stages of locs

The Journey of Locs: Exploring the Stages of Hair Locking in 2023

Have you ever thought about locking your hair? If so, you may be wondering what to expect on your journey to beautifully formed locs. From the starter phase to the mature stage, each step of the process requires patience and care to achieve the desired look. 

What exactly are the stages of locs, and how do you navigate them? In this article, we will take a closer look at the different phases of locs and what you can expect at each one. Whether you’re starting with comb coils or two-strand twists or opting for the freeform method, understanding the process will help you achieve healthy, well-formed locs that reflect your unique style. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting journey of locking your hair!

How to Begin Your Loc Journey?

The starter locs stage is the first step on your journey towards achieving fully formed locs. This is where your hair begins to take on the initial stages of the locking process. Starting your loc journey may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. 

There are different methods to begin your locs, and you can choose the one that best suits your hair type, texture, and lifestyle.

Comb Coil

One of the most popular methods for starting locs is comb coils. These are created by using a small comb to twist your hair into small, cylindrical sections. This method is ideal for those with shorter hair, and the resulting locs tend to be uniform in size and shape.

Two-Strand Twist

Another method for starting locs is two-strand twists. It involves twisting two strands of hair together to create a rope-like effect. This method is ideal for those with longer hair, and the resulting locs tend to be thinner and more flexible.

Freedom Method

Lastly, there is the freeform method, where locs form naturally without any manipulation or grooming. This method is ideal for those who prefer a more organic look and want to let their hair do its own thing.

The Baby Locs Stage: What to Expect

When starting your loc journey, the baby locs stage can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. Here are some things to expect during this stage:

Loose Hair

You may experience some loose hair as your locs are starting to form. Don’t worry, this is normal and the loose hair will eventually get incorporated into your locs.


Your hair may also experience some frizz during the early stages of your loc journey. This is a result of your hair adjusting to being in a new style and will eventually settle down as your locs mature.


As your hair starts to form into locs, you may experience some shrinkage. This is due to the hair tightening up and can make your locs appear shorter than you expected. Don’t worry, as your locs mature, they will loosen up and stretch out.

Scalp Irritation

Some people may experience scalp irritation during the early stages of their loc journey. This can be caused by the tension used to create the locs, but can be minimized by using natural oils to soothe the scalp.


Although your locs may appear short at the beginning, they will continue to grow over time. With patience and care, your locs will eventually reach the length you desire.

The Teenage Locs Stage: Patience is Key

The teenage locs stage can be a challenging phase for many people, but with patience and perseverance, you can successfully navigate through it. 

Here’s what to expect during this stage:

Loosening and Tightening

Your locs will go through a period of loosening and tightening as they continue to mature. Don’t be alarmed if some of your locs feel loose or if you notice some unraveling. This is a normal part of the process.


During this stage, your locs will begin to take on a more defined shape. However, they may not all form at the same rate, so some may be thicker or thinner than others. This is also normal and will even out over time.


Your locs will continue to grow during the teenage stage, but it may feel like they’re not growing fast enough. Be patient and keep in mind that it takes time for hair to grow. You may also notice that some of your locs are growing faster than others, which is also normal.


It’s important to continue with regular maintenance during the teenage stage. It includes washing your locs regularly, retwisting them as needed, and keeping your scalp clean and moisturized.


During the teenage stage, you may want to experiment with different styles to keep your locs looking fresh and new. Just be careful not to put too much tension on your locs or use heavy products that can weigh them down.

The Mature Locs Stage: Fully Formed and Established

The mature locs stage is the final phase of the loc journey, and it’s characterized by fully formed and established locs. Here’s what you can expect during this stage:

Fully Formed Locs

Your locs will have a defined shape and size, and they will be fully established. They may be thick or thin, depending on how they were initially started.


Your locs will have reached their maximum length, and they may be long and flowing or shorter and more compact, depending on your preference and the method of starting your locs.


At this stage, your locs will require less maintenance than in the previous stages. You will still need to wash and re-twist them periodically, but they will require less frequent attention.


Your locs will be strong and resilient, able to withstand daily wear and tear without breaking or unraveling.


With fully formed locs, you’ll have more options for styling, from simple updos to intricate braids and twists. You can also experiment with color, adding highlights or going for a bold new shade.

Cultural Significance

For many people, mature locs carry cultural and spiritual significance, representing a connection to their roots and a celebration of their heritage.


Remember, the mature locs stage is the culmination of your loc journey, and it’s a testament to your patience, dedication, and commitment to your hair. Enjoy your fully formed and established locs, and take pride in the beauty and cultural significance they represent.

The Elder Locs Stage: A Long-Term Commitment

The elder locs stage is the phase of the loc journey that comes after the mature locs stage. At this stage, your locs have been established for a significant amount of time and have become a long-term commitment. 

Here’s what to expect during this stage:


At the elder locs stage, your locs will continue to grow, and they may become longer and thicker over time.

Changes in Texture

Depending on how you care for your locs and the environment you live in, your locs may experience changes in texture. They may become more coarse, softer, or take on a different texture altogether.


At this stage, maintaining your locs is crucial. You’ll need to continue washing, moisturizing, and retwisting your locs regularly to keep them healthy.

Personal Growth

Your locs may serve as a physical representation of your personal growth and journey. They can be a source of pride and a reminder of the commitment and dedication required to maintain them.


Elder locs are often treated with respect and admiration within the loc community and beyond. They are a testament to your patience and commitment, and they may inspire others to start their own loc journey.

Remember, the elder locs stage is a long-term commitment, and it requires continued care and attention to maintain the health and beauty of your locs. Embrace the changes that come with this stage, and take pride in the cultural and personal significance of your locs.

Final Thoughts

The stages of locs are a natural and beautiful journey that requires patience, dedication, and commitment. From the initial baby locs stage to the mature and elder locs stage, each phase brings its own unique challenges and rewards. Along the way, you’ll learn how to care for your locs properly, experiment with different styles, and deepen your connection to your cultural heritage. 

Ultimately, the loc journey is a celebration of personal growth and self-expression, and it’s a testament to the beauty and resilience of natural hair. So if you’re considering starting a loc journey or are already on the path, remember to embrace each stage fully and enjoy the process of watching your locs mature and evolve over time.


How long does each LOC stage last? 

The length of each loc stage varies, but on average, the baby locs stage can last from 3 to 6 months, the teenage locs stage can last up to 18 months, the mature locs stage can last up to 24 months, and the elder locs stage is a long-term commitment that can last indefinitely with proper care.

How long do locs take to drop? 

The time it takes for locs to drop varies depending on the person and the method used to create the locs. In some cases, locs can drop in just a few weeks, while in others, it may take several months or even years for the locs to fully drop.

What are the 4 stages of starter locs? 

The four stages of starter locs are the starter locs stage, the budding stage, the teenage locs stage, and the mature locs stage.

At what stage do locs swell? 

Locs can swell at any stage, but it’s most common during the teenage locs stage, when the locs are growing and tightening. Swelling can also occur if the locs are not properly maintained, or if there is an underlying scalp condition. It’s important to address swelling as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

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