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Starter Locs: Styling Methods and Maintenance of Tender Locks

Starter locs are the first stage of growing locs. As Locs hairstyles have emerged as a super-fancy, unique,  and popular hairstyle these days,  stylish and beauty-conscious people are rushing towards these hairstyles. But growing locs is a little bit frustrating, error-prone, complicated, and time-consuming. Well, you will know the because gradually if you already don’t. But once you have grown your locs, it will be great fun wearing them.  Today we are gonna discuss the starter locs, stages of growing locks, styles for the premature locs, maintenance of the locs, and the most used products for growing locs. So, let’s get started.


The Five Stages of Growing Starter Locs:

Hairstyle experts basically have divided the period of growing locs into five phages. But These phases actually do not have any specific time frame. And to be honest, these stages may take some weeks, months, or a full year. But no worries, if you stick to the procedures, you will definitely get there. Interestingly, every loc’er has no other way than to embrace these frustrating periods. In most cases the phases are

  • Starting/ Baby Phase.
  • Budding Phase.
  • Teen Phase.
  • Matured Phase.
  • Rooted Phase.

But before we dive in we have something to understand first. Yes, we need to get acquainted with the concept of locs first.

Comb Coils

What are locs?

Locs are strands of hair that are formed by braiding and locking the hair. Unlike normal braids, locs cannot be prepared immediately. Locs need to be grown with time and require regular maintenance and attention. It is a style that needs to be matured with time. Now, for some people, growing starter locs is very easy. They will leave their hair on its own and it will grow to a shoulder length in no time.  But for most people, it is not going to be the case. For them, growing starter locs will be very time-consuming and frustrating. The thin locs of the initial stages may break off, get untwisted, and may take more time.

Matured Locks

However, if you have the patience to go through it all, you can brag about your starter locs and gain inspiration to get more adventurous with the styles. As we said earlier, growing starter locs is a time-consuming process. Proper maintenance of the hair must be done throughout this long period of time to make sure the locs do grow. In this article, we will be giving you all the necessary information regarding this journey of yours. You already know that starter locs are the beginning stage of locs. And the length of this beginning stage is roughly three to six blocks. The time frame mainly depends on the type of hair and the rate of growth of the length.


Another major problem will happen that your locs will break off quite a few times when you wash your hair. But, then again, you need to have patience and keep following the process. Given that you have decided to embark on this locs journey, or if you have already done so, you need to buy some stuff from the stores. You should have

  • Lint-free Towel.
  • Neat Caps.
  • Spray Bottles.
  • Rubber Bands.
  • Satin DuBag (Black).

And the hair products you should be using for starter locs are

  • Tea Tree Oil and Shampoo.
  • Luminescent Herbal Treatment.
  • Scalp Serum. 
  • Mane Radiance Oil (1 oz).

Alright then, let us get into the main process. Now, since it is going to be a long journey, you need to get a hang of two things, interlocking your hair and maintaining it.

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Interlocking / Sisterlocks

Interlocking your hair is something that will help you maintain your locs in the long run. It needs a bit of practice, but you will get a hang of it the more times you do it. Interlocking is taking a thin section of your locs, using your finger to make a small gap in between the root of your hair and the bottom part. Then tying a tight knot in between that gap. Make sure to include the baby hair that doesn’t grow with the locs into the section for interlocking. Otherwise, the locs will get uncontrollable and messy. Interlocking helps the locs to get tight.

interlocs and sisterlocs

Starter Locs with Two-Strand Twists

One thing to keep in mind is that your locs will get thicker with time as well. So, you need to plan your ideal length and thickness before growing them, as many people after some time get unhappy regarding this. Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the texture of the hair. The texture of the hair determines how long it could take for the locs to grow. By the texture of the hair, we mean how dense the hair is or is the hair tight or loose.

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Two-Strand Twists

For instance, tightly textured hair will grow the locs in a smaller period of time compared to loose hair, which will grow the locs much slower than that. But as a matter of fact, starter locs with two stranded twists is the most versatile hairstyle in terms of locs. It can be applied to any type of hair, of any length, and most importantly, it is easier to maintain compared to other styles of locs. To do the two-stranded style of locs, you will need a mild shampoo, dread cream, or dread wax. These are the hair care products you will need to maintain a certain texture of the hair. But for the tools, you will need a comb, elastic hair bands, hair clips, and a hairdryer.

