Are you thinking about getting dreadlocks? Whether you plan on installing them yourself or are thinking of heading to a loctician, you might be wondering how long it’ll take to see results.
So, how long does it take 4C hair to loc? Look no further because, in this article, we’ll explain the loc phases for 4C hair. We’ll also share some of our favorite tips to help you along your loc journey, so make sure you read all the way down to the end!
The Loc Phases and How Long They Last for 4C Hair
Tighter curl patterns lock quicker than looser textures, and 4c hair is the tightest curl pattern of them all. So, the locking process for 4C curls will be quickly compared to that of other textures. Below, we’ll tell you all about the different loc phases and how long they’re expected to take on 4C hair.
How Long Does It Take 4C Hair to Loc?
|Starter Phase||~3-6 months||4C baby locs will become thicker, demarcation lines fade, and bumps and lumps appear.|
|Budding Phase||~6 months||4C locs are unruly, may stick up defiantly, or go in different directions.|
|Teen Phase||~6 months||4C teenage locs are unruly, may stick up defiantly, or go in different directions.|
|Mature Phase||15+ months||4C mature locs look, feel, and act like dreadlocks, with a firm inner and outer structure.|
Your locs begin at the starter phase. In this phase, they look like whichever method you used to create them. They’ll likely unravel when you style or wash your hair and are typically smaller and more neatly parted than mature dreads.
The starter phase may last as little as three months for 4C hair and closer to 6 months for looser hair textures.
In the budding/sprouting phase, your locs will become thicker, and the lines of demarcation between your braids, twists, or coils will fade. You’ll also notice bumps and large lumps on your dreads, which can be hard to get used to.
But as a plus, your hair will unravel less frequently as your locs take shape. This phase will likely last about 6 months for 4C hair.
The teenage stage is marked by unruliness, often on a monumental stage. Your locs may stick up defiantly, go in several directions, or look irregular during this time. This stage may last about 6 months for 4C hair, though it could last a little longer.
The mature phase is where your locs look, feel, and act like dreadlocks. They hang down instead of sticking up, they have a firm inner and outer structure, and they don’t require a ton of maintenance.
Though, it could take longer if your natural hair texture is on the looser side. Considering all the previous phases, it could take 4C hair 15 months or longer to fully loc.
What Makes Hair Loc Faster?
Now that you know how long it takes for 4C hair to loc up, you’re probably wondering if there’s anything you can do to speed up the process. We’re happy to tell you that making the process go faster and more smoothly is possible if you take a few measures! Ready to find out what they are?
Here are a few ways to make your hair loc faster.
- Protect your hair at night – Cotton pillowcases can suck the moisture from your strands, leaving them dry and fragile. Cotton also creates friction, which can chip away at the structural integrity of your locs, working against the loc maturation process. So before you head off to sleep, protect your locs with a satin scarf or bonnet.
- Don’t overload your hair with product – There’s a common misconception that you can speed up loc formation by applying locking creams. Locking creams are usually sticky and make it look like your locs are more developed. But the effect is temporary and can lead to stubborn buildup, thinning, or breakage. That means you’ll have to wait even longer to get your dream locs.
- Avoid loc jewelry for the first six months – We get it. After starting your locs, you’ll probably be tempted to embellish them with beads, cuffs, and clips. However, doing so can prevent your locs from filling in and stall their development.
- Don’t wash your hair too often – One of the worst things you can do to start locs is wash them too frequently. In addition to drying your hair out, overwashing your locs can cause them to fray and unravel. For the best results, wash your hair no more than once or twice a week when you’re starting out.
How to Start Locs on 4C Hair
Although 4C hair is one of the easiest hair types to loc, the process can be lengthy. But we think that the style is more than worth it!
So if you’ve decided to give locs a try, you’re probably wondering what steps you’ll need to take. So in this section, we’ll look at some of the best ways to start locs on 4C hair.
Although the comb coiling method is more challenging, the locs it creates are neat and perfectly uniform. Plus, comb coils look good enough to rock as an everyday style!
To create comb coil starter locs, divide your hair into small, square-shaped sections. Coat one of the sections in a layer of gel or locking cream and comb through it with a fine tooth comb.
Insert a narrow tooth comb at the base of each section and spin it in small, circular motions to coil it. As you twirl, gently pull the comb down toward the ends of the hair. Then, move to the next section and repeat the process.
Comb coils give you the look of smooth dreadlocks right away, but it’ll take many months for your hair to actually loc. The key to comb coiling lies in the technique, so make sure that you use tutorials (like this one) to walk you through the steps.
Did you know you can start locs by braiding or twisting your hair? To do this, part your hair into box-shaped sections. Next, take one of the sections and divide it into two or three equal parts.
Apply a styling gel or locking cream to the section of hair, and braid or twist it from the root to the ends of your hair.
Repeat this process on the rest of your sections until you run out of loose hair. Then, simply leave them braided until they start to loc up. After a few months, you’ll see the braid lines fade as the locking process progresses.
If you’re looking for a locking method that’s hands-off, consider freeform locs. All you’ll have to do is stop combing or brushing your hair. That’s it! As time passes, your hair will naturally tangle, and dreadlocks will form.
The one caveat to this method is that it requires patience. While this method doesn’t require any particular products or techniques, you should still keep your hair clean and moisturized. That way, your hair and scalp remain healthy and buildup free.
Consult a Professional
Even if you’ve decided to start your locs yourself, it’s worth getting a professional evaluation. A consultation with a loctician will help you identify and correct issues early on, so you can ensure that your locs come out healthy and perfectly defined. They can also give you personalized tips and insight to help your loc journey go smoothly.
As you can see, there is no universal timeline for how long it will take your 4C hair to loc. It’ll start to loc within the first two or three months for most with 4C hair, but for others, it can take as many as six months for you to notice a change.
Still, your hair won’t be fully locked for closer to a year or more.
But, with patience and proper care, you can rest assured knowing that your hair will form beautiful, healthy locs when the time is right.
So, try to embrace the journey and have fun watching your kinks and curls transform. That said, we hope that the information we’ve gone over today is precisely what you were searching for, and we wish you the best of luck on your loc journey.
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. With over 15 years of experience, Kenneth has been dedicated to hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric® and Natural Hair Box alongside his wife. As a team, they promote healthy hair care practices through their comprehensive platform, Curl Centric. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care. At Curl Centric, we aim to help our readers take control of their hair care journey and make good decisions about products, hairstyles, and maintenance techniques. We also have strict editorial integrity; here’s an explanation of our editorial guidelines and how we make money.