When I Started my locs, I kept hearing all these rumors that you can't wash your locs for the first three weeks, or you can't wash them for first month, and for my dandruff condition I have to wash my hair every couple of days. That's really important to the health of my skin as I have eczema anh Sebborhea Dermititis. Not being able to wash my locs for one, two or three weeks at a time just isn't an option at all.
I've talked to people who have literally gone months without washing their hair. It does a couple of things. A, it doesn't smell good. Even if you don't think it smells bad, trust me, the people around you think it smells bad. B, it's not healthy for your skin. Your skin gets dirt, and grim, and built-up oils that need to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Lastly, water actually helps accelerate the locing process as the hairs expand and contract with water. So, the more you wash your hair the faster your hair will loc. That's something that a lot of people don't realize. So as they spending all this time pasting their hair down and avoiding water they're actually making the locing process take longer.
For starter locs, the easiest way to wash your hair is going to depend on your hair texture and how you started them. If you have straight hair and you started your locs with the crochet method or backcombing, it's going to be a little easier for you to wash our hair right off the bat.
In general it's better to try to wash them. If it looks like they're starting to slip out a little bit just separate them out to maybe five to six pony tails on your head and put a rubber band around each one. Then wash through the pony tails. Make sure that you don't use too much shampoo and it's well distributed, I highly recommend using a nozzle bottle that's commonly used for coloring hair. You put a little bit of shampoo in that bottle, fill it up the rest of the way with water, shake it, and use that to wash your hair. You'll find that you use a lot less product and your hair gets cleaner in the process.
Now, if you don't have any problems with your hair slipping wash it as normal. If you have kinky hair and your hair naturally has a tight coil pattern and you start your with locs with comb coils, you may actually not have any issues washing your hair either. For the first wash, you may want to go ahead and use a stocking cap or a mesh cap over your locs. Then use the nozzle bottle to be able to aim the shampoo in all the different areas. Agitate the shampoo with the palm of your hand instead of your finger tips, and rinse well through the cap. That is going to get your locs and your scalp much cleaner than just avoiding water altogether, and it's going to prevent your hair from being agitated enough that your locs will come out.
If your hair does not naturally coil that way, you may need to be a little bit more careful. What I recommend if your hair doesn't coil naturally and you still want to have comb coils, is to clip your hair and then shampoo through the clips. I've done it. It's not any fun. Your hair is not going to get spotless, but it's going to be so much better and your scalp is going to thank you the next day. If one or two locks come out don't panic. There's no need to re-twist your entire head if only two or three locs are loose. Fix those two or three locs and move on with the rest of your day.
If your hair doesn't naturally coil, there are so many other options that are easier to deal with in the beginning stages. Two strand twists, three strand twists, braid locs, latched locs and sisterlocks are all much easier to wash in the beginning. So, if your hair has more of a zigzag pattern or no pattern at all, or you're like me and have five different textures on your head, there's no need to start with comb coils when there are other techniques available. I started my current set with a three strand twists which looks a little bit like rope, and I love them. I washed my hair literally the day after I started my locs and not one loc came out.
Find the method that works best for you. Also, consider scheduling a consultation with a loctician. Having someone else look at your hair and tell you which way of starting your locks will be the easiest for you to maintain can be a huge help. Just remember, if you had to wash your hair once a week before you started your locs, you probably need to wash your hair once a week after. If you have a scalp condition and you had to wash your hair several times a week before, you're still going to have to wash your hair several times a week after.