My uncle has had dreadlocks for most of my life. I used to admire those long and gleaming locs for years until I also got dreadlocks a few weeks before I started my freshman year. For the 39 months I had locs, my uncle would never get tired of answering my calls when I had hair-related questions. For starters, I needed to know the best shampoo and conditioner for dreadlocks.
He has a routine which he’s stuck to over the years ensuring the locs are clean and redone on time. His number one rule is to never let them get that awful smell of hair that hasn’t been washed in a while.
Cleaning my locs regularly helped them mature faster. The new growth locks up easily and dries up fast.
The natural oil that builds up on your locked hair can make it difficult for the locs to tighten. Only when the hair is clean is this done to perfection. And besides, who doesn’t like how shiny and healthy clean dreadlocks look?
A clean scalp is less itchy. When you itch a lot, it makes the locked hair to loosen. Regular shampooing and conditioning keep the scalp clean and moisturized.
A regular washing routine is the best way to maintain beautiful and mature dreadlocks.
Here are my top three picks for the best shampoo for dreadlocks:
- Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo
- Dollylocks Tea Tree Spearmint Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo
- Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo
My top three picks for the best conditioner for dreadlocks are:
- Argan Oil Conditioner by Maple Holistics
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Conditioner
- WOW Hair Conditioner – Coconut & Avocado Oil
Best Shampoo for Dreadlocks Comparison Table
|Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo||. Residue-free|
. Soothes scalp dryness and itchiness
|Dollylocks Dreadlock Shampoo||. Residue-free|
. Made using organic ingredients
|Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo||. Tightens dreadlocks|
. Reduces drying time after washing
|Dread Soap for Dreadlocks Shampoo||. Tightens dreadlocks|
. Helps your locs to dry faster
|Design Essentials Cleansing Shampoo||. Perfect for all hair types|
. Adds volume to thinning hair
. Deeply cleanses the locs
|Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo||. Relieves scalp itching|
. Removes build-up from the locs
. Smells nice
|Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo||. Strengthens hair|
. Stimulates the scalp
. Restores the hair’s natural shine
|WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo||. Hypoallergenic|
. Deeply cleans the dreadlocks
. Strengthens the hair
Best Shampoo for Dreadlocks
There are several shampoos in the market that are great for dreadlocks.
I’ve reviewed eight of them below.
Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo
This shampoo is made of purely organic ingredients that work very well with natural dreadlocks.
Once you use it, it leaves no residue so you don’t have to worry about white stuff on your cleaned locs.
A little of the shampoo goes a long way if you have short locs.
If your dreadlocks are longer, you’ll require a little more product for complete coverage.
After using this cleanser, you don’t have to use a conditioner that might hinder the locking of new hair growth.
This product is great for soothing an itchy scalp due to the ingredients it contains.
It has tea tree, peppermint, and rosemary extracts that make the scalp tingle in a good and refreshing way.
The shampoo is made using non-toxic ingredients meaning your locs are protected from harmful chemicals.
The liquid shampoo is also bio-degradable.
It has a good smell that lingers on your clean dreadlocks.
It’s important to note that this product works best on dreadlocks that were locked with natural growth and not relaxed hair.
- Contains natural ingredients
- It’s safe for your dreadlocks
- It soothes dryness and itchiness on the scalp
- It has a nice smell
- Made for natural dreadlocks
- You use a lot of product for longer and thicker dreadlocks
Dollylocks Tea Tree Spearmint Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo
This is a purely organic shampoo that works best on dreadlocks – keeping them clean and fresh.
You only have to use a small amount to clean the locs if they’re short.
Longer dreadlocks might require a little more to lather up.
This shampoo is made using organic coconut and pure botanicals that are very beneficial to both the hair and the scalp.
The liquid is weightless and doesn’t leave any residue on the hair.
It’s also very easy to rinse off after lathering up.
This shampoo is hypoallergenic so you don’t have to worry about any allergic reactions from the ingredients used.
The spearmint leaves your hair with a minty smell that’s very refreshing and makes your scalp feel cool.
Additionally, the shampoo works to reduce dryness in the scalp – meaning you itch less.
This product helps to balance the pH levels on your hair and scalp.
When you use this shampoo you don’t need to use a clarifying shampoo.
- It’s made using organic ingredients
- Reduces itchiness on the scalp
- Doesn’t leave residue on the hair
- It’s easy to rinse off
- Balances pH levels on your hair and scalp
- Has a minty smell
- The smell is too strong for some people
Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo
This shampoo is unscented. It’s ideal for use if you prefer not to have any scent on your dreadlocks.