Two Strand Twist

So, wash your hair with the shampoo you have chosen, and dry it using the hairdryer. Now part your hair from the scalp into two sections, and tie each section with an elastic hairband. Now, after this take any one of the two sections and make further sections on them using the comb. Make sure you divide them into very thin sections. Once you make them, hold one section, softly split them into two, and then twist. Keep doing this with all the sections on both sides. You need to undergo this process regularly as the locs might break off in the initial times.

Starter Locs with Braids or Plaits

Starter locs with braids or plaits could be a great option for people with hair with a length of at least five inches. Given that a person has an oily scalp, they can go for the starter locs with braids as well. On average, this style of locs will last for about one year. Now, if your hair is very long, the locs may stay on your hair forever.  In terms of looks, braided starter locs look a lot more flat than round. Hold your patience when the end of the braids breaks off their braid pattern. You can easily fix it by undergoing an interlocking maintenance session in a salon. 

Starter Locs with Braids or Plaits

So, the necessary hair products to maintain your hair are mild shampoo and good hair oil (tea tree oil or argan oil will be great). And the other things include an elastic hairband and a comb. So, wash your hair using a shampoo, and dry it using a hairdryer. Once you are done with this, take your comb and divide your hair from the scalp into two sections. Tie each section with an elastic hairband for convenience.  Now, start from any one section, and use your comb to divide your hair into some smaller sections. Make the sections according to your desired level of thickness of the locs you want. 

Starter Locs with Braids or Plaits

Now, take one section, and split it into two parts. Hold one part with the thumb and index finger of one hand of yours, and ravel the part. Ravel it as much as you can, then hold it. Do the same with the other part as well. Once you reveal both the split parts, twist both of them to create a strand. Do this with all the hair on your head. And once again, remember to make the small sections carefully according to your desired level of thickness.  Again, you need to do this for as long as the braided starter locs don’t break off and remain for a long time and settle. 

Read Also: Magic Happens! Natural Hairstyles for Short Hair.

Starter Locs with Comb Coils

The minimum length of hair required to go for comb-coiled starter locs is just two to three inches. The length of your matured locs will depend on how much length you started in the first place. Starter locs with comb coils can be a perfect option for any type of hair texture. Here, a comb is used to create coils all over the head. In this case, hair with a short length will lock and adjust faster than that of long hair. But be careful while shampooing your hair when the locs are in their initial stages. It is because the locs can break easily in their early days, but once it matures, it won’t be much of a problem.

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Starter Locs with Comb Coils

So, wash your hair with nice shampoo, and dry it using a hairdryer. Get a spray bottle, a few elastic hair bands, and a comb. And the hair care products that are required are coconut oil and mild shampoo. So, use your comb to divide your hair from the scalp into four sections. Use the elastic hair bands, to tie the three other sections you won’t be working on. Spray some water on the section you will be working from the spray bottle. Apply some coconut oil on the sprayed section of the hair. Apply it on the whole length of your hair properly.

Starter Locs with Comb Coils

Once you are done with this, make smaller sections of the section you have applied the coconut oil for work. Make the smaller sections according to your requirement. That is how much thick you want the coiled starter locs to be. Then, use your index finger to coil that section of your hair till it gets as tight as possible. Do this throughout your head in all the sections.  And once again, you need to be very patient regarding starter locs. The process each time you practice it is very lengthy and annoying, but hey, you can proudly brag about those locs later.

Starter Locs by Backcombing

Going for the starter locs by backcombing is a very favored way to go about it by many people. It is a great option for people with naturally straight hair. And many people for some reason feel it is a lot easier than the other methods mentioned earlier in this article. The reason for that is that it gives you instant locs. That is the locs come into reality relatively quickly. Moreover, starter locs in this process are easier to maintain, although it need a lot of it. In the process of growing starter locs by backcombing, the straight hair is teased and internally intertwined. To be more precise, the method of palm rolling is used to create locs.

Starter Locs by Backcombing

So, wash your hair with shampoo, and dry it using your hairdryer. Now, use a comb to make two divisions of your hair from the scalp. Use elastic hairbands to tie up each section. Now, on one section, make another small division, and apply palm oil on it from the top of the hair length to its bottom. Now, use your finger to coil the hair just as we mentioned above in the starter locs coil comb section. Do this until you cover the whole head of yours, and be careful with the twisting of the sections. Make sure the thickness of the sections meets your requirement. 

Starter Locs by Backcombing

Once you do the coiling of your hair using your fingers, it is time to twist the hair in between your palms. Did you really think using palm oil is what it is called palm rolling for? Roll the hair section in between your palms until the whole section coils up to the scalp. And now, do this whole thing again throughout your head. Now, after going through all of this, you might find some common things. You must have access to some supplies like good hair oil, a mild shampoo, a good comb, lots of elastic hair bands, and a spray bottle.

