8 Best Shampoos for Dreadlocks & Buying Guide

Dreadlocks aren’t your usual hairstyle. They’re matted or braided pieces of hair with cultural and spiritual significance that don’t require brushing or trimming.

However, it can be tricky to maintain dreadlocks, as they’re susceptible to irritations. Moreover, they can cause bacterial infections on the hair and scalp.

You can prevent all these things by using the right cleaning products for dreadlocks, such as the proper shampoo and conditioner to keep your dreads clean.

The market has tons of shampoos for dreadlocks, so choosing the best one for your needs can be time-consuming and tiring.

That’s where I kick in and save you time. In today’s article, I will review some of the best shampoos for dreadlocks and share a guide on choosing the right one, so let’s dive right in.

Why Do You Need Shampoo for Dreadlocks?

You need a good shampoo for dreadlocks because they’re harder to keep clean and maintain than other hairstyles.

They’re delicate and need extra TLC, so do your best to find good products that will make your maintenance easier and protect your dreadlocks.

If not properly cleaned and maintained, dreadlocks can become greasy and loaded with build-up residue; hence they can cause scalp irritations.

Moreover, you can’t use regular shampoos because they leave residue in your hair that can cause scalp irritations and dry your dreadlocks.

How Often To Wash Dreadlocks?

You shouldn’t wash your dreadlocks too often or rarely. Also, how often you should wash your dreadlocks depends on the type of dreadlocks you have. Let’s check out both styles and learn how often to wash your type of dreadlocks.

New Dreadlocks

If you have fresh dreadlocks, I suggest waiting at least a week before washing your hair. After that, wash your dreads only when your scalp gets oily.

You can wash your new dreadlocks weekly or more frequently if you’re dealing with a problematic, itchy scalp. Note that new dreads can become frizzy and messy after every wash at the start, but they will eventually get back to normal.

Mature Dreadlocks

I suggest washing mature dreadlocks at least once a week for the best results. Also, wear a shower cap on regular shower days to protect them from humidity.

Hair experts suggest rinsing your new or mature dreadlocks with apple cider vinegar or baking soda before shampooing for better results.

I prefer apple cider vinegar because it’s great for loosening up oils, build-up, and debris from the scalp and hair, making shampooing much easier.

Shampoo for Dreadlocks Review

Best Shampoo for Dreadlocks Review: 8 Best Shampoos for Dreadlocks

Many people have dreadlocks because they’re a unique hairstyle, but maintaining it can be challenging, especially for beginners with new dreadlocks.

This unique hairstyle requires patience, nourishment, and regular maintenance. You also need the right products that will keep your dreads looking fresh.

One of the products you should pick carefully for your dreadlocks is shampoo.

Consider shampoos that ensure nutrition and nourishment, reduce hair loss, control frizz, and provide a good shine.

The market has loads of shampoos for dreadlocks, so I’m sure you could use a little help. The following section compares some of the best shampoos for dreadlocks on the market, followed by detailed reviews, so let’s jump right in.

Best Shampoos for Dreadlocks: Comparison Chart

Best Shampoo for DreadlocksSuitable forKey Features
Lion Locs Shampoo and ConditionerDreadlocks, braids, and dreadsOrganic, vegan, and chemical-free 2-in-1 product
Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free ShampooOily or dull hairClarifying and soothing shampoo without chemicals
Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying ShampooAll hair typesClarifying, anti-residue, and non-irritating shampoo
Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle ShampooAll hair typesMassages and soothes the scalp and removes build-up product in dreadlocks
Knotty Boy Dreadlock ShampooOily or normal hairNon-toxic, versatile, and refreshing shampoo
Knatty Dread Dreadlocks ShampooAll hair typesUnscented, residue-free, coconut-based formula
DreadHeadHQ Organic ShampooAll hair typesOrganic, all-natural ingredients, non-irritating
Dollylocks Shampoo Bar for DreadlocksAll hair typesVegan, soothes the scalp, removes residue and moisturizes dreadlocks, cruelty-free

1.  Lion Locs Shampoo and Conditioner

Lion Locs Shampoo and Conditioner

The Lion Locs 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner will keep your dreadlocks and scalp clean without too much effort.

