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The Key to Thriving Locs: Loc Budding Explained

There’s nothing more exciting than watching your locs begin to bud during your loc-growing journey. 

If you want to grow healthy, strong locs, how you care for your hair during the budding stage is crucial. And if you aren’t sure if your locs are budding or unsure how to handle this stage, we’ve got you covered.

The loc-budding stage is one of our favorites (even though it takes a significant amount of patience and work on your part).

It’s a challenging phase for your locs — you can’t manipulate them too much right now, leading to a stage where leaving your locs alone can be difficult and sometimes messy-looking.

However, it will be worth it!

Related: Loc Stages Timeline 

What Is Loc Budding?

You’ve likely heard about budding locks, but how do you take care of them? What does it mean when your locs begin to bud?

Defining loc budding is easy — when your hair begins to matte together, starting to look like typical dreadlocks, it’s in the budding stage; this is when your dreadlocks start to come together.

Loc budding is a normal part of your hair’s locking process; however, your hair isn’t completely locked during this stage. You’ll still have to do a little manipulation, but too much will disrupt the process, causing your locs to start unraveling.

When your locs start budding, they are making their way from the first phase to the second phase of locking. Loc budding is the stage between starter locs and baby locs.

You can expect your locs to begin budding as soon as six weeks up to a few months after receiving your start locs.

Do you want to ensure your locs stay strong and healthy throughout every growth stage? Get everything you need for luxurious locs here!

Is Loc Budding Good?

a man with dreadlocks looking downwards

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. You might also feel lumps in your locs; this is another sign of budding, not a cause for concern. You’ll also notice that the ends of your locs might form a round end.

However, there are some ways your locs can bud improperly. You’ll want to watch out for thinning around your roots and lumpy, uneven locs. These things are signs of playing with your locs too much or starting with locs that were too small.

Related: How to Transition to Locs

The Loc Budding Phase: Features and Maintenance

You’ll likely experience the budding phase soon after beginning your loc journey, no matter which method you chose to start your dreadlocks. Like the name, you’ll notice tiny buds forming in each section of your parted locs. This puffy and frizzy new growth may not look the best, but it’s a great sign that you’re on your way to having amazing locs!

So don’t panic and run to your loctician when your locs develop frizz — we’ve been there — understand that it’s a good thing. And don’t waste your time trying to make your dreadlocks look better; the frizz and poof will return during this stage.

If your goal is strong, healthy locs, this stage is one of the most important. You might be tempted to retwist your locs to get rid of the budding look, but be careful and accept how your hair will look during this phase.

Instead, focus on your goals and keep your eye on the prize; the next loc stage will come soon, and everything you do now will affect each phase.

If you can stay patient and care for your budding locs appropriately, the latter phases will go more smoothly — don’t disrupt your locs during this vulnerable stage!

Finally, don’t confuse the locking stage with the budding stage. If your locs are solid and no longer trying to come undone, they are budding, not locking. And remember, while your locs might not look how you want during this stage, their appearance will change as they grow and mature.

How Long Will My Loc Budding Last?

The budding stage is only a small part of the locking process — you can expect it to take about six months. And after you make it out of this phase, it’s time to head on to the teenage loc stage!

While six months might seem like forever when you just want your locs to be finished, it’s one of our favorite stages, so enjoy it! While your locs bud, you’ll experience your hair changing completely and see and feel the difference when you change your style to dreadlocks.

How to Protect Your Budding Locs

Lion Locs dreadlock products

Maintaining your locs through the budding stage is similar to the typical TLC required for this hairstyle.

Wash your locs regularly, but don’t be too rough — this can cause them to start unraveling. But if you don’t have a good washing routine, you risk product build-up that can lead to various issues.

While you sleep, protect them with a silk scarf, or you can get similar results by using a silk pillowcase. Sleeping on your locs without protection can cause them to rub on drying fabrics like polyester, ultimately causing breakage.

Avoid thick hair products during this stage. For example, loc wax is great, but while your locs are budding, it can cause build-up that you want to stay away from right now. 

Finally, don’t style your hair too tightly, or you risk breakage and thinning locs.

Don’t let poor-quality hair products leave build-up in your locs — Shop high-quality loc essentials that won’t leave residue behind.

Enjoy Your Budding Locs!

The budding stage is when you’ll start seeing your locs come to life! So don’t twist them too much, wash them regularly (but not too often!), take extra care at night, and you’ll notice your budding locs slowly develop into teenage locs, mature locs, and ultimately, adult locs!

Related: How to Care for Your Locs

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