Starter locs maintenance

Starter locs maintenance DEFAULT

Everyone wants healthy new dreads and No! It’s not that hard!

Taking care of new dreads is stressful, but be patient! Because your dreads will look the way you want soon. Here I’ll give you some easy tips that can help you take care of new dreads.

One of the most important things you can do for your dreads is to moisturize. Locs are like a plant, and you can’t expect a plant to grow on dry sand. So you want to keep your hair and scalp moisturized.

Oils like natural coconut and Olive oils will protect your dreads. Also, a simple spray bottle with a bit of Alvero and Jamaican Castro oil keeps your new dreads from drying.

However, you want to avoid build-up, especially at the beginning of your locs journey, by limiting the number of products you are putting into your hair. Products like mineral oils, heavy waxes or gels cause build-up, which can change the color and feel of your dreadlocks.

Decide on the starting method of your dreads

There are many ways to start new dreads. This can be the two-strand twist, braided, or comb coils, etc. By choosing your locking method beforehand, determines the dreads you’ll have.

For example, with the comb coil method, your locs will have a cylinder appearance. Now, after you have done this- what about the hair part? Do you want a triangular or square part?

Ask your self these questions before starting new dreads.

 How To Wash New Dreads?

There’s a common misconception that you cannot shampoo starter locs, but this is not true. You can shampoo your starter locs within three weeks, preferably four weeks, but I started shampooing my dreads as early as two weeks.

Water is suitable for locking your hair, and you don’t have to use a stocking cap. When you shampoo starter locks, there are other great techniques that you can do aside from using a stocking cap that will not cause your new dreads to unravel.

Soaking your hair for 10-15 minutes using the Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda method is an excellent alternative for starter locs instead of conditioners, which can cause thinning and breakage.

Invest in a scalp massager when washing; this tool allows you to get rid of any dandruff and build-up you may have on your scalp without disrupting the locking process.

New dreads

Determine the look of your locs beforehand

Before installing dreadlocks, determine how your dreads should look like beforehand. If you’re in the early stages of locking, take a minute and think about this.

So many people say I just want locs! Then a year later, they’re like Hey! My dreads don’t look like how I want them to look, and you can’t style them the way you want to.

Consult with a loctician, and show them some pictures of what you want your locs to look like, and mostly, the dreads you are going for are achievable.

Don’t Style or Retwist Too Early

I know that you are just starting and are excited to style your locs, but it’s a critical time in your journey and is just the beginning.

You should wait and give your hair some time to begin the locking process before adding accessories like bobby pins that come with styling. I suggest leaving your hair in its natural flow and wait until your hair is locked.

Don’t re-twist too often, wait until your hair has a reasonable length of new growth before re-twisting. Don’t over re-twist your dreads. All you are doing is re-twisting the area that you have twisted previously, and this can lead to uneven dreads.

I usually wait 4-5 weeks before I re-twist my locs.

Cover your hair at night with a cap or silk scarf since this prevents extra frizzy dreads. Plus, sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase because it prevents lint build-up and friction. 

When you cover your hair, you are keeping moisture, which in turn, limits the use of any additional products.

What To Expect With New Dreadlocks?

Every experience will be different. However, most people will have an itchy scalp, frizzy and awkward dreads. If you are considering installing starter dreads, begin by relaxing your washing routine.

This is going to make the transition super easy, but you will experience a bit of itchy scalp. Your hair and scalp need to get used to the changes in your maintenance products and washing routine.

Young dreads will not look like mature dreadlocks, this means it will look loose, oddly shaped and frizz. Mature dreadlocks take time and patience for them to look the way you wanted.

Considering you have done your research and understand dreadlocks maintenance and the process, it should come easier with time. Check out dreads stages and timelines, join communities on Facebook or Reddit and good luck.

Penny Thomas

Penny Thomas

My name is Penny Thomas, I love blogging, and the founder of HTW dreads. I had dreadlocks for the past tens years. However, I cut my hair off to grow them with natural oils and no wax. Apart from my hair, I love reading and swimming.

Categories Dreadlocks Maintenance, Dreads BeginnersTags Dreadlocks beginners, Dreadlocks maintenanceSours:

Maintenance Tips for Locs


In the salon I’ve been receiving a ton of new clients looking to start their loc journey. Locs are a great way to grow out your hair in a protective style. If cared for they can grow to imaginable lengths. Locs can be dyed, styled and if you need some more volume or length, they’ve created loc extensions too! Locs are so versatile, I’m not surprised to see the rush of loc clients in my chair. 

