When Will Locs Start Budding?


When your locs start budding you should be excited— you have reached the beginning of one of the first milestones in your loc journey! But if you’re unsure of what it means when your locs start “budding”, you’ll likely have more concern than excitement. Common concerns that arise when locs start budding are “why is my loc pregnant“, “what is this lump in my locs“, “my locs are puffy in one area” and naturally, if this is your first set of locs you may think something is wrong— but don’t worry! The beginning of your loc journey is when your hair undergoes the most transformation.

Let’s talk about the basics of loc budding so that you will understand what’s going on and put your mind at ease.

Are your locs budding

What is Loc Budding?

When your locs start budding that means your hair is beginning to tangle inside the loc and form its own internal loc matrix. The internal Loc matrix is essentially a net within the locs that catches all of your naturally shed hair. The formation of this internal loc matrix causes your locs to swell and become noticeably frizzy.

Related Article: Locs Under a Microscope

You can take a closer look at what locs budding looks like under the microscope in my latest video:

[tg_youtube width=”525″ height=”295″ video_id=”bTr4110mmeM”]

When to expect your locs to start budding?

Typically, within the first 3-6 months you will notice the first signs of budding in your locs. Depending on your hair texture, product usage and initial method for starting locs the onset of this process can vary. The budding can appear anywhere along the shaft of the locs, but normally budding appears in the middle of the locs or closer to the roots first.

Locs Budding in Three Months

Once your locs have completely budded, from the roots to the ends, they will have matured into the teenage loc stage.

Related Article: The 4 stages of Hair Locking

What If You Haven’t Noticed Any Budding?

If within the first 6 months of your loc journey your locs have not begun to bud, I would definitely check your products first. Often times, if you’re not under the guidance of a Certified Loctician, you end up using the wrong products for locs; and without a proper regimen your locs take a lot longer to mature. But again, the timeline for your locs to start budding varies widely from person to person and hair texture to hair texture, so patience is essential for everyone.

Can the Loc Budding Be Avoided

You may hear reference made to the phrase, “ugly phase of locs” and how much of a struggle it is to get through it. Often times, it is assumed that the “ugly phase of locs” is during the budding process— as your hair transitions from coils or twists into locs. If you desire to skip that phase or the first 6-9 months of the locking process, you can opt for instant locs. Instant locs are instantaneous formation of the internal loc matrix such that your hair resembles a natural cultivated loc. However, it is important to know that your hair would still go through the remaining phases of hair locking, starting from the teenage phase. So the short answer is yes you can skip the initial stage of budding, but your hair would still go through the locking process.

Now that you understand the basics of loc budding, embrace this stage of your loc journey and look forward to the beautiful transformation that your hair will grow you through!

In the comments, share when your locs started budding and how you initially felt about it!

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Jocelyn Reneé

Jocelyn Reneé is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctician and Textured Hair Educator. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area and is a graduate of the Aveda Institute Cosmetology Science program. With over 14 years in the Hair Care Industry, from Salon Assistant to Natural Hair Blogger to Professional; Jocelyn is passionate about cultivating healthy hair.

Blog Comments

Dominique Washington

Can budding start as early as 2 to 3 weeks

Yes it sure can, depending on your hair texture.

When you have stater locs and you notice what I think is budding , part of my finger coils I can’t recoil them, is it budding or should I get a comb and comb it out and then try to recoil it ? I don’t know

Sounds like its budding. You should definitely not comb it out… its beginning the locking process which is tangling!

I started my locs at a natural salon Feb 7-2020. Due to coved-19 I had to start my own maintenance. I am also a licensed cosmetologist so it’s not bad but I am starting to bud as well.
I look forward to more posts on your blog.

I have Used the freeflow twist and lock gel. Is this the right thing to use to start

Never heard of this. As long as the product is water-soluble it should be fine.

I’ve started my local journey on September 26,2018. I’ve currently have had my hair locked for 3 or 4 months now. I absolutely love my 4c hair! I started noticing my loc budding this December and I’m so excited!

