Short Locs- If you have short twists that are buds or at least 2 inches of twists special care must be performed. First and foremost, you want to ensure that you are not disturbing the twists too much. You don't want to do this because they can come down, and locing will be prevented. When I first started and I had around 2 inches of hair I would cut off the legs of a pair of stocking and knot the end. I would place the stocking cap over my head and step into the shower to wash my locs. I used a shampoo that I picked up from Wild Oats. It lathered really great, and smelled wonderful!
I did not condition my hair at that stage, because conditioner would soften the hair, and it would make the process of locing harder. After a good shampoo and rinsing, then the real work begins. With your freshly towel dried hair you need to retighten your locs. I used real shea butter, and ampro protein black gel. I mixed the two together, mixing until softened. I grabbed the already sectioned hair and retwisted them lying them down against the scalp. To train the hair and keep the locs in place, and possibly to go into one direction I used silver clips at the base of my twists to keep them in place. This was important to me because I wanted my locs to grow going towards the back. Then I sat under a hooded dryer until dry. Also, keep in mind the clips are metal! So great care must be used when drying the hair, you don't want to burn your scalp! The dryer needn't be that hot, just a medium heat.
Medium Locs- At this point you don't need a stocking cap to wash. Your locs are beginning to loc and won't easily come down. Therefore, you can stand under the shower head and wash your locs and scalp with a good clarifying shampoo, and you can start using conditioner. After about 3 good shampoos, and twenty minutes of conditioner, towel dry hair and get ready to retwist. At this point you should use a leave in conditioner, Infusium is ideal. I started using a lighter gel at this point to retwist my roots. I began using aloe vera gel to retwist, and clamps only in areas that are still relatively not locd. Other than that you can just retwist, sit under a hooded dryer, and go :).
Long Locs- With long locs you really have to use great care when shampooing and retwisting. The locs are old now, they clump together on thier own. They may start thinning around the edges and root. At this point you will stand under the head of the shower and shampoo with a great clarifying shampoo, that will take you a good 20 minutes to do just because of the length. Condition for about 25-30 mins. You can get out of the shower now, its cold :) put on a plastic bag of some sort and get busy doing something else. When its time rinse out and get ready for the tedious task of retwisting the roots. Before you retwist you need to inspect your hair and respond to whatever it is trying to tell you.
- Thinning around the edges? Take it easy on the hair in those areas, maybe don't retwist that area at all, or do it loosely. Allow the hair to grow back there.
- Ends uneven, or breaking off? Its okay to trim the locs, with a pair of scissors trim the unevenness, or breaking point. Its okay your aren't losing anything here, it will grow back!
- Trim the fuzzies as well. With the scissors go down the sides of your locs and trim to make it look even and neat.
- Locs about to break at the scalp? Put two together and twist, you can put a small elastic rubber band to keep them together. Pretty soon they will grow together and you won't be able to tell where one begins and one ends.
Remember at the long stage you still must fully dry your hair or at least 95% or else you will experience mildew in your locs. You don't want mildew and mold to form because it produces smell, and it can grow! So always try to fully dry your locs, and don't fall asleep when wet.
To prevent dryness you should use a lightweight oil, like Jojoba oil. At natural food stores you can purchase this and even add a little natural fragrance to it. This is pleasant to smell all day long, as it is aromatherapy for your hair. Right now, I am inhaling Jasmine in my hair! Just what I need with the daily stress I encounter.
I hope this helps, any questions please don't hesitate to comment or email me!