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.
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.
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!
August 25, 2018 at 6:20 pm
Can budding start as early as 2 to 3 weeks
January 22, 2019 at 1:01 am
Yes it sure can, depending on your hair texture.
September 15, 2022 at 11:02 am
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
September 27, 2022 at 9:37 am
Sounds like its budding. You should definitely not comb it out… its beginning the locking process which is tangling!
April 22, 2020 at 1:20 pm
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.
November 29, 2018 at 12:12 am
I have Used the freeflow twist and lock gel. Is this the right thing to use to start
January 21, 2019 at 11:22 pm
Never heard of this. As long as the product is water-soluble it should be fine.
December 15, 2018 at 12:50 pm
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!
January 21, 2019 at 11:06 pm
Yay!!! Welcome to the journey! And enjoy all the stages!
January 26, 2019 at 9:47 pm
After my first Retwist, I started noticing the budding. I started my process 5 weeks ago.
January 28, 2019 at 5:09 am
Yay!!! Let the fun begin!
December 31, 2019 at 3:40 am
what can i use to my locs so it grows faster
January 22, 2020 at 9:54 pm
January 19, 2020 at 1:51 am
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.
January 22, 2020 at 9:47 pm
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
February 8, 2020 at 3:40 am
4 months into my locs love it
February 18, 2020 at 8:21 pm
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.
May 17, 2020 at 10:10 pm
Congratulations on your new journey!!!!
February 19, 2020 at 8:24 am
Hi, how long does the budding stage typically last? Thanks.
May 17, 2020 at 10:09 pm
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!
March 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm
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?
June 1, 2020 at 9:51 pm
This is known as bunching. You can help remedy this by elongating the hair every time it is wet and doing loc rubbing consistently.
April 15, 2020 at 11:34 am
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?
April 15, 2020 at 11:37 am
*More time for the hair to bud…
May 17, 2020 at 10:04 pm
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.
April 19, 2020 at 1:10 pm
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?
May 12, 2020 at 11:54 am
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!
April 26, 2020 at 9:09 pm
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
May 14, 2020 at 10:03 pm
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!
April 29, 2020 at 9:14 am
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?
May 12, 2020 at 11:41 am
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!
May 7, 2020 at 11:09 pm
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
May 12, 2020 at 11:27 am
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.
January 22, 2022 at 4:43 am
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?
January 24, 2022 at 11:14 pm
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.
CLICK HERE TO JOIN!
May 29, 2020 at 12:49 am
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?
May 29, 2020 at 12:54 am
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!
May 29, 2020 at 7:44 am
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?
June 1, 2020 at 9:42 pm
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“.
June 4, 2020 at 7:30 am
I appreciate that. Thank you!
June 3, 2020 at 2:49 pm
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!
June 3, 2020 at 10:43 pm
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”.
May 22, 2022 at 6:22 pm
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.
June 4, 2020 at 9:01 am
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.
June 4, 2020 at 9:22 am
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!!
June 4, 2020 at 11:36 am
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
June 17, 2020 at 6:55 pm
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!
June 5, 2020 at 8:09 am
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.
June 5, 2020 at 8:56 am
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.
June 5, 2020 at 9:25 am
Ok! emailing you now!!
June 16, 2020 at 6:57 pm
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.
June 17, 2020 at 1:45 am
Yay! Happy 3 Month Locversary!!
August 5, 2020 at 6:12 am
I didn’t know about the budding stage so I forcefully interlocked my locs,,will it cause damage in the long run?
August 10, 2020 at 2:13 am
Damage— unlikely. However, depending on what pattern was used you may see an indentation in your locs where the interlocking occurred.
November 5, 2020 at 10:01 pm
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.
February 12, 2021 at 4:54 am
Welcome to the loc journey, your process sounds like it’s progressing well. thank you for the support.
November 6, 2020 at 5:30 pm
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!!
November 29, 2020 at 2:38 am
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
March 3, 2021 at 11:15 pm
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.
December 5, 2020 at 8:31 am
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?
February 18, 2021 at 12:40 am
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.
January 5, 2021 at 2:08 am
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?
February 18, 2021 at 12:37 am
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.
February 14, 2021 at 1:00 am
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.
February 20, 2021 at 11:57 am
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?
March 1, 2021 at 9:40 am
Generally speaking, most locs will amount to the size of the bud, but some may be slightly smaller.
February 24, 2021 at 10:01 am
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.
March 1, 2021 at 9:32 am
Yes, have patience and trust that your process may not look like everyone else’s!
June 24, 2021 at 10:58 am
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?
June 24, 2021 at 11:14 am
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.
June 24, 2021 at 1:34 pm
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 🙂