Yay!!! Welcome to the journey! And enjoy all the stages!

After my first Retwist, I started noticing the budding. I started my process 5 weeks ago.

Yay!!! Let the fun begin!

what can i use to my locs so it grows faster


Hello I am 6 months into my loc journey. This is my second set of locs . However this time around I’m noticing a lot of shedding. I moisturize often with rose water or leave in conditioner. With a light oil. I also use Sauve clarifying shampoo. Do you think this is drying out my hair? I use to use claire’s daughter with my first set and had no problems. I also shampoo every 7 days. Can you please advise me thank you.

Peace Shalonda! I would love to help you with your hair care regimen! Visit my website and schedule a “Virtual Consultation” at your earliest convenience: https://nugrowthsalon.as.me/virtual-consultations

4 months into my locs love it

I started my loc journey Jan 3, 2020. When I got my 1st retwist at my 4 week mark I saw budding. I am so excited to be budding already. I have 4c hair but my sides are like 4a. I am excited about the process but a little nervous because my sides are thinner than the rest of my hair.

Congratulations on your new journey!!!!

Hi, how long does the budding stage typically last? Thanks.

Check out the “Stages of Locs: How Locs Evolve From Beginning to Maturity” post which shares how long each stage lasts and what you can expect!

So I have soft curly hair and my budding as came making my ends of my locs look like matted flat hair how can I help this? Or is this the process?

This is known as bunching. You can help remedy this by elongating the hair every time it is wet and doing loc rubbing consistently.

Hello, I have juste started my locs journey with the instant locs method as my hair is halfed relaxed, and I was wondering if it would take more type in this case, for the hair to bud.
Another question, does instant locs get thicker by the time, like it does for other methods?
Thank u!!

*More time for the hair to bud…

The instant loc method creates the budding so your hair does not have to grow through that stage. The locs will not change in size. The size that the instant locs were started is the size that your locs will continue to be, maybe slightly smaller over time.

Hi Jocelyn,

I’m going on 10 months and it seems as if only a few of my locs actually budded around months 4/5. I never experienced a full blown budding nor teenage phase. I get my retwists done by a loctician every 3-4 months, I use rosewater/glycerin every other day, and massage my scalp with castor oil once a week. I don’t wash my own hair. I wait until it’s time to to get a retwist to have my loctician wash it. Do you think my hair will still go through the budding or teenage phase before they are fully matured?

Thank you!!

Hi Tashaunna! All locs have to grow through a budding phase so I am sure yours is still coming. 10 months is still very young. You may not see the budding because you are not washing your own hair… that is where the magic happens! Wishing you all the best on your journey!

I think I shocked my locs. I had been growing them since 2009, 3 different locticions and in 2018 what was down my back I cut into a bob for my 50th birthday. The front has grown back to length but the back is still upset, although not as short as it was, the first go round from 2009-2018 did not take nearly as long to grow seems like

As you age the cycles that your hair grow in begin to slow down, so it is normal that you are not experiencing the same growth rate that you saw a few year ago at this point in your journey. Just keep growing!

Hi Jocelyn,

I’m totally new to the life of locs. I’m looking for a loctician, but for now considering starting my own l own locs due to the COVID19 crisis. My edges in the front are thin from the tension of past braid and twist styles. Any suggestions on how to deal with this issue while locing?

Hi there Denise! There are so many suggests that I would advise with your new journey. I will work on a blog post and/or video about it, but overall please be gentle to your edges and don’t add any additional tension!

I’ve had small locs for 10 years with g great length, however they are thinning at the root. How can I restore thickness and growth to my thin edges

Great question Carolyn and that is so amazing that you’ve had 1 set of locs for 10 years! Cumulatively, with all my sets of locs, I have had locs for 10 years as well but this is the longest I have had one set— 4 years. I would suggest checking out an article I posted about the “Common Causes of Thinning Locs” to see if there is a solution there for you, or you can setup a Virtual Consultation with me and we can discuss specific recommendations for you.

