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Best Shampoo For Dreads: 8 Cleansers To Douse Your Twirls

Last Updated on: February 9, 2024

Locs are trendy and convenient, but you must put in the effort to maintain the style. Dry or dull hair, flaky scalp, and stiffness are only some of the signs that you may not be properly shampooing your locs at home.


What shampoo is good for dreads and how to do it right are the most frequent questions people ask when caring for their locs.

If you’re new to dreads and want to know about shampooing your locs at home, check our recommendations and why Jamaican Mango And Lime Tingle Dreadlock Shampoo is our best shampoo for locs.

1. Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo

Mild But Works Hardcore

  • Nourishing
  • Invigorates Scalp
  • Relieves Itching
  • Natural Ingredients
  • Antibacterial/Antioxidant Properties
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2. Alaffia African Black Soap

Deep Cleansing

  • Gentle Yet Effective
  • 950 Milliliters
  • Improves Scalp Health
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3. Dreadhead HQ Dread Soap

Perfect For New Dreads

  • Lighter Feel
  • No Animal-Based Ingredient
  • Great For Oily Hair
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4. Lion Locs Shampoo And Conditioner


  • Natural Fragrance
  • Cost Efficient
  • Nourishes Scalp
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5. Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo


  • No SLS & Toxins
  • Soothes Scalp
  • Refreshing Smell
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Best Shampoo For Locs

1. Jamaican Mango And Lime Tingle Dreadlock Shampoo – Best Overall

Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo, 16 Ounce

Individuals sporting dreadlocks are almost always subject to accumulating dirt and product residues in their hair. Many of these people find the Jamaican Mango And Lime Tingle Dreadlock Shampoo the best shampoo for dreads since it effectively cleanses the hair. 

Even though it has a mild formulation, the lime shampoo works hardcore in removing buildups while nourishing the hair.

It contains antibacterial and antioxidant properties that work best for an itchy scalp, including natural ingredients like Moringa seed oil and Manuka honey. Manuka honey is a miracle ingredient for preventing dry scalp, while Moringa oil is perfect for strengthening hair follicles.

The menthol extract in the Lime Tingle Shampoo explains the tingly feeling when using it. However, don’t expect the shampoo to generate too much lather because it won’t during the first few uses. It also includes sulfate, which may cause damage to brittle hair.


  • It gives a tingly sensation like massaging your scalp
  • Invigorates the scalp and relieves itching
  • Leaves the hair smelling fresh
  • A powerful combination of natural ingredients


  • It doesn’t create lather well
  • Not suitable for hair-colored dreads


The Lime Tingle Dreadlock Shampoo can help keep your locs well-groomed and healthy, resulting in a more manageable hairstyle. It’s a safe formula that boosts blood circulation in your scalp and encourages hair growth, which is why it is our pick for the best overall.


2. Alaffia African Black Soap – Best Value

Alaffia Skin Care, Authentic African Black Soap, All in One Body Wash, Face Wash, Shampoo & Shaving Soap with Fair Trade Shea Butter, Peppermint 32 Fl Oz

Users trying to find what shampoo is good for dreads will often look for a dreadlock shampoo review. It is hardly surprising that the  Alaffia African Black Soap is always a part of the list.

The peppermint oil makes the formulation a refreshing scent, and it is mild enough for any hair type. 

Alaffia Black Soap is the best dreadlock shampoo that offers exceptional value; such cost for a 950ml bottle can go a long way. Contrary to the understanding of many, the product is a liquid shampoo, not a shampoo bar that lathers well to cleanse hair gently but thoroughly.

Such a gentle formulation is even available in scented and unscented variants, safe for sensitive scalps. Moreover, you can use it to wash your hair and body, adding more to its outstanding value.

It works as any shampoo would without the harmful sulfates and leaves your hair feeling clean. Aside from making your hair soft, the soap effectively combats dandruff, and other skin conditions, such as over dryness and eczema.

Consequently, it saves you time detangling your hair and improves hair definition.


  • Not overpowering scent
  • Deep cleanses without making hair dry
  • More quantity at an affordable price point
  • Improves scalp health
  • Gently removes product buildup and excess oils


  • Some claim that the label smudges off


This black soap from Alaffia works pretty well in cleansing your locs without stripping the natural moisture of every hair strand. It provides gentle exfoliation that might be tough on dirt and grime but not on your scalp.


3. Dreadhead HQ Dread Soap – Best Residue Free Shampoo

Dread Head HQ Dread Dreadlock Soap

If you have new dreads and are looking for a residue free experience while washing them, you should consider Dreadhead HQ Dread Soap. For those who like it foamy, this soap barely creates lather and leaves a slightly heavy texture after use.

