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Complete Guide to Starter Locs

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Instead of browsing through thousands of online videos about starter locs, here’s a simple guide about starting your loc journey.

Photo by Kory Williams

Are you done paying $300+ for knotless/box braids? Are you ready to stop wearing weaves and wigs? Starter locs are the way to go! 

No matter what has sparked your interest in getting starter locs, you’ve made it to the right place. Starter locs are the first step in growing mature locs. However, there’s a lot you need to be aware of before starting your loc journey. Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of starter locs, how to pick a starter loc method, how to find a loctician, and how to maintain locs once you get them. 

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What Are Starter Locs? Can I Do Them Myself?

Starter locs are the early stages of dreadlocks, where the hair is sectioned and begins to form into individual locks. They require a specific technique and careful maintenance to develop them into mature, well-formed locs.

Please take note that starting your own starter locs may not yield the same results as having them done by a professional loctician. These locticians have years of experience and expertise in creating uniformity, maintaining scalp health, and ensuring that each lock forms properly.

If you’re 100% confident in your ability to follow instructions carefully and have some experience with hairstyling techniques, doing starter locs on your own can be a rewarding journey. This gives you complete control over the process and gives you the opportunity to experiment with different methods. If you have any doubt whatsoever, find a loctician near you. You’ll never regret professionally done starter locs. 

Why Everyone Should Try Starter Locs 

Starting your loc journey is not just about a hairstyle change, but a lifestyle change. Locs have been embraced by people from various cultures for centuries and offer numerous benefits beyond their aesthetic appeal.

One of the greatest benefits of starting your loc journey is the low maintenance aspect. Unlike other hairstyles (such as weaves and wigs) that require constant styling and grooming, locs are pretty easy to care for. Once your hair has loc’d, you can simply wash and retwist them periodically to maintain their neatness! This saves you valuable time and energy that can be redirected towards other aspects of your life.

Another advantage of having locs is their versatility. Locs can be styled in various ways to suit different occasions or personal preferences. Starting your loc journey also promotes hair health.

By letting your hair naturally lock and grow without excessive manipulation or chemical treatments, you allow it to flourish in its natural state. This reduces the risk of damage caused by heat styling tools or harsh chemicals often used in traditional hair styling methods.

You’ll find that embarking on a loc journey fosters personal growth and self-discovery. The process of growing and nurturing your own set of unique locs requires patience and dedication – qualities that often translate into other areas of life as well. 

Getting loc’d becomes more than just a hairstyle, it becomes an empowering symbol of inner strength and resilience. Check out the loc community on Instagram or Facebook to connect with others going through their loc journeys!

Picking Your Starter Loc Method

There’s more than one way to do starter locs! You can get…

  • Two Strand Twists: 

Involves dividing the hair into two sections and twisting each section around the other, creating a beautifully intertwined look.


  • Interlocking:

Involves using a tool, such as a crochet hook, to weave the hair together at the roots.

  • Freeform

Involves allowing the hair to form locs by itself. 


  • Comb Coils: 

Involves sections of hair that are twisted using a comb.

@Kiara Russell – ThriftyChic

It’s best to have a loctician help you choose which starter loc method is best for you. Everyone has different hair textures. Locticians will know the best way to start your starter locs. This is why booking a consultation is so important!

The Different Stages of Starter Locs

From the budding stage to the mature stage, each phase brings its own unique beauty and requires specific care. Let’s explore these stages in detail to give you a clear understanding of what to anticipate as your starter locs evolve into a beautifully formed locs.

***Note: It takes anywhere from 10 months to 2 years to form matured locs.

  1. The first stage of locs is often referred to as the “starter” stage, hence the name starter locs. During this phase, your hair will be sectioned off and twisted or coiled into small sections to encourage the formation of individual locs. This initial step sets the foundation for your locs to develop over time.
  2. As your journey progresses, you’ll enter what’s known as the “budding” stage. This is when your coiled or twisted sections begin to take shape and form baby-sized bumps at their roots. It’s an exciting phase that signifies progress in your loc formation process.
  3. Moving forward, you’ll enter the “teenage” stage, which can last several months or even up to a year depending on how fast your hair grows. During this period, your budding locks will continue to thicken and mature as they grow longer. You may notice increased volume and texture as well.
  4. Finally, after patience and care throughout these stages comes the highly anticipated fourth and final stage: the “mature” or “rooted” stage, AKA fully-formed matured locs! Your dedication will pay off when you witness beautiful well-established locs that showcase both your strength and character.

Once you finally decide to start your loc journey, fully embrace every stage with excitement while appreciating the beauty of growing your own locs! Make a social media account specifically for recording your loc journey.

Choosing a Loctician

Picking a good loctician will take you far on your loc journey. You’re not alone if you don’t know how to find a loctician. A good loctician will have experience, good reviews, happy loc’d clients, and a quality, professional salon area.  StyleSeat is a great resource for finding a loctician.

Don’t skimp out on research – look thoroughly at their socials/websites. 

  1. Do they have long-term loc clients? 
  2. How long have they been a loctician? 
  3. What there’s availability like? 
  4. What kind of loc methods are they an expert at?
  5. Are their prices reasonable (or maybe too reasonable)? 
  6. What does their location look like? 
  7. Are they nice and willing to answer any questions? 

