Curious how your locs will change during the locking process? The easiest way to see how your locs will evolve is by looking at the stages that locs grow through.The 4 stages of locs that you experience as you grow through the hair locking process are the starter lock stage, the baby lock stage, the teenage stage, and the adult stage. On average, moving through all these stages can take upwards of 18-24 months; but depending on your texture, density, product usage, and hair care regimen, your hair may move quicker or slower throughout the locking process.
The 4 Stages of Locs
What Happens In The Starter Locs Stage?
With your starter locs, you are establishing your parting system and the ideal starting method that works best for your hair texture to achieve your desired result. No matter which starting method that you choose, even loc extensions, you will still experience the 4 stages of locs. In the starter locs stage, you’re waiting for your hair to form buds; and these buds can essentially form anywhere in the hair. On average, you can stay in the starter locs stage from 3 to 6 months.
Characteristics of Starter Locs:
- Small in size
- Clean Parts
What Happens During the Baby Locs Stage?
Once the majority of your hair has begun to bud you will be in the baby locs stage. In this stage, your hair is characterized with a lot of frizziness and swelling— think “pregnant locs”. It is very important in this stage for you to make sure that you are thoroughly cleansing your hair and properly cultivating it on a regular basis to avoid lumps, bumps and weak spots. You will also notice in this stage, if you choose to start your locs with twists or braids, that your starting patterns (those lines in your hair) will start to diminish. On average, you can be in the baby locs stage from 3-9 months.
Characteristics of Baby Locs:
- Swelling in size
The Teenage Stage or “Ugly Stage” of Locs
Once your hair has fully budded, across the entire length of the locs, and they’ve swelled up to almost twice their original size, you have entered the teenage stage. In the teenage stage, a few characteristics are unruly hair, and you may feel like your hair is shrinking or not growing lengthwise. The illusion of the lack of growth is because, during the teenage stage, your locs are becoming denser and they are tangling on the inside.
As you can see here in this video, there is an internal structure to locs that naturally happens in which all the hairs tangle together. During this stage it is a good time for you to start experimenting with pressure styles, such as rope twists and curly sets, to help control some of the swelling. On average, you can expect to be in teenage stage anywhere from 6 to 18 months.Characteristics of Teenage Locs:
- Double Original Size
- Sealed Ends
- Growing exponentially
- Minimal / No Frizz
Adult Stage of Locs
When you’ve reached the adult stage, your hair will have gotten really dense and you will start to notice your hair growing lengthwise. Your locs will also begin to normalize in size. From the beginning size when they were really skinny to swelling up to almost twice their size, they will now start constricting and be a lot more dense rather than puffy.
Characteristics of Adult Locs:
As you can see, it can take anywhere from 12 to almost 36 months to enter the adult stage of locs, which is why patience is key. You also want to ensure that you’re using the right products, to prevent buildup and unraveling; and that you’re properly retwisting your hair to avoid weak locs and excessive frizz once they’re mature.