Starting locs is a test of patience. Your hair will go through many changes during the locking process, including an ugly phase otherwise known as "budding." Since your hair is new to locking, it has to adapt and get used to locking together instead of each curl/coil acting independently. It typically takes a few months for the hair to actually lock together, and although there are methods of interlocking the hair so that it looks like locs, the hair still goes through the same process of getting used to intertwining instead of acting independently. There are 5 different stages to the locking process before you can sit back and truly enjoy your gorgeous locs. Here's what you need to know: 1. Coils Your starter locs are usually coils, twists or nothing (if they're freeform). This is how your hair will understand what shape to take once the hair locks into itself. 2. Sprouting/Budding After a few weeks, you will see that your hair has some knots in them the size of small peas. This is the beginning sign that the hair is beginning to loc as the shed hairs begin to intertwine with the rest of the hair. It's best to not mess with the hair during this time, even though it may be tempting to want to flatten or smooth down the locs. 3. Teenage Stage This is when the hair finally begins to look like locs. Your buds and sprouts have extended up the coil/twists that are soft, pliable and feel loosely meshed. These locs can be shampooed without the worry of them unraveling. At this point, you will need to begin coiling your roots so that they can fall in line with the rest of the hair and loc. It's important to keep the hair coiled so that you can form the cylindrical shape that you're looking for (unless you're doing freeform locs). 4. Mature Stage You've finally finished the process! You finally have locs that can be washed and manipulated without frizzing or puffing. Some notice that the ends of their hair still have a bit of coil or twist left to them, but the ends will loc in no time. Most people's locs are closed at the ends by this stage, but each hair type will render different results. 5. Beyond Maturity During this stage, the hair will begin to break off at the ends due to improper care. Deterioration of the locs usually happens after you've had locs for a really long time (about a decade or so) and don't keep the ends protected or properly conditioned. For maintaining the proper moisture, we recommend using our Moisture Cream. Locking will be a journey, but the end results are always amazingly beautiful. The key; however, is sticking through the budding process which is usually the process where MOST people who are locking for the first time give up. DON'T GIVE UP! At the end of your journey you will have the gorgeous locs that you've always dreamed of.
Are you looking to start your loc journey? What questions or concerns do you have?