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The 5 Different Loc Stages by Month | Complete Care Guide

Loc growth is classified into five stages. Understanding each growth stage is vital to eventually having healthy, mature locs. Below is a comprehensive guide to the loc stages by month.

What Are the Loc Stages by Month? 

Locs go through five stages, the starting stage to the maturity stage. Your hair type and the speed your hair grows determines how long each growth stage will last.

It can take 18 to 24 months to have fully matured locs. Growing locs can be challenging, especially for the first year or so of growth. You can overwash your hair or not wash it enough. You may be conditioning too much or too little.

Properly taking care of your locs and encouraging growth takes a careful maintenance routine and knowledge. You can trust the process if you know the stages of growth, which include:

  1. Starter stage 
  2. Budding stage
  3. Teen stage 
  4. Mature stage
  5. Rooted stage 

Understanding the stage of your locs is very important to know how to take care of your hair. You must be careful not to unravel your locs and only re-twisting as needed in the first few stages.

The first year or so in your journey requires a higher level of maintenance. However, before you get discouraged, read our guide. We think that the end result is worth the wait.

The 5 Loc Stages by Month

There are five stages of loc growth. It’s critical to know what stage your hair is in, so you can effectively care for your hair. Depending on your hair type and the speed your hair grows, the time frame for each stage can vary.

Remember that locs can be unpredictable. Yours may not look like the picture you had in mind because your locs are unique to you and your hair type. Figure out what stage you are in, what your locs need, and know what you need to do for your hair. It’s a slow and steady operation.

1. Starter Stage 

The starter stage lasts three to six months. This stage of growth is when you’ll have the freedom to choose a parting pattern you like. The starter stage is notable for small or micro locs with neat and clean parts. 

Caring for Your Locs in the Starter Stage 

Locs in the starter stage need careful maintenance. Be careful not to unravel and don’t untangle when caring for your locs. Try not to bother your locks while in the starter stage. They can come unraveled more easily than other stages, so leave them alone to grow.

Wash your hair with a residue-free shampoo to keep your locks clean, but only wash about once a week. Keep your locs moisturized to prevent breakage and damage to your hair.

Read Next: How to Start Dreadlocks in 4 Easy Steps

2. Budding Stage

The budding stage is usually about six to twelve months into your growth journey. It could be shorter or longer, depending on your hair growth rate. In this stage, locs grow more substantially.

The part design you chose in the starter stage may be less defined as the hair grows. Your locs will start to intertwine with the tops of the coils, and it may make them look puffy or frizzy.

The locs will begin to look thicker compared to the starter stage. You’ll start to notice more hair around the roots as it grows. Unraveling isn’t as much of a worry at this stage, but you still need to handle the locs with care.

Caring for Your Locs in the Budding Stage 

Budding stage care is a little more intensive than starter stage care. You can wash your hair more frequently if needed. Moisturize the locs to prevent drying out and damage to hair. Your growing locs may require re-twisting. However, only re-twist as necessary.

Frequent re-twisting can lead to:

3. Teen Stage 

Twelve to eighteen months is usually the teen stage. The locs are typically up to twice their original size and have developed enough to hang down. You don’t have to worry about unraveling at this stage of loc development. 

Caring for Your Locs in the Teen Stage

Wash and moisturize your teen locs regularly. You probably have a regular washing and moisturizing routine from the budding stage. Continue your maintenance practices as long as your locs stay clean, healthy, and moisturized.  

The teen stage can mean your locs are looking a little more unruly. This stage is difficult to manage but trust the process. Re-twist only as needed, not too often, to prevent the risk of breakage and split ends. 

4. Mature Stage 

Your locs will reach a mature stage around 15 to 18 months. Looser hair textures may take longer to be at the mature stage, so if your hair takes longer to reach maturity, don’t worry. 

Locs will look smoother and lie down at the mature stage. This look and texture will allow you to experiment with different hairdos and styles. 

Caring for Your Locs in the Mature Stage

Caring for your locs in the mature stage gets slightly easier than in the first three stages. Roots are less unruly and require less maintenance. Keep up your regular washing and moisturizing to encourage continued growth and health.

5. Rooted Stage

Around 18 months into your loc journey, your hair will be in the rooted stage. The rooted stage is the last in your locs growth. The locs will be skinner and heavier than before. They will also hang down and look more uniform.  