There’s a common misconception that locs are hassle free way of growing your hair. Those who are new to their loc journey are surprised when they learn how much maintenance is required, especially in the beginning. Like all hair, once a regimen is created, it becomes an ease to care for your locs and you can sit back and watch them grow. 

If you’re new to locs or have been contemplating on starting your loc journey, then you need to know what you’re getting yourself into before making the commitment. It’s important to know that there are five different stages your locs will go through: starter, budding, teen, mature and rooted. Once you understand which stage you are in, you will know exactly what to expect and how to maintain your locs with the proper products and regimen.

starter locs

Starter locs are also known as “baby locs”. This stage lasts between the first two to six months, all depending on your hair type and how quickly your hair grows. Those with looser hair textures will find that it may take their hair longer to begin to lock that those with tighter coils. 

In the beginning you can opt in for free form locs, with no sectioning or parts. With this look you can simply allow your hair to just be. Those who want a more uniformed, polished feel might decide to have more defined sections. For either look, it’s important to avoid sections that are too small as locs can break if they are too thin or dry. 

The most frustrating aspect of the starter phase is that locs start to come undone when shampooing. To avoid having to re-twist constantly, grab a spray bottle and fill it with the astringent Sea Breeze. Spritz your scalp and hair and bolt away and excess with a towel. This will refresh your hair and scalp after the gym or a hot humid day. Follow up with a leave in conditioner to keep your hair and scalp moisturized. 


As your locs start to matte and form, you have entered the budding phase. You will notice at this stage that the ends of your locs remain intact after shampooing. At this point, it’s important to continue to thoroughly shampoo your hair to avoid product build up in your locs. 

A re-twist routine will ensure that your locs are always looking good. Wether you re-twist at home or in a salon, don’t over do it. Re-twisting too often can lead to thinning and breakage. 

Teen Locs


At the teen stage, your looks are formed and they have gotten thick. You hair is locked but they are not yet heavy enough to begin to hang. Styling may be difficult, but with he help of accessories such as scarves, bobby pins and head bands, you can tame this stage.

Mature Locs


After about a year your locs will start to enter the mature stage. At this stage your locs have gotten some weight and they are beginning to hang. Your locs are intact and they are firm. 

At this point you can re-twist less often as your locs can now support themselves. You can enjoy regular shampooing and conditioning without the fear of your locs coming undone. 


Rooted locs or the “adult” stage comes several years after your locs are firmly in place. You’ll notice your locs begin to hang differently as they are heavier and look slender. You can grow your locs to long lengths and even trim them to a shape for more styling options.  


 No matter what stage you are in you want to make sure your locs are thoroughly hydrated. Remember, dry hair leads o breakage. Hydrating locs on a regular basis is very important because the ends of the loss are the oldest parts of the hair and includes strands that are no longer connected to the scalp. Without moisture the ends of the loss will become excessively dry and begin to break off. 

You will want to always keep your hair clean and free of build up while locking. If you do not regularly remove build-up it will become embedded into your locs.  It’s also important to choose products that won’t sit in the hair and create more build up. Products such as heavy creams, waxes, gels and hair sprays should be avoided. These products attract dirt and debris and are difficult to remove from the hair later causing a smell and grime. 

In the beginning you may have to make more frequent visits to the salon to make sure your locs do not come undone, aim for about every two weeks. While sleeping, simply cover your hair with a bonnet or scarf. 

With appropriate cleansing, conditioning and maintenance, you can absolutely obtain the look you desire, for the long-term. 

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Yeeeehooooo! So you've got yourself a brand new head of lush fresh dreads! Isn't it exciting!? If you had them made by the Divine Hand & Hook method or by another experienced natural crochet hook Loctician then they will be feeling rather tight and stiff to begin with. This always takes a wee while to adjust to, but it's exactly how the dreads should be if they're locked properly. When new dreads are tight and somewhat rigid it means that there will be minimal ongoing maintenance involved. If they're made by backcomb, twist & rip or only a loose crochet lock (80% locked & under) then they will be fairly squishy to begin with. Essentially this means they really need more locking with an experienced DH&H loctician aka - high quality dread loctician or artist to become more permanent, solid & healthy. Read on to learn the easiest way to care for them....

If your new dreads are NOT that tight and rigid, then it means you'll have a lot of palm rolling to do to get them properly locked (although this is a very ineffective way to tighten your dreads as it takes very frequent rolling for a long period of time). If you have afro hair and your dreads haven't been made with the crochet hook method, you would've no doubt been given very different advice to caring for your dreads than the advice here.

