp itch and flake-free!

Related Post: How to Combat an Itchy Scalp With Starter Locs

Interlocking Lasts Longer

A Loc retwist using the interlocking method

During the beginning stages of your Loc journey, you may notice that your retwists aren’t lasting long. This is when interlocking can be beneficial.

Interlocking is a method that involves pulling the end of your Locs back through the roots. This helps to tighten your new growth and it can help your Locs form smoother without becoming lumpy.

This method helps your retwists last longer compared to palm rolling. You may be able to wait up to 8 weeks before needing a fresh retwist versus doing it once a month.

Interlocking is perfect if you have to wash your hair frequently because you won’t have to worry about them unraveling or getting frizzy. It’s also ideal for those who have a finer hair texture since it may take longer to lock fully.

I started interlocking when I reached the 4-month mark and I loved how long my retwists lasted. The frizz was minimal and I was able to manipulate my Locs more than usual. Even when it was time for a retwist, they still looked well-groomed!

Even if you’ve been using the palm rolling method to retwist, you can still start interlocking. I highly recommend it!

Of course, there are more things to know before starting your Locs, however, these are the most important that have helped me on my journey.

Keep these tips in mind so you can have a successful transition to mature Locs!

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  • Reply Brittany May 20, 2022 at 7:19 am

    Love this! I recently found a loctician close to my home they used the locsmithing method — and it’s everything! I’ve been loc’d about 6 months now and I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.

    • Reply Madisen May 20, 2022 at 2:31 pm

      Sis, I’m so happy for you! Time flies by when you decide to Loc your hair, it’s crazy. I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey so far and I can’t wait to watch how much your hair transforms!

  • Reply Lakeria February 23, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    I absolutely love these tips and stuff I want to start my locs journey but I can decide which is better to get comb coils or a two-strand twist

    • Reply Madisen March 12, 2023 at 11:43 am

      Thank you for reading! When I found my Loctician, she helped me choose the best method to install my Locs based on the length and thickness of my hair. Two-strand twists are the most common! I recommend doing some research to see which look you would feel the most comfortable with and you can get another opinion from a professional if it’s needed.

  • Reply Lovey April 23, 2023 at 5:00 am

    Much gratitude for sharing your journey. This journey read was everything. Reading about your journey has definitely giving me a lot of amazing tips and knowledge. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Lisa Cowan June 30, 2023 at 6:36 pm

    Getting ready to start my loc journey. I’m nervous but this is what I want to do with my hair. I have been natural for 3 years and I just want a different look. I’m 54 years old is this a good decision??

    • Reply Jacquelyn Sims September 2, 2023 at 10:59 am

      Yes! You don’t know me but I’ve been on and off my loc journey. 16 years the first time. Cut them off and 50 and restarted again at 57. Locs gave me freedom and I love my hair and they will look great on you I’m sure.🫶🏽👍🏾

      • Reply Alice May 1, 2024 at 5:25 pm

        Hello Jacquelyn, why did you cut them?

  • Reply Muslimah July 18, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    I love this! I just hit the 4 month mark with my 2 strand twists and got a retwist for the first time, but it unraveled the day after😢 I thought about interlocking but from some other articles I read, it might cause thinning and eventual breakage of the loc and that got me scared. I’m thinking of getting it interlocked maybe once every 6 months and do the regular palm rolling the other times, is it something I can go back and forth with?

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