The 22 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Dreadlocks 2021

Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Dreadlocks

I can see you have questions about how to wash your locs.

Which are the best shampoos and conditioners for dreadlocks? Are there ingredients you should avoid?

Should you use something different on brand new dreadlocks or synthetic dreads?

I’m here today to answer these questions and review the best dreadlock care products for you.

Let’s begin with how to keep your dreads clean.

Contents

How to wash dreadlocks?

Get advice from your loctician about how often to wash your dreadlocks.

In general, you can shampoo two or three times per week, depending on your hair type (1). What matters is what you use to wash the dreads.

I’d recommend a sulfate-free shampoo that doesn’t leave a residue. There are several clarifying shampoos that will do the trick. We’ll get to those in a moment.

  • Step 1: Once you’ve wet your hair, pat the shampoo into your scalp and the locs. Don’t twist or rub them, though.
  • Step 2: Let it work for a couple of minutes before you rinse. That way, it does a thorough job of removing dirt and oil. (On the other hand, if you have very thin hair, wait less time to avoid unraveling the dreads.)
  • Step 3: Rinse until the water runs clear, and then squeeze out the excess.
  • Step 4: Pat your hair dry with a towel. Microfiber is absorbent and won’t rough up the cuticle.

Finally, be sure the dreadlocks dry thoroughly before you style them.

If your hair and scalp get too dry, you can do a hot oil treatment once a month. You might also try a spray-on conditioner.

Top 22 Shampoo and Conditioner for Dreadlocks

Now, let’s begin with the best shampoo for new dreadlocks.

Dollylocks Coconut Lime Grapefruit Dreadlock Shampoo Bar

Dollylocks focuses on making organic products for dreads. You can purchase their shampoos online or visit their hair salon in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Since they are specialists in dreadlock care, they are one of the top brands. They recommend the shampoo bar for people with new dreads.

There are different scents available. Each one is based on natural ingredients like organic coconut, mango butter, and Hawaiian Sea salt.

The blend of vitamins and protein keeps the hair and scalp healthy. It helps clear up acne breakouts, too.

But what’s more important is that the shampoo doesn’t leave a residue. Your locks will be squeaky clean after washing with the bar.

Once you rinse, you can also apply conditioning oil to prevent dandruff.

Dollylocks Nag Champa Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo

If you have mature dreadlocks, try this liquid shampoo.

The one I selected is the invigorating Nag Champa scent. Plus, there are other fragrances available. In any case, each scent is phthalate-free.

The formula is based on saponified organic oils and botanicals like grapefruit seed extract. It won’t leave a residue in your hair or on your scalp.

You might like it so much that you’ll continue to use it even if you give up your locs.

Dollylocks Nag Champa Dreadlock Conditioning Oil

Regular conditioner isn’t always the best choice for dreadlocks. It can make them heavy or greasy or too slippery to stay formed.

Instead, if you feel like your hair and scalp are too dry, use this conditioning oil.

It’s similar to the ingredients in the Dollylocks shampoo. In other words, it’s based on plant oils like coconut, jojoba, hemp seed, and avocado.

These oils won’t clog pores or trigger acne.

There’s also a little rosemary to purify and detox your scalp. It helps clear up itching and flaking.

Dollylocks Tea Tree Spearmint Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo

If you’re struggling with an itchy scalp, give this spearmint shampoo a try. It soothes away the itch with a cooling sensation.

Moreover, it’s pH-balanced and hypoallergenic to prevent dryness and irritation.

Keep in mind that none of these shampoos make much lather. That doesn’t mean that they don’t work well.

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar

Knotty Boy was founded three decades ago by people with dreadlocks. Theirs was the first shampoo bar for dreads.

It’s ideal for people with new locs as it helps the dreads mature.

It’s non-toxic and biodegradable, plus easy to bring along in your travel bag. Not only that, but you can also use it to wash your entire body, not just your hair.

The plant-based formula has a soothing blend of peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary. These cleanse impurities and leave the skin refreshed.

Moreover, it leaves no residue behind.

The shampoo bar is very concentrated. Massage it with a little water to create lather in your hands before you pat it on your hair and scalp.

Choose from a variety of scents like charcoal, sandalwood, fresh-cut grass, patchouli love, and unscented olive oil.

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Conditioning Spray Purple Haze Lavender

Add shine, reduce frizz, and soften your locks with this conditioning spray. It’s made to strengthen fragile dreads, too.

Besides lavender, it’s also available in green tea and coconut scents.

