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When Is the Proper Time to Wash Starter Locs?

Starter locs is an exciting time since it’s the first step in your locs journey. 

However, you might have questions about when and how frequently you should wash starter locs.

We put together this guide to explain the proper time to wash starter locs and give tips on washing and maintaining them properly as they mature. 

Related: How To Clean Gunk Out Of Dreadlocks?

What Are Starter Locs?

Starter locs, also commonly called baby locs, is a term that refers to the initial stage after your dreadlocks have been locked.

Your locs will be in their starter phase for anywhere from three to six months. How long it takes to reach the mature stage depends on your hair type, the method used to lock them, and how quickly it grows.

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Is There a Proper Time to Wash Starter Locs?

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The proper time to wash your starter locs depends on several factors, including your hair type, the method used to create your dreadlocks, and your personal hygiene preferences. 

As a rule, it’s recommended that you avoid washing your starter locs too frequently, as this can strip the hair of its natural oils, causing dryness.

It’s a good idea to avoid washing your starter locs immediately after getting them, as your hair may still be fragile and susceptible to damage. Instead, you’ll typically want to wait at least a week or two before washing them the first time to let the locs set and mature a bit.

After washing your locs the first time, please pay attention to how it looks and feels to determine how frequently to wash them moving forward. 

Tips for Washing Starter Locs

You’ll want to take your time and be careful when washing your starter locs. Here are a few tips on how to safely wash your starter locs.

Keep a Hair Journal

Washing your starter locs is a bit more involved than normally washing your hair, so keeping a hair journal is a great way to track when you washed them, how you did it, and what products you used. 

You can also keep track of maintenance you’ve done on your locs, like retwisting. Having a journal is a great way to record your personal locs journey and track the progress of your locs over time.

Use the Right Shampoo 

One of the essential tips for washing your starter locs is using the right shampoo. Locs have different needs than other hairstyles so look for shampoos like 2 in 1 Co-Wash from Lion Locs.

2-in-1 Co-Wash is more than a shampoo and conditioner that moisturizes your hair to prevent breakage and split ends while cleaning and nourishing your locs. 

This 100% organic, Vegan-friendly co-wash has everything that your locs need, including:

  • Aloe leaf juice promotes growth and repair cells
  • Jojoba, Argan oil, and Castor oil for shine and protection
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein to feed and strengthen 
  • Chemical-free with no residue or buildup

Related: Loc Stages By Month - A Complete Timeline

Focus on Your Scalp, Not Your Locs

When washing your starter locs, be gentle and focus on your scalp, not the locs. Use your fingers to gently massage the scalp, and try not to wash your hair all at once. 

If you feel like there’s a lot of buildup in your locs, squeeze them individually, careful not to unravel them as you wash them.

There’s nothing wrong with using a stocking cap if you’re uncomfortable washing your starter locs. 

Using a mesh stocking cap will let you wash your scalp without unraveling your starter locs. Put the cap on, apply shampoo onto it, and then rinse your hair with the cap over your locs. Take it off, then dry your hair when you’re done.

Don’t use heat to dry your locs, as this can dry them out and cause damage and breakage.

You can also use a 100% organic loc oil to help reduce itching, dandruff, and irritation between washings.

Retwist When When You Wash Your Starter Locs

a man with small dyed dreads


Your starter locs may start to unravel when you wash them, so this can be a great time to retwist them

After you’re done washing your hair, be sure to let you locs completely dry before you start working on them. 

Next, use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently remove any tangles and separate the locs before you start retwisting. Finally, use a gel loc to help hold the twists into place. 

You don’t have to retwist your locs every time after you wash them. However, retwisting them too frequently or with too much force can damage or break them.

How frequently you’ll need to retwist your locs will depend on the style of locs, how fast your hair grows, and your personal preference. 

Your hair journal is a great tool to track your wash and retwist schedule and the overall look and health of your locs. 

Use a Silk or Satin Pillowcase When You Sleep

A silk or satin pillowcase is a great way to reduce friction and protect your locs while sleeping.

Silk and satin pillowcases are slippery and smooth, which can reduce friction and help minimize knots and tangles in your hair. 

These smoother pillowcases are also much softer than cotton or polyester ones. But unfortunately, those pillowcases can be rough and abrasive on your hair, causing it to become dry and brittle over time. 

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The Proper Time to Wash Starter Locs Varies from Person to Person

Because everyone’s locs grow in and mature at different rates, the proper time to wash them will vary from person to person.

Right after your locs have been locked, it’s a good idea to wait at least a week or two before you wash them the first time. 

Keeping a hair journal is a great way to record your loc journey and track how fast they are maturing, their health, and when you wash and retwist them. Following these activities will help prevent you from overwashing and overwriting them.

Using an all-natural shampoo and conditioner can help keep your hair and scalp clean and healthy when you wash your locs. If you need help keeping your locs locked after retwisting, use a loc gel to hold the locs in place.

The best way to know when to wash your starter locs is by paying attention to how they look and feel and washing them when it’s the right time for your locs. 

Related: How To Moisturize Your Scalp With Dreadlocks

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