While hairstyles mostly play a huge role in shaping one’s appearance and determining the first impression at social gatherings, some hairdos are easier to equip in contrast to the rest. Conversely, among protective hairstyles are starter locs and instant locs, both of which are harder to replicate than meets the eye.
Starter locs and instant locs are all about commitment, since both of the hairdos protect and enable users to work past the formative stages of growing dreadlocks, a phase which typically lasts for three to six months. And while they do serve the same purpose of keeping the follicles tangle-free and healthy, between the two are various differences that separate them at the end of the day.
Starter locs and instant locs are often divided due to their creative process, characteristics, and image in the fashion scene; all of which are drastically different. And if you’ve been contemplating one of the two hairdos, this guide, featuring a showdown between starter locs vs. instant locs, should suffice!
Table of Contents
- What Are Starter Locs? An In-depth Description For Beginners
- An Easygoing Tutorial On Creating Starter Locs
- Instant Locs: Beginner Locs With An Easier Procedure
- Instant Locs 101: Generating The Timeless Hairdo At Home In A Jiffy!
- Instant Locs vs. Starter Locs: Investigating Their Differences and Similarities
- Starter locs or Instant locs: Things To Consider Before Making Your Pick
- Final Takeaway
What Are Starter Locs? An In-depth Description For Beginners
Similar to how it sounds, starter locs are tiny particles of beginner locs that are formed during the first stages of wearing dreadlocks. Although the hairdo follows a no-touch rule post-formation, the visuals of these locs are often brought to life in various ways; from two-twist methods to braiding methods.
Starter locs lack density, but are rather easygoing to form for newbies with minimal knowledge of wearing natural protective hairstyles. While the strands require tons of attention during the first few weeks, they establish a sense of structure alongside providing a stable hold within the next month or so, which is when the locs begin ageing and blooming.
Another advantage of wearing starter locs is the longevity provided, which usually extends a time period of half a year. The tugging and pulling tend to feel brutal at first, but gradually become easier to handle once the hairdo possesses more hold.
Starter locs are glorified in the fashion scene due to the amount of patience and devotion that a wearer needs in order to pull them off. Since the hairdo makes no exception for artificial means, starter locs also garner an amount of respect that seems non-existent in the world of instant locs.
All in all, despite lacking size and volume, and requiring tons of patience, starter locs can be ideal if you’d like to showcase the length of your natural hair. Although they work best with short strands, starter locs can be implemented at any time to enable one to embrace the structure of their natural dreads.
An Easygoing Tutorial On Creating Starter Locs
Starter locs tend to hurt a little more than instant locs due to using shorter pieces that are typically in better contact with the scalp. However, if you’re big on commitment and putting in the work for obtaining something worthwhile, the habits and mannerisms of starter locs can surely bring you contentment.
From requiring crochet needles to constantly providing the hair with moisture, here are all the steps you need to execute to bring a set of starter locs to life.
What you’ll need
Instant locs and starter locs require different pieces of equipment for their installation process. While the former doesn’t require that many tools to begin with, one needs help from a tapered comb, hydrating oils or get, and clips, in order to kickstart their journey to wearing starter, locs.
Wash the hair to make sure it is in the most natural state
Prior to beginning the locking journey, eliminate any buildup by shampooing the hair thoroughly.
Using organic shampoos without cleansing agents like SLS is advised, since such ingredients can absorb moisture from the hair and make the scalp dry.
Keep the strands wet at all times
Since dry hair can easily get tangled up, keep spraying the hair with some H2O every now and then to make the creative process as smooth as butter.
Section into 3 and apply cream of choice
Divide your natural hair into three if your hair is significantly short. Afterwards, use either wax or gel to moisturize the roots of your hair. For an even spread, consider using a toothbrush instead of using your fingertips.
Grab the hair with the comb and twist it to the right
Repeatedly twisting the hair with the tapered comb is advised for forming small and compact units of locs without causing any friction. If there are signs of tugging or pulling, move the comb to the right before you start twisting the pieces once again.
Instant Locs: Beginner Locs With An Easier Procedure
Despite serving the same purpose, instant locs are often frowned upon among hair enthusiasts that mostly lean towards natural hairdos to grow and protect their hair. This is because, many believe that instant locs allow their wearers to skip past the formative stages of growing dreadlocks, enabling them to obtain results that can naturally be achieved in six to eight months. However, that narrative remains subjective in our eyes.
In reality, we believe that the characteristics of instant locs cater to those that are working around a tightly packed schedule. The hairdo is easier to install, and also offers more size and resilience than starter locs. The units are also stitched with a crochet needle, an element we will dig into during the upcoming segments.
In addition to being easier to bring to life, instant locs look older and denser. It implements an interlocking technique around the base for stability and texture, which can be beneficial if you’re seeking to add to the density of your locs.
Not all is positive about wearing instant locs, as the tugging caused by the hairdo can make things go south. Since instant locs weigh more than starter locs, the friction that they cause can lead to traction alopecia or worse, male pattern baldness. This, of course, can be tackled effectively, but can require the wearer to opt out of wearing instant locs at an earlier time than promised.
Instant Locs 101: Generating The Timeless Hairdo At Home In A Jiffy!
Instant locs, on the other hand, don’t necessarily need constant attention. However, the procedure remains complex, especially if you happen to be a beginner.
Instant locs work with slightly outgrown pieces, which can be beneficial and consequential at the same time. However, to form the look at home without putting your hair at risk, here are all the steps that you need to follow.
