starter locs

Everything You Need to Know About Starter Locs in 2023

What are starter locs?

Starter locs are the initial phase of the locs journey, where the hair is intentionally manipulated to create cylindrical coils that will eventually mature into fully-formed dreadlock. This process involves creating small sections of hair, usually with the use of a comb or other tool, and then twisting or braiding those sections to create a coiled pattern.

During the starting phase, it’s important to care for your hair properly to ensure healthy and even growth. This includes avoiding harsh chemicals and excessive heat styling, as well as regularly washing and conditioning the hair to keep it clean and moisturized. It’s also common to experience some tightness or discomfort during the starting phase, as the hair adjusts to the new style and the coils begin to form.

The length of time it takes for starter locs to mature can vary depending on factors such as hair texture, density, and maintenance routine. On average, it can take anywhere from six months to a year for starter locs to fully mature and become more defined. 

During this time, it’s important to continue to care for your hair properly and be patient as your locs grow and develop. Over time, the coils will become tighter and more distinct, eventually forming the classic rope-like texture that is characteristic of fully-formed dreadlocks.

Benefits of Starter Locs

There are several benefits to starting locs, including:

Low maintenance

Compared to other natural hairstyles, locs require minimal daily maintenance, which can save you time and effort.

Versatile Styling Options

Locs can be styled in various ways, from simple updos to intricate braids and twists.


Well-maintained locs can last for years, making them a long-term investment for your hair.


Locs can protect your hair from environmental factors such as sun, wind, and pollutants.


Wearing locs can help boost self-confidence and promote self-expression, as they are a unique and beautiful way to showcase your personality and individuality.

starter locs benefits

Cultural Significance

For many people, locs hold cultural and spiritual significance, serving as a connection to their heritage and identity.

Overall, starting locs can be a beautiful and empowering journey, providing not only a unique and versatile hairstyle but also a sense of cultural identity and personal expression.

Preparation for Starter Locs

Before starting your locs journey, it’s important to assess your hair type and determine if it’s suitable for locs. While any hair type can be locked, certain hair types may require more maintenance or take longer to lock than others. 

Generally, hair that is kinky, coily, or curly tends to lock more easily, while straight or wavy hair may require more manipulation to form and maintain the coils.

To prepare your hair for the starting process, it’s recommended to trim any split ends or damaged hair to ensure healthy growth. It’s also important to cleanse your hair thoroughly to remove any buildup or residue that may interfere with the locking process. This can be done through a clarifying shampoo or by using natural ingredients such as apple cider vinegar or baking soda.

Mental preparation is also key to a successful loc journey. It’s important to have realistic expectations and understand that the process of locking your hair takes time and patience. There may be times when your hair looks messy or unkempt during the starting phase, but this is a normal part of the process. It’s also important to have a positive attitude and embrace the unique beauty of your locs, as well as the cultural and historical significance behind the style.

Starting Methods and Techniques

There are several methods for starting locs, each with its own pros and cons. The choice of method depends on your hair type, personal preferences, and lifestyle. Here are some of the most common methods for starting locs:

Two Strand Twists

Two-strand twist starter locs involve creating twists in the hair to begin the locs process. This technique involves sectioning the hair and twisting two strands together, then allowing the hair to begin matting and forming into locs.

Freeform Method

This method involves simply letting the hair grow without any manipulation or grooming. This method is low-maintenance and allows for the natural development of dreadlocks. However, this method can result in uneven and messy-looking locs.

Palm Rolling Method

This involves rolling the hair between your palms in a circular motion to encourage the formation of coils. This method is gentle and can be done without the use of any products, making it a good option for those with sensitive skin. However, it may take longer for the locs to mature using this method.

Interlocking Method

This involves using a small tool to interlock the hair at the roots, creating a tight and uniform look. This method can result in quick and even locking, but it can also be more painful and cause breakage if not done correctly.

When choosing a starting method, consider factors such as your hair type, lifestyle, and personal preferences. For example, if you have thick, coily hair, the freeform method may work well for you. If you have sensitive skin or prefer a more natural approach, palm rolling may be a good choice. If you want a more uniform look and are willing to undergo some discomfort, interlocking may be the best option.

Care for Starter Locs

Caring for starter locs is essential to ensure healthy growth and maturation of the dreadlocks. Here are some best practices for washing, conditioning, and moisturizing starter locs, as well as tips for preventing and managing common issues:

Washing and conditioning

It’s important to wash your starter locs regularly to prevent buildup and maintain healthy scalp conditions. Use specific shampoo and conditioner made for locs, and avoid using harsh chemicals or heavy oils that can weigh down the hair. After washing, gently towel dries the hair and avoid twisting or pulling on the locs.


Moisturizing is essential for preventing dryness and breakage in starter locs. Use a light, water-based moisturizer or oil to keep the hair hydrated, and apply it sparingly to avoid buildup. Don’t use heavy products that can clog the pores and cause buildup.

Preventing Frizz

Frizz is a common issue with starter locs, especially during the early stages of the locking process. To prevent frizz, avoid over-manipulating the hair and use a light hold gel or cream to help smooth down flyaways. You can also use a satin or silk scarf or pillowcase to protect the hair while sleeping.