Nonetheless, your locs will feel tighter upon stepping out of the shower, even from the first use.

Despite its name, this soap is not one of the shampoo bars you might’ve heard about, although the brand has one like that. You can be confident in using the shampoo without risking your sensitive scalp since it has natural ingredients from a hundred percent organic coconut.

It is a liquid shampoo for dreadlocks and the go-to product of many users for cleaning locs effectively and nourishing them at the same time. Even with its gentle formulation, the shampoo can speed up the process of maturing your locks in no time.


  • Perfect for new dreads and those with oily hair
  • Removes excess oil, dirt, wax, and lint
  • Cleans effectively without leaving any residue
  • Not tested on animals, and no ingredient is animal-based


  • Not suitable for those who prefer mildly scented shampoos


The Dreadhead HQ Dread Soap has no scent, which is perfect for those who have allergies and prefer to have it that way. Users with oily hair no longer have to endure those slow-locking moisturizers and conditioners once they start using this soap.


4. Lion Locs Shampoo And Conditioner – Best 2-in-1 Hair Product

Lion Locs Shampoo and Conditioner, 2 in 1 Co Wash for Dreadlocks, Braids, and Dreads | Vegan, Organic, Leave-In Or Rinse | Residue Build-Up Free (8oz)

Lion Locs removes dirt and product build-up from your dreads and scalp without drying them out. The shampoo uses hair-friendly ingredients, like the soothing aloe vera extract, a hydrolyzed wheat protein that fortifies hair follicles, and glycerin to retain moisture.

Many users have Lion Locs on their list of best shampoos for dreads for its cost-efficiency.

You can use the formula as a shampoo and as a conditioner. This sulfate free shampoo provides you with a residue free, clean feeling with a pleasant fragrance, not overpowering. 

It works well for most hair types, although the formulation is rich in argan oil, which may give a heavy feeling to those with fine hair. But Lion Locs’ versatility allows you to use it for any dreads, whether microlocks or sisterlocks.


  • Sulfate free and vegan shampoo
  • No parabens and minerals
  • It cleanses, refreshes, and nourishes the scalp
  • Natural fragrance
  • Reduces dandruff, inflammation, and itchiness


  • Not suitable for users who prefer gluten-free products
  • Not ideal for users with fine hair


Aside from argan oil, Lion Locs Shampoo And Conditioner also contain vitamins A and E, green tea leaf extract, and castor oil. You even get that chance to use it as a leave-in conditioner that leaves your hair healthy.


5. Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo – Best Multipurpose Shampoo

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo 16oz

Individuals with African American hair often resort to shampoos for curly hair or clarifying shampoos in washing their dreads. Many users love that Knotty Dread Loc Shampoo makes it possible to have an all-natural hair product specifically for people with dreadlocks.

Most dreadlock shampoos nowadays include foaming and softening agents, but Knotty Boy Shampoo gently washes dirt without any of these ingredients. 

This product from Knotty Boy comes in two variants: the liquid form and the shampoo bar. But unlike other products, Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo is more economical since you can use this shampoo as a body wash.

Aside from keeping your locks clean, it also contains tea tree oil with antibacterial properties and rosemary for enhancing cellular generation. It aids in improving hair density, while cannabis leaves encourage hair growth.

Let’s not forget the natural antiseptic of peppermint oil that treats dandruff and lice problems.


  • No SLS and toxins
  • Good for sensitive scalps
  • Rich in rosemary, peppermint, hemp seed, and tea tree oil
  • Soothes the scalp with a tingling sensation
  • Refreshing smell


  • Quite pricey


As if being a sulfate free product is not enough, Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo explicitly targets the needs of your dreadlocks. In addition to leaving the hair smelling nice and fresh, it also prevents irritation caused by hair-locking.


6. Twisted Sista Shampoo – Best Clarifying Shampoo For Locs

Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo, 12 Ounce

If you have textured hair, you can keep your dreads in tiptop shape without overdrying it with Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo. One of the best hair care tips you need to remember is to consider a clarifying shampoo if your hair requires a deeper clean.

It gets rid of hair buildup while providing extra hydration, sealing in moisture, and having a healthier scalp.

Twisted Sista is a sulfate free clarifying shampoo that ensures safe usage regardless of your hair type. The shampoo is rich in healthy ingredients, including almond, coconut, and avocado oils, to keep your locs well-moisturized.

The product has a jelly-like consistency that lathers pretty well to help you in washing your dreads thoroughly. However, the sweet-smelling fragrance can be a little overpowering for some.


