Lock Tips & Guidelines
Locking is a process. It is more of an art than a science. It takes time and patience. No two people will get exactly the same results. It is difficult to say anything that applies to all African Americans’ hair because we are generally a group of people of mixed races. We have hair that runs the gamut from super kinky to almost straight. So, keep in mind that locks will be different from person to person and sometimes even on the same head of hair.
Someone who is doing free form locks may wash their hair often because that helps it lock. Someone else using another method may find that too much washing actually unravels her locks. (That's me) So, use these guidelines as just that. They are guidelines — not rules. You will eventually find out what works best for you and your hair.
How Long Will It Take to Lock My Hair?
Generally speaking, you can expect to be somewhat locked by the end of your first year and fully locked at the end of year two. Some hair textures may take longer. (That's me) Although you have a particular hair type, it will lock in different places on your head at different rates. For example, the hair at the nape of your neck is usually less kinky than in other parts of your head. So, your sides may have locked while the back has a few more weeks to go. 18 months is a pretty good average to reach mature locks.
Patience, patience, patience. I cannot say it often enough: locking your hair is a process. Some people look at it as a journey. Understand the phases your locks will go through and cherish each one. Some people wear hats or wigs for the first several months and even heard them refer to this stage as being in a “cocoon,” meaning they will emerge as a beautiful butterfly. While it is nice to see a mature head of locks, do not be ashamed of the fact you are just beginning your journey. One of the reasons I admire a nice full mature set of locks is that I realize the time and care involved to get there. If it could be done overnight, it would not seem like much of an achievement. You must understand what is involved in the process before you begin.
What Can I Expect Over the Coming Months?
There are three general stages in the locking process:
Early Locks or the “baby phase”
Immature Locks or the “teenage phase”
Baby Locks - Depending upon your hair texture, this phase lasts from 12 to 24 weeks. Soft, fine hair will take longer to lock than coarse, curly or kinky hair. During this phase the locks should be maintained by re-twisting, two-strand twisting or palm-rolling. Interlocking or using the Sisterlock method. During the first 3 weeks you should avoid or minimize washing Baby Locks (especially avoid conditioning shampoos) to allow them time to set.
Immature or Teenage locks - This phase can last anywhere from three months to a year or so. How long this lasts is dependent on your hair texture. This is the phase where many people get frustrated. By knowing this is coming, hopefully you can avoid this frustration. During this phase, you may get budding or matting. The reason locks in this stage are called teenage locks is they tend to be unruly. Budding occurs when a pea shaped knot forms near the end of the lock. You may also notice little balls of hair that gather at the very end of the lock. Our suggestion is to just leave the buds alone. The knot will gradually become less noticeable. Most refer this stage as the caterpillar stage and they have used hats as their “cocoons.” I do not think the teenage stage is anything to be ashamed of. Locks take work, time and patience, and this is why you can be proud of your achievement once you have achieved a full head of beautiful locks.
You should groom your teenage locks every two to four weeks (depending on your locks) because they have a tendency to creep or crawl. ( I get mine groom from my Consultant every 6 weeks). Crawling occurs when the hair from one lock begins to lock into another. If you do not continuously keep the hair separated, you will eventually have to pull it apart at the scalp risking weakening the lock and possibly leading to breakage. This can be avoided by making separating the locks part of a weekly routine. See if the locks are crawling and if they are, gently separate them.
Continue to wash gently during this stage. After washing is when the locks will have a tendency to crawl. So, handle them gently while shampooing. In the teenage phase, you will not need to take as much care as in the early stages.
Mature Locks - You should expect your locks to reach full maturity sometime after the first year. At this point, maintenance becomes easier. Your locks may reach full maturity anywhere from the end of the first year up until the end of the second year. For others it may take longer. (That's me) This does not mean your locks are maintenance free. And they may still require quite a bit of time before they take on their final shape. But, you will be past the trials and tribulations of the teenage months.
Mature locks are the strongest and require less frequent grooming. If your hair is soft, you may continue to experience frizzies and will have to do more maintenance than those with coarse hair. Mature locks can be washed and conditioned as frequently as you like. Some wash theirs daily while others choose to wait at least 3 weeks.
Just make sure that whatever regimen you develop that you avoid dry scalp by moisturizing, conditioning and/or using hot oil treatments if neccessary.
At night you should put your locks in a satin scarf or cap, or sleep on a satin pillow to prevent damage caused by friction while sleeping and to maintain a proper moisture balance. Also will prevent lint in your locks.
It's now 3 years for me and I have no lint in my locks.
Enjoy the freedom(✿◠‿◠)