How Much Do Starter Locs Cost? Should You DIY Starter Locs?

A young African man with traditional locs that are a mid-neck hair length on a 4B hair texture / medium hair density.

Whether you’re at the beginning of the loc research process or you’re ready to take the plunge and start your locs, knowing how much starter locs cost can be extremely helpful.

In fact, it’s one of the most crucial factors influencing whether people start locs at all. So, how much do starter locs cost?

In this article, we’ll help you by providing insight on how much starter locs cost and the many things that affect the price.

How Much Do Starter Locs Cost?

The cost of starter locs varies depending on a few factors, such as the method used, the length of your hair, and where you live. But generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 for traditional starter locs.

If you’re looking for starter locs that require a tedious installation process or involve loc extensions or crocheting, the cost could quickly climb into the high hundreds or thousands.

Light-skinned black man with extremely dense hair styled in wool dreadlocks and treated with natural oils.

Factors Affecting How Much Starter Locs Cost

Many factors influence how much a stylist charges for installing starter locs, and we’ll go into detail about each in the following sections. 

The Type of Starter Locs You’re Getting

There are a variety of methods stylists use to start locs, and they include:

  • Interlocks ($150 to $300+): This is a technique in which the natural hair is intertwined to form the internal structure of locs. Over time, hair sheds and makes up the outer structure of the locs.
  • Twist Locs ($75 to $150+): In this method, the stylist will two-strand twist your hair in sections. You’ll leave the two-strand twists in, and they’ll eventually lock up.
  • Comb Coil Locs ($50 to $200+): This involves using a narrow tooth comb to coil small sections of hair. Left relatively undisturbed, the coils will mature into dreads.
  • Braid Locs ($50 to $150): The stylist will put your hair in three-strand plaits that will turn into locs over time. 
  • Loc Extensions ($250 to $800+): This is a method in which the stylist will add human hair extensions to your natural hair to form locs with a crochet hook. The results are instant. You’ll have to pay for dreadlock extensions in addition to the installation.
  • Crochet Instant Locs ($150 to $300+): The stylist will use a crochet needle to lock your hair in real time.
  • Backcombing ($50 to $150+): The stylist will backcomb your hair to form the base of your locs.
A black man with mature dreads started with comb coils and has been maintaining his locs with palm rolls.

The amount of time and effort a starter loc method requires will directly affect the price. For example, braid locs and twist locs are relatively simple methods that can be completed in less than an hour.

They tend to carry a low price tag.

On the other hand, methods like interlocks, instant locs, and loc extensions can take several hours and require a lot more precision and skill. These loc types command a higher price.

The Length of Your Hair

Another factor that plays a role in how much starter locs cost is the length of your hair. If you have short hair, the stylist won’t have to spend as much time starting your locs as they would if you had long hair. Therefore, the overall cost will be lower.

A 30-year-old black guy showing off the growth from his baby locs to mature dreads styled with coconut oil.

The Location of the Salon

The salon’s location can also affect how much you’ll pay for starter locs. If you live in a small town, the prices will likely be lower than in a big city. This is because the cost of living and doing business is generally cheaper in small towns.

The Stylist’s Skill Level

The stylist you choose to start your locs will also affect the price. If you go to a highly skilled and experienced stylist, you can expect to pay more than if you went to a less experienced stylist. Expertise carries a premium.

An African male with thin hair created shoulder-length freeform locs using the latch hook method for maintenance.

What’s Included in the Cost of Starter Locs?

When considering how much starter locs cost, it’s important to remember what’s included in the price. Some stylists will charge extra for things like shampooing, conditioning, and scalp massages, while others will include these services in the cost of starter locs.

Additionally, some stylists may charge a consultation fee.

This fee is generally separate from the cost of starter locs and covers the time the stylist spends getting to know you and your hair.

Finally, tipping is always appreciated but not required. If you had a good experience and feel the stylist did a great job, you can show appreciation by giving a tip. 15-20% is standard.

African American dude with natural locs created using the freeform hair locking method on her 4B hair type.

How to Save Money on Starter Locs

If you’re set on getting starter locs but you’re worried about the cost, there are a few things you can do to save money.

  • Try to find a stylist who offers discounts. Many stylists offer discounts for new clients or people who book their appointments during off-peak hours.
  • See if the stylist offers any package deals. Some stylists will offer a discount if you book multiple services at once. For example, you might be able to get a discount if you also book an appointment for loc maintenance.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you’re worried about the cost, talk to the stylist and see if there’s anything they can do to lower the price. Many stylists are willing to work with their clients to find a price that works for both parties.

Starter locs are an investment, so you want to ensure you’re comfortable with the price before booking an appointment. By researching and knowing what to expect, you can ensure you get the best possible deal on your starter locs.

A black male with thick hair is thinking about setting up a starter loc appointment to restart his loc journey.

Should You DIY Your Starter Locs to Save Money?

If you want to save money, you could try doing your starter locs at home. Of course, this will take some time and effort on your part, so it’s important to make sure you’re up for the challenge before you start.

The easiest starter loc methods to do on your own are the two-strand twist, comb coil, and braid methods. They can all be done with just a few supplies you probably already have at home.

If you’re considering doing your own starter locs, do your research and watch some tutorials before you get started. It’s also a good idea to practice on a small section of hair before doing your whole head.

This way, you can get a feel for the process and ensure you’re doing it correctly. While doing your own starter locs can save you some money, it’s important to remember that it’s not for everyone.

If you’re not sure you can do it correctly, it’s probably best to leave it to the professionals. Ultimately, it’s worth spending the extra money to ensure your starter locs are started off right.

A 30-year-old male with faux dreadlocks created with human hair extensions wondering how to maintain starter locs.

How Much Does Loc Maintenance Cost?

Loc maintenance is usually charged on an hourly basis, with the average cost ranging from $50 to $100 per hour. The cost will depend on the stylist’s experience and skill level, as well as the type of loc maintenance you need.

In most cases, interlock maintenance may cost a bit more than palm rolling maintenance. You should always consider the cost of loc maintenance before getting starter locs, as it’s an integral part of keeping your locs healthy and looking their best.

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So, there you have it! We hope this article has helped you understand the average cost of starter locs and how you can save money on them. We wish you the best now and in the future, as you embark on a fresh, new loc journey!

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