Managing Breakage

Breakage can occur if the locs are pulled too tightly or if there is excessive manipulation. To prevent breakage, avoid tight hairstyles and be gentle when styling or retwisting the hair. If you do experience breakage, trim the damaged ends to prevent further damage.

hair breakage

Managing Buildup

Buildup can occur from using heavy products or not washing the hair regularly. To manage buildup, use a clarifying shampoo or natural ingredients such as apple cider vinegar or baking soda to remove residue. Avoid using products that contain sulfates or other harsh chemicals.

Tools and Products

Tools such as a metal comb or crochet hook can be used to retwist or palm-roll the hair to maintain the coiled pattern. Products such as locking gel or cream can also help to hold the hair in place and encourage locking. However, it’s important to use these products sparingly to avoid buildup.

Styling and Accessorize Options for Starter Locs

Starter locs can be styled and accessorized in various ways to showcase your individuality and personality. Here are some options to consider:


Classic and elegant updos are great for special occasions and can be achieved with loc pins or hair ties.

Twists and Braids

Twists and braids are great protective styles that can be done with starter locs. They also help prevent frizz and promote healthy growth.

Beads and Cuffs

Adding beads or cuffs to your locs can add a pop of color and texture, as well as prevent your locs from unraveling.

Scarves and Headwraps

Scarves and headwraps are great for adding a splash of color and style to your look. They also provide protection for your locs against environmental factors.

Faux Locs

If you want to experiment with different styles without committing to permanent locs, faux locs are a great option. They can be achieved with extensions and are temporary.

Remember, styling and accessorizing your locs is a personal choice. It’s important to choose something that reflects your personality and makes you feel confident and comfortable.

faux locs

Tips for Maintaining Healthy and Neat-Looking Starter Locs

  • Avoid excessive manipulation and styling that can cause breakage and thinning of your loc.
  • Moisturize your locs regularly to prevent dryness and breakage.
  • Protect your locs when sleeping by using a silk or satin pillowcase or covering your hair with a scarf or bonnet.
  • Use a light oil or serum to tame frizz and add shine to your locs.
  • Be gentle when washing and conditioning your locs to prevent unraveling and breakage.
  • Trim loose or frayed ends to prevent split ends and maintain the health of your locs.

Troubleshooting Starter Locs

Starting and maintaining starter locs can sometimes present a few challenges. Here are some common problems that can arise during the starting phase and how to troubleshoot and solve them to maintain healthy and strong locs.


Unraveling can occur when the hair is not twisted tightly enough during the starting process. To prevent unraveling, make sure to twist the hair tightly and secure the ends with rubber bands or clips. If you notice any unraveling, retwist the hair and secure it with clips or rubber bands until the locs have fully matured.

Uneven Growth

 It’s common for some areas of the hair to grow faster than others, resulting in uneven growth. To solve this problem, try to keep the hair as even as possible during the starting process. Use the same size parts for each section of hair and twist them tightly. If you notice any areas of uneven growth, you can either trim the longer hairs or combine the shorter hairs with nearby locs.


Buildup can occur when product residue accumulates in the hair. To prevent buildup, use a light, water-based moisturizer or oil to keep the hair hydrated, and avoid using heavy products or oils. If you notice any buildup, wash the hair thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo and rinse with warm water.


Breakage can occur when the hair is over-manipulated or twisted too tightly. To prevent breakage, be gentle when styling or retwisting the hair, and avoid using harsh chemicals or heavy oils that can weigh down the hair. Use a light, water-based moisturizer or oil to keep the hair hydrated and healthy.

If you encounter any problems that you’re unable to solve on your own, it’s always best to seek professional help for loc maintenance. A professional stylist can assess your hair and offer personalized advice and solutions to maintain healthy and strong locs.

Final Thoughts

Starter locs can be a fantastic way to embrace your natural hair and achieve a unique and versatile style. While starting the process may present some challenges, with the right preparation, maintenance, and mindset, you can overcome these obstacles and achieve healthy and strong locs. 

Whether you’re a first-time starter locs wearer or looking to revamp your current style, it’s important to stay patient and committed to the process. Remember that everyone’s journey with starter locs is different, so it’s essential to find what works best for you. With the right approach and care, you can achieve the desired style. 

How long does starter locs last? 

The duration of starter locs varies, but typically it takes 3-6 months for the locs to mature and become established. Once mature, locs can last for many years with proper care.

What are the 4 stages of starter locs? 

The four stages of starter locs are the starter stage, baby stage, teenage stage, and mature stage. Each stage represents a different phase of the locs journey, with unique characteristics and challenges.

What to expect with starter locs? 

With starter locs, it’s important to expect some initial frizz and unraveling as the hair begins to form into locs. It’s also important to maintain a consistent routine of washing, moisturizing, and gentle styling to promote healthy loc growth.

What locs are best for beginners?

Traditional locs, two-strand twist starter locs, and interlocked locs are great options for beginners. It’s important to research and consider all options to determine which method is best suited for your hair type and lifestyle.

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