Once you decide that you want to grow locs, you'll need to choose a starter loc style. Don't know what starter locs are? Let us help. Basically, this is a loc-friendly hairstyle that, with proper maintenance and time, will eventually grow into mature locs. Which style you choose will largely depend on your hair texture and the end style you're going for, but any of the following starter loc styles will grow to be a headful of beautiful locs. If you're unsure which style best suits your texture as well as your lifestyle, you may find it helpful to consult with a loctician in your area. With that said, here are different starter loc styles to get you inspired in the meantime. We chatted with master loctician Sherelle Whitney Holder and to get tips and product recommendations. Ahead, check out some of the best hairstyles to try on starter locs.
Meet the Expert
Sherelle Whitney Holder is a master loctician and the owner and lead stylist at Karibbean Kinks hair salon.
One of the most common starter style, comb coils are made by spinning small sections of hair with the teeth of a rattail comb or coil twist comb. Simply grab a section of hair by the end, insert the fine-tooth comb into the section of hair, and begin spinning the comb until the hair has formed a coil. To maintain this style, Holder says, "You want to make sure you are keeping it moisturized at all times using a hair oil of your choice and wear a head scarf at night."
As its name suggests, this style is created by rolling sections of hair between the palms of your hands to help your strands find their shape. This look not only works great as a style on its own or for maintaining locs, but it's also a good choice for starting your locs. By leaving your palm rolls in, your hair will naturally loc over time. Decide how large you want your sections to be before beginning to palm roll, and make sure they are as uniform as possible.
Depending on your hair type, you might find comb coils difficult to prevent from unraveling, so try two-strand twists instead. Just like palm rolls, two-strand twists are their own style but can be left in to grow into locs as well with a fuller, thicker end result. You'll need at least a couple of inches of hair to form two-strand twists, though four inches is a good starting place for the best results. You can use palm rolling or comb twisting to maintain the twists as they grow.
Braids (or plaits) may be the go-to starter loc style for people with a looser hair texture to prevent unraveling in the beginning loc stages, particularly when the hair gets wet. Keep in mind that braid locs will not be as circular as rolled or twisted locs; since the braid is flat, your locs will be as well. It may take a year or longer for the braid pattern to disappear and your loc to take form.
A classic loc style, freeform locs take on their own unique shape and form. Instead of starting with a deliberate style, this variation of the starter loc happens organically with little twisting or manipulation.
Wear a silk or satin bonnet or scarf over your locs to protect them while you sleep.
Think microlocs. Thanks to their small size, they have a lot of versatility when it comes to styling them, which makes this starter loc style a favorite for those who love to switch up their look. Because this is such an intensive process that requires the use of a specific technique, this type of starter loc should be done by a certified sisterlocks consultant. Holder says, "I suggest seeking a certified Sisterlock consultant. Sisterlocks are a hair care system that requires training and you should make sure that your stylist is knowledgeable in sisterlock education. The initial install cam range from 16-18 hours more or less depending on length and thickness of your hair."
This is the technique to use if you're starting with longer hair and want instant results (hence the name instant locs). While it can take years and years to grow some of the other starter loc styles into mature locs, instant locs give you the look right away. This technique requires the use of a crochet hook to loc your loose natural hairs together.
This starter loc method is exactly how it sounds. If you don't have the patience it takes to grow mature locs, loc extensions can be added to your hair for a faux loc that looks like the real thing. Holder recommends that "You should use afro kinky bulk hair because it's lightweight and can be colored and manipulated like real dreadlocs."
This faux loc style is easily identified by its loose curls at the ends of each loc. The way to achieve this look is by wrapping loose braiding hair around braided sections of your own hair to create a longer faux loc.
Even those with very short hair don't have to wait to start their loc journey. This twisting technique involves rubbing your hair against your head in circular motions with a hair sponge or sponge brush (a towel could work, too). The circular motions will encourage your hair to form tiny coils, perfect for starting your locs.
If your hair is on the wavier to straighter side, backcombing might be a good option for you. Backcombing involves combing/teasing your hair backwards (hence the name) with a metal comb and is best used for people with hair on the longer side. Once the hair is teased enough, then you take your palms to roll it into your desired loc shape.
Interlocking, according to Holder, is a process for creating locks using a crochet needle/latch hook. This method is done by pulling the ends of the hair through the roots using the needle with an east, west, north, south rotation until no new growth is left.