How Long Does It Take For Dreads To Lock?

How long does it take for dreads to lock

Locks or dreadlocks are unique hairstyles that are embraced by people with natural hair. It has been a protective hairstyle for years for afro-textured hair. Dreadlocks are a lifelong commitment that can be pretty intimidating, to begin with. They always need extra time, attention, and care to grow in a healthy way. On top of that, you need to wait for months to have beautiful luscious locks.

Taking care of your dreadlocks to grow and lock them thick and healthy is not much of a difficult task. If you are also starting your journey with the ever-unique dreadlocks, you might have questions like, “How long does it take for dreads to lock” for having an overall idea of this long-term process. Well, in this article, we are going to explore everything about the period of locking your dreads, how you can grow your lock faster and keep them from unraveling.

How Long Does It Take for Dreads to Lock- Explained!

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How long does it take for dreads to lock- explained

Although the locking process depends on several factors, normally an entire dreadlock process can take more than 24 months. Your dread has to go through 5 stages before it is completely locked. The initial stage or the starter stage is the most crucial time for your dreads to form nicely. If you pass the starter phase, then your dreads will be locked with no hassle.

The initial stage can take 3-6 months depending on your hair growth or hair type. The starter locks will be very small at the beginning with a very neat finish with no frizziness and matting. These dreads are also called baby locs.

Once your hair grows and goes to the budding phase, your hair can look very messy and fuzzy. The budding phase will have much more matting the dreads will start to become thick. This stage can last for 6-12 months.

After the growth from the budding stage, comes the teen phase where you can finally see the vision of your dreads. Your dreads will develop and start to look plump. It will be longer and start to grow in a certain direction. This stage can last for 12 to 15 months.

Then comes the mature stage when your dreads will finally be long enough to sit flat or laid down. Your locs will start to become firm and thick in this phase. You can reach this stage after almost 15 to 18 months of installing locks.

Finally comes the rooted phase when your dreads can be adult. In this stage, your locks will feel slender and heavier. This stage can take more than 24 months.

How to Know If My Dreads Are Locking?

Within 6 months of installing locks, you can start to see a visible change in your dreads. The dreads will become thicker and matted. They will seem stronger than before. Sometimes, they might seem a lot frizzier and messier than before. But there is nothing to be afraid of. That is the phase when your starter locks start to form a solid lock and move toward the budding phase. Maintain a good haircare routine and let your dreads do the rest. Within the next 6 months, you also will have beautifully formed and locked dreads.

5 Considerations of Hair Growth Factors to Lock Dreads

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5 Considerations of hair growth factors to lock dreads

How long your dreads will take to lock mostly depends on several factors. For example:

1. Genetics

Your genetics is one of the main reasons that is responsible for your hair growth. Your hair growth determines how long will it take to form buds and lock your hair. the more your hair grows, the more it will easier to lock.

2. Hair type

If you have a very thick and dense type of hair, your dreads will lock faster than the other hair type. Thin or straight hair will not lock like the curly textured natural hair.

3. Age

Your hair will grow the most between 15 to 30 years. After this period, the growth of your hair will slow down. Your hair also might start to become thin after this age. So, after your 30s your dreads might take more time to lock than the average.

4. Insertion process

If you stick to the original insertion process of dreadlocks, your dreads will lock faster than having a different kind of lock afterward. If you have done your locks by twisting, palm rolling, or backcombing, they will grow and lock faster with proper care.

5. Good nutrition

If you have a healthy diet and get proper nutrition every day, your hair will grow faster than you imagine. Try to add nuts, fish, biotin, and dark green vegetables to your diet for faster growth, and avoid smoking, drinking, or any other bad eating habits if you have.

5 Ways to Make Your Dreads Lock Faster

The whole journey of your dreadlocks can be pretty intimidating for the long locking period. Here I have mentioned some ways which can help to make your hair lock faster:

1. Avoid Washing in The First 3-4 Weeks

If you have installed your dreadlocks just recently, you should wait for 3-4 weeks to wash them for the first time. It will give your initial locks more time to settle down. After 1 month of doing, your locs, your baby locs will start to form a lock. You also should avoid using conditioner within this time, as conditioner can soften the new dreads and make them loosen up. After this period, you can wash and condition your dreads once a week to keep them clean and hydrated.