  • Best for type 4 or kinky hair types
  • Healthy ingredients
  • Locks in hydration
  • Sulfate-free formulation
  • Infuses hair with moisture and leaves it soft and shiny


  • Strong fragrance


Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo is a well-suited option if you think about giving your tresses a deeper cleansing. Unlike other clarifying shampoos, it effectively eliminates excess sebum, grime, and buildups without leaving it dehydrated and dull.


7. Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo 

Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo

While most dreadlock shampoos use harmful SLS and SLES, Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo has a coconut-derived formulation. Such ingredients work as hard as sulfates in cleansing your strands but are not as harsh.

The shampoo conditions and tightens your dreads while promoting new hair growth.

Knatty Dread won’t leave behind a nasty residue, so your hair dries faster after washing. A shorter drying time is best for dreadlocks since it prevents the hair from acquiring mildew and having a solid mat.

The shampoo also comes unscented, which makes it the best choice for those with sensitive scalps. However, it would be better if the shampoo had more moisturizing ingredients to keep hair well-nourished and smooth.


  • The coconut-derived formula keeps dreadlocks tight
  • Cleanses without leaving any residue
  • Fragrance-free
  • All hair types and users with sensitive scalps can use this product


  • Lacks nourishing ingredients for a frizz-free hair


Knatty Dread Loc Shampoo features a coconut-based surfactant that powerfully cleanses as sulfates without damage. It’s a must-have hair care product for tightening natural or synthetic dreadlocks.


8. Knotty Boy All Purpose Shampoo Bar – Best Shampoo Bar

Knotty Boy All Purpose Shampoo Bar Unscented Olive Oil

This dreadlock shampoo bar from Knotty Boy has a unique formulation to meet the specific needs of your locs. Those with new dreads will undoubtedly have difficulty managing them since they tend to detangle while washing.

This shampoo bar helps you with that problem, ensuring you can wash your locs thoroughly without them unraveling.

Knotty Dread is a reputable brand, the first to ever come up with the innovation of having shampoo bars. It is a concentrated formula rich in jojoba oil, tea tree, castile soap, and shea butter.

Developing a rich lather in your hands and massaging it onto your hair and scalp only requires small amounts of water. The natural ingredients of Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar work wonders for soothing itchy scalps, reducing flaking, and restoring damaged hair.


  • Perfect for new dreads
  • Refreshing smell
  • Leaves no residue
  • Non-toxic and non-drying ingredients
  • Suitable to use as a body wash


  • Not suitable for thicker and longer locs


Knotty Dread Loc Shampoo Bar is a biodegradable, residue-free shampoo ideal for individuals with baby dreads. It contains no additives harmful to your hair and comes in several variants, including scent-free olive oil, sandalwood, charcoal, patchouli love, and fresh-cut grass.


What You Should Know When Picking The Best Shampoo For Locks

Finding the right shampoo for your dreads comes with challenges, especially if you’re merely starting to explore natural hairstyle possibilities.

Your dreads have unique needs that require exceptional care and maintenance, and a significant part of it is choosing the best dread shampoo. Thorough research of several products might come in handy before deciding which one to get.

However, the internet offers a considerable amount of information that can overwhelm or confuse you. Besides, what works well for someone sporting dreadlocks may not be as effective for others.

With that in mind, try considering these factors when choosing the best shampoo and conditioner for dreadlocks:

1. Residue-Free

Residue-free shampoos are must-haves for individuals with dreadlocks. Most people are unaware that our shampoos sometimes contain synthetic silicones, silica, and waxes that leave excess oil on our scalp. 

Product buildups can even be more complicated if you’re sporting dreads since your hair becomes harder to wash.

You can prevent such problems by choosing among the best residue-free shampoos, so you leave nothing behind once you rinse off.

Dreads absorb the ingredients of any hair products we use, so those who have it need a shampoo that leaves no residue and washes easily. These buildups can lead to more problems like an itchy scalp or an unpleasant smell.

Therefore, you invest in a shampoo that offers deep cleansing and ensures residue-free washing in your hair’s best interest.

2. No Harsh Ingredients

Make it a habit to check the product label. The ingredients should not include parabens, sodium lauryl/Laureth sulfate, or phthalates. Coconut or vegetable-derived Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS and Sodium Laureth Sulphate or SLES are two surfactants typical in most shampoos.

Surfactants can create a rich lather, but these are harsh chemicals unnecessary for your locs and even cause irritation. 

Likewise, these harsh ingredients can damage the cuticles of your hair strands. You must avoid these cleansing agents because they can result in a sensitive scalp and dehydrate your locs.

