Frequently Asked Questions About Detoxing Locs

There are many ways to detox your locs— some will be helpful and others can be damaging. Last week, I shared how I recently did a detox deep soak on my color-treated locs and I received tons of questions. The questions about detoxing locs ranged from ingredient usage, to frequency and duration, and even body positioning. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to properly detox your locs, your questions are answered below!

Frequently Asked Questions about Detoxing Locs

Q: Can detoxing your locs with ACV and Baking Soda more than twice a year be damaging?
Absolutely! Mixing apple cider vinegar (ACV) and baking soda together is a recipe that I would NOT recommend. The pH of the baking soda is too high and when mixed with ACV they neutralize each other. This means that doing an ACV/Baking soda soak is like submerging your locs in salt water, which is very drying to the hair. And we know dryness leads to breakage.

Q:How many times should I do a loc detox?
Doing a soak, or penetrating, detox at least 1-2 times per year is ideal. This will deeply clean inside the locs and breakup any settled buildup. Alternatively, you can regularly use detoxifying shampoo on your locs to help prevent any accumulation of buildup.

Q: My locs are a little bit passed my ear how do I detox them?
You can definitely still detox shorter locs. You can use the tiered basin soak that I showed in the “Why I Detox My Locs, Even Without Buildup” video or use a spray bottle and a shower cap.

Q: Does apple cider vinegar (ACV) really work?
Yes, ACV is great to use in a detox because of the malic acid found in apples. This will help to breakup the buildup within your locs. Also, the pH of ACV is very close to the natural pH of your hair so it is not harsh.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Shampoo & Maintain Starter Locs


Q: How long should I let my locs soak in the detox?
Allowing 20-30 minutes minimum in the detox is very important.

Q: Do you shampoo, then detox afterwards?
The detox should be done prior to your regular cleansing. The detox will break things up and/or bring things to the surface and then you wash them away with your clarifying shampoo.

Q: How do you soak … as in what position?
Recently, I discovered the tiered basin method that I showed in the “Why I Detox My Locs, Even Without Buildup” video. I have also tried using the salon sink, and read that an inflatable basin works really well too. With the salon sink it can be difficult to get any buildup at the roots, and so I recommend applying a detoxification solution at the roots as well.

Q: What do you do to your hair after detoxing?
I would highly suggest using a clarifying shampoo after a detox soak. Additionally, doing a deep conditioning and/or hot oil treatment are good to do as well.

Q: Can I detox and do a (hair color) rinse in the same day?
Hmmm, that’s a debatable question because it would really depend on what hair color brand you’re using and the state of your hair post-detox soak. So to be on the safe side, I would suggest waiting at least two weeks before you apply any color to allow your normal pH to be restored.

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Things to Consider Before Coloring Your Locs


Q: At what stage do you recommend starting to do regular loc detoxes?
A detox soak should be included in your regimen at least 1-2 times per year once your locs are in or beyond the teenage stage. In earlier stages of locking you can regularly use detoxifying shampoos to minimize any buildup.

Q: What if your hair is dry can you still do a detox?
You can do mild detoxes and/or use detoxifying shampoos if you are currently experiencing dry hair. You should also be mindful to moisturize your locs regularly and achieve more moisture balance prior to performing a deep soak detox.

Q: What if you’re told by a professional you don’t need one?
I would inquire about the products that they’re using to ensure your locs are free from buildup. One of the products that I would make sure is being used on your locs regularly is a detoxifying shampoo. Also, if they offer them, I would suggest getting a Microscopic Analysis of your locs to check inside for the presence of buildup.

Q: Should I detox my starter locs? They are 6 months.
Starter locs that young should not need a detox. However, if your locs were started with a harmful product, such as beeswax, you most definitely want to get that out of your locs.

Loc Detox Before and After

Loc Detox Before and After

Q: I’ve never done a detox and I have a lot of lint buildup… any tips?
The removal of lint is not the same as removing product buildup or environmental buildup. You can remove lint but it is a very tedious process. I will link you to an online workshop that teaches you how to remove lint: “Battling Buildup”.

Q: What type of detox would you recommend for oil buildup?
Removing oil buildup is fairly easy with the use of a good clarifying shampoo. You should not need to perform a detox soak to remove oil, however it does help tremendously!

Q: What is the proper way to do a loc detox?
There are so many ways, or rather levels, to doing a detox on your locs. This is because there are different types of buildup that can affect our locs. Choosing the appropriate detox for the type of buildup you’re experiencing is the proper way to do a detox on your locs. For example, if you are experiencing a lot of product buildup and/or biological buildup in your locs a detox soak would be ideal. Whereas if you are only seeking to do a routine detox and are not experiencing a lot of buildup you can just use apple cider vinegar.

Q: What ingredients do you recommend for detoxing your locs?
The ingredients are going to depend greatly on what type of buildup you are trying to remove and the health of your locs. I share a few different recipes and also post-detox moisturizing techniques in the “How to Detox Your Locs” guide.

These were some really great questions and I hope that having these answers will empower you to properly detox your locs. If you have a question that was not addressed, please leave it in the comment! Happy detoxing!

How to Detox Your Locs At Home

Why Your Should Detox Your Locs Every Year

Previous Post
Next Post

Jocelyn Reneé

Jocelyn Reneé is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctician and Textured Hair Educator. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area and is a graduate of the Aveda Institute Cosmetology Science program. With over 14 years in the Hair Care Industry, from Salon Assistant to Natural Hair Blogger to Professional; Jocelyn is passionate about cultivating healthy hair.

Blog Comments

deborah m thompson

I appreciate the loc information. I also learn a lot on your YouTube channel. Thanks

Thank you for watching and also being a reader of my blog!

Hello, miss. I’m currently frustrated, I just started my locs last night. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I used grease and leave in conditioner in my hair. Am I going to need to detox or is shampoo going to be enough? This is really embarrassing to admit, but will my hair be ok because now I’m getting discouraged about my journey 🙁 Thank you for your help!!

If you can, it would probably be best to take them down, deeply cleanse/clarify your hair, and then restart. However if you don’t want to do that, please be sure to use Detoxifying Shampoo and Clarifying shampoo only for at least the first few months.

I am. In Botswana. My son just did a detox. This info is great.

I bleach my locs. What type of product would I use to detox my bleached locs without damage or changing my color ??

Check out the “Detox Recipe Guide” for recipes to use (and not to use) with colored treated locs.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.