Knotty Boy Every Body Ultimate Detangler

It won’t help you remove dreadlocks. In fact, don’t use it on your dreads at all.

This spray-on conditioner will help you remove tangles. It makes curls more noticeable.

The liquid is very slippery yet lightweight. That’s no surprise as it’s based on nourishing plant oils.

Don’t be shy – use more than you think you’ll need. After all, it has an appealing tropical fragrance.

Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo

Use the shampoo to tighten your dreads and encourage hair growth.

It’s unscented, and it won’t leave a residue. That’s good as you need clean hair to get your dreads to lock faster at the roots.

Also important, it speeds up drying time so you don’t end up with mildew or rot.

The key ingredient is a coconut-based surfactant. It’s not saponified oil like some of the other dreadlocks shampoos use.

Knatty Dread Scalp Oil for Dreadlocks

The problem is a dry and itchy scalp. The answer is scalp oil.

This vegan conditioner is made from cold-pressed plant oils with no synthetic ingredients.

It absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue behind. Therefore, it prevents dandruff in dreadlocks and leaves the hair glistening and soft.

Dread Soap for Dreadlocks Shampoo

I’ll be upfront with you. Some locticians will tell you to avoid sulfates. They are surfactants that can dry out the skin and hair.

Yet others will recommend this shampoo even though it contains sodium laureth sulfate. It creates lather and removes excess oil and dirt.

The trick is to consider the other ingredients to see if they balance out the drying effect of the sulfate.

It’s also crucial to avoid shampoos that leave a residue or slow down dry time. This product doesn’t have either of those problems.

Design Essentials Oat Protein & Henna Deep-Cleansing Shampoo

Although it’s not made specifically for dreadlocks, there are a lot of benefits to this shampoo.

It was created for curly, coily, and kinky hair. It’s also kind to fine and limp hair.

It’s a clarifying shampoo that gets rid of the gunk without taking away all the natural oil. Furthermore, it conditions the hair and moisturizes it.

When you see that it contains henna, you might be concerned that it will change your hair color. But this extract is actually there to add volume and shine.

Design Essentials Natural Rosemary & Mint Stimulating Super Moisturizing Conditioner

If you’ve just taken out your dreads and you need to help your hair recover, this conditioner is a smart choice.

It’s infused with rosemary and peppermint to purify the scalp. It also makes the hair silky and manageable.

For best results, let it sit on your hair for at least five minutes. Also, try combing out tangles with the conditioner in the hair before you rinse.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

Neutrogena’s clarifying shampoo is like a salon treatment for your hair.

It’s formulated to clear away residue and buildup without causing any irritation. In fact, it’s free of artificial dyes and parabens.

This product is mild enough for color-treated styles, yet potent enough to cleanse the oiliest of hair.

You won’t need to use it more than once a week to maintain a clean scalp.

SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore

Shea Moisture shampoo is the preferred choice of people with coily, curly, and kinky hair. It’s safe for chemically-processed and color-treated styles, too.

The shampoo is very moisturizing. At the same time, it strengthens damaged strands to minimize breakage and shedding.

It’s also fun to use because it smells delicious and feels tingly on the scalp.

As you might guess, it contains shea butter from ethically traded sources in Africa. Plus, it’s free of sulfates, silicone, phthalates, parabens, and even propylene glycol.

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Conditioner

This is a deep-conditioner that revives damaged and dried-out hair.

You might think that it would be helpful for keeping your dreads frizz-free. Unfortunately, it may leave a residue on the strands that could make it harder to tighten the locs and dry the hair.

It’s better to use a spray-on conditioner instead.

Cantu Txtr Soothing Shampoo

Cantu is another brand intended for those with textured hair.

The Txtr shampoo features two essential natural ingredients to clarify your scalp and dreadlocks. It has apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. They eliminate residue and impurities.

Then, shea butter, aloe, and oat extract hydrate dry skin and strands. A touch of spearmint oil makes the shampoo extra-soothing to an itchy scalp.

There’s no residue left on your hair. You don’t have to worry about silicone or parabens, either.

Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Leave-in Conditioning Mist

Spritz a little of this on your dreads to keep them in top condition.

It repairs split ends and smooths the cuticle to leave the hair healthy. That means less frizz and more defined curls.

Jamaican Mango & Lime Tingle Shampoo & Protein Conditioner

I wouldn’t be surprised if a loctitian told you about this nourishing shampoo. It clarifies the scalp to get rid of oil and dirt but also strengthens locs.

What’s more, it tingles while it cleanses. That really helps with itching.

The accompanying conditioner fortifies each strand to prevent breakage.