The following information is for all cultures & hair types, however if you have afro hair this advice is more relevant if you have had your dreads made with the crochet method (not twist, roll, wax, or braid methods). 
If you have had your dreads made in any other way except DH&H or high quality crochet method AND they are still soft, they will need more locking to get them tight & healthy. The best way to do this is with high quality crochet work. I have been teaching this to hundreds of people via live & online courses since 2013. You can grab a really cheap professional course on how to create a dread (thus re-lock a soft or loose dread) with my Divine Hand & Hook method here. (link coming April 2020)

If you haven't yet read about our method V's other mainstream methods then click on the links to get informed about the different ways of making dreadlocks and the Divine Hand & Hook way. 

If you have, then you'll understand that every other method that doesn't involve good thorough hook locking, will need regular palm rolling, maintenance & extra work before they are feeling tight. While you might be into the idea of floppy dreads, I don't know many people who want dreads, who are into the idea of having to work at them every day or every week just to get them to be properly locked!

But be rest assured that the rigidity of DH&H locks will wane after the first wash and as the weeks go by. They will become more floppy and malleable, but maintain their tightness. This is a great thing, because it is an indication that your dreads have been locked well and are "low maintenance" dreads. Especially if you take care of them them and follow these simple rules............

  • FIRST RULES: Ideally don't wet or wash your new dreads for 1 month - just let your hair get used to being locked into dreads before you mess with them. Now you might be thinking...."Ahhh but I used to wash my hair every 2 days, how can I go 1 month without shampoo!?" WELL, if you have followed the correct hair preparation instructions, your hair will have already been cleansed of chemical residue, which means that it will no longer be addicted to chemicals found in shampoos. When your hair is in it's most natural state, it actually stays clean quite well by itself! We realise that most people struggle with this advice, and many people get an itchy scalp in this "no wash" period. To relieve this problem, you can spray your head daily with "Love Ya Scalp" which will give you a quick dry wash and help to cleanse and revitalize your scalp and dreads, without messing with them. 
  • AVOID WATER FOR A BIT: If you just can't go the 4 weeks without washing, then try to wait at last 2 weeks. The reason we recommend this is because water is one of the main things that mess up new dreads! It fills them up and causes them to go slightly fluffy. If you wait the month then your dreads are holding their new state of "lockedness" more on their own and they're less likely to fluff up! (CAUTION: if you have had dreads made with another method, for example: backcomb, roll and wax, then wetting them in this 4 week period can cause them to open up a lot and get really fluffy, loosing their tightness and shape entirely!)
  • WASHING: After you have gotten through the initial "no washing" period, you can then wash your babies between 1 and 4 times a month with a 100% natural shampoo or our awesome Lemon Mrytle and Macadamia oil Loc Bloc (shampoo bar). 
  • SCALP ITCH PREVENTION: Use "Love Ya Scalp" to keep your scalp free of dandruff, itchiness, bacteria & to help ward off lice (coz those critters hate the stuff! Ideally spray on your scalp twice a week & massage in. Also, using "Love Ya scalp" spray a few times a week replaces the need to shampoo so regularly because one of the essential oils acts like a shampoo. t actually cleans your dreads too so you can spray it all over them! Then rather than washing once a week you can save the actual big shampoo process to a minimum like once fortnight or once a month! Perfect for winter when soaked dreads take so long to dry! 
  • PREVENT THAT DAMP SMELL: Wet your dreads only when swimming or on your fortnightly wash. At all other times it's best to wear a shower cap just to keep water off them entirely. Tight dreads take longer than normal hair to dry & can become smelly if left damp for extended periods - the same as clothes do when they're left in the washing machine wet - so there's no point wetting them when you don't need to.
  • DRYING: As a rule of thumb, wash your dreads in the morning preferably on a sunny dry day. Ring, pat & turban dry using a micro fibre towel which literally soaks up all the moisture , so & use sun & wind to dry them naturally.
  • SLEEPING: It's best to pull your dreadies up behind your head towards the wall to avoid them getting squashed when sleeping. Tossing and turning a lot on them, adds to fuzziness forming. Some people like to wear a stocking over them, I personally think this is overkill, but if it's comfy and helps then go for it!
  • DAILY PROTECTION: If you're a tradie or work in construction, painting, kitchens, the outdoors, bush or any environment where you can get dirt, dust, grease, grime in your dreads...protect them!! Wear a beenie, or a big dread band to protect them from all this muck getting into them. You'll be so glad you did. A good cheap trick is go to any department store and buy a pair of women's black leggings in about a size 14 and cut the legs up into rings of different sizes. These work as great headbands and actually look pretty good! 
  • STOP DREAD MERGING: Touch your darlings about once a week, particularly at the back  and check they're not joining at the base. If they are pull them apart. If you do this from the start, regularly, then you will never ever get dreads joining together! 
  • MAINTENANCE: Have your regrowth done or learn how to do DIY Maintenance, about every 3 months if you'd like your dreads to always be neat, or every 6 months if you don't mind a bit of top fuzz. If you love to "do it yourself" then you should grab my DIY Dread Maintenance Course! It will teach you exactly how to lock in your regrowth, get in the loops and bumps and remove your dread fuzz using the Divine Hand and Hook method of dreadlocking. This means you can do all your own dread maintenance, never have to split and tuck or loop your dreads through, never need sticky wax or lock peppa and save up to $1000 a year! 
  • CHILLIN: Enjoy the simplicity, coz your Divine Hand & Hook Dreadlocks are locked so well that your dreads really don't need as much thought or work as normal hair. This is a very different experience from if you have dreads made just with backcomb and roll, chemicals or wax. If they have been made this way, find a good hook loctician or grab the DIY maintenance course and pass the hook through your dreads till they're tighter so you don't have to worry too!
  • ENJOY LIFE: This gives you more time to spend on your conscious evolution & less time spent on your hair! :)

