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 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.