Once rooted, you can continue to style in different ways and enjoy the growth of your locs. There’s no worry of unraveling, and you don’t have to keep up with re-twisting as often as you have been.  

Caring for Your Locs in the Rooted Stage

Regular trimming and maintenance are required to keep breakage, split ends, and frizz to a minimum. Keep up the same loc routines you have established, as long as they continue to work for your hair. Wash and moisturize routinely to keep your hair healthy and to encourage more growth.  

Types of Locs

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viDi Studio/Shutterstock

There are several ways to start and maintain your locks. The term “locs” covers many styles. Review options and types of locs before deciding what works for you. Locs can be formed and sustained through several methods.


Freeform locs are a loose, low-maintenance style of locs. These locs are formed through almost no maintenance of your hair. You can still wash your hair, but other than that, leave it alone. This style relies on naturally letting your hair lock up, so the locs will vary in size and shape. 

Palm Rolling 

Palm rolling is another way to begin locs. These locs form when you use your palms to roll each loc. Leaving the rolls intact will allow the hair to form natural locs over time. You can give these a more consistent look by deciding the size of each roll ahead of time. 

Traditional Locs

Traditional locs are formed by finger coils or comb curls and finishing with a twisting or loc gel. This style may require more maintenance and has to be dried thoroughly to keep hair healthy.


Sisterlocks are a small and tight style. They’re typically installed by a professional, but that’s not a requirement. These locs can comfortably go into a variety of hairstyles. 

Two Strand Twist

Two strand twist locs are two strands twisted to form a loc. You can use your hands or a coil comb to maintain the strands. 


Interlocs are formed by using a crochet needle and latch hook. Pull the ends of the hair through the latch hook and the root of the strand. Continue this process until the locs look crocheted. Interlocs are stable, so you don’t have to worry about them unraveling.

Things to Consider Before Getting Locs

Shirtless man in a wooden room looks at the camera for a piece on the 5 loc stages by months


Dreadlocks have a history dating back to at least the ancient civilizations of Greece and Africa. This style has remained a popular choice throughout time.

They look great, can be styled in many ways, and are low maintenance. Locs can be a great hair choice, but there are some considerations before deciding if it’s for you.


Choose your parting pattern and style of loc before beginning. Locs can take time to grow and maintain, so you’ll have this pattern and style for a long time. It will also help to have consistent shape and size locs. Choose a style and part pattern that you love and works for you. 


Locs do require maintenance. Locs take minimal upkeep once rooted. However, the first several stages of locs can require regular and careful maintenance. Locs are not a “no maintenance” hairstyle. 

Maintaining locs is a delicate balance of washing, moisturizing, and keeping locs intact. You’ll want to watch out for dryness causing breakage, using products that can cause build-up, and re-twisting as necessary.

Locs can be unpredictable based on hair type, style, and maintenance. They may not look as you imagined or how someone else’s locs look. Keep that in mind and embrace your beautiful locs.

Read Next: How to Detox Dreadlocks


Patience is a must. Locs can take up to two years to be rooted. Especially in the first several stages, be patient and trust the process. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Loc growth and maintenance can be a long process. It may take trial and error to figure out the best routines and products that work for your hair. Below find the answers to some frequently asked questions about loc upkeep. 

How often should you moisturize locs?

Deep condition your hair every one to two weeks, or as needed, once you have mature locks. Conditioning will help moisture the locs and keep them healthy. You may need to moisturize if your hair seems dry or brittle.

How often should locs be re-twisted?

Re-twisting can last 4-6 weeks, but it depends on your level of care. Re-twisting too often can lead to hair breakage and thinning, traction alopecia, and scalp pain.

What oil is best for locs?

Your locs may need different oils based on your needs and hair type. Some good oils for locs are apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil, Moroccan argan oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, or Vitamin E oil.

How often should I wash my locs?

You only need to wash your hair once a week to have healthy growing locs. You may have to wash your hair two to three times a week if your hair is dirty from exercise or work.

How do I get rid of loc build-up?

Wash your hair using apple cider vinegar diluted with some warm water. This mixture will cut through built-up residue and wash it away. Wash locs with a clarifying shampoo to prevent further build-up.

So, What Are the Loc Stages by Month? 

Loc growth goes through five stages. Throughout each growth stage, it’s crucial to understand what to expect and how to care for your locs. Proper maintenance and moisturizing are sure to produce healthy locs. So what are you waiting for — start growing your locs out now!