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The Ugly Stage of Locs: Embracing the Journey

Dreadlocks are a beautiful hairstyle that's gaining more popularity as the years go by. Whether you're a newbie to the dreadlock world or you've had your locs for a while, you may have heard about the dreaded "ugly stage." The ugly stage is the phase in which your locs aren't yet fully formed, and they may not look their best. Nonetheless, it's not a reason to be discouraged or give up on your dreadlock journey.

In this blog, we're going to explore what exactly the ugly stage is, why it's inevitable, and some tips and tricks on how to rock your locs through it. Remember, it's just a phase, and with some patience and tips, you'll come out of it with beautifully matured dreadlocks.

What is the Ugly Stage of Locs?

The ugly stage is the period during the beginning stages of loc formation where your hair may look unkempt, frizzy, unshapely, and you may feel discouraged outrightly. This stage can last for up to six months, depending on several factors like hair type, thickness, length, and the way your hair forms locs. It's completely natural, and every dreadhead goes through it.

Want to achieve healthy and vibrant dreadlocks? Visit our blog for essential tips and tricks.


a man with starter locs wearing a pink track jacket

Why is it Inevitable?

The ugly stage is inevitable because, during the beginning phases of dreads, your hair is just figuring out how to loc, gain momentum, and settle into its new shape. As a result, your hair may experience shrinkage, loose hair strands, and frizz, which may seem chaotic and untamed. However, this is only a phase, and it's essential to trust the process.


Tips and Tricks to Rock Your Locs During the Ugly Stage:

  • Accessorize: You can embrace head wraps, bandanas, hats, and other headwear to style your hair during this phase. They are great protective styles that keep your locs secure and can cover the parts of your hair that you're not comfortable with.
  • Be Patient: Remember that the ugly stage is just a phase, and it won't last forever. Give your hair time to build and form locs properly and refraining from panicking.
  • Maintain Your Hair: Proper maintenance is crucial during this phase to keep your locs healthy and free of build-up. Use a residue-free clarifying shampoo and moisturize with essential oil to avoid breakage and drying out.
  • Be Confident: Confidence is key, and if you feel great about yourself, the rest will fall into place. Take your ugly stage as a learning phase and embrace your hair's journey. 

How Long Does It Take for Locs to Look Good?

How long it takes for dreadlocks to look good depends on a variety of factors, including the frequency of maintenance and the technique employed to create them. Six months to a year is about average for the dreadlocks to settle into their shape and begin to look tidy. Don't let the initial lack of polish discourage you. If you give your locs some TLC and wait a while, you can achieve the stunning hairstyle of your dreams.

Related Link: Loc Maintenance 101: Preventing and Repairing Unraveling Locs

What are The 5 Stages of Locs?


The Starter Stage

This is the first stage of dreadlock formation. Your hair is in its natural state, and you have decided to start the journey of growing your dreadlocks. During this stage, it is recommended that you do not wash your hair frequently to allow for the hair to build up natural oils that will aid in the locking process. You can also use a residue-free product to help lubricate the hair and promote the formation of knots. This stage lasts for about a month. 

The Budding Stage

This stage is characterized by the appearance of bumps or knots on the hair. These bumps or knots are the beginning of the dreadlocks. During this stage, it is important to separate the locks as they form to prevent them from growing together and becoming too large. You can also use rubber bands to hold them in place until they become more established. This stage lasts for approximately three months.

Related Link: Keeping Your Locs Tangle-Free and Neat

The Teen Stage

This stage is where the dreadlocks really start to take shape. The locks are thicker, and the bumps are more defined. The hair is starting to get heavy, and it may be difficult to style it. This is the stage where most people start to experiment with different accessories such as headbands, beads, and wraps.  At this stage, it is important to keep the locks separated and maintain good hygiene by keeping the scalp clean to avoid any unpleasant smells. This stage lasts for about six months.

The Maturity Stage

This stage is where your dreadlocks are fully formed. The locks are thick and well-established, and you can start to style them in different ways. Your dreadlocks will be sensitive, so it’s important to avoid over-manipulation to prevent breakage. Apply a natural oil to moisturize your hair and scalp to promote the growth of the locks. This stage lasts for about a year.

The Rooted Stage

This final stage is where your dreadlocks have grown fully to its desired length, and the roots of your hair are well-established. You can style them in various ways such as updos, ponytails, and buns. Your dreadlocks will be strong, and it’s important to continue to maintain them to ensure they remain in good shape. 

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a smiling man with dreadlocks

Embracing the Journey to Deadlocks

The journey to dreadlocks is not only about the end product, but also about the growth and process. It's essential to embrace the ugly stage as it's an inevitable and necessary phase that ultimately leads to beautifully matured locs. With patience, maintenance, accessorizing, and confidence, you can rock your hair and enjoy your journey to matured, gorgeous locs. Remember, stay confident and trust the process.

Related Link: How Often Should You Retwist Locs?

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