Aveeno Scalp Soothing Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo

Instead of a special dreadlocks product, you could try an ordinary apple cider vinegar shampoo like this one.

When it says it clarifies, what it means is that it performs a deep cleansing to remove any residue and buildup.

Products like these restore your hair to its natural state. They make dull hair shiny once more.

In addition, Aveeno avoids problematic ingredients like sulfates, parabens, and dyes.

MARC DANIELS Professional Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo & Conditioner

Here’s a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo that works on any hair texture, whether it’s naturally straight or coarse.

It uses charcoal to purify the scalp and bamboo to add volume. Then, there’s pro-vitamin B5 to make dry hair lustrous and provide protection against the sun.

Fortunately, the vegan formula is free of parabens, too. If you aren’t pleased with it, they offer a full refund.

MAJESTIC PURE Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Avocado Coconut Conditioner Set

Sure, you could rinse your hair with pure apple cider vinegar. It’s a natural clarifying solution.

But you really want to smell like vinegar?

Instead, try this shampoo that doesn’t reek of condiments. It clarifies and moisturizes better than vinegar could by itself.

It also contains avocado, argan oil, and coconut to nourish and condition dry scalp and hair.

Finally, there are no parabens or other harsh chemicals in it.

Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Leave-In Conditioner

Spray on this conditioner on wet or dry hair to keep your dreads sleek and healthy. It gets rid of frizz while it reinforces damaged strands.

It’s handy for detangling natural curls, too.

The secret is a blend of Coprah coconut oil and gardenia flower. These give it a pleasing fragrance.

Like other products from this company, it’s paraben-free.

FAQs

Can I Use Any Shampoo to Wash My Dreads?

Not all the shampoos are good for your natural hair. The same goes for dreadlocks.

Actually, since the dreadlocks’ style is a bit more special than other natural hairstyles, it does require a bit more special care.

Shampoos with a lot of residues will not be an ideal option for using with your locs. The leftover residue on your dreadlocks will add more build up to your dread after some washes.

It might create a bad smell, terrible look or even mold to your dreads. Also, your scalp might get itchy and also start having dandruff.

What Product to Use for Cleaning Dreadlocks?

There are several homemade and commercial shampoos on the market to clean dreadlocks.

Baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and water:

Mix baking soda (the quality is based on the length of your dread, ¾ cup will be good if your dreads have mid-length) with a certain amount of warm water.

Then spend five to tenminutes to soak your locs into the sink containing the mix, or you can pour the liquid directly on your scalp.

After that, rinse your locs thoroughly. Apply the mix liquid of apple cider vinegar and water on your locs. These washing products are affordable and easy to find.

However, since the baking soda is really dry, if you keep using it for a long time, your scalp might feel itchy.

Baby Shampoo

Since this product is for babies, you need to understand that it isn’t always effective for adult’s hair, especially with adult’s dreadlocks.

It can help to clean and make your scalp shinier, but it doesn’t help much with your locks.

Commercial shampoos

Residue-free shampoos are the options that dreadlocks people pick the most. It reduces the chance of residue buildup to the least, which maintains the nice look for locs.

What Shampoo Is Best for Dreadlocks?

It can be said exactly which shampoo brands are good for your dreadlocks since different people will have their own standards of choosing their perfect match shampoo. 

  • Not all organic products are good for your locs. Be wary about products with the organic label. Not all organic products can get on well with your dreads. Beeswax shampoo is organic, but it might damage your hair as it causes the increase of a lot of buildups, making your hair look greasy and dirty.
  • It’s A Yes for Residue-free products: as mentioned above, residue-free make your dreads feel light, and create no additional buildups to your scalp.
  • Shampoo made from natural hair is a good option: products with natural oil-based will help to lock sebum and water from drying out and keep your hair soft and moist.
  • Avoid shampoos containing sulfates: The sulfates’ hair wash will damage your hair cuticles (hair’s shell), causing your hair to thinner and vulnerable to breakage.

Can you Use Conditioners on Dreadlocks?

While this topic is still debated, more people believe that we should not use conditioners on dreadlocks.

Basically, conditioners aim to detangle hair and make it smoother, meanwhile, dreads are made based on matting and tangling your hair.

That’s why conditioners are not supposed to work on dreads.

Moreover, applying conditioners to your locks will interfere with the development process of the dreads.

So just consider before using this hair care product on your dreadlocks.

How do you keep dreads moist?

So instead of using hair conditioners to moisturize your dreadlocks, you can use other organic hair care products to condition them for a better result.

