It’s Loc Apprecation month on Trials N’ Tresses! So where do we start… at the beginning! Just like natural hair has many different stages so does the growth and development of locs. There are 5 distinct stages of locs to be exact!
1. Coils (starter or baby locs): Your starting point usually begins with finger coils. Some women who have loc’d their hair have used two strand twists on occasion but finger coils are most often used. Coils are really tight curly springs in spiral shape. The most important point of the coil stage is that the hair is able to coil entirely through from roots to ends. This is important so that the hair within the coil will start to mesh together or loc. If the hair is separating or unraveling it will be more difficult/ almost impossible to loc.
2. Sprouts/Buds: Many loc’d naturals describe this stage as the miraculous magic moment that they start to fall in love with their locs. Sprouting and Budding is referring to your hair forming meshed knots of hair which serves as the nucleus of your loc. This is right about the time your coils stop washing out/ unraveling as quickly as they used to during wash days. Your coils will be gin ti puff out and lose the doily spiral shape and start forming the loc’d shape. It is very important that you do not disturb this process because the locing is very fragile at this point. Your parts are also most crucial during this stage because it will make the retwisting process of each individual loc much easier when you have new growth.
3. Teen/Adolescent Locking Stage: The teen stage is when your coils are completely sprouted and rarely if ever come undone during wash days. Your locs have now expanded at this point and your individual strands have now completely meshed/intertwined into one another to fully “loc” throughout the entire length from roots to ends. This is very important and crucial stage along with the sprouting/budding stage. This is the stage that your locs are developing/growing and the way you maintain/handle your locs during this stage will greatly affect how your hair continues to form and develop when entering the mature stage. Most of the times at this point your locs are now hanging down versus the sticking straight out/up.
4. Mature Stage: At this point your individual locs are completely meshed and intertwined together. Consistent growth occurs during this stage (usually 1/2 inch a month) and your locs have a steady cylinder shape to them at this point. Your new growth is also no longer scattered all over but is more constrained to the base of each individual loc. Re-twisting your hair becomes a lot easier at this stage as well. The newly spun coil at the base/ root of the head will integrate itself into the loc as growth continues.
5. Beyond Maturity: Think of this stage as akin to the shedding stage of hair growth. After many years, depending on the care you have lavished on your locks, some locks may begin to thin and break off at the ends. For the most part, this deterioration can be minimized and controlled by monitoring the ends of your locks for signs of age and getting regular trims.