This Is the Best Wash Day Routine to Follow If You Have Locs

Plus, discover what products you should be using.

Woman smiling and flipping their natural hairstyle in locs
Photo: Getty Images

While having locs may cut down on the amount of time you spend doing your hair on a day-to-day basis, you still have to put in the work if you want to maintain the gorgeous style.

That means re-twisting and thoroughly cleansing your hair has to be a part of your regular routine to avoid a buildup of product, which can eventually lead to damage.

To help you get on the right track, we reached out to two experts: Stasha M. Harris, founder of Magic Fingers Studio, as well as Oribe brand ambassador Stacey Ciceron. Here, they each share their best tips to keep your locs looking beautiful for a long time to come.

What's the best method for cleansing locs?

First and foremost, you have to decide how often you need to wash your hair — and that differs for everyone.

"Some shampoo weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly," Ciceron explains.

Once you've figured that out, the natural hair expert suggests starting off by pre-pooing your locs with an apple cider vinegar or baking soda rinse. You can easily make your own at home by adding some of the liquid or powder to an applicator bottle and heavily diluting it with water. Afterward, you'll want to apply it to the scalp and gently massage it.

"This solution loosens up oil, buildup, or debris from the hair and scalp making it easier to shampoo," says Ciceron.

Next, squeeze some clarifying shampoo into your hands and work it into the shaft of your locs and scalp. "You want to wash the ends of the locs by rubbing them together while the shampoo is applied," Harris suggests.

Ciceron adds that you may need to shampoo two or three times in order to get a thorough wash in some instances.

If you're in need of a good cleanser, Eden Bodywork's Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo is a light, paraben- and sulfate-free clarifying shampoo that will get the job done.

A green and white bottle of Eden Bodyworks Peppermint Tea Tree Clarifying Shampoo

To shop: $10;

How do I avoid product residue when conditioning my locs?

The best way to avoid residue from conditioners is to skip the conditioner altogether.

"I recommend a hot oil treatment, like Ampro Pro Styl Vitamin E Oil which was formulated to help repair dry or damaged hair, after washing," Harris suggests. "After cleansing, heat the container in water for two to three minutes and then apply the oil to locs and scalp."

A black and yellow bottle of Ampro Pro Styl Vitamin E Oil

To shop: $7;

Next, Harris says to wrap your locs in a warm, moist towel for 20 minutes before rinsing. "This will make hair soft and moisturized," she adds.

Ciceron is a fan of Oribe's Gold Lust All Over Oil, which can be used not only on the hair, but also on the face and body.

A black and transparent bottle of Oribe Gold Lust All Over Oil

To shop: $62;

What's the best drying method for locs?

"Sit under a dryer for about 30 to 45 minutes," Harris suggests. "If you do not have a dryer handy, you can improvise with a blowdryer, or you can just air dry which will take a bit longer, but it works."

"If hair is not dried properly, this can cause a mildew smell which can be a bit difficult to get rid of, Harris explains.

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How do I keep my locs feeling fresh in-between wash days?

A spritz of a light leave-in spray on both the hair and scalp can do the trick.

Oyin Handmade offers three Nourishing Herbal Leave-In Hair Tonics that you can apply any time of day.

Three purple, yellow, and blue bottles of Oyin Handmade juices

To shop: $14 each;

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