Maintaining Locs at Home
Maintaining Traditional Locs at home is fairly easy, if you know what you’re doing and practice good hair care. One area that many people fear or aren’t very knowledgeable on when it comes to starting locs is the “shampoo process”. Admittedly, I was a novice myself when I first started my new set of Traditional Locs. My lack of knowledge led me to invest in hair care training classes specifically for locs to learn how to best care for my hair on my own.
The most common questions people have about the shampoo process are “how often should I shampoo my new locs?” and “what products should I use?“; which are two very good questions. Before I answer, let me preface and say that I take a holistic approach to Loc Maintenance and firmly believe less is more and my recommendations are based on experience and formal training. Ok, so let’s dive in…
When to Shampoo New Locs
You can try to wait at least two weeks before your very first shampoo with your new locs, but it is not completely necessary. On average, I shampoo my hair every 9 days and have done so since I first started them. The 9 day period usually gives the natural oil your scalp produces, sebum, a chance to reproduce and lubricate your scalp. Also, that week and a half will also allow your hair time to intertwine which is a major part of the locking process. If you’re shampooing your locs, on average, before 7 days, you’ll probably experience dry scalp because your naturals oils aren’t being given a chance to reproduce before you cleanse them away again and your hair may take longer to lock if you’re not using the proper shampoo.
So as a recommendation I would say one week at minimum between shampoos, but on the flip side you don’t want to wait too long either. Locs are a natural process of hair interlocking and matting and during this process (typically) we produce dandruff. So if your hair is producing dandruff and also matting and you’re waiting a very long time between shampoos you will effectively loc your dandruff in your locs. Not ideal, right?! So you should shampoo your locs as early as every 7 days but not wait beyond 4 weeks to shampoo your hair.
Products To Shampoo New Locs
If you’re maintaining your locs with light, water soluble products, you can use a gentle cleansing shampoo and a normal moisturizing shampoo on your locs. If you’re using heavy products such as butters, beeswax, or if you’re experiencing buildup or aren’t sure if the products you’re using are water soluble, I would recommend mainly using a cleansing/clarifying shampoo and do one moisturizing shampoo in the end to add hydration. For a list of my favorite shampoos, check out the “CLEANSE YOUR LOCS” reference guide.
RELATED E-BOOK: Shampooing & Deep Cleansing Locs Reference Guide
How to Prevent New Locs From Unraveling
In addition to using the appropriate type(s) of shampoo, I would recommend using a neat cap while you are shampooing your new locs to help prevent them from unraveling. Also, when you shampoo your starter locs, I recommend using a spray bottle because it is extremely helpful to dilute the shampoo and direct the shampoo to your scalp; which will prevent you from having to overwork your hair to emulsify the product. If you’d like to see and learn the technique for shampooing Starter Locs, take a look at my recent video “How to Shampoo Starter Locs“.
Update: Read & bookmark “3 Tips to Properly Shampoo Your Locs at Home” to be sure your locs remain healthy and free of build-up!