It’s excellent for removing dirt and product build-up, so your dreadlocks won’t dry or look dull over time. Simply put, this 2-in-1 product will keep your dreadlocks smooth and shiny and ensure easy retwisting and styling.

Moreover, thanks to the conditioner properties, your dreadlocks will never break as you’re retwisting them. The best part? This versatile product suits different types of locks, including sisterlocks and dreadlocks.

However, what I appreciate the most about this product is that it’s 100% vegan and organic, made with natural ingredients, such as green tea leaf extract, vitamins A & E, and argan and castor oil.

Using this 2-in-1 product isn’t rocket science.

Massage a generous amount into your scalp, work through the tips of your dreads, leave it on for about five minutes, and rinse well.

Things I Like:

  • Lightweight
  • Cleans and hydrates
  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
  • Removes product build-up and residue
  • Works for all types of locks
  • Helps hair growth
  • Affordable

Things I Don’t Like:

  • Not suitable for sensitive scalp


2. Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo

The Aveeno shampoo contains apple cider vinegar for taming frizzy hair and stops mold growth and mildew in your dreads.

It’s an excellent sulfate-free shampoo that will soothe your scalp and restore your dreads’ shine. I like this shampoo because it’s incredible at removing residue and calming a very itchy scalp which I experienced a while back.

The best part? After washing your dreadlocks with this shampoo, they will look good and smell fresh. If you’re looking for a shampoo that will leave your dreads residue-free and soft, consider Aveeno.

It’s suitable for all hair types and cools down the itchy scalp in record time. Lastly, it’s a lightweight shampoo, so it’s easy to apply and rinse off.

Things I Like:

  • Soothes itchy scalp
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Cleans residue and build-up
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Subtle but great scent

Things I Don’t Like:

  • No conditioner properties


3. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

I haven’t used this shampoo by Neutrogena, but many people with dreads swear by it, so I figured you should check it out.

It’s one of the best-rated shampoos on the market because it’s excellent at soothing the scalp while removing residue, but here’s the kicker. This shampoo won’t unravel your dreadlocks.

The Neutrogena anti-residue clarifying shampoo will leave your hair and scalp clean without irritation.

Furthermore, you will notice a boost in your volume and hair growth within weeks of using this shampoo.

It’s lightweight, easy to use, and reasonably priced, so there’s nothing to hate about this popular shampoo.

Things I Like:

  • Removes residue
  • Budget-friendly shampoo
  • It helps hair growth and increases the volume
  • It doesn’t unravel dreadlocks
  • Soothes the scalp

Things I Don’t Like:

  • Your dreads can dry if you use this shampoo too often because of the sodium sulfate


4. Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo

Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo

The Jamaican shampoo makes an excellent choice for individuals with dreadlocks, as it’s made by following ancient Japanese recipes.

The shampoo consists of natural ingredients and helps maintain healthy, shiny locks that won’t unravel soon.

The shampoo also penetrates the scalp and has a soothing effect, so it’s perfect for people with itchy scalp and dandruff.

The Jamaican mango and lime tingle shampoo, as you can already suppose, makes hair smell fresh and removes the dirt, product build-up, and other particles from your hair.

Thanks to the tea tree extracts in this shampoo for dreadlocks, you will experience a cooling sensation on your scalp every time you shower.

If you’re also searching for a good conditioner for dreadlocks, you can purchase the combo instead of just the shampoo.

Things I Like:

  • Relieves itching
  • Natural ingredients
  • It helps in reducing dandruff
  • Mango and lime fragrance with a whiff of menthol
  • Cooling sensation
  • Soothes the scalp

Things I Don’t Like:

  • It contains sulfates and parabens


5. Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo

The Knotty Boy consists of natural ingredients and organic essential oils. It’s one of the best shampoos for dreadlocks for both men and women.

Vital ingredients in this shampoo include castor oil, olive oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, hemp seeds, and rosemary, among many others.

It’s perfect for hair that needs taming, so if you have curly hair, consider the Knotty Boy liquid shampoo.