Different locticians will have different ways of going about your locs. Some locticians won’t want you getting your hair wet or washing it by yourself in between appointments. Other locticians may recommend washing them on your own before your retwist appointment. 

Whatever your loctician says – follow it, seriously. Your loctician knows you and your hair better than a random person on Instagram. Many locticians will even give you their personal number in case you have any questions!

Average Pricing on Starter Locs

For starter locs, prices can range from $100 to $180 on average. This cost covers the initial consultation or appointment fee along with basic maintenance instructions.

Ultimately, determining an exact price for your preferred type of starter locs will depend on several factors like your location, loctician expertise level, and salon reputation.

Retwist Appointments for Your Starter Locs

Retwist appointments are part of maintaining and nurturing your starter locs. Not only do they help to keep your locs looking neat and tidy, but they also promote healthy loc growth and prevent tangling. So, how much do retwist appointments cost?

Retwists can range anywhere from $60 to $80. Again, this cost may vary depending on various factors such as the length and thickness of your locs, the expertise of the loctician, and the location of their salon.

Some of you may feel that this price is a little much, but you have to consider the expertise and time required for a quality retwist appointment. Experienced locticians invest their time and knowledge into ensuring that each loc is properly twisted without causing damage or breakage. They use high-quality products to enhance the health and appearance of your starter locs. Always be wary of cheaper than usual retwist appointments.

Things to Keep in Mind When Starting Your Loc Journey

Starting your loc journey is incredibly exciting and amazing! You may have already booked your appointment, or are considering booking your starter loc appointment. Keep the following things in mind:

Get a consultation first and foremost. Book a consultation with a loctician! Consultations are almost always required by locticians to get a good idea of what kind of loc method works best for your hair texture. 

Matured locs takes time. This is the hardest fact to accept. Your locs won’t magically grow to your butt overnight (*sigh* if only), but they will grow. It can be discouraging to see pictures of other people’s longer locs and wish yours were that long. Everyone has had to start with short starter locs! It’s called a loc journey after all. 

Don’t get lazy about your satin bonnet/scarf. Your satin bonnet/scarf is going to become your best friend. It’s crucial for maintaining starter locs and preventing frizziness/lint. If you sleep wild and tend to lose your bonnet/scarf, putting on a wig cap underneath your bonnet can help with that. 

Retwists are a must (unless you’re doing freeform). As long as you’re not choosing freeform locs, you’ll need retwists 1-2 times a month at the minimum. On the flip side, refrain from getting retwists too often. 

Best Accessories for Starter Loc Maintenance

Maintaining your locs is essential for their health and longevity. Luckily, there are a plethora of accessories available that can make the process easier and more efficient.

  1. Tight Shower Cap

Don’t make the mistake of getting the cheapest shower cap you can find. Cheap shower caps aren’t very tight and will let steam/water inside. That’s the last thing you want to happen, especially after a retwist appointment.

When it comes to protecting your starter locs from water damage, you’ll need a non-slip shower cap. Your locs should be completely dry after showering. If they’re not, switch brands immediately. You don’t want your locs to mat up!

  1. Adjustable Satin Bonnet or Scarf

If you’re going to bed or lounging around the house, make sure your satin bonnet is on. Satin is known for its smooth texture and ability to retain moisture in the hair. 

Satin bonnets or scarfs help seal in the natural oils produced by your scalp. This means less frizz, less dryness, and ultimately healthier-looking starter locs. There’s a big difference between healthy and unhealthy locs. 

  1. Wig Cap 

Fact of the matter is that your locs need to stay down. Even if you do wear a satin bonnet, you can wake up to locs that are standing up in different directions because of how you sleep. 

Wearing a wig cap can keep your locs in place and shield them from further damage if your bonnet or scarf somehow slides off while sleeping or lounging around. 

  1. Gel, Heating Bonnet, and Clips for Retwists (if you do them yourself)

With the help of gel, heating bonnets, and clips, you can now achieve professional-looking retwists from the comfort of your own bedroom. These three essential tools are a total game-changer for anyone who prefers to do their own retwists. 

Doing your own retwists saves a ton of cash, but they also ensure that your locs stay neat and well-maintained between salon visits! Don’t attempt retwisting your locs until you are confident and comfortable with the retwist process. 

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Don’t Forget – You Must Trust The Process!

Photo by Larry George II on Unsplash

This is where faith comes in handy. The truth is your locs are not going to be long at first. They will be short, but they will grow. You have to trust the process! You’ll hear that so often during your loc journey. Try your hardest to not compare your loc journey to another person’s on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or Twitter. 

Your loc journey is your own. Take pictures of your starter locs every 6 months to 1 year as a way of recording your loc journey. You’d be surprised how much growth can happen in a short amount of time. 

Embracing the beauty of natural hair through locs can inspire others around you. Your decision to start this journey could serve as an example for those who may be hesitant about embracing their own natural hair texture or cultural heritage. By proudly wearing your locs with confidence, you become part of a larger movement towards self-acceptance and diversity.