What are Budding Locs & How to Care for Them - How to Grow Dreadlocks (2023)

Are you just starting your dreadlock journey? You might hear your loctician, barber, or hairstylist say that your locs are beginning to bud. Don’t worry! This is a necessary process for your dreadlocks to form. Throughout this article, you will learn all about budding locs, what it means, and how to take care of them. Good luck on your dreadlock journey!

What Does “Budding Locks” Mean?

The term “budding” concerning dreadlocks means that your hair is matting and swelling together. In simple terms, your dreads are just now starting to form.

Budding is a regular part of the locking process; however, it doesn’t mean that your hair is locked yet. During the budding stage, low manipulation is still required, or else you could disrupt the locking process and unravel your soon-to-be loc.

When your hair starts to bud, it is transitioning from the first to the second stage of locs. The four stages of locs include the starter loc stage, the baby loc stage, the teenage loc stage, and the adult loc stage.

Budding typically occurs anywhere from six weeks to three months after you get your starter locs.

Is Budding Normal?

Of course, it is! Without the process of budding, you would never have locs. Some tell-tale signs that your starter locs are budding is if they start to get frizzy, become dull, and/or get thicker.

Also, if you feel a lump in the middle of one of your locs, that’s another sign that your locs are budding. The ends of budding locs usually fall off around this time to form a rounded, “loc-ish” end.

(Video) Budding Locs |The SECRET You Should KNOW!

Signs of improper budding include your locs being thin at the roots or your locs being lumpy or uneven. If this happens, it’s likely the starter loc was too small, or there was too much loc-manipulation.

How Long is the Budding Stage for Dreads?

There are a lot of factors that go into how long the budding stage will last. The way you take care of your hair, your hair’s growth rate, and the texture of your hair all play a role in determining how long your budding process will be. However, anywhere from three to six months is normal.

Should Sprouting Locs Be Frizzy?

Absolutely! When your hair starts to lose its initial pattern from its starter locs, that’s how you know your hair is budding properly. It is very rare, maybe never, that you find someone with dreadlocks that aren’t frizzy. Frizz is a natural part of the budding process, and try not to disturb or “maintain” it.

How Do You Smooth Out Frizzy Locs?

Eventually, the frizz will become a part of the dread and make it look fuller and more uniform, but during the budding process, you will want to leave the frizz alone. Cutting or trying to “smooth out” the frizz can lead to your locs being weaker or budding improperly.

However, once your locs have properly formed and “locked” maintaining frizz can be easy. Using a mousse on wet locs can smooth them out and make them appear less frizzy. Also, lightly raking through your wet locs with a comb or brush can minimize frizz.

Another method to reduce frizz is to take a frizzy loc, dampen it, and roll it across the palm of your hand with your fingertips. By adding a loc butter or gel to this method, you can reduce frizz even further and for even longer.

As mentioned before, smoothing your locs should only be done after the locking process is complete.

(Video) Budding Starter Locs | Everything You Need to Know About Loc Budding

Is Budding Bad for Locs?

Budding is a natural process for locs. Budding is actually necessary for your locs to even become locs.

How Long Does Budding Last?

When it comes to the locking process of dreads, the budding stage typically lasts about six months before fully transitioning to the teenage stage.

During this time, you’ll notice significant changes to your hair such as it’s getting frizzier, thicker, and a bit matted. As mentioned before, you’ll want to leave your hair alone during this process as to not disturb the formation of your locs.

I find that the budding process is the most fascinating for those new to locs because they get to experience their hair changing to become a different form entirely. You truly realize how much your hair is capable of when you make the transition from free-growing hair to dreadlocks.

How do you Retwist Budding Locs?

Retwisting is the same no matter what stage locs you’re at, but it’s always best to get your locs retwisted by a professional loctician. If done incorrectly, you can drastically thin out your hair, cause breakage, and even trigger baldness.

However, if you must retwist your budding locs yourself, here is a method that won’t unravel your locs or disrupt the locking process.

Before I continue with the method, I want to make it clear that retwisting isn’t necessary for maintaining dreadlocks; however, if you choose not to retwist your locs, keep in mind that your parting can be lost and your locs may start to lock together instead of remaining separate. Also, sometimes not retwisting your locs can lead to thinning at the roots.

(Video) Things You Need To Know About Loc Budding. What is Loc Budding? How to Fix It? How To Stretch Them?

You’ll want to start retwisting on damp hair, preferably freshly washed. Never retwist on dry hair. For precise parting, use a rat-tail comb, or a comb with a sharp end, to make your parts look neat and clean, but if perfect parts aren’t a priority for you, feel free to use your fingers.

