How to start locs: Pros and cons of various locking methods (2024)

13 Comments / By Jay / July 21, 2020

Hi everyone! We often talk a lot about maintenance but not enough about the installation itself. This leads to people often wondering: how tostartdreads? Deciding on what type of dreads you want is essential, but then you face the problem of which locking method is best suited to you. Here are the the main ways to lock your hair, as well as their various pros and cons.

1. Two strand twists

This method requires you to wrap one piece of hair around the other (i.e. twist the two pieces together).

How to start locs: Pros and cons of various locking methods (1)


  • Twists are very simple to install and do not take as long as other methods.
  • If they unravel, you can fix it yourself.
  • They are easy to undo if you change your mind about locking your hair. (However, you should not make the decision to get locs if you are not certain that this is what you want for the foreseeable future.)


  • Unraveling is extremely common. You will have to retwist the hair often, especially when washing.
  • It takes a long time for your hair to stop looking like twists and start looking locks. This method is slower compared to a method like interlocking (see below).
  • Shrinkage is inevitable. People with curly hair already struggle with this. Two strand twists don’t pull or stretch the hair in any way which causes it to shrink even more.

2. Comb coils

The comb coil method requires a bit more skill than two strand twists. Professional locticians tend to prefer to use a coil twist comb but a normal rat tail comb can suffice. You take the edge of the comb to the root of a section of hair, then roll the comb while pulling downwards.

How to start locs: Pros and cons of various locking methods (2)


  • The coils look nice and shiny in the beginning. It will look like an actual hairstyle, instead of just a way to achieve your locks.
  • The installation time is fairly short, even with thick hair.


  • Frizziness and tangles are unavoidable. After you wash your locs, they will look messy and you will need to go back and maintain the coils.
  • Unraveling is also an issue for this method.
  • Getting the coils done properly and in the size that you want will take practice. DIY could prove difficult, and it might be best to go to a professional loctician.

3. Finger coils

This is basically comb coils, just without the comb. You just use your fingers to make the coil.

The advantages and disadvantages are similar to the comb coil method. One additionaladvantageis that it is very simple to do, and thus, is diy-friendly. Adisadvantagespecific to finger coils would be that if you have short hair, finger coils tend to stick up, i.e. they don’t lie flat straight away. You will have to use clips to keep them down. Comb coils can face this issue too, but the pull of the comb helps to get them flat.

4. Interlocking

Interlocking is the method I use on my own locks, since I have sisterlocks. This method uses a locking tool to create the locs.

How to start locs: Pros and cons of various locking methods (3)

For a tutorial on how to interlock, see my post:Self-retightening tips – Interlocking for dummies

For more information on the pros and cons, see my post:Types of dreads: Interlocs vs Sisterlocks vs Palm-rolled locks

Note: if you’re wondering about how to start dreads with palm-rolling, it is used a lot in maintaining locs, but seldom do people actually start their locks by doing it.

5. Free form/matting

All that you need to do for this method is…sit back, relax, and do absolutely nothing! Free form locks are exactly as the name suggest. You leave your hair alone, no manipulation or styling, and let it mat together and lock on its own.


  • There is no effort needed for this method.
  • Tender-headed individuals can avoid the parting and stress on the scalp that other locking methods can cause.
  • No gel or products of any kind are required to start your locs.


  • It takes a very long time for the hair to mat on its own. This is the slowest of all the locking methods.
  • The appearance that your hair takes on might not be very tidy and could leave you looking unkempt. The locks could form in awkward positions, like sticking up or outwards.

Related posts:

To lock or to not? How to decide on locks
Self retightening tips
Types of dreads: Interlocs vs Sisterlocks vs Palm-rolled locks
How to repair a hole in your lock

Until next time!


How to start locs: Pros and cons of various locking methods (2024)


What is the best method to start locs? ›

There Are Different Ways To Start Your Locs

Traditionally, people do the comb coil method. This method involves sectioning the hair and using the fine teeth of a comb to twist the hair into a tight coil. You can also do mini twists or braids and leave the hair to loc that way. Yet another method is instant locing.

