The decision to get locs is a big one. They're bold, beautiful, and spiritual. But they also need to be understood and maintained if they're going to be as healthy and vibrant as they can be. After you decide to have locs, the next big decision is what size you'll choose. However you section your hair, your locs will grow a little smaller than that. Over time, you may find that your locs compress even further.
The size and placement of your sections will determine the size of your locs, how they lay on your head, and their overall appearance. There is no set number of locs that will give you a perfect look. The number varies according to the size of your head, scalp density, and strand diameter.
Related: Should You Get Locs? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Choosing Your Size: The Factors to Consider
Choosing the best size for your hair is a matter of a few considerations:
- Your hair density
- Your hair strand diameter
- The overall look you're after
This listing is in this order for a reason. In choosing your loc size, you have to consider the reality of your hair before deciding on size based solely on the look you want. Most of us would love a gorgeous mane of locs, but not all of us have the hair thickness to accomplish this. Don't be discouraged if your hair isn't very dense or thick. It's possible to still have a full look without all the hair. It's a matter of how you section your hair.
By hair density, we mean the number of strands you have on your whole head. We quantify hair density as high, average, and low. Most people have average hair density, while some of the population has a lower density (less hair on their head), and still, others have a high density (more hair on their head).
Strand diameter is the size of the individual strands of hair. The strand diameter is quantified as small (fine) or thick (coarse). Of course, you may be somewhere in between fine and coarse - then your hair is average.
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Choosing Your Size: Combinations
Now that you understand hair density and strand diameter, let's look at possible combinations of each to see what size locs are optimal.
Average Density with Average Strands
If you have average density and average size strands, you can have a 'full' look in a few ways. You can decide between the small microlocs or sisterlocks, or you could even have larger, more traditional locs. You have the flexibility to have the look you want in either size.
Low Density with Fine Strands
Having low density combined with fine strands is the most challenging situation. Having lots of parts in low density, fine hair may cause your scalp to look bare. It will be a challenge, if at all possible, to get a very full look. But if you're considering locs, not because of a look that you're trying to achieve, but rather as a symbol of a spiritual journey, then the look won't matter. So, if you're sure you want to have locs, consider tiny sections. This maximal number of sections will yield thinner locs but may make up for it in volume.
High Density with Coarse (Thick) Strands
With high density and thick strands, you don't need a lot of locs on your head to look full. Your sections can be larger (not too big), yielding good-sized locs. Remember that starter locs will compress over time and become tighter and reduce to near half their diameter. But with high density and coarse strands, you will still have a voluminous look. So, go for average size sections for a moderate number of locs.
Related: How to Stop Your Scalp From Itching if You Have Locs
Loc Size: What's Optimal?
When you consider the size of your locs, what you really need to think of is how they will be in their mature state. Starter locs only last a short while, but you will spend the remainder of your time with mature locs. Mature locs are tighter and more compressed than starter locs.
Here are the sizes of locs quantified by number of locs and what may be best for you.
Under 20 Locs Overall
Having only twenty locs is a minimal number. Your locs will likely be quite thick. While you may like the idea of very thick locs, it may not be best for the health of your locs. Thick locs are hard to dry out after a shampooing or a swim. They can take as much as 24 hours to fully dry, which can lead to other issues like mold or a stale smell. And don't even mention the amount of buildup thick locs can house! Your aim should not be to have so few locs on your head unless you are only partially locking your hair. If only one section of your hair is loc'd, then that might be okay.
Up to 45 Locs
Up to 45 locs will give you an excellent volume of locs as well as medium thickness of each individual loc. They will still take a while to dry, but not as long as 24 hours. You will have to be intentional about cleanliness, product buildup, and drying your hair after it's gotten wet.
Up to 60 Locs
If you have up to 60 locs, they will be pencil-thin (unless your hair is thick) and much easier to manage. You can still have a full look and an attractive appearance. Grooming will take longer, but not impossibly so.
Up to 100 Locs
We wouldn't recommend going beyond 100 locs. At this point, your locs will be pretty thin (not necessarily a bad thing) unless your hair is very thick. If your hair is very thick or you have a high density of hairs on your scalp, this number may be ideal for you. One hundred locs is a lot to manage but can be rewarding. Your locs will be full and easy to keep and maintain.
Related: The Ultimate Baby Dreadlocks Maintenance Guide
After deciding to grow locs, the size of your proposed locs is the next big question. Take into account the amount of hair you have on your head, the diameter of the strands, and finally, what kind of locs appeal to you. If you're after a specific look, be realistic about achieving it. Even if you have the right thickness and density, dreadlocks have a mind of their own. They grow the way they want to. But if you aren't after a look, but after the symbolism of the spiritual journey you are on, you probably aren't too concerned about the overall look. In either event, you're making a great decision. Locs are a beautiful way to express yourself!
Are you considering the loc journey or are you already on it? We know that your locs are more than just a hairstyle or look, it’s a lifestyle. Bring us on your journey. Check out Lion Locs to learn more.