Hi Jocelyn, I am 7 months into the loc journey and I dunno if my hair is budding. There is a lot of loose hair strands that are not locking
What should I do?

I would definitely invite you to join my Digital Txt Club, that way you can send me a picture of your hair and I can offer a realistic suggestion.


I just wanna start by saying thank you for this website. I unintentionally started my loc journey w/ finger coils that i didnt want to take out. I am going on 3 weeks in, I washed and retwisted my hair last weekend completely on my own. I have been researching properly loc care from sun up to sundown. I want to know how to make sure Im on the right track tho, cuz this is all so new to me. What would you suggest?

Congratulations on starting your new loc journey Shannon! I would suggest checking out the article “How To Part Your Hair For Starter Locs” which talks about parting systems. Review that post to ensure you are comfortable with your foundation and then from there embrace the process of the journey! I also have a workshop “How to Retwist Locs At Home” which details at-home care for traditional locs available in the NuGrowth Academy.

I hope this helps!

And definitely join the mailing list for tips straight to your inbox!

Hi!!! I always wanted to loc my hair but was always afraid of how it would look. I’ve been natural for almost 2 yrs and on April 10th decided to started my loc journey. I have notice budding already especially in the back and the middle. With no heat to my hair, I have seen a lot more growth than I did before. I know I am in the “ugly”/early stage lol so my question is when I get my locs retwisted what can I do so that the front of my hair continues to look nice and neat instead of looking like I need to get my hair done even though it was done two days ago?

My best advice is to trust the process! Your roots will swell. Your locs will unravel. Your hair will be wild. It is all apart of the process. I would also encourage you to change your mindset about the locking process that you’re growing through… there is nothing ugly about it. Wishing you the best on your journey!

OH, also check out this video “Edge Control Tips for Women with Locs“.

I appreciate that. Thank you!

I started my loc journey on May 9th, and I did my first retwist on May 21st with out washing. My question is, how long should I wait to wash? I do not want to wash too soon and cause them to unravel, because my hair type is 4B. Thanks!

First, you should definitely wash your hair. 4 Weeks is the longest you should ever go without washing your hair. Washing your hair may cause unraveling and it might not but even if some of them unravel, just put them back in and continue with the process. Never sacrifice your scalp health for “neat hair”.

My hair starter budding the 1st month. My second retwist I would day 70% or more of my hair has a bud somewhere on the shaft of my hair.

Hey Danielle. I started my journey the same day as you, and did my 1st retwist the same day as well. I was also worried about my hair unraveling, but it really needed to be washed. So I read a tip to use a stocking cap when washing starter locs to keep them from unraveling. I feel it definitely helped keep my locs together at the ends. Hopefully, it will help you as well.

Thank you Shannon! I was thinking of washing this weekend, because the itch is crazy!!! I just wanted to do some research first before I did so. Since we are lock twins, we should keep in touch to follow each other’s journey!!

Girl Yess!! ‍♀️ loc twins indeed!! I would be more than happy to share this journey wit you. And definitely do your research. Real talk thats how I found Jocelyn Reneé and this site… and im so happy i did now. Send me your info

Thank you for providing such great information. I am 3 weeks into my third loc journey. I am excited. I wish I hadn’t relaxed my hair because I have some straight ends, but I am looking forward to this new journey!

Same here! I was doing research, and ran across this site! Glad I did too! Both of my kids had dreads before, and I would retwist them, but I never really did any research until I decided to get them, because my grade of hair is much softer. I wonder how I can share my info with you without it being open to the public.

I been trying to figure that out for the last 24 hours. Lol. I just created a public email. Shoot me a message and we can exchange info.

Ok! emailing you now!!


Elizabeth Edwards

I started my locs April 17 2020. My hair has already started to bud lumps in my locs frizzy everywhere & my coils are filling in.

Yay! Happy 3 Month Locversary!!

I didn’t know about the budding stage so I forcefully interlocked my locs,,will it cause damage in the long run?