When parting out your locs with a comb, make sure you’re being careful as to not rip out strands of your hair that are stuck within other locs.

Next, you’ll want to take your locking gel or custard and apply it to the root only. Applying the product to the rest of the loc can cause product build-up on the inside. Make sure to smooth the product into the base of the loc.

For retwisting, I recommend twirling the loc around your fingers until the base is tight to your scalp, but don’t over-twist it as it can cause thinning and baldness. You could also do the palm-rolling method, but it’s very easy to over-tighten a loc using this method, so that’s why I recommend finger-twirling especially for beginners.

When retwisting, twirl/roll in the direction your loc was initially twisted in, typically clockwise. This prevents your loc from unraveling, gives your loc a uniformed look, and makes future retwists easier. Once you’ve finished retwisting a loc, secure it with a double prong curl clip until you’ve finished with your whole head.

After you’ve retwisted your entire head, leave the clips in until your hair has dried completely. Remove the clips carefully to not mess up the formation of the base, and add an extra layer of security with a mousse.

Don’t style your dreads after retwisting. Maintain minimum manipulation to your hair after a retwist to prevent unraveling or unnecessary frizziness. A retwist is recommended about every four to six weeks, and after a few retwists, you should be out of the budding stage and in the teenage stage of your locs.

(Video) How To Grow Longer And Healthier Locs Faster | Best Tips For Loc Growth | #KUWC

How do you Maintain Budding Dreadlocks?

When it comes to budding locs, you might need to retwist them a bit more often than you would mature locs, typically every month, and they require a bit more TLC to ensure they form properly.

Make sure you’re washing your locs regularly, every one to two weeks, and be gentle when doing so. Scrubbing too hard can unravel your locs and mess up their formation pattern, but if you don’t cleanse them thoroughly or often enough, product build-up can form within your dreads leading to mold and other infection-causing bacterias.

At night, be sure to properly protect your locs by securing them in a silk or satin bonnet or by sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase. Laying your locs on drying fabrics like cotton or polyester can cause friction leading to breakage.

We’re almost done, but just a few final things to remember before we send you on your budding loc journey. Avoid thicker products as the build-up can lead to bacterial infections and molding within your locs.

Avoid using waxes on your locs because they won’t absorb into your hair just cause build-up. Avoid tight hairstyles because that can cause loc-thinning and breakage, and avoid putting harsh chemicals on your locs, such as bleach.

Seeing as the budding stage already puts your hair in a fragile state, adding bleach to the process would have unpredictable results. However, once your locs have matured, feel free to bleach and color your locs, but keep in mind that there will be some damage.

You now know the ins and outs of budding locs from what they are to how to maintain them. Remember that getting locs is a process, and the budding stage is just one step. Enjoy the process, and I wish you the best of luck on your loc journey!

(Video) My Locs Are Budding!


What are budding locs? ›

The Budding Stage (also known as the Sprouting Stage), occurs roughly six to twelve months into your locs journey. This is when you'll start to notice that your hair isn't unravelling when you wash it and notice your new growth, which will look a bit fuzzy and fluffy.

How often should I wash my budding locs? ›

You will want to regularly (every two to three weeks) wash and detox hair to remove any products, oil, or debris trapped in the strands and scalp. Of course, if you workout a lot, you might want to wash more frequently than every two to three weeks.

What's after the budding stage of locs? ›

The five stages of locs are: starter, budding, teen, mature, and rooted.

How often should you Retwist budding locs? ›

That being said, a typical retwist should/could last anywhere from 4-6 weeks. But again, it will depend on how you take care of your locs. Your retwist can last longer, it can even last for months, if you make all the right moves to make your retwist last longer.

Is budding locs a good thing? ›

Yes! The budding stage is a good sign that your locs are progressing. If they never budded, they would never lock, and you would never have a head full of dreadlocks! So if you notice your locs getting a little frizzy and dull, don't worry — it's all part of the process.

Can you wash your hair in the budding stage? ›

If you're just getting started with the baby stage, you should wait around 4-6 weeks before carefully washing your hair. You can go even longer than that if you feel you need to, but don't go longer than 3 months.

Should I oil my locs everyday? ›

Keep hair moisturized

That said, you'll still need to moisturize on a daily basis if you want the protective style to do its job. Be sure to spritz a leave-in conditioner over your hair daily and use hair oil on your scalp to keep your hair soft and healthy.

