The 5 Different stages of the Loc Journey by month

The 5 Different stages of the Loc Journey by month

Getting the locs you have always wanted takes a process, and it’s important to know the different stages of locs journey so you can know what to expect. There are five stages of locs, namely the starter stage, budding stage, teen stage, maturity stage, and rooted stage. The entire stages can take 18-24 months upwards, after which you will be able to have the long, thick, and shiny locs you desire. Without further ado, let’s get into the details of what each stage entails.


Loc Journey: The 5 Different Loc Journey stages by month (with pictures)



1. 3 to 6 months: Starter phase of the Loc journey

The starter phase is the baby stage of your locs development, and it can last anywhere from 3-6 months. The duration depends on your hair type and how fast your hair grows, but the key factor here is that your hair is able to form coils entirely through from roots to ends.
Starter locs are easy to identify as they’re usually small in size, neat and are in clean parts. At this stage, you’re excited as you wait for them to bud.

Tips to maintain locs at the starter phase 

  • Try to wait at least two weeks before your very first shampoo
  • Use a residue-free shampoo whenever you wash your hair to keep your scalp clean whenever your locs get itchy
  • Apply conditioner daily to your hair to keep your scalp and baby locs moisturised
  • Never detangle them again
  • Leave your locs alone and let them grow as, please

Lion Locs Shampoo and Conditioner, 2 in 1 Co-Wash for Dreadlocks, Braids, and Dreads | Residue Build-Up Free

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2. 6 to 12 months: Budding phase of the Loc Journey

Also known as sprouting, the budding phase is the miraculous moment when the magic starts becoming obvious as you might notice your new growth is puffy. In other words, your hair will start to intertwine at the tops of your coil after shampooing, and the coils will start to have some thickness. This is the time you need to consistently and thoroughly shampoo your hair or clean them to avoid buildups, bumps, and weak spots.
You will also notice that at this stage if you choose to start your locs with twists or braids that are your starting patterns, those lines in your hair will start to diminish. This is part of the process, and you shouldn’t let it disturb you. Just make sure you keep the original scalp partings to allow the spinning process to become established for each individual loc. Budding locs are easy to identify as they’re usually frizzy and swell in size.

Tips to maintain locs at the budding phase 

  • Cleanse and cultivate your hair regularly
  • Shampoo regularly but be careful, so you don’t unravel the hair
  • Don’t re-divide your budding locs or twist them to death
  • Practice a light re-twisting routine to promote new growth
  • Refrain from frequent re-twisting as it can lead to thinning locs and breakage

To keep your scalp clean and fresh, Taliah Wajeed Bamboo, Avocado & Peppermint Dry Gel Shampoo is an excellent choice

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3. 12 to 15 months: Teen phase of the Loc journey 

 Some refer to this phase as the locking stage, while others see it as the ugly phase, but it all depends on how you look at it. It is the exciting time when the buds and sprouts truly begin to look like locs as they have swelled up to almost twice their original size. This is also an excellent time to rock your hair by investing in accessories so you can play around with a few styles. At the moment, shampooing can no longer loosen locs since the growing stage of your locs development where your locs have developed enough to hang down.
If you have waited quite long enough for this stage, you may either feel elated because you are now seeing the magic clearly, or you might begin to wonder, could possibly be going on with your hair, thinking you have made the biggest mistake of your life. The reason you may wonder is that the locs at the teenage stage double their original size and often look like they’re not growing lengthwise or they’re shrinking.

Tips to maintain locs at the teen phase

  • Be highly selective of products you use to avoid buildup since your locs are just starting to lump
  • Experiment often with pressure styles (such as ropes twists and curly sets) to control some swelling
  • Wash your locs regularly and keep them moisturised

Give Locsanity Passion Fruit Softening and Moisturizing Spray a try to keep your locs moisturised.

Locsanity Passion Fruit Moisturizing Daily Spray for Locs

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4. 15 to 18 months: Maturity phase of the Loc Journey

Your excitement climbs a notch higher as your locs become denser in size, noticeable in length, and there’s minimal frizz. The duration of this adult stage is around 1-2 years, but the speed at which your locs will grow depends on your hair’s texture, your hair care regimen, and the products you use.
You know you have reached the mature stage when your locs are closed at the ends, and they are finally long enough to lie flat or hang down. At this point, your locs are firm, and there’s no more reforming, so you don’t have to re-twist your new growth.

