How Often Should I Shampoo / Co-Wash My Hair?

This is a question newly naturals have and even people that have been natural for months still ponder. First, let me say that washing your hair is good for hair growth. If your goal is to grow long hair, then doing frequent shampoos will help stimulate your scalp and increase blood flow to your hair follicles, which will result in hair growth. However, if you are using products with unfavorable ingredients you could be doing more harm than good with an increased frequency. Using shampoos with sulfates, cones, or any other drying ingredients can stunt hair growth, cause breakage or split ends, and/or dry out your hair.
During my hair journey, these are my regimens for each stage:


During the TWA stage, you have the most freedom to shampoo your hair. Most naturals at this stage do “Wash-N-Go”s all the time because they’re quick and easy. Basically a Wash-N-Go, is when you shampoo and/or co-wash you hair, put in a Leave-In conditioner and a sealant and go on about your day. Because of the frequency of Wash-N-Gos you’re typically washing your hair 3-5 days a week. This is entirely okay, as long as your shampoo and/or conditioner are moisturizing. My favorite shampoo was the OyinHandmade Honey Wash!


When your hair grows out some and it becomes a lot less convienent to shampoo your hair multiple times a week, the typical length between shampoos is about 1-2 weeks. Going beyond 2 weeks, is definitely acceptable but be aware the you may notice a lot more “shedding” during shampoos. You’ll notice more hair shedding because you aren’t removing the natural hairs that shed daily from your hair for a longer period of time [you shed at least 100 strands of hair per day]. I would recommend not going beyond 3 weeks without shampoo’ing your hair because after that point you put your hair at risk for a lot of tangles and matting. Which is another good point, be sure after each shampoo you properly detangle & moisturize your hair!

 Beginning Locs / Sisterlocks

When you first start your Locs, whether they’re Traditional, Sisterlocks/Brotherlocks, you want to give your hair a period of time to settle. I personally went 4 weeks before I shampoo’d my newly installed Sisterlocks and that was pretty intense for me! However, on average, when you start Traditional Locs your Locitian will recommend waiting about 3 weeks before your first shampoo. And during the first 6 months of your Loc journey waiting at least 2-3 weeks between shampoos gives your hair a good amount of time to settle before it is manipulated again.

Mature Locs

After your Locs have settled and begin going through the Hair Locking stages [HERE] you have more freedom to shampoo. With Traditional Locs, 2-3 weeks is a good length of time between shampoo’s because you don’t want to retwist your nu growth any sooner than 2 weeks to avoid causing thinnning. With Sisterlocks/Brotherlocks shampooing is at your personal discresion since you typically wait 5-7 weeks before another retightening. I personally shampoo my Sisterlocks every 3 weeks and/or before my retightening.
So, how often do you currently shampoo/co-wash your hair? Will you be changing your regimen? 

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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

I cowash my twa everyday with Pantene for naturals/relaxer hair conditioner, seems to be doing the trick for me!

Yeah I used to cowash pretty much everyday too! I hope you have a good leave-in too!

I’ve had sisterlocks for 19 months and I wash every 2 weeks. So far I have no need to condition…my hair is still pretty soft.

I have the need to condition now because I colored my Sisterlocks, but before I never conditioned.

Washing your hair is more about being clean than worrying about how much its gonna grow dirty hair and scalp is gonna cause breakage and skin scalp problems
I’ve been natural for almost. 10 yrs and have never gone weeks without washing
I now have locs and when I started them I did go 4 weeks between washing. For 3 months and that was only because of my hair texture my two strand twists. After that I washed weekly
My locs are 2 now and I wash every 6 days
I. Really don’t understand why people are so afraid of soap And water
No matter how you wear your hair loose natural locs relaxed weaved up it is still hair and needs to be clean

I think its more of the fear of over-manipulation and/or moisture retention. I still go about 2-3 weeks before I wash my Sisterlocks, but I also cleanse my scalp daily with Witch Hazel.

i shampoo every week with a sulfate free shampoo, cleansing cream oe sulfate (might use sulfate shampoo once a month if for some reason ive using a product containing silicones).. 🙂

You can use a clarifying shampoo, without sulfates to rid your hair of build up too 🙂

In fear of “over manipulation”, I only shampoo my sisterlocks before my 6 week retightening and condition it when necessary. I have noticed some breakage and growth stunt. I have had these locks for 4 years and I still have to bind them before washing because of opened ends coming undone. Any tips?

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