How Long Does It Take for Dreads to Loc? (Tips To Speed It Up!)

If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes for dreadlocks to fully form, you’re not alone. This common question often arises when considering the commitment involved in starting and maintaining dreadlocks.

The journey to fully mature dreadlocks is a nuanced process influenced by factors like hair texture, length, and care regimen. While the initial locking can start within a few weeks to a couple of months, achieving fully mature dreadlocks typically takes between 18 to 24 months. It’s crucial to differentiate between the initial ‘locking’ phase and the ‘maturing’ phase, as both have distinct characteristics and care requirements.

Curious to navigate the twists and turns of your dreadlock journey? Keep reading to unlock the secrets to faster, healthier, and more beautiful dreadlocks.

Factors Affecting the Locking Process

The journey to fully formed dreadlocks isn’t uniform; it’s influenced by several key factors. These include your hair texture, hair length, and hair care routine.

Hair Texture

Hair texture plays a pivotal role in how quickly your dreads will lock. Coarse or kinky hair textures generally lock faster due to their natural ability to coil. On the other hand, straight or wavy hair may take longer because of its smoother texture, which doesn’t grip as easily.

Hair Length

Hair length also contributes to the locking speed. Longer hair has more material to knot and tangle, potentially speeding up the process. However, it can also be more cumbersome to manage initially.

Hair Care Routine

Your hair care routine can either expedite or hinder the locking process. Using the right products and techniques can make a world of difference in how your dreadlocks mature.

Stages of Dreadlock Maturity

Understanding the stages of dreadlock maturity can help set realistic expectations for your loc journey. Generally, there are four main stages: Initial Locking, Budding, Maturing, and Rooted.

Initial Locking

The Initial Locking stage is where your hair starts to form basic knots. At this point, your strands are just beginning to intertwine, and the dreadlocks are far from firm. Patience is crucial here.


In the Budding stage, your hair starts to tighten and become more defined. This is when you’ll notice your dreadlocks taking on a more cylindrical shape, a sign that they’re on the right path to becoming fully locked.


The Maturing stage is a milestone. Your dreads become firm and require less maintenance. They’ve taken their shape and are less prone to unraveling, allowing you a bit more freedom in your hair care routine.


Finally, the Rooted stage signifies that your dreadlocks are fully locked and mature. At this point, your dreads are robust, requiring minimal upkeep compared to the earlier stages.

How to Speed Up the Locking Process

While the journey to fully formed dreadlocks is a marathon, not a sprint, you might still be interested in ways to potentially speed up the locking process. Various products on the market claim to accelerate dreadlock formation. However, exercise caution.

Many of these products merely mesh hair together, giving the illusion of matting but not genuinely aiding in the locking process. It’s essential to consult with a loctician or someone experienced in dreadlock care before using any such products. Remember, there’s no substitute for time and natural progression when it comes to dreadlock maturity.

Maintenance Tips

Maintaining dreadlocks isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s crucial for their health and longevity. This section delves into key aspects of dreadlock maintenance, such as washing, re-twisting, and the types of products to avoid.


Washing your dreadlocks is a delicate balance. Overwashing can lead to dryness, while underwashing can result in buildup. Aim for a routine that keeps your scalp clean without stripping your hair of its natural oils.


Re-twisting is a common practice to keep dreadlocks looking neat. However, excessive re-twisting can lead to thinning and breakage. It’s best to re-twist only when necessary, and always with care.

Products to Avoid

When it comes to products, not all are created equal. Avoid items containing alcohol, beeswax, or petroleum, as these can cause buildup and slow down the locking process. Opt for natural oils like jojoba or coconut oil and water-based moisturizers. Your hair care routine should be as clean as possible to ensure the health and quick maturing of your dreadlocks.

Personal Experiences and Testimonials

Hearing from those who’ve walked this path can offer invaluable insights. “I thought my hair would never lock because it’s so straight, but patience was key,” says Sarah, who has been on her dreadlock journey for two years.

Mark, who has coarse hair, noticed his dreadlocks budding within months. “I had to adjust my hair care routine, but it was worth it,” he adds. These testimonials underscore the variability in experiences, emphasizing the need for patience and proper care.


In summary, achieving fully mature dreadlocks is a process that demands time and proper care. While initial locking can occur within weeks, reaching the stage of fully mature, robust dreadlocks generally spans 18 to 24 months. Your hair’s texture, length, and the care you provide play pivotal roles in this timeline.