Avoid washing in the first 3-4 weeks
Avoid washing in the first 3-4 weeks

2. Hydrate Your Dreads Regularly

You should always keep your locks hydrated so that they can grow and lock in a healthy way. For hydrating your locks, you can use a spray mix of rose water and glycerin on your dreads regularly on your dreads if they feel dry. you can also add some drops of your favorite essential oils to that such as rosemary oil, tea tree oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, etc. These will ensure your locks are hydrated, locked, and holding onto the roots strongly.

Hydrate your dreads regularly
Hydrate your dreads regularly

3. Sea Salt Water Spray

It is another technique to speed up the locking process of your dreadlocks. The salt water normally draws out the moisture from your hair making it dry and coarse. So, your hair becomes more prone to tangle and locks with each other. It gives your hair more texture and helps to control the unruly hair strands. You can buy sea salt spray or make your own at home. Personally, I will not recommend this technique because of creating dehydration in the locks. Even if you choose this technique for faster growth, do not forget to wash and hydrate your hair afterward properly.

Sea salt water spray
Sea salt water spray

4. Backcombing And Palm Rolling

Backcombing, twisting, or palm rolling regularly can keep your dreads tight and matted. They will connect the new growth of the hair to your old dreads and speed up the process of knotting. For backcombing, you can use a crochet hook or thin metal comb. These will keep your dreads mess-free and form a solid lock.

Backcombing and palm rolling
Backcombing and palm rolling

4. Maintain Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is most important to keep your dreads healthy and growing. Washing your dreads once 1 week, conditioning and moisturizing, and drying out the dreads properly are very important for your dreads and natural hair to grow healthily. Proper maintenance is crucial to have beautifully grown long-lasting dreads.

Maintain personal hygiene
Maintain personal hygiene

How to Keep Your Dreads from Unraveling?

If you have newly installed your locks, your starter hair will tend to unravel at first. So, taking care of dreads at the starter phase is very important. If you have thick, curly, kinky hair, do not worry. Your dreads will lock within no time. Sor less curly and textured hair the process will be much trickier. They will take longer to form and need extra attention. To keep your hair from unraveling, try following these tips:

  1. Always dry your hair completely after washing. For drying, do not use a hair drier directly. Attach a portable bonnet cover to your drier and use the coolest setting. The bonnet cover will circulate the air within a concentrated area and help to dry your hair faster without making it damaged or unraveled.
  2. Sleep with a satin or silk pillowcase. If you do not have a satin or silk pillowcase, try using a cap or scarf to cover your dreads, then sleep with that. Cotton pillowcases can cause friction and create frizz in your dreads. It will make your dreads more damageable and prone to breakage.
  3. Do not use excess hairstyling. At least for the starter phase, try to be very careful with your hair styling. Do not use heating tools, gel, or wax on your hair. it might seem that they will help the locks to stay in place and form the lock. But eventually, they can create buildup on your hair and can be hard to remove from your dreads which can unravel your dreads as well.


1. How long does your dreadlocks take to fully form?

Your dreadlocks can take form within 3 to 6 months of installation. To get fully formed and matured, you have to wait more than 24 months before that.

2. Do dreads grow faster when they lock?

No! Your dreads will not grow faster when they grow. Your hair will grow in its natural way. Locking your hair will not have any effects on your hair growth. Your dreadlocks will only help to maintain your natural hair growth.

3. Do dreads get thicker when they lock?

Yes! Healthy locks tend to get thicker when they mature over the period. Your starter locks will not be that much thick, you need to wait for months to get the matured locks and the desired thickness you want.

Final Thoughts

The entire journey of dreadlocks can be extremely tedious and stressful. At first, it will become a little intimidating, but over time you will fall in love with the beautiful dreads that have grown with your care and patience. Starter locks set the tone for your lock journey. Just be a little bit extra careful while taking care of your starter locks and the rest will be much easier to go through. Do not rush or stress. Deal with your dreads gently and with patience. If you have any more confusion, do not forget to consult with an expert or a loctician to grow the most perfectly healthy locks of your desire.

Key Points

  • There are 5 stages that determine how long will it take your dreads to grow and lock.
  • It will take 3-6 months to form the initial lock and can go more than 24 months to get fully matured locks.
  • Several factors like your genetics, hair type, hair growth, age, etc. can be responsible for your hair growth which is the key to having a solid lock.
  • There are several ways to grow your locks faster and keep them from unraveling.
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