How Long Do Dreadlocks Take to Lock?

Beauty and Fashion

Dreadlocks, also known as dreads, have gained popularity among people from various cultures and backgrounds. These unique and stylish hairstyles require commitment and patience. One of the most common questions asked by individuals considering dreadlocks is, “How long do dreads take to lock?” The answer to this question depends on several factors, including hair type, maintenance routine, and the desired size of the dreads. In this article, we will explore the various subtopics related to the time it takes for dreads to lock.

Hair Type and Texture

The time it takes for dreadlocks to fully lock can vary significantly based on an individual’s hair type and texture. Hair types can be categorized into straight, wavy, curly, and kinky. Straight hair tends to take longer to lock compared to other hair types, as it has a smoother texture and less natural tendency to form knots. On the other hand, individuals with curly or kinky hair may notice faster locking due to their hair’s natural texture and increased tendency to tangle.

Factors Affecting Locking Time

While hair type plays a significant role, several other factors can influence the time it takes for dreadlocks to lock. These factors include:

  • Hair Length: Longer hair generally takes more time to lock as it requires more knotting and matting.
  • Hair Thickness: Thicker hair may take longer to lock as it requires more time for the knots to form and tighten.
  • Hair Condition: Damaged or chemically-treated hair may take longer to lock as it is more prone to breakage and requires additional care.
  • Root Maintenance: Regular root maintenance, such as palm rolling or interlocking, can help accelerate the locking process.
  • Product Usage: The use of dreadlock-specific products, such as locking gels or beeswax, can aid in the locking process.

The Stages of Dreadlock Formation

Dreadlocks go through several stages of formation before they fully lock. Understanding these stages can give you a better idea of the time it takes for your dreads to mature.

Stage 1: Starter Locs

During the initial stage, known as the “starter locs” phase, the hair begins to tangle and form sections. This process usually takes a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on hair type and maintenance routine. At this stage, the dreads may appear loose and uneven.

Stage 2: Baby Locs

As the hair continues to grow and mature, the dreads enter the “baby locs” stage. This stage is characterized by the gradual tightening and formation of knots within each dreadlock. Baby locs can last anywhere from three to six months, depending on various factors.

Stage 3: Teenage Locs

The “teenage locs” phase marks a significant progression in the locking process. The dreads become tighter, more defined, and take on a more mature appearance. This stage can last anywhere from six months to a year or more.

Stage 4: Mature Locs

Finally, the dreads reach the “mature locs” stage, where they are fully locked and have a well-defined shape. The time it takes to reach this stage can vary significantly, ranging from one to three years or even longer.

Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care play a crucial role in the locking process of dreadlocks. Regular maintenance routines can help accelerate the locking process and ensure healthy and well-maintained dreads.

Washing and Drying

While it is a common misconception that dreadlocks should not be washed, regular cleansing is essential for healthy dreadlocks. However, it is important to use residue-free shampoos and avoid excessive manipulation during the washing process in order to prevent unraveling and maintain the progress of the locking process. Drying the dreads thoroughly after washing is also crucial to prevent mildew or unpleasant odors.

Root Maintenance

Root maintenance involves techniques such as palm rolling, interlocking, or using dreadlock-specific tools to tighten the roots of the dreads. Regular root maintenance sessions can help speed up the locking process and maintain a neater appearance.

Avoiding Excessive Manipulation

Excessive manipulation, such as constant twisting or combing, can disrupt the natural locking process and prolong the time it takes for dreads to lock. It is important to strike a balance between maintaining the dreads and allowing them to form naturally.

Patiently Awaiting Locks

As with any process that involves hair, patience is key when it comes to dreadlocks. It is important to understand that the time it takes for dreads to lock can vary greatly from person to person, and there is no fixed timeline. Embracing the journey and enjoying the transformation that your hair undergoes during the locking process is essential.


In conclusion, the time it takes for dreadlocks to lock depends on various factors, including hair type, maintenance routine, and the desired size of the dreads. While straight hair may take longer to lock compared to other hair types, regular maintenance and care can help accelerate the process. Understanding the different stages of dreadlock formation and patiently awaiting locks are crucial for anyone considering this unique and stylish hairstyle. So, if you’re thinking of getting dreadlocks, be prepared to embark on a journey of patience and self-discovery.

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