It cleans dreadlocks well, making new growth easy to lock.
It also doesn’t leave residue on the dreadlocks after rinsing it off.
This is a welcome relief because no one wants to walk around with whitish stuff on their clean locs.
The shampoo is easy to use as you only need to wet the locs and massage the shampoo into them until they’re all completely covered in the product.
This shampoo is very easy to rinse off after you’re done cleaning the locs.
The product is made using ingredients with a coconut-based formulation that is biodegradable.
This makes it ideal for healthy, natural locs that are scent-free.
It also gets rid of all the natural oil build-up on the hair.
This makes it easy to tighten dreads and lock new growth.
You don’t experience any flaking or scalp itchiness after using this shampoo.
Your scalp feels better after removing all the dirt and build-up.
Your dreadlocks will also feel lighter after cleansing them.
- It doesn’t have any scent
- Deeply cleanses the dreadlocks
- Easy to use and rinse off
- Doesn’t cause scalp itchiness or flaking
- It’s made using renewable ingredients
- No residue left on the locs
- Perfect for dreadlocks on all hair types
- The ingredients used are not listed on the bottle
Dread Soap for Dreadlocks Shampoo
You notice that your dreads become tighter and dry faster after using this shampoo.
Also, it works to help new growth lock easily after removing dirt and product build-up.
This shampoo doesn’t leave residue on the hair, which is a welcome relief.
It also doesn’t cause the scalp to itch or flake after rinsing it off.
For the best results, you only need to wet the hair and apply the shampoo on the locs.
Massage the shampoo into all the locked hair – from roots to tips.
Apart from the smaller unit containers, this product also comes in a 64 Oz container that’ll last you for some time without needing to buy another one.
After using this product, the locs are squeaky clean and lighter because it removes all the product build-up and dirt from the hair.
An added bonus with this shampoo is that it doesn’t dry up your scalp (which can lead to uncomfortable itching).
- It makes the dreads tighter
- The locs dry faster
- New growth is easier to lock
- Deeply cleans the hair
- It leaves no residue
- Doesn’t dry the scalp
- It contains chemicals in its formulation
Design Essentials Oat Protein & Henna Deep Cleansing Shampoo
This is a deep cleansing shampoo that is very ideal for thick and long hair, including dreadlocks.
It deeply cleanses the hair and adds some volume to it.
It also leaves the dreadlocks feeling softer, making them easy to manage.
The shampoo is made using natural botanical ingredients that not only moisturize the mane but also help to smoothen the hair shaft.
The main ingredients in this product – henna and oat protein – help to strengthen each strand of hair on your head.
This shampoo seamlessly removes product build-up and dirt from the dreadlocks.
Thoroughly cleansing your dreadlocks leaves them lighter and the scalp feels very refreshed.
This Design Essentials shampoo is suitable for all hair types.
For the best results, you have to use a generous amount of the shampoo if you have long and thick locs.
This ensures all of the dreadlocks are well-covered with the product.
The shampoo not only helps to strengthen the hair but also restores its shine and makes it resistant to damage.
Another advantage of using this shampoo is that it doesn’t cause flaking or itchiness on your scalp after using it.
- Deeply cleanses the locs
- Suitable for all hair types
- Restores shine on the locs
- The ingredients help to strengthen the locs
- Easy to massage onto the hair and rinse off
- Leaves no residue
- Moisturizes the hair
- Ideal for volumizing hair
- It contains some harsh chemicals
Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo
The product is made for washing dreadlocks and relieving an itchy scalp.
For the best results, you have to massage it into your locs ensuring that it covers all the hair as well as the scalp.
It’s made using natural ingredients that nourish your dreads leaving them clean, refreshed and smelling amazing.
You only need to use a small amount of the product to lather short dreadlocks.
However, you’ll require more shampoo if your locs are long and thick.
It removes all build-up from the locs leaving them gleaming without any residue left behind.
The shampoo is very easy to rinse off removing all the dirt and grime that’s accumulated on the locs.
The lime extract leaves the scalp with a tingling sensation that’s very soothing.
This product also doesn’t cause flaking or further itching after use.
It’s the ideal shampoo to treat an itchy scalp.
