It really all depends on you.
When I started my loc journey for the first couple of years, I retwisted less than 4-5 times a year. I considered myself a semi-freeformer (someone who infrequently retwists their locs). There were 3 reasons why I decided to semi-freeform:
- My dreads were pretty small and I was afraid of over twisting and thinning out my hair. My greatest fear was waking up next to a detached loc! #yikes
- I really like the look of “untamed” locs. #LaurynHill
- I had soo many locs and I dreaded the length of time it took me to retwist my hair. It took about 4 hours to wash and retwist my hair. #Iaintgottimeforthat
However, there was one HUGE downside that I experienced with not retesting regularly. My locs would marry (start to grow together) at the base of the loc. This usually occurs as a result of washing your hair without following up with a retwist. Now, you are still going to wash your hair even though you aren’t retwisting, you do know that right? LOL! When you scrub your scalp it loosens your hair strands, and these strands don’t just go back to where they belong, they go wherever they land. And usually they land in a different box then they started. And if they stay in that foreign box then they will start to feel at home and become a part of the family, i.e marry. Whenever my locs married, which was all of the time (but the degree of intertwineness (made up word) did differ depending on the timeframe of not retwisting) I had to divorce them/pop them (pull them apart), and retwist them with their original family.
I do think that your hair texture will determine how long you can go without your locs marrying. Finer textures should be able to hold out longer than more curlier/kinkier textures.
Another downside is that if you wait too long to retwist your locs could start to flatten. Because you aren’t manipulating your locs to its cylindrical shape, it will begin to lose it’s shape and look flat. I had one/two locs that started to flatten but it plumped right back up after a retwist. Finer hairs may not have this same “snap back” result as curlier/kinkier hairs because our hair naturally tangles together in a cylindrical shape.
I am of the belief that you should wait at least 6 weeks to retwist. Some people say 4 – 6. I say at least 6. It is well known that too much tension is not good for your hair. Moreover, waiting a significant period before retwisting also reduces the amount of product you put in your hair, thus the amount of buildup you will have. But in the end, it’s going to be up to you. I would suggest that you think about the reasons why you would want to have longer retwist periods (money, hair health, don’t like retwisitng, etc) and the look you are going for/comfortable with (untamed look, manicured look) when you are trying to decide your retwist time.
I hope this helps!