How to Know When Dreadlocks Are Budding

By June Mebei

Cultivating dreadlocks is a long process that takes hair through many stages of change. According to natural hair guru Patricia Gaines, hair goes through five stages during the locking process: starter locs, baby locs, teenaged locs, mature locs and rooted locs. During the baby loc stage, hair is starting to go through a process called budding. Budding is when the hair in dreadlocks begins to mat and swell. Those who are new to dreadlocks may see budding as a problem that needs to be fixed, but it is a natural and necessary part of the locking process.

Newly installed dreadlocks will bud with time.
Keep track of any changes in your hair's appearance and texture.

Check your hair in the mirror regularly for frizz, swelling, dullness or knotting. These are the tell-tale signs of budding. Ideally, this should be done when the hair is completely dry.

Hair can take a long time to lock and the time frame varies from person to person.

Feel your twists with your fingers. If there is a hard lump in the middle of the twist, it may be starting to lock. Be careful not to manipulate the hair so much that it disturbs the locking process.

Getting a second opinion can alleviate any doubts you may have about the progress of your hair.

Get a second opinion. Consult your loctician about the progress of your hair. She will be familiar enough with your hair to let you know if your locs are properly budding.