How Often Should You Wash Your Locs

Dreadlocks are a huge fashion statement even when they are worn for spiritual reasons.

Upon seeing Dreadlocks, most people think of Bob Marley, reggae, and Rastafarianism, unaware that the roots of Dreadlocks go back much further.

How Often Should You Wash Your Locs

History Of Locs

Rastafarians in Jamrock, with roots that date back to when slaves were traded in Jamaica, view dreadlocks as a symbol of African identity and as a way to set them apart from society.

With the trans-Atlantic slave trade in full force during the 1600-1800s, Africans brought to America (and other places around the globe) were unable to perform their normal hair grooming practices and therefore arrived looking unkempt.

After traveling months on ships with no hygiene available, it’s unsurprising that their hair appeared matted and locked. It’s said that slave owners referred to the “dreadful” sight of the captives, thus the term “dreadlocks.”

The Rastafari dreadlocks are also believed to symbolize the Lion of Judah, many times located in the center of the Ethiopian flag.

The Rastafari believe that Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari) is a direct descendant of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba by way of their son Menelik.

Several different cultures and civilizations have commonly worn locs. In some cultures, locks are an expression of religious beliefs.

In other cultures, dreadlocks are a representation of ethnic pride or simply fashionable. And in different cultures, Shamans wear dreadlocks.

These are the women or men that claim to speak and serve deities and spirits. The Maasai warriors are easily recognized by their long, red, thin dreadlocks.

Read: How Often Should You Retwist Your Locs


Once reggae music was widely accepted in the 1970s, dreadlocks or dreads became a modern fashion statement.

The impact of reggae music on the revival of dreadlocks is one that cannot be overemphasized.

The old, uncivilized hairstyle that gave a dreadful look to ones that wore it became popularized as the newly fashionable hairstyle that is being worn by musicians, athletes, actors, rappers, authors, and many others after Bob Marley hit the world stage with his music.

Sporting locks himself; he prompted an international interest in the style and the anti-establishment philosophy of Rastafarian culture.

Dreadlocks became increasingly popular and there are many reasons in various cultures for wearing them.

They can be an expression of deep religious or spiritual convictions, a manifestation of ethnic pride.

They can make a political statement, or simply be a fashion preference.

Nowadays, celebs and recognizable names like Lisa Bonet, Wiz Khalifa, Kelela, Future, Willow Smith, Stevie Wonder, Toni Morrison, Bert Ashe from the University of Richmond, Wale, Richard Sherman, Ani DiFranco, and many others wear dreadlocks.

The Modern Dreadlock (Locks)

Dreadlocks are braids that require stray hairs to be tucked into the dread and locked up to the rest of your hair. Dreadlocks are ropes of hair.

This style is also known as Jata, Sanskrit, dreads, or locks. They all use different methods to encourage the formation of the locs such as rolling, braiding, and backcombing.

Locs, also known as dreadlocks or just dreads, are a great protective style and a versatile way to wear natural hair.

This hairstyle involves sections of hair being matted and knotted together to create a rope-like appearance. On the surface, dreadlocks are “free-formed” locks of hair.

When the hair is left alone, and nature is allowed to take its course, the hair mats and forms as it pleases.

Read: How Often Should You Wash Your Dreads

Hair Texture

Hair Texture and Length are two determining factors of how fast and how well your dreadlocks form.

Why is the texture of your hair important for dreadlocks? The texture of your hair is the best indicator of which technique you should choose. It also determines how long it can take for your hair to lock.

Softer textured hair may take a year or longer to lock, while coarse hair can begin locking in only a few months.

This is referred to as “free-forming”.

The common misconception that dreadlocks are dirty when in reality they are not is due to its free-forming nature.

If the hair is kept clean and in good condition, it is only normal to have a healthy dreadlocks.

Many people love the look and feel of wearing dreadlocks.

Not only are they a low-maintenance look for medium to long hair, but they also make an unforgettable statement no matter who wears them.

While dreads can be quite a versatile style that often has many different meanings, there are a few things, ranging from hygiene concerns to the health of the hair; you should understand dreadlock hair before you make the twist hairstyles.

How often should you wash your Locs?

As stated in the above sub-heading, washing is an important part of the process.