- Good for treating an itchy scalp
- Leaves a tingling sensation on the scalp
- Has some natural ingredients in it
- Removes build-up from the dreadlocks
- Soothes the scalp
- Smells nice and is refreshing
- It’s not an all-natural shampoo
Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
When you use this shampoo on your hair, it helps to moisturize it and restore its shine.
It works ideally for hair that is damaged or has lost its luster – including dreadlocks.
In case your hair has been damaged by coloring or other reasons, this is the best shampoo to repair that damage and heal your hair.
It’ll help to restore your hair to its natural glory.
It removes all the product build-up, dirt and environmental pollutants from the dreadlocks.
You’ll be glad to know that this shampoo doesn’t leave any residue after using it.
This shampoo works well on many types of hair, including chemically processed or permed hair.
Its formula is meant to fully moisturize every strand of hair and increase its strength.
This reduces the chances of hair breakage.
The product contains shea butter that works to deeply moisturize your locks.
Another main ingredient is the Jamaican black castor oil that helps to strengthen the hair.
It also contains has some peppermint that leaves a tingling sensation on the scalp after you rinse it off.
Use a generous amount if you have very voluminous hair or long locs.
- Moisturizes the hair
- Strengthens the hair – reducing breakage
- Restores the hair’s natural shine
- Removes all build-up
- It doesn’t leave behind any residue
- Stimulates the scalp
- Doesn’t contain sulfates and parabens
- Can dry out some hair types
WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
This shampoo is ideal for removing all build-up from the hair.
It breaks down all the dirt, grime, environmental pollutants, and product build-up in your hair.
This helps in detoxifying your hair and leaves it clean and refreshed.
It also helps relieve a dry scalp.
This shampoo is very gentle on the hair and can be used on many hair types.
The apple cider vinegar in it is the one that breaks down all that build-up.
The formulation for this shampoo is enriched with keratin proteins and vitamins B5 and E.
These work to add moisture back into every strand of hair leaving it smooth, soft, and stronger than before.
Moisture infusion also reduces breakage and makes the hair manageable.
The shampoo is hypoallergenic – meaning you can use it without worrying about allergic reactions.
To attain the best results, Use this shampoo generously on long locs and voluminous hair; and a little on shorter locs and shorter hair.
This shampoo doesn’t leave any residue behind and doesn’t cause the scalp to itch or flake.
- The shampoo is hypoallergenic
- Removes all build-up and dirt from locs
- It moisturizes the hair
- Strengthens the hair
- Ideal for all types of hair
- Doesn’t cause itchiness or flaking
- Can dry out some hair types
Best Conditioners for Dreadlocks Comparison Table
|Argan Oil Conditioner by Maple Holistics||. Adds moisture back into the dreadlocks|
. Treats dry scalps
. Good for sensitive skin
|Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Conditioner||. Has good slip|
. Restores moisture to the hair
. Stimulates the scalp
|WOW Hair Conditioner – Coconut & Avocado Oil||. Hypoallergenic|
. Doesn’t contain harsh chemicals
. Helps strengthen hair
|Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenisher||. Color-safe|
. Helps repair damaged hair
. Deeply moisturizes the hair
Best Conditioners for Dreadlocks
The general consensus in the dreads community is that conditioning locs, especially new locs, is a disaster in waiting.
Traditional conditioners, especially creamy ones, will inhibit your dreadlocks’ ability to create friction and lock as desired because they coat your hair and create build-up.
Conditioning of mature dreadlocks is not prohibited per se, but it should be done using products with ingredients that can wash out easily.
A lot of the shampoos in the market can dry out your hair because they strip off your hair’s natural oils during the cleansing process.
To reverse this, you’ll need a good conditioner to infuse much-needed moisture back into your dreadlocks.
I’ve reviewed four conditioners below:
Argan Oil Conditioner by Maple Holistics
This conditioner works to nourish and deeply condition your locs by restoring moisture to them.
This formulation contains argan oil, pomegranate, shea butter, and sea buckthorn. These work to nourish every strand of your hair.
The blend also deeply penetrates your dreadlocks leaving them stronger and shinier.
It also leaves you dreadlocks with a nice, fresh smell.
You only need to wash your locs thoroughly with a good shampoo and rinse them.
Apply this conditioner to your damp locs and let it sit for 2-3 minutes before rinsing it off.
It is great at reducing frizz and makes the locs softer.
For someone with open hair, this conditioner will help you to have less split ends.
It’ll also make your hair more manageable and easy to detangle.