It’s a lightweight shampoo that’s easy to apply and rinse off and meets the needs of people with dreadlocks and curly hair.

If you’re looking for a non-toxic fragranced shampoo that will keep your dreadlocks and scalp clean and healthy, look no further than Knotty Boy.

Things I Like:

  • Excellent scent
  • Natural ingredients
  • Deep cleans the scalp
  • Softens dreadlocks and curly hair
  • Tames frizzy hair
  • Budget-friendly

Things I Don’t Like:

  • Not suitable for sensitive scalp


6. Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo

Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo

The Knatty Dread is a premium shampoo for dreadlocks maintenance. It’s suitable for all hair types and works for people with sensitive scalp.

The shampoo provides nourished, cleaned, and conditioned dreadlocks in no time. It’s also excellent for cleaning and soothing the scalp.

The best part? Your dreadlocks will become much tighter thanks to this shampoo. It completely removes product built-up and ensures high-quality hair care.

The only downside, in my opinion, is the lack of scent. This product is scentless, so don’t expect a fresh scent after using this shampoo.

However, thanks to the coconut-based formula, you can expect results after the first wash, so that’s a huge advantage over other shampoos on the market.

Things I Like:

  • Works for all hair types
  • It doesn’t irritate sensitive scalps
  • Renewed coconut-based formula
  • Cleans residue and build-up
  • Instant nourishment

Things I Don’t Like:

  • It barely has a scent at all


7. DreadHeadHQ Organic Shampoo

DreadHeadHQ Organic Shampoo

If you’re looking for a 100% natural shampoo for your dreadlocks, your search stops here. The DreadHeadHQ organic shampoo consists of organic ingredients only.

It’s a chemical-free product made with eliminating dirt and grime in mind, so you will always have residue-free dreadlocks and a calm, nourished scalp.

However, the best part about this product is that it doesn’t strip away the natural oils from your scalp.

The essential ingredients of this shampoo include organic potassium cocoate, organic potassium oleate, and organic eucalyptus oil.

Things I Like:

  • Excellent scent
  • It lasts for a long time
  • Cleans and soothes the scalp
  • 100% natural shampoo
  • Removes residue

Things I Don’t Like:

  • Costs more than other available options


8. Dollylocks Shampoo Bar for Dreadlocks

Dollylocks Shampoo Bar for Dreadlocks

The Dollylocks shampoo bar for dreadlocks looks like a delicious chocolate bar. It’s not your typical shampoo but delivers amazing results because it’s made of various natural ingredients.

The crucial ingredients include coconut, lime, grapefruit, sea salt, and mango butter. They all work toward soothing your irritated scalp and enhancing hair elasticity.

Additionally, this natural shampoo bar fights acne, blemishes, and breakouts, so it’s a multi-purpose product. Lastly, it’s vegan and makes your hair smell fresh.

Things I Like:

  • Calms scalp irritation
  • Gentle yet effective cleansing
  • Super versatile shampoo for dreadlocks
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • It smells and looks delicious
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Things I Don’t Like:

  • Costs more than other available options


How to Choose Shampoo Specific to Your Hair Type

When purchasing a shampoo for your dreadlocks, consider products that meet your needs. Always pick natural shampoos that can nourish and hydrate your dreadlocks. Additionally, take into account the following factors.

Individual Needs

When buying hair care products, consider your hair’s needs first. Look for what your dreads need, depending on their overall condition.

For instance, if they need repair, choose something with healing properties.

Natural Oils

Always pick shampoos with organic oils because they can improve your dreadlocks and scalp health.

A healthy scalp is just as important as healthy and elastic dreads, so pick something that will take care of both for you.

I prefer shampoos with olive oil, lavender oil, and rosemary oil, as they’re all powerful and fighting together toward stronger strands.

Scalp Benefits

Last but not least, don’t forget about the condition of your scalp and pick something that will clean and soothe your scalp. Also, look for shampoos with ingredients that fight dryness and dandruff if you have these issues.

Today, most hair care products come with built-in benefits for a sensitive scalp, so you shouldn’t stress too much about it, but it’s still something you should pay close attention to when choosing the best shampoo for your dreadlocks.