Hayward Armstead (Friday, 10 April 2020 12:20)

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Starter locs, also referred to as “baby locs”, is the first stage of the loc process. The starter loc phase generally lasts between three to six months depending on your hair type or the speed at which your hair grows. Starter locs can be established through different methods such as comb coil, palm roll, braids, and two-strand twists and they require specific care strategies to encourage health and length retention. As you begin your starter loc journey consider these five tips.

Allow it to grow with little to no manipulation

At the loc installation stage, starter locs are groomed to keep form until it needs to be refreshed through retwisting. Due to this, starter locs, in their initial stage are most frail so it is important to touch your hair less and allow it to freely grow out. The less you manipulate your starter locs the better it will thrive and be free of damage. Less manipulation also prevents unraveling of the locs as it boosts the natural shaping and form of your locs. This will encourage new healthy growth which will develop into length and body by your next retwist.

Limit hair products

Excessive hair products applied to your starter locs will cause it to unravel and cause build up. Thus, the use of small amounts of hair product is best at this stage. 

Use natural oils

Incorporate the use of natural oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, and Jamaican black castor oil. The use of natural oils during your starter loc journey will prevent your locs from becoming dry and cause your scalp to maintain moisture. This creates the perfect environment for healthy locs. The use of tea tree oil diluted with a carrier oil will prove to be beneficial also because of its antifungal properties that will help to clean your hair.

Pay attention to the frequency of wash days

It’s healthy and recommended to wash your hair every two weeks. However, in caring for your starter locs delaying wash days is key. Once every month in the starter loc phase is highly encouraged. This helps to maintain the formation of the locs and discourage unraveling. 

Say no to deep conditioning

Moisture is important to healthy hair but skipping this step will avoid locs from unravelling. So, say no to deep conditioners in the starter loc stage and you’ll be on your way to healthy and defined locs in the future. Consider deep conditioning only when your hair begins to lock up. 

These five steps will allow your starter locs to travel healthily throughout all the stages. Your dream loc destination relies heavily on how you start. Confidently commit to limited manipulation, less product usage, monthly wash days, and no deep conditioning and you’ll be well on your way to beautiful loc care and growth!

Jonnelle O'Connor

Jonnelle O’Connor

Jonnelle O’Connor is a Jamaican blogger who enjoys writing about the care and health of natural hair. Her passion for hair originated with her personal healthy hair journey. As a certified Counseling Psychologist, she also delights in mental health and dreams of a day when mental health awareness is truly recognized, and the debilitating stigmas are smashed for good.


Locs maintenance starter

Your Guide to the 5 Different Stages of Locs

Starter: 3-6 Months

The starter (AKA "baby") stage of the loc process can last anywhere from three to six months, depending on your hair type and how fast it grows. There are several styles—such as braids, two-strand twists, comb coils and palm rolls—that you can choose from to start off your locs. This is the stage where you'll begin to create a parting pattern, if you wish. You could also always opt for a freeform look, where you don't "cultivate" or control section size and simply allow your hair to be. Either way, it's important that you don't create sections that are too small, as locs can break off if they're too thin or too dry. 

"In the starter stage, it may seem difficult because your hair keeps coming undone when shampooing," Chimere Faulk, natural hairstylist, loctician, and founder of loc care brand Dr. Locs tells us. "Dr Locs’ Jinan Leave-In Conditioner ($27) is a perfect daily regimen to use to keep your scalp and baby locs moisturized."

One Week Starter Loc Update! Hair Changes, Maintenance, and Budding?!

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