- Adds moisture back into the dreadlocks
- Restores their shine
- Can be used on all hair types
- Doesn’t contain harsh chemicals
- It’s color-safe
- Helps to reduce frizz
- Good for sensitive skin
- Doesn’t fully moisturize some hair types
Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Conditioner
This conditioner softens your hair and makes it manageable after using shampoo.
It not only controls the amount of frizz on the hair, but it also helps in detangling your hair.
It restores moisture on the hair making it shiny and supple.
The conditioner coats all the hair strands, locking in the moisture and helping to reduce breakage.
It also helps to relieve itchiness on the scalp and helps your scalp not to dry out.
The peppermint contained in this conditioner helps to stimulate your scalp and leaves a nice, tingling sensation.
For the best results, use the conditioner after shampooing your hair and rinse it off after a few minutes.
This product is cruelty-free and all the ingredients in it are ethically traded.
- Leaves the locs soft and shiny
- Has good slip
- Restores moisture to the hair
- Protects the scalp from dryness
- Stimulates the scalp
- Helps to control frizz
- Can leave some hair types feeling greasy
WOW Hair Conditioner – Coconut & Avocado Oil
This is a conditioner that works well on both adults and children.
This is because it’s very mild.
The conditioner nourishes the hair by restoring moisture to it which means it’s less dry.
Another great benefit that this conditioner is loved for is its ability to repair damaged hair.
It can help get rid of your dreadlocks’ dull appearance.
It rejuvenates your hair using the avocado and virgin coconut oil in it.
When you use this conditioner, you get a healthy dose of vitamins and proteins that work together to strengthen the hair.
This reduces hair breakage.
The conditioner is a great detangler if you’re using it on open hair.
After using this product, you end up with fewer split ends and reduced frizz.
- Replenishes natural oils in the hair and scalp
- Reduces breakage by strengthening the hair
- Detangles all knots
- Add shine and volume to the hair
- Doesn’t contain harsh chemicals
- Feels heavy on some hair types
Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenisher
This is a deep conditioner that helps to infuse moisture back into your locs and repair any damage.
It nourishes your hair by deeply penetrating your hair strands and stimulating the hair roots.
It repairs damaged hair by strengthening the strands to reduce breakage.
Moreover, this conditioner makes your hair more manageable by making it soft and smooth.
For the best results, you the conditioner after washing your locs and rinsing off all the shampoo.
Apply it while your hair is still damp. Use a generous amount to cover all your locs.
The product is in the form of a creamy and thick liquid that is easy to massage into your locs.
You can opt to leave it on your hair for about an hour and then rinse it off.
For even better results, apply the conditioner and cover your dreadlocks with a shower cap.
Sit under a hooded dryer to reap the benefits of deep conditioning with heat.
You can use this conditioner even if you have color on your hair.
- Deeply moisturizes the hair
- Repairs damaged hair
- Makes the hair soft and smooth
- Has a creamy and smooth consistency
- It’s color-safe
Factors to consider when picking a shampoo for dreadlocks
There are a few things you’ll need to consider when choosing the best shampoo for your dreadlock.
The health of your locs should always come first.
The best shampoos for dreadlocks should be free from sulfates.
Sulfates tend to deplete moisture from your hair leaving it dry and brittle.
The best shampoos are the ones that add moisture to your hair.
Go for cleansers that are made using natural ingredients.
Also, choose a shampoo that is free from parabens and silicones which are harmful to your hair.
Dreadlocks tend to get dry.
You have to use a shampoo that restores moisture, and natural oils to the hair.
This reduces dryness and makes your hair shiny, stronger and healthier.
When choosing a shampoo for your dreadlocks, it’s best to get one that leaves no residue on your hair after rinsing.
Residue tends to make the hair look bad and can even attract dirt and grime to it faster.
You want to choose the one that assures you won’t have any residue left on your dreads.
This review narrows your search for the best shampoo and conditioner for dreadlocks.
The number one factor to consider when selecting a good shampoo for your dreads is the ingredients.
Steer clear of any product that contains sulfates because this will easily dry out your dreadlocks.
You also don’t want to use a shampoo that leaves residue on your dreads.
You need to clean your locs regularly to remove all the product build-up, dirt, and grime that accumulates in them.
Choose a shampoo that relieves itchiness and doesn’t cause flaking.
Clean dreads are lighter and shiny.
Always remember to follow up the shampoo with a good conditioner that adds moisture to your hair and replenishes the natural oils on the locs.