  • Shea butter: Using Shea butter is a very common way to moisturize textured hair. It will help your dreads moist from the inside out. However, the downside effect is Shea butter easily builds up on your hair, so you must be careful with rinsing hair.
  • Herbal rinse: Rinsing your hair with herbal water is perfect to nourish your scalp and hair. It is especially suitable for dreadlocks. Herbal rinse will help refresh your scalp and strengthen your locks. As a result, the locks will maintain their moisture.   
  • Hot oil treatment: This method will be more suitable to apply to your scalp rather than to your docs. A healthy scalp will nourish the locs from root to top. You better use a proper oil to avoid buildups and   
  • Steam treatment: A steam treatment is also an effective way to hydrate your locs from the inside out. You should at least do it every three months to achieve moist and shiny dreadlocks.

How often should I moisturize my dreadlocks?

When your dreadlocks need to be moisturized, that means they are dry and brittle.

Therefore, if your hair is strong, healthy, and moist, you only need to hydrate your locks once a month.

Generally, you can do a deep conditioning treatment once a week to maintain the best quality of your locs. Don’t over do it, or it will cause a backwash effect.

One notable thing is don’t mistake dry locs with the sheen-less counterparts because sometimes, it’s about hair texture problems.

You can feel when your locs are becoming dry and need to be moisturized.

The tip is just increasing the water intake by drinking more and more water, then your body and your locks will be always healthy and moist.

Are Shampoo Bars Better for Your Hair?

Before understanding if shampoo bars are good for your hair or not, you should know what it is.

Shampoo bars are the traditional type of soap with the solid bar shape. Their main ingredients are usually butter, natural plant oils, and essential oils.

Shampoo bars out stand the liquid ones for several reasons. Firstly, they work for most of the hair style and texture including fine hair, oily hair or dry hair.

Also, because of their clean and natural ingredients, you don’t need to worry that your scalp might be damaged by the chemicals contained in the commercial shampoos.

Beside the bright sides it brings to your hair, there are also numerous ways that shampoo bars benefit your life and the environment. One shampoo bar equals two to three shampoo bottles in comparison of usage.

In addition, you only need one shampoo bar for both body and hair wash. It’s efficient and environment-friendly at the same time.

How Do You Use Dreadlocks Shampoo Bars?

There is not much difference between washing your normal hair and washing dreadlocks using shampoo bars. The steps are simple as such:

  • Step 1: Make your hair wet by soaking it into the bathtub or standing underneath the shower head.
  • Step 2: Rubbing the shampoo bars by your hands to create thick foam (this way is way better in terms of creating foam than rubbing the bar directly on your hair or your scalp!)
  • Step 3: Give your scalp and your locks a thorough massage. This is an important step to clean the buildup and dandruff (if any) and dirt from the scalp and locs.
  • Step 4: Spend an efficient amount of time to rinse your scalp and locs properly. Do not forget to rinse the shampoo bar too, then leave it drain for longer use.

Can I Wash My Dreads with Bar Soap?

Shampoo bar can be used as other liquid shampoos for cleaning your hair. There are only some points that you need to take note when using them.

  • Only use an efficient amount of soap for your locs. Keep in mind that shampoo bars might not have as much foam as liquid shampoo.
  • Choose a residue-free shampoo bar so that it will not create residue or buildup to your locs
  • Natural shampoo bars with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, palm oils, coconut oils or rosemary oils are best for giving your hair gently but clean wash.

Do You Need Conditioners After A Shampoo Bar?

There will be either a waxy feeling or “too-clean” feeling after washing your locs with a shampoo bar. Conditioner might be the very first option that you might think of.

Since conditioners contain detangling ingredients and oils, it’s not a good idea to apply them on your locs after shampoo since it might cause the dreads to loosen.

At that point, apple cider vinegar will be your best friend for keeping the pH balance, remaining the shine and killing mold, instead of conditioners.

To deal with the waxy feeling, you can consider rinsing your hair once again with the mix of less apple cider vinegar and more baking soda.

The mixed liquid will help to dry up your scalp and clean a considerable amount of oil, while still keeping your hair moist.

For the dry scalp and locs, consider to reduce the amount of baking soda in the mixed liquid.

Conclusion

It takes a while to mature dreads, which is why it’s worth it to use the right shampoo on them.

You don’t want to coat them with artificial ingredients. Instead, cleanse them with natural ingredients that promote a healthy scalp, too.

If you discovered a new favorite dreadlocks shampoo today, please tell us more about it in the comments below.

Aida

I'm Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will 'see' each other more often! Meet our team

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