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Your Ultimate Guide To The 5 Different Stages Of Locs

Wondering what the different stages of locs (also known as dreadlocks) are? If you’ve started your locs journey, we know it can be reassuring to know you’re on track and if you’re still thinking about loc’ing your hair, it can be helpful to know what to expect along the way. 

The locs process is one that takes patience and maintenance as it takes time to go from the baby stage to the adult stage (approximately 21 months plus in total), but don’t let this put you off. Locs are beautiful and worthwhile! 

Still love locs? Then keep scrolling to discover the 5 different stages of locs, the duration of each stage and what to expect in each phrase. 

1. Starter Stage/ Baby Stage

Afrocenchix different stages of locs: Black woman with short baby stage of locs from Instagram @merylajohnson

Image Credit: @merylajohnson

In the locs process, the Starter Stage (also known as the Baby Stage) lasts roughly for three to six months. But how long this stage lasts depends on a couple things, such as your hair type and how fast your hair grows. 

Typically, this stage also can be rather trying as many people find that as they wash their hair, their locs can become unravelled or look ‘fluffy’. But it’s important to remember that this stage is just a stage and once your locs mature things will be slightly easier. 

When ‘installing’ or starting your locs, bear in mind what type of locs you want (freeform, braided, twisted, comb coiled, palm rolled and interlocked) and their size, and take into account your hair type and if you want to have a parting pattern. 

Often it’s down to personal preference, but remember that if you create large locs that your individual locs will be rather weighty when they get longer and likewise, if you make your locs very small you’ll need to make sure you keep an eye on their moisture levels as locs can easily break when they are thin and dry

2. Budding Stage/ Sprouting Stage

Afrocenchix different stages of locs: Black woman with short blonde, budding stage of locs from Instagram @baddgaldri

Image Credit: @baddgaldri

The Budding Stage (also known as the Sprouting Stage), occurs roughly six to twelve months into your locs journey. This is when you’ll start to notice that your hair isn’t unravelling when you wash it and notice your new growth, which will look a bit fuzzy and fluffy. 

It’s during this stage that you’ll want to incorporate retwisting into your routine. This will help you keep your original partings and help maintain the style of your locs. Again, how you do this is down to personal preference, many people retwist, palm roll or interlock their own ‘roots’ at home, while others prefer to get their new growth managed by locticians. 

NB: Creating a routine is really important. And we know it will be tempting to want to retwist your new growth as soon as you notice it coming through, but be careful that you don’t over do it as over manipulation can lead to thinning and breakage

3. Teen Stage

Afrocenchix different stages of locs: Black woman with short dreadlocks in the teen stage from Instagram @carla_fye

Image Credit: @carla_fye 

The Teenage Stage (also known as the ‘Ugly’ Stage) of locs is usually 12-18 months into your journey. Wondering why this stage is named so?  It’s because much like teenagers, this is when your locs can become a little rebellious and can be seen as awkward due to its in-between length.

But in our opinion, we think that this loc stage is the most exciting. This is when you can see your locs really taking form, develop and you can begin to visualise your locs potential! 

4. Mature Stage 

 Afrocenchix different stages of locs: Young black woman with mature stage dreadlocks to one side looking down from Instagram @thequalityname

Image Credit:@thequalityname

The Mature Stage of your locs journey starts approximately at months 15-18. Your locs have finally matured! This is when you have a year or so under your belt and your locs are more cylindrical in shape. 

You'll notice that you don't have to retwist/reform your locs as much because your locs will have taken a nice firm shape and you’ll have a very established locs routine. 

5. Rooted Stage/ Adult Stage

Afrocenchix different stages of locs Black woman with adult stage dreadlocks up in a bun from Instagram @beaut_tee_ful_

The final locs stage is the Rooted Stage also known as the Adult Stage, which occurs anywhere from 18-21 months plus. Your locs are grown and adult! 

Your locs care routine will be established and your locs will be flourishing. So remember not to get too complacent and leave your hair locs without properly cleansing and moisturising them. It doesn’t matter which stage you’re at, the basics are important to help you maintain your lovely locs.  


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