Tips to maintain locs at the maturity phase 

  • Engage in a regular shampooing and conditioning routine
  • Use the right products to prevent buildup and unravelling
  • Properly re-twist your hair to avoid weak locs and excessive frizz once they are mature


Find a mobile Loctician in London 


5. From 18 months onwards: Rooted phase of your Loc Journey

This stage is akin to the shedding stage of hair growth, and it happens after the second year. Normally, by this time, your locs should have all grown to the same length and will feel heavier and at the same time, more slender. You can choose to let them go below your waist or trim them if you want a more manageable style.
After a few years of wearing your locs, there’s a good chance that some locks may begin to think and break off at the ends. Caring for your locs and being consistent at it can help minimize signs of age.

Tips to maintain locs at the rooted phase

  • Use natural oils (such as Argan oil and Avocado oil) to keep your tresses moisturised, long and shiny
  • Get regular trims to control deterioration at the ends of your locs
  • Deep condition your locs every 1-2 weeks
  • Wrap your locs at night with a satin scarf to prevent breakage and dry locs
  • Dry your locs thoroughly to prevent odour

If you’re looking to start locs, you now know what to expect throughout each phase. As you can see, the journey can take anywhere from 1-2 years, so you will need to be patient and take care of your locs so you can get the results you desire.

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Read about Afrocks cofounder Simone’s Locs Journey:

“Do you believe in love at first sight? Sweaty palms, butterflies, heart palpitations…absolute adoration…from one glance. Well, that’s what happened to me the first time I saw sister locs. Actually, thinking about it, my love affair with Locs started long before that day. As a child, I was lucky enough to visit Jamaica frequently (thanks Mum) and I remember being very young and listening to a group of rasta men chanting and being mesmerised by their hair.

But it was more than that; it was their confidence and their pride that stirred something within me. Well, something happened that day and over the years I became fixated with Locs. I’ve spoken about my hair story many times over and my experience is very similar to many I’m sure. Over the years and through various hair trials and tribulations I’ve always come back to wanting Locs but was never brave enough to start them. Now anything that requires you to step out of your comfort zone requires bravery, from going for that job opportunity to getting a new hairstyle and even more so when you are going against the grain. My family are Caribbean and you would think that having Locs is no biggie…wrong. Due to profiling, conditioning and history of distorting black beauty some people in my family believed Locs were unkempt, unprofessional and represented resistance to a system they had become entrenched in and accustomed to. Every time I mentioned wanting Locs, it was as though I suggested I no longer wanted to wear clothes! The shock and the horror on their faces was a sight and although I was rebellious, their disdain and contempt always prevented me from my hair calling. I have done so many things to my hair over the years but a few years ago I realised that I had out styled myself, I no longer wanted braids or twists and even shaving it all off only appeased me for a year or so. So as I do, I spoke to my hair. “What do you want?”, I asked and my hair responded, “to be left alone”.

April 2021, I took a deep breath, consulted with a fellow Afrocks stylist and started my Loc journey. I didn’t tell anyone for 2 months (I could get away with that as I am the headwrap queen). I didn’t share this, not because I was afraid or ashamed but because I wanted a moment to enjoy my decision without opinions. As my hair was sectioned and I witnessed the birth of my starter Locs (and I’m not even being dramatic) I felt a sense of peace come over me. Finally, I was who I was meant to be. I was so afraid of messing it up that I refused to wash my hair just in case they came out (sorry Carina). When speaking about loc journey it is so tempting to focus on the aesthetics – I had intended on telling you about the drama of having Locs and sleeping with no scarf, of expecting your Locs to be waist length after 48 hours but instead, I just want to share my joy. I don’t care how long my Locs are, not bothered about being on-trend. Right now I look like a young Buju Banton and I am over happy, having gone from someone who hated their hair to now feeling like my Locs are magical. If it is for fashion, opt for faux Locs because real Locs require commitment, dedication, patience and love. Finally, after all these years…I have good hair.”

Simone is one of Afrocks cofounders. You can book a mobile appointment with her by visiting her profile




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