Be cautious as some ingredients look all-natural but are not, or worst, may not be on the labels sometimes. Do your research to verify claims of some products that supposedly have organic ingredients.

Lastly, different hair types have varying needs; check on what’s yours to narrow down the list of your best shampoos with natural or organic ingredients.

You deserve a hair care product that delivers its promise, whether you have curly, thicker hair, normal hair, or straight hair. The best shampoo for dreads and dandruff should have organic ingredients to care for your natural hair.

3. Excellent Moisturization

Essential oils such as rosemary oil, tea tree, and peppermint extracts work well for your hair and scalp. When choosing a shampoo for dreadlocks, find any of these natural oils in the ingredients. Ensure that your liquid dreadlock shampoo does not contain toxic chemicals.

Ingredients with harsh properties can be harmful rather than helpful, stripping away your hair’s natural oil essential for soft, shiny, and healthy dreadlocks.

There are several other essential oils that you can find helpful in your shampoos for dreadlocks. Organic coconut oil is a perfect natural conditioner, while tea tree oil is a natural anti-inflammatory that soothes an itchy scalp.

Dreads can easily absorb extra virgin olive oil and treat dull and damaged hair while reducing split ends. Argan oil and shea butter can work wonders for your locs, too. Grapefruit seed extract and jojoba oil do not penetrate the hair shaft and are excellent moisture sealants.

If you notice your dreads to have brittle tips, or you have dry hair that often feels stiff, you can try doing a hot oil treatment. A deep conditioning treatment is heaven-sent for those with dry hair types as it replenishes lost moisture and allows you to detangle hair effortlessly.

4. Strengthens And Protects Tresses

Dreadlock shampoos that can stimulate hair growth are perfect for individuals with thinning hair and extremely sensitive scalp. Hair dryness can result in more breakage, thinning, and balding spots.

Plant-derived proteins strengthen the hair shaft and tighten your curls, so try to choose shampoos for dreadlocks with no sulfates.

Your options for the best shampoos should have sweet almond oil for strengthening your hair and improving its luster. Additionally, avocado oil allows hair to retain water molecules and prevent breakage while using castor bean oil is the holy grail for extra dry locs.

Even peppermint oil does wonder in stimulating the hair follicle, while rosemary oil promotes blood circulation, supporting thinner hair strands.

Washing And Maintaining Your Locs For A Healthy Scalp

Consider wrapping your dreadlocks until they flatten out if you want to avoid looking like a porcupine after your first wash. It’s best to wait a week after you have your dreads before washing them, allowing them to settle and lay flat. Others find it ideal for washing dreadlocks weekly as doing so promotes locking but not if you have oily hair.

When your dreadlocks age and becomes well-adjusted to less frequent washing, you’ll figure out how often you need to wash them.

Watch This!

Check this video shows how to clean your locs without damaging them:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any good shampoo for dreadlocks?

Yes, there are special shampoos for your dreadlocks but knowing your hair and scalp type is most essential in deciding what shampoo type is best for you. Choose one that can target your various needs, but do not overuse it. Reading labels is also good practice as much as sourcing for reviews before deciding on any product.

No product works the same for everyone. People can have varying hair and scalp types with diverse needs; hence, different shampoo products. However, the best shampoo for dreads cannot be regular shampoo. It should be non-irritating, provide moisture, seal it in, and protect your natural hair from damage.

How can I wash my dreadlocks?

Most experts recommend that you wash your dreads starting from the scalp. Try only using a small amount of shampoo, then form a lather with your hands before applying it to your hair. By doing so, you ensure even distribution, and you won’t have to use as much.

How do I keep my dreads from being dry?

The moisturizing properties of castor bean oil, mango seed oil, coconut oil, jojoba, and avocado oil are essential for keeping your dreads well-hydrated. It’s best to look for shampoos containing at least a combination of one or two of these natural oils.

Using all-natural products can do wonders, as they allow you to clean your locs without the harsh chemicals that can damage your hair. Moreover, do not overwash your hair and try massaging the scalp when shampooing to strengthen the strands.


Like other hairstyles, managing your locs requires patience and proper care. Washing your hair is necessary, and so is choosing the right shampoo to meet its needs for optimal health and hair growth.

In summary, we find Jamaican Mango And Lime Tingle Dreadlock Shampoo worthy of being the best overall product. It cares for your hair and scalp by deep cleansing without overdrying your dreads.

The Alaffia African Black Soap is the best shampoo for dreadlocks, providing exceptional value at an affordable price. You also get to have more quantity for such a cost.

Hopefully, you find our recommendations helpful in deciding what shampoo is well-suited for your dreads.

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