Wash your hair with clarifying shampoo
Since working with clean hair is easier, be sure to wash your strands and scalp prior to moving on to the next step. Clean hair isn’t just less heavy to handle, but is also more malleable to changes in contrast to hair with dirt and buildup.
Section the hair from the centre
Once your hair has been washed, section the hair from the centre into 4 larger sections. Apply some cream around the roots of your hair, and start stitching the units from the mid-section, not the base or the tip of the follicles.
Leave the rest for the crochet
After the units look semi-polished from the middle, use the needle around the tips to make the locs healthy and shower them with texture. Following this step is important if you’d like your locs to look as mature as a 12-month-old head of dreadlocks.
Interlock the base to secure the stability
Once the ends are enhanced using a crochet hook, use the needle around the base to interlock a couple of units with one another. The crisscross technique is quite popular as opposed to the rest, as it is easier to comprehend and implement.
Make sure the base isn’t too tight to avoid hair loss
Often, the interlocking method can tighten up the strands near the scalp, which can result in tons of tension around the region. This can prove to be fatal in some instances, as the tugging can cause hair loss.
However, to ease the hair from so much pressure, use hydrating oils on a daily basis. You may even reconstruct the stitching method to relieve the scalp from pain.
Instant Locs vs. Starter Locs: Investigating Their Differences and Similarities
It comes as no surprise that starter locs and instant locs share so much common ground amongst themselves. After all, instant locs are usually regarded as a subcategory of starter locs, serving the same purpose at the end of the day.
However, along with the similarities are differences, which ultimately set the two apart. Additionally, to make things as understandable as possible, here are all the noteworthy traits that make the pair of starter locs and instant locs alike, as well as the differences that set the two apart.
Both are great for beginners
Due to catering to short hair, and protecting the locs from heat damage and unnecessary tugging caused by combs, both starter locs and instant locs are great for natural hair. The pieces do require different methods to be used to come to life, but are considered great for beginners, since they can also be curated at home with the help of equipment.
Both starter locs and instant locs are also immobile after a certain point, making them resilient against unfavorable weather conditions and keeping them in place at all times.
Both are long-lasting
Irrespective of how they’re formed, starter locs and instant locs run high in endurance. Often, both hairdos possess the ability to serve their wearer for over 6 months, that too without any manipulation.
Starter locs cost less
Coming to life without the help of any extensions and unnatural installation method, starter locs are seen to be a budget-friendly way of wearing dreadlocks. The hairdo only needs some gel and a tapered comb to style and form, which can be done at home and through the help of professionals.
Additionally, since instant locs give the locs a more mature appearance anyway, the units need to be stitched and interlocked with crochets to carry unnatural visuals, which can take more time to shape and form. For that reason alone, instant locs can cost twice as much as obtaining starter locs.
Instant locs offer more elevation and a healthier appearance
Although they do leave a dent on one’s savings and take a chunk out of one’s pockets, instant locs have the upper hand on the outside, with units that carry more density, fullness, and texture than starter locs. Since starter locs are organic, the pieces run thin and compact.
Starter locs are harder to maintain, but natural
Starter locs require more washing than instant locs, since the scalp tends to become oily and accumulates tons of build-up. Instant locs, on the other hand, only require a dosage of apple cider vinegar to balance out the PH level of the scalp and maintain a healthy level of moisture.
However, the reason that one side with starter locs over instant locs is due to their creative process, which is as natural as they come. For that reason alone, you may still resort to starter locs.
Starter locs or Instant locs: Things To Consider Before Making Your Pick
While analyzing the differences and similarities will give you an idea of which hairdo you should side with between instant and starter locs, the guide below will further allow you to be more decisive in this scenario.
In addition to being more aware of their advantages and disadvantages, one should also take into account their work life, hair length, and so on. Move on to the following segment to get a sneak peek of everything you need to assess before making your pick!
The status of your schedule
Believe it or not, your schedule genuinely matters when making a pick between two protective hairdos.
Likewise, if your schedule is packed with action, providing you a handful of minutes for styling your hair everyday, perhaps the high-maintenance routine of starter locs should be replaced with the easygoing washing and styling routine of instant locs.
However, if you do want to avoid being called out for taking the easy way out, make some time to keep tabs on your starter locs, which are known for ageing gracefully.
The length of your hair
If your afro-textured hair is relatively short, going for starter locs is better, mainly since the procedure they offer uses the strands from the base of the scalp.
On the other hand, if your strands are outgrown to a certain degree, and can elevate without losing stability, you can also entertain your thought of getting instant locs, which need slightly larger pieces to create an equally-compelling set of strands.
How much you’re willing to spend
Since starter locs work with less hair and involves no extensions whatsoever, they’re significantly cheaper than instant locs.
However, if your budget has no rope, to begin with, skip past the stressful phase of wearing starter locs and opt for the mature visuals that one obtains with instant locs!
Irrespective of what you side with, wearing either starter locs or instant locs can easily change your life for the better, making everyday hair care a walk in the park. Both hairdos can also accommodate your short hair, although the latter tends to work better with strands that are a bit more sizable.
Starter locs and instant locs fall under the same category at the end of the day, serving the same purpose. For that reason, many also use instant locs as a go-to substitute for starter locs, and vice versa.
Apart from carrying larger units, instant locs are also easier to install, despite carrying a higher price tag. However, the hairdo also brings to the table an upkeep routine that is more complex than that of starter locs, making the natural hairdo more favorable.
Additionally, since starter locs only involve the manipulation of natural hair, the hairdo is perceived as the better candidate in the eyes of those that are against artificial means. Nonetheless, if your main aim is to gradually use the most natural hairdo to showcase your strands, both starter locs and instant locs can come to the rescue.