Which method is better for locs? ›

Locs can be started with two strand twists with as little as 4 inches of hair, and it is often the go to method for longer hair or highly textured hair. Starting locs with two strand twists will give the locs a solid internal foundation and create thicker locs, depending on the size of the two-strand twists.

Is it better to start locs with coils or twists? ›

Two strand twists allow the locs to mature with a solid internal foundation in contrast to comb coils, and are likely to end up as thicker locs, depending on the starting size.

What are the disadvantages of interlocking locs? ›

Interlocking Cons

If not done by a specialist loctician, it can cause locs thinning, discomfort, splitting, as well as grip alopecia.

What should you not do with starter locs? ›

Any product that is meant to help detangle your hair can cause your starter locs to loosen and unravel. Avoid manipulating your locs. We know, all you want to do is touch them! But leave them alone and they'll be able to grow.

What locks dreads faster? ›

Backcomb and twist each dread at least once a day.

Get in the habit of backcombing and twisting your dreads while you're watching television, listening to music, or talking to friends. The more you do it, the faster your hair will lock.

Is interlocking good for starter locs? ›

Starting locs with the interlocking methos is a great way to go without extensions. Yhe kinkier the hair the better it looks but all texture end up locked eventually.

What's the difference between locs and dreadlocks? ›

Dreads and locs are not the same thing. While both are created by wrapping, twisting, braiding, or coiling the hair, locs are more polished than dreads. Locs have a neatly defined root structure, while dreads are randomly formed and have a dry, matted look.

Is comb coils a good way to start locs? ›

Use comb coils for an easy method to start locs.

There's a reason this is one of the most common ways to start locs—it's easy! Just wash, detangle, and dry your hair, then split it into sections. Place the end of a section of hair between the teeth of a comb and twist it from root to tip to create the coil.

How long does it take for coils to turn into locs? ›

Ensuring your hair is in its most natural state is essential as you start your loc journey. The time it takes for hair to lock varies based on hair texture, typically ranging from 10 months to two years to reach the mature stage.

Why is interlocking so expensive? ›

The cost of interlocking, which typically refers to interlocking pavers used in landscaping and hardscaping, can vary widely. The expense depends on factors like the type of pavers, the size of the area to be covered, labor costs, and any additional materials needed.

Do you interlock locs wet or dry? ›

Always interloc freshly shampooed and cleaned hair. You'll want to start interlocking on damp hair, after you've separated each loc into their section. You can also have a spray bottle with water at hand in case you need to dampen up the hair as you go.

Do locs damage your hair? ›

The repeated tension and pulling on your hair is the main reason for traction alopecia. Twisting your locs tightly, placing them in high buns, and pulling your hair back in ponytails are common reasons. As your hair grows, the weight of the hair can cause thinning and breakage.

Is it better to start dreads wet or dry? ›

Always loc wet hair and then dry it thoroughly. Drying together will help the strands fuse, and wet curls or kinks are easier to handle.

What hairstyle is best for starting dreads? ›

1) Two-strand Twists

Two-strand twists are a quick starter loc style that over time will result in twisted locs. They have a fuller, thicker texture and feel, which is a popular style for locs. This style works with both shorter and longer hair, but hair that's around 4 inches long is recommended.

How to loc hair for beginners? ›

Use comb coils for an easy method to start locs.

Just wash, detangle, and dry your hair, then split it into sections. Place the end of a section of hair between the teeth of a comb and twist it from root to tip to create the coil. Repeat with each section until your entire head is covered.

What to do when first starting locs? ›

Allow it to grow with little to no manipulation

At the loc installation stage, starter locs are groomed to keep form until it needs to be refreshed through retwisting. Due to this, starter locs, in their initial stage are most frail so it is important to touch your hair less and allow it to freely grow out.

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