After I got my locs installed I put braids over them for the first 3 months. After I took out the braids I washed my hair at least 3-4 times a week without retwisting, I did this for a month. Then I put my locs back into braids. After another 2 months I took my locs out and I continued to wash my locs 3-4 times a week. If I did not fully shampoo them I would rinse them or cowash them. My locs got wet almost EVERYDAY. In the beginning it is very important for you to wash your hair. When you wet your hair your break the hydrogen bonds apart. When your hair is dry, they reform. In the first months of locing you want to break and reform those bonds. That way the hairs can manipulate and loc around each other. In my loc journey I learned several things about washing my locs.
1. DUST YOUR LOCS: Dusting your locs is literally that, getting dust out of your locs. You can use a mirror for the larger pieces. But take your hand and brush it back and forth over your locs while your head is tilted over. You will notice, skin, dust and dirt particles falling from your locs. All of these things is what makes locs ashy, smelly, and full of lint and dirt. If you wash your hair without dusting it, the dirt can potentially get trapped in the locs.
2. POP YOUR LOCS: If you are free forming, or semi free forming this is more important for you. When your hair is untwisted the roots will start to loc together. You must go through your head and pop your locs, which is pull them apart. Wet your hair at the root after you dust it, and pull your locs apart. You may hear the hairs, POP. :)
3. DO NOT PUT SHAMPOO DIRECTLY IN YOUR HAIR: Locs are packed hairs that are hard to penetrate. Thick shampoo will not glide easily in and out of your locs. Some of the shampoo may get caught in your locs. Diluting your shampoo in a spray bottle and spraying it in your hair will make a nice thin solution that can move in and out of your locs easily grabbing dirt on the way out.
4. DO NOT USE COLORED OR LOADED SHAMPOO: Shampoo like leave in conditioner as well as other products leave stuff behind in your hair. If you notice moisturizing shampoos are thicker and make your hair "feel" different after use. That "feel goo" is particles being left behind. These are particles you do not want left behind in your locs because this can add to buildup.
5. DILUTE EVERYTHING:After I shampoo my hair, I mix my favorite deep conditioner in water and I pour it over my locs. I let it sit for 15 min under a shower cap and I rinse. Again, putting thick products in your locs can lead to buildup.
6. RINSE: This is thee most important factor of them all. Water is very pure and lifting. It can break down and dilute a vast amount of chemicals. Make sure you rinse and squeeze your locs empty. I like to taste the water running out of my locs. If it tastes like pure water then I know my locs are fully rinsed.