Damage— unlikely. However, depending on what pattern was used you may see an indentation in your locs where the interlocking occurred.

Thanks for this info! At 43 I finally decided to loc. I was always afraid to commit. Looking back, I’ve grown thru at least 5 stages of letting my hair grow and always ended up cutting it off. Most recently had a sponge brush mohawk. I went to a highly recommended loctician on 10/14, got a retwist 10/31, and go back in 4 weeks. I’ve seen so many beautiful loc journeys and am looking forward for to the process. Literally googled starter locs budding and found this.

Peace Mark,

Welcome to the loc journey, your process sounds like it’s progressing well. thank you for the support.

So I’ve had my starter locs for six weeks now and they have started to bud. Thank goodness I had read up on the process. So I wouldn’t freak out. So I’m enjoying my new journey!! So much to learn but I’m loving it!!

Hello, I started my locs June 2 with sponge method because I had a very short hair and it is 6 months now and my hair is yet to show any sign of budding, it is just thin. I question is if I’m still on track with my journey or I have to start again

It sounds like you are or attempted to freeform your locs, which not everyone can do. Most hair types will actually thin when not regularly groomed. I cannot say for certain what is going on with your journey without a consultation, but I would suggest grooming your locs to help with their integrity.

Thank you (and Damian Walter) for your great information. After researching locking since March 2020, I finally pulled the trigger. I felt confident enough to start my own locks on November 5th. My first retwist was November 23rd and there was budding!!! I am excited but have a question. My hair grew 2.2 inches in those 3 weeks, is this an expected growth rate? Am I stretching my locks or are they really growing that fast? My cosmetologist (Tresses at Tiffanys) sent me some serum when I told her I was locking my hair, could it be the source of the growth? I just don’t want my locks to grow long quick and sacrifice strength. Suggestions?

Welcome to the journey! The “growth” is a likely a result of unraveling at the roots, which made the area loose. On average, hair grows about 1/2 inch per month, so 5x that is highly unrealistic.

I’m so glad I found this article! My hair is budding, everywhere and at first I definitely thought it was a bad thing. I previously had locs for 8 years and I’m restarting. (I do not know why I cut them!) anyways, I started locing in September 2020 and the budding I assumed was my hair not properly being twisted. Should it be crocheted down/together? Or palm twisted to make the loc whole again?

Welcome back to the journey!

I am not sure what you mean by making it “whole again” but you do definitely want to groom the entire loc in the beginning. There are big differences between palm-rolling and crocheting, so you want to choose whichever method aligns best with your desired outcome and lifestyle.

My hair texture is curly like the goddes loc look (curly ends and all) I started budding around 9 months and I hated it because it was like hyper budding meaning my buds were joining each other on some locs and I hated it. I started training hem and now onwards I’ll continue to.

I’ve just started my loc journey on the 2 January 2021. I’m nervous about the size of my locs. I didnt want too many but at the same time don’t want them to look too few.I have started to notice a few buds and was wondering would the loc thicken to the size of duds?

Generally speaking, most locs will amount to the size of the bud, but some may be slightly smaller.

Ok this was really helpful cause I’m three months in and haven’t experienced any budding. I was alittle worried because most persons I know started from one to two months.

Yes, have patience and trust that your process may not look like everyone else’s!

Hi Jocelyn,

So I had instant locs a week ago today from a great loctitian in Paris.

I was not thrilled with the sizes (I have 43 installed because of the density of my hair).
The loctitian told me, same as your information that it won’t get any thicker, however my hair is looking a little thicker. I was wondering if the ‘instant locs not getting thicker over time’ a general rule and varies from person to person?


Hi Lola! That is a general rule. Even though they are “instant” they still have to grow through the locking process, which will involve expansion but will ultimately condense to the size you’ve seen.

Oh, I see.
Thank you so much for clearing that up. My natural hair is usually a lot thicker when I have double strand twists on my loose natural.
Either way, I am content with my decision to loc my hair and I am positive I will grow to love them more and more as they grow 🙂
Thank you!!!

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