Remember that you can’t have healthy dreadlocks without a healthy scalp.

How to Shampoo Your Dreads Properly?

Choosing the right shampoo is the first step towards better dreadlocks. The second is learning how to shampoo your new or mature dreadlocks correctly.

Here’s a short but helpful guide for washing your dreads:

  1. Fill up a clean basin with lukewarm water and add some shampoo.
  2. Dampen your dreadlocks thoroughly before dunking them into the basin. You can submerge them in water so that the water can penetrate the hairs.
  3. Dunk your dreads into the basin and massage the product into your scalp and dreadlocks to fight off dirt and product build-up.
  4. Let the shampoo sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing out with lukewarm water.
  5. Dry your dreads completely. Otherwise, they can rot. Therefore, ring out your hair first, then towel dry.

5 Maintenance Tips for Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks make a unique hairstyle. However, they’re tricky to maintain. A common misconception about dreads is that they don’t require care and maintenance.

In reality, dreads need care like all other hairstyles. So, apply the following maintenance tips if you have new or mature dreads.

Use Sulfate-Free Products

Cleaning your scalp is as important as lifting grease, product build-up, and excess oil from your dreadlocks.

So, choose a shampoo that takes care of both tasks. Also, ensure the shampoo you use doesn’t leave residue and contains sulfates.

Moreover, wash your dreadlocks once a week if they’re mature. If you have new and fresh dreadlocks, wait at least one week before washing them for the first time.

After that, wash your dreads weekly or whenever your scalp gets oily.

Dry Your Dreadlocks Thoroughly

Drying your dreadlocks is a vital step of your hair care routine. If you don’t dry your dreads thoroughly, they can rot.

Therefore, gently wring out as much water as possible. Then, grab a handful of your dread, and again squeeze out the excess water, starting near the roots and working towards the ends.

Finally, towel dries or wrap your dreads in a microfiber towel. Microfiber towels take in more moisture than regular cotton towels; most importantly, they don’t leave any lint in dreadlocks.

Moisturize Your Dreadlocks and Scalp

You must moisturize your dreadlocks with hair oils and moisturizing sprays because they can get dry and break. Moreover, don’t forget about moisturizing your scalp.

As I stated, you can’t have healthy dreads without a healthy and moisturized scalp, so look after your scalp.

Use lightweight oils that won’t clog your pores. Additionally, choose easily absorbed oils that relieve itchiness and boost hair growth without leaving residue.

Don’t Forget About Night Routine.

I highly suggest sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase or wrapping your dreads in a silk scarf or bonnet.

Cotton pillowcases take in moisture, so if you sleep on one, your dreadlocks will be drained out of their water if you use this type of material.

And as I already stated, brittle hair can break faster, so don’t forget about your night routine and take care of your dreadlocks properly.

Style Your Dreadlocks Properly

Over time, dreads become longer and heavier, putting more stress on your hair, and your delicate edges can be at risk, wildly, if they’re styled too tightly.

Therefore, you must carefully style your dreadlocks.

Avoid different hairstyles that can cause thinning, bald spots, and traction alopecia and consider the tension you’re putting on your hair when styling.

My Top Pick

In a nutshell, dreadlocks look amazing but require as much care and maintenance as any other hairstyle. So, using the right shampoo and conditioner is vital.

Always use hair care products designed for dreadlocks instead of regular ones, as they will take better care of your dreads.

In my experience, the Lion Locs shampoo cleans and moisturizes dreadlocks nicely. It’s loaded with hair growth oils that will also soothe your scalp.

The best part? It’s a 2-in-1 product with conditioner properties.

So, look no further than Lion Locs if you’re looking for a lightweight and easy-to-use shampoo and conditioner for dreadlocks.

However, the Neutrogena shampoo is better if you want a simple, effective product. It’s a reasonably priced shampoo for dreadlocks that will remove all the residue and leave your dreads looking amazing.

What’s your favorite shampoo for dreadlocks? Share your opinions and suggestions in the comments below, and let’s discuss dreadlocks.

Lastly, don’t forget to share this helpful article with other people with dreadlocks and help everyone find the right shampoo for their hairstyle.