When your locs start budding you should be excited— you have reached the beginning of one of the first milestones in your loc journey! But if you’re unsure of what it means when your locs start “budding”, you’ll likely have more concern than excitement. Common concerns that arise when locs start budding are “why is my loc pregnant“, “what is this lump in my locs“, “my locs are puffy in one area” and naturally, if this is your first set of locs you may think something is wrong— but don’t worry! The beginning of your loc journey is when your hair undergoes the most transformation.
Let’s talk about the basics of loc budding so that you will understand what’s going on and put your mind at ease.
What is Loc Budding?
When your locs start budding that means your hair is beginning to tangle inside the loc and form its own internal loc matrix. The internal Loc matrix is essentially a net within the locs that catches all of your naturally shed hair. The formation of this internal loc matrix causes your locs to swell and become noticeably frizzy.
Related Article: Locs Under a Microscope
You can take a closer look at what locs budding looks like under the microscope in my latest video:
When to expect your locs to start budding?
Typically, within the first 3-6 months you will notice the first signs of budding in your locs. Depending on your hair texture, product usage and initial method for starting locs the onset of this process can vary. The budding can appear anywhere along the shaft of the locs, but normally budding appears in the middle of the locs or closer to the roots first.
Once your locs have completely budded, from the roots to the ends, they will have matured into the teenage loc stage.
Related Article: The 4 stages of Hair Locking
What If You Haven’t Noticed Any Budding?
If within the first 6 months of your loc journey your locs have not begun to bud, I would definitely check your products first. Often times, if you’re not under the guidance of a Certified Loctician, you end up using the wrong products for locs; and without a proper regimen your locs take a lot longer to mature. But again, the timeline for your locs to start budding varies widely from person to person and hair texture to hair texture, so patience is essential for everyone.
Can the Loc Budding Be Avoided
You may hear reference made to the phrase, “ugly phase of locs” and how much of a struggle it is to get through it. Often times, it is assumed that the “ugly phase of locs” is during the budding process— as your hair transitions from coils or twists into locs. If you desire to skip that phase or the first 6-9 months of the locking process, you can opt for instant locs. Instant locs are instantaneous formation of the internal loc matrix such that your hair resembles a natural cultivated loc. However, it is important to know that your hair would still go through the remaining phases of hair locking, starting from the teenage phase. So the short answer is yes you can skip the initial stage of budding, but your hair would still go through the locking process.
Now that you understand the basics of loc budding, embrace this stage of your loc journey and look forward to the beautiful transformation that your hair will grow you through!