How do you make your locs grow faster? ›

5 Healthy Tips to Help Your Dreadlocks Grow Faster
  1. Keep your dreads healthy and dry. ...
  2. Get more blood flowing to your luscious locks. ...
  3. Stay happy and stress free. ...
  4. Use natural oils to boost and strengthen your hair. ...
  5. Give your hair some physical protection. ...
  6. Don't rush it!
Jan 1, 2021

How long does budding locs last? ›

The budding stage lasts anywhere from month 6 to month 12. You could experience budding at the ends, middle, or closer to the roots of your locs. There's no telling how long the budding stage will last for you since your hair care routine, hair length, and hair texture all play a role.

Can I wet my dreads everyday? ›

Avoid getting your hair wet or washing it with any products in the first two to four weeks, as you may loosen some hairs and negatively affect the neat appearance of your dreads. Once about a month has passed, you are free to wash your dreads as needed.

How do you tell if your locs are growing? ›

You'll know your locks have left the budding stage once they begin to swell, and maintain their shape on their own while looking more cohesive in texture. Teenage locs may seem to stand on end all over your head and go in whatever direction they want as the matted hair thickens and becomes taught at the root.

Should budding locs be frizzy? ›

The Budding Phase

In all likelihood, the new growth will look frizzy or puffy, but don't panic, because it's a great sign. It means you're well on your way to having the locs of your dreams.

Do locs shrink when budding? ›

But it is true— loc shrinkage, or dread shrinkage, is normal and to be expected during the beginning stages of the hair locking process. Your starter locs shrinkage will make it look like your locs are not growing.

How do you take care of new locs? ›

As you begin your starter loc journey consider these five tips.
  1. Allow it to grow with little to no manipulation. ...
  2. Limit hair products. ...
  3. Use natural oils. ...
  4. Pay attention to the frequency of wash days. ...
  5. Say no to deep conditioning.
Feb 23, 2021

How often should you tighten your locs? ›

Sure, you don't need to brush or comb your hair when you have locs, but the maintenance makes up for it. Wash days can be a bit more lengthy, and you'll need to re-twist your hair every three to six weeks, depending on how long you've had them.

What happens if you Retwist locs too often? ›

Retwisting your locs too tightly or often are the main causes of damage and may have a delayed effect. If it hurts on day one you can for sure expect problems in the future. Choose a loctician who is gentle on your hair.

What's the difference between locs and dreads? ›

Major Differences

Locs are cultivated, but dreadlocks aren't. Dreadlocks also often stem from Rastafarian beliefs, which use the style to separate believers from the rest of society. As for physical differences, locs have a well-kept and tidier look to them compared to dreadlocks, which have a more natural appearance.

How many locs is a good amount? ›

If you need a full head kit, 50 to 70 individual dreadlocks will look natural (if you like more lush dreadlocks, go for a larger quantity). In the case of mohawks, I usually advise 30 to 40 pieces, it all depends on how high the sides of your hairstyle are.

Does trimming your locs help them grow? ›

Was that a spoiler? If you're considering trimming your locs because you feel like they'll grow faster and longer, it's not really the case. Though that may have been true for your loose hair, trimming locs isn't necessary. So no, you don't need to trim your locs to maintain healthy locs.

What makes locs stronger & thicker? ›

Give Your Locs a Break

They shampoo and groom their locs, including palm rolling or interlocking far too often, resulting in tighter, slimmer locs. If you want to grow thicker locs, you'll have to groom them far less frequently. Your locs don't need to be retwisted any more often than every six weeks (at least).

What is Loc bunching vs budding? ›

Bunching can sometimes be confused for budding. With bunching, it looks almost like a bud but you can tell the difference because the hair pulls upwards on itself requiring you to pull it back down into place. Bunching usually affects people who start with longer hair.

Do locs shrink after budding? ›

But it is true— loc shrinkage, or dread shrinkage, is normal and to be expected during the beginning stages of the hair locking process. Your starter locs shrinkage will make it look like your locs are not growing.

Can you wash budding locs? ›

But, with that being said, let's explore when each stage of locs may be ready for a good washing. If you're just getting started with the baby stage, you should wait around 4-6 weeks before carefully washing your hair. You can go even longer than that if you feel you need to, but don't go longer than 3 months.

How long does it take for locs to stop budding? ›

The budding stage lasts anywhere from month 6 to month 12.

Should I trim my LOC ends? ›

If you want a choppy look, which many men and women do, then you can cut your locs. But just trimming is not necessary at all, because again, this is not loose hair. Locs don't need to be trimmed. And again, if you decide you just need to do it, please don't do it until the adult phase.


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