You should wash your locks relatively frequently and well! Some experts suggest that you should wash anywhere from every 3-4 days and others say once a month.

Everyone finds what works for them, but we recommend that you wash once or twice a week.

We recommend that you wash once to twice a week for the first 12 weeks – 3 months of having your dreadlocks.

I feel this gives the locks a chance to establish themselves without pulling out excessive amounts of loose hair.

During this period, in particular, we recommend focusing only on washing the scalp. This is where all the excess oils will be and will help avoid unnecessary trauma to the bodies of your locks.

It’s worth noting, however, that dreadlocks that are being started by neglect can and often do benefit from more frequent washing than 1 – 2x per week.

However, once the locks become properly established, stretching out the frequency you wash with is ideal.

We don’t suggest washing any less often than once or twice a week because washing continues to aid in the locking process until they are mature. (The generally accepted age of dreadlock maturity is 2 years.)

Maintaining Your Dreadlock

Dreadlocks require just as much care and maintenance as any other hair type and certainly a lot more patience. After all, you don’t go from ear-length locks to back-length locks overnight.

Growing healthy dreadlocks isn’t effortless, but neither is it impossible.

Contrary to popular belief, clean dreads lock up and tighten faster than dirty dreads.

Like other natural hairstyles, dreadlocks need to be kept clean.

Maintaining dreadlocks is very different from maintaining other natural hairstyles.

The best way to maintain locks is to ensure they have a strong foundation.

Dreadlocks don’t need to be brushed and don’t require regular trimming.

You’ll also notice that dreadlocks look better and better over time. As they continue to mature, they become tighter and smoother, and they require less maintenance.

Your maintenance routine will vary depending on the age of your dreads and the method you used to start them.

There are a plethora of loc care ways to care for natural hair loss and maintain a crown full of healthy dreadlocks. Washing, Moisturizing loss is paramount and quite easy to do.

If you prefer a low-maintenance routine, there are products for you as well.

Ahead in this article, discover the trick for washing your locks as a maintenance strategy and tips on how often you should wash your locks.

How To Wash Your Dreadlock

We know there is a small contingent of deadheads out there that actually do not wash their dreadlocks, BUT we can assure you that your dreadlocks and scalp will be much happier and lock more quickly if you do.

Locs or dreadlocks should be washed at regular intervals to remove dirt and odor, just as you would do to lose hair. In fact, wetting the hair encourages the hair to tangle more.

One to two weeks after starting your locks, begin carefully washing them once a week or so, depending on your need.

Washing regularly is key to growing a healthy head of dreads, as shampooing actually helps dreads lock tighter and faster by removing slippery, detangling natural oil buildup.

 Step 1: Lather

You can either use a liquid shampoo or dread shampoo bar.

If using the bar, wet scalps and locks, wet the bar too and work up a good, thick lather in your hands and scrub it onto your scalp, or you can rub the Bar directly on your scalp between the locks and work up a lather that way.

If using Liquid Shampoo, pour a small amount into the palm of your hand and spread evenly around the scalp, using more as necessary.

Remember, you won’t get a ton of lather, but it’s still working!

Step 2: Scrub Gently

Once lathered up, get down to the scalp with your fingertips and give it a thorough, gentle scrub all over.

Let the Essential Oils sit and do their thing for 2-3 minutes.

 Step 3: Rinse and Repeat

Rinse and Repeat literally! Rinsing allows the Shampoo to run through the dreads, thereby cleaning them without handling them too much.

This is the best way to clean new, still-soft locks without damaging all that hard work you’ve put into them.

Repeat shampooing and rinsing if necessary. You will be able to feel how squeaky clean your scalp is after it’s been rinsed and where you need to shampoo again.

Step 4: Drying

It is critical that your dreadlocks are allowed to completely dry after each wash in order to prevent that musty, wet-dog dread smell.

This last step of the process is just as important as the rest.

To dry your dreads;

Gently squeeze out as much water as you can with a towel (some of us like to alternate whipping locks around to a favorite metal tune with the towel-squeezing part, getting as much water out as possible).

Air drying your locks is fine, but if they’re getting wet more than once a week, it’s also worth investing in a blow dryer and using it on ‘Low’ to speed things along.