Sculpting your hair into locs is a time-consuming process yet a worthwhile decision. For a successful loc journey, knowing the different loc stages by month is necessary.
The locs undergo five different stages. It begins from the starter stage, through the budding stage, teen stage, maturity stage, and finally, the rooted stage.
These phases take up to 24 months. Moreover, the stages can differ due to the disparity in hair types and hair care regimens.
Now that you know loc stages take months, below is a complete guide to the five stages.
Check them out.
The starter phase is also known as the loc baby stage. This phase lasts approximately 3 to 6 months, depending on your hair texture and how fast it grows. These locs can be achieved by styles such as comb coils, sponge twists, two-strand twists, braids, and palm rolls. 
The starter locs let you establish a parting pattern for your hair texture that you will not need to manipulate.
Maintaining the hair can be difficult during this period, especially during wash days when the hair looks shrunk, fluffy, or unraveled.
It would be best if you were patient around this time. As the starter stage might take a while to start forming buds, and the growth is minimal, but this is just the beginning of locs!
Characteristics of Starter Locs
- The locs coil from the roots to the tips.
- You will experience shrinkage on every wash day.
- The locs are small in size.
- The sections look clean with visible parts.
- Your whole hair looks neat.
How to Maintain Starter Locs
- Ensure you do not create too small sections to prevent locs from breaking off.
- After installation, the locs should be left alone without detangling to allow your hair to grow and form.
- Keep the moisture level moderate, not too low, and not too high. This will avoid breakage due to thinning and drying.
- Shampoo your hair for at least after two weeks to prevent your hair from having a bad odor.
- Apply conditioner to your hair daily, especially before going to bed, to maintain moisture in your hair. 
- Use a residue and gluten-free shampoo to prevent the itchiness of your scalp.
This phase is also known as the sprouting stage. Depending on the hair density, it lasts anywhere from 6 to 12 months.
You will notice the clean lines in your hair fading from your starting patterns. Keep in mind that this is normal. Just maintain the section partings for the individual loc spinning process.
The budding phase comes with great improvements as you will start noticing your hair growing. You will see that the hair intertwines or sticks over your coils, and the thickness will be more pronounced whenever you shampoo.
In fact, the coils hardly unravel after washing, and grooming your hair becomes more effortless.
Characteristics of Locs Budding Phase
- Your hair begins looking fluffy.
- The hair stops aligning together and becomes frizzy.
- There is a noticeable increase in volume, and the hair swells in size.
How to Maintain Locs Budding Phase
- Consistently shampoo your hair every two weeks and regularly cultivate it to prevent buildup, weak spots, and bumps.
- Do not section your locs to avoid unraveling your hair as they undergo budding.
- Incorporate gentle retwisting to maintain the original partings and keep the budding locs in place.
- Do not frequently retwist to prevent breakage that would thin your hair.
People refer to this phase as the ugly phase or the locking stage. It takes about 12 to 15 months.
The buds and sprouts swell to almost twice their original size during this period. Also, it starts to take the shape of locs. The teen stage challenges you to figure out what is going on with your hair, just like the name suggests.
Here, the hair starts to take shape and has grown only that it is too short to hang down freely. Consequently, the locs seem to plump and sprout, facing different decentralized directions on your head.
This stage can be cumbersome for your loc experience, but it is manageable. You could opt for extensions at this time or go for any other styling of your choice.
Characteristics of Locs Teen Phase
- Your hair will still be frizzy even after styling.
- Shrinkage will still occur after washing.
- The hair becomes denser and thicker.
How to Maintain Locs Teen Phase
- Be careful and use light products that do not leave behind a lot of buildups to encourage the loc lumps.
- Wash your locs with shampoo after 2 to 3 weeks to prevent your scalp from itching.
- Moisturize your hair with a conditioner to maintain moisture and promote further growth.
- Try and control the lumps/swelling by using curly sets or rope twists to keep your strands aligned and neat.
You will feel enthusiastic as you notice that the locs are now hanging down. This is the maturity phase and is anywhere from 15 to 18 months.
At this stage, the locs are sealed at the ends and can easily lie down without applying any force. This means that the locs have now become firm enough that you do not need to retwist the new growth.
More and faster growth will also depend on your hair texture and the used hair products. If your hair is the loose type, it will take much longer.
Again, in this stage, washing your hair will not make it unravel, and breaking off is something you no longer have to worry about.
Characteristics of Locs Maturity Phase
- The hair is dense and thick.
- You will see that your hair is long and hangs freely.
- The frizz is minimal at this stage.
How to Maintain Locs Maturity Phase
- Ensure you shampoo your hair regularly to avoid bad odor and prevent itching.
- Condition your hair after every wash to maintain moisture level.
- Choose your hair products carefully to avoid those that encourage buildup, as this will prevent further growth.
- Retwist your hair occasionally to prevent frizz and loose locs.
The loc journey stages are unique for different hair types. Once it has reached the rooted phase, the hair becomes denser, showing desirable length.
This phase, also known as the adult stage, happens from 18 months. Your locs will start feeling heavier, and they will look more slender.
A few years after wearing your locs, you may notice that some begin to break off on the ends. I advise you to have a professional trim to prevent severe damage to your hair.
It is important to know that being consistent with your hair routine will help minimize the aging and conserve your growth.
Characteristics of Locs Rooted Phase
- The locs now have sealed ends.
- Your hair is dense, showing increased volume.
- You will experience minimal or no frizz.
- The hair grows exponentially during this period.
- The locs are now looking more slender/No puff.
How to Maintain Locs Rooted Phase
- Get regular professional trims to minimize breakage on the ends and promote further growth.
- Deep condition your hair every two weeks after washing to keep the moisture locked.
- Use light products and natural oils to moisturize your hair and avoid damage.
- Ensure that you wrap your hair with a satin head wrap while sleeping to prevent drying out and breakage.
- Keep your locs clean and dry to prevent odor and split ends.
The loc stages by month are different for each person. As you can see, the loc journey stages take anywhere from 1-2 years. Moreover, everyone has different hair textures and densities, so the routine that works for me may not work for you. So be patient with your loc growth and allow it to mature at its own pace.