Starter locs

Having all these things will allow you to stick to your long journey of growing starter locs with patience. And again, most of the people reading this might give up on their very first day. Growing locs requires a lot of patience and energy, and in turn resources (too many bottles of shampoo and oil). But guess what, every good thing takes time. If you develop a routine to undergo the certain steps required for your desired style of starter locs, you might make it quite smoothly. In fact, you might enjoy doing the steps every day. 

How Should You Maintain Your Starter Locs?

  • Moisturization

    Use an herbal hair cream, an aloe vera jell, or even an aloe vera spray to moisturize hair. Apply the moisturizer to your hair and leave it for at least an hour before washing it off.

  • Washing

    Use mild shampoo to wash your hair. And be soft on it. More importantly, don’t shampoo every day. Make a cycle of washing your hair depending on the condition of your hair. If it is too oily, shampoo a bit more, if it is too dry and rough, shampoo a bit less.

  • Oiling

    Use tea tree oil or argan oil to oil your hair after washing them. If your scalp is suited to it, then you can warm your oil and apply it.

Understanding Your Journey to Locs (The Five Stages)

You already know that the journey to locs is completely annoying. You need a lot of patience and perseverance to get your dream hairstyle. When you are determined to do so, you need to be aware of the phases of your journey. In this stage, we will give you a brief introduction to these phases. And understanding these phases will inspire you more during your tough journey.

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Starting/ Baby Phase 

This is the time you make the decision to grow locs. We know you are going through this phase right now. Generally, loc’ers choose to start their locs with braids or plait, comb coils, backcombing, or two-strand twists. Depending on your hair growth and hair structure this phase can take three to six months or even more. And the frustrating part is that it is the toughest part of growing your healthy, natural locs. But we do believe that you are gonna make it.

Two-Strand Twists

Budding Phase 

In this phase, your locs start budding. And this is high time you start your maintenance routine. Besides, you can redo the twists gently so that the tender locs get some acceleration. But remember, you are not allowed to do this frequently. Because frequent continuation of this can cause hair breakage and make your locs weaker.

Budding Phase of Starter locs

Teen Phase

This is the phase where you feel the taste of some achievement. Because your locs are in motion now. But you should be more cautious this time. For example, you should never untangle the tender locs during the regular maintenance routine like shampooing.  Many of the loc’ers have a common complaint that the locs are not growing in the exact same way they have dreamt of. Well, get relaxed, You know this is a lengthy process and requires time. Your locs will follow your will in a few months more.

Two Strand Twists for Starter locs

Matured Phase

Now you are in the mature phase of your locs. Here you can dare to individualize your locs. In this phase, your new-grown locs will follow the right direction and also will add some length to your dream locs. By this time, you should have developed an ideal maintenance routine and be more sincere about that. Products like shampoos, pre-cleansers, and conditioners can help you keep your newly grown locs healthy.

Matured Locs

Rooted Phase

The final stage of starter locs is the rooted phase. By this time you will get to know about the temperament, needs, and demands of your fresh locs. Moreover, you can trim your locs if have enough guts. And finally, you can make some really beautiful protective styles with your dream locs. In this phase, you will feel the increase in the weight of your locs. But remember, to keep the locs healthy and fresh always keep your locs hydrated. And now you can congratulate yourself as you have completed a disgusting journey and become successful.

Rooted Phase of Starter Locs

Now we insist on starting your journey to locs. Here we have listed all the key points that you must know in order to have proper starter locs. Starting from starter locs with two-stranded twists to starter locs by backcombing, we have discussed everything. We have tried to explain everything with as many details as possible while being as precise as we can. But growing starter locs is an artistic thing. 

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There are many more styles, and many more methods that can be undertaken to grow starter locs. So we recommend you try the steps we mentioned above. We suggest you find out the best method that works the best for you. Trying different methods, and different styles could help you make a process of your own. 

But for the last time, we would request you to be patient. This is not something you can achieve in a day or two. Just imagine how good you may look when you grow your starter locs. It will inspire you to go to the next stages as well.  So, don’t get enraged at yourself and go for a lovely hairstyle of locs!

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Laverne Rhimes
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Laverne Rhimes

Hi, I am Laverne Rhimes, an expert in African-American hairstyles. Besides running a saloon, I love to write blogs and share my experiences with people. At the same time, I love to innovate different hairstyle ideas and share them with the people who read my blog. I myself am a beauty enthusiastic and love the people who love to be beautiful with a beautiful hairstyle.

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