20 October 2012

Calling all loc'd friends: Help!

Hi folks, I'm having some issues with these locs of mine and I need some opinions and advice please.

It's hard to explain in words but here goes: As you know I opted for bigger locs a couple of months ago. The issue is only with my thickest locs. I love how thick they are but I'm aiming for a more cylindrical shape - whether that happens naturally or with maintenance. I've been "budding" for a while now. There's a bud on the end of virtually every loc. I've seen so many pictures and videos of people with buds starting in the middle of their locs but I assume that's because they've got longer locs to start with. Anyway, my "buds" have swollen up. A LOT. They're so puffy and shrink every time I wash my head. When I re-twist the roots they unravel within the day. The sections still stay separated so it's not like having loose hair but when I stretch out one of the problem locs it looks like this (A):

(B) Here's what I do understand of the budding process so far:

So that's how it's supposed to be, right? Budding, shrinkage, swelling? Well I have some questions:
  1. Do I need to re-twist the locs in pics (A) or will they matt and condense on their own?
  2. If I don't re-twist will they remain as thick and shapeless as they look now?
  3. Many of the smaller locs are forming with either pointed or rounded ends which I don't mind but I also have some locs that seem to be forming two headed dragons or something less distinguishable. How can I get the ends stay together?
  4. Is this my hair's way of telling me my locs are too big?
  5. How can you tell between budding/matting and unravelling?

(C) Here's how a thinner budding loc looks by comparison:

baby hairs

(D) And here's some two headed locs:

two headed dreads

You know when you only get to see freshly twisted loc's and you rarely see what they look like in between so you panic every time your own locs look different? Well I'm experiencing that right now.

Thanks in advance.


**photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DONOT use without permission**


  1. I am actually working on 2 videos now (1 & 2 month loc update and budding or unraveling) I experienced something similar with my daughter locs, I took a few pictures, hopefully to post soon. A couple of locs were not budding but loose hairs so I took down the locs and recoiled them, others were a matter of palm-rolling from the roots to the ends and clipping properly; with those I combed the loose hair at the roots down until I got to the budding section and then re-colied with the comb. I learned this method from a fellow YT'er. Here is a link to that video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw6IRcEh3pg |(07:45). The locs will swell because of water but you have to get it back down to size or it will start to form that way.

    1. Thanks for this. I look forward to reading your next entries. I too noticed the clips make a difference to how the locs form. I did wonder about the swelling but wasn't sure if controlling it was going against the process. I'll check out that YT video now.

      Much appreciated!

    2. The video was exactly what I needed to see. Thank you!!! When he said "just because the hair is loc'd don't mean that it doesn't need manipulation" I was like right right :)))

    3. You are so welcome! Glad I could help! That exact statement also gave me a "ding ding ding" moment as well, lol. :)

  2. Hi NL
    Sorry to hear about your situation.
    I my self have never had this problem but as already stated I to saw the same things happening with my daughters locs.
    Although I interlock at the root. Her locs where swelling at the middle and she to had a few 2 headed locs. This process is call the shrinkage, condensing and budding stage. This can happen any where between starting your locs and nearing maturity. Every ones journey and hair type is different.
    I used locking gel where the swelling was a problem and while wet palmed rolled the swellings down. Believe it or not as the loc is going through this process, the area's that are swollen do reduce in size. Stay away from heavy oils and conditioners on these delicate locs for a while.
    In regards to the two headed locs I pulled down her locs from the ends just past the problem area and re comb coiled again while wet with gel and have never had a problem since.
    This issue could be to do with your hair type and like wise I have locs that have never sealed at the ends. Another method to this problem are black rubber bands that can force these ends together causing them to mesh and become one headed rather than two.
    I hope this helps.

    1. Hello dear,

      Thanks for the useful info. Having read that your solutions were similar to MBGC above I'm feeling better about the two headed locs. I'm glad this stage has a name. It's sounds pretty normal if yours and MBGC's daughters experienced it too :)

      The rubber bands, palm rolling and re-coiling all seem to tie in with my fear of thinning but I forget that my locs young and still forming plus my hair is still thick so I shouldn't shy away from necessary maintenance.

      Thanks again, your response has helped me a lot,

    2. Thinning is more an issue with mature locs and this tends to be at the roots.
      This can be caused by over twisting, excessive interlocking and weight gain/length pulling on the base/roots. If you ever come across this problem it should be a lot further down ( years ) into your journey unless thinning hair was already and issue before you started locking.
      From what you say, your issue sounds normal and not yet ready to press the panic button.
      Let me know how it goes, sounds like you have lots of support.
      Stay blessed.

    3. Thanks for explaining Natty. I'm relieved to know I can count on such good advice here on blogger. Hopefully this post helps other newbies. I'm quickly realising that regardless of how differently each set of locs can develop we all end up with similar results in the end. I'll update in the next monthly milestone. Peace

  3. I am learning new things here, I never had this kind of budding - or never noticed - I started my current locs with box braids so I am wondering if that makes a difference, and my hair is very kinky, if I had to group it I would say 4d, this too probably makes a difference. You have gathered some good advice so far. With the two headed ends have you tried to braid just the loose hair?

    1. Hi, from what I understand not everyone's locs go through this. It does seem dependent on hair texture and maintenance method. I imagine the box braids prevented excessive swelling and unravelling. I had thought about starting that way too.

      I've since braided one loc because it was unravelling like there was no tomorrow and I really liked how the braided locs of Tracey over at http://www.lilmisslocks.blogspot.com were coming along.

      Thanks for stopping!

  4. Interesting, I've been having similar problems too. I was worried for a while that I was losing hair because a few of my locs have thin roots but a swelled center. I unraveled a couple. And not much hair fell out. So, I don't think I'm losing hair. If anyone thinks otherwise, please let me know.

    The other day while playing with my hair, I think I may have found one reason for the uneven dreading that's been going on. Somehow, strands are being pulled high up in the middle of my locs while others remain down. So this is also creating locs with a thicker center and thin ends.

    As you know, I'm shooting for a semi-freeform look. And many bloggers keep on stressing that locs mature in different ways. So, I'm back to just letting them do their thing. I'm not palm rolling. So, I also have a head full of different, odd-looking locs. :) I have a few two-headed locs too. I tried twisting the two heads together, but they eventually untwist themselves. So, I'm just letting them do what they want to do too for now.