The 10 Best Shampoos for Dreadlocks


Be it for men or women, dreadlocks are the most trending and convenient hairstyle.

This hairstyle doesn’t require daily brushing but if they are properly maintained, you can experience itchy scalp, mold growth, and unpleasant smell.

Regular shampoos are not capable of providing clean finish as they leave residue. But dreadlock shampoos have special ingredients which ensure clean hair and scalp without leaving any residue behind.

To choose the best dreadlock shampoo for your hair, we recommend considering below factors…

  • Residue-Free – Check the ingredients list of the shampoo. If you observe any ingredients that start with PPG or PEG, then avoid purchasing it. Because they leave residue behind, leading hair damage.
  • Natural Ingredients – Natural oils like argan oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil are more effective for your locs. Also look out for ingredients that have anit-fungal and anti-microbial properties like neem oil, peppermit or tea tree extract. These properties help your scalp and hair stay fresh, clean and smelling nice.
  • Sulfate Free – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulpahte (SLES) are commonly used surfactants in shampoos. These ingredients can strip out moisture from hair proteins and damage the hair cuticles as well. They are even more harmful for dreadlocks as they lead to scalp sensitivity and dehydrate the locs.

Other factors to consider while purchasing dreadlock shampoo are mentioned clearly in our BUYING GUIDE. Apart from that, we have also provided a list of Best-Selling Dreadlock Shampoos are mentioned below. They are chosen after careful analysis, testing and reviewing with people who have been using them for a long time.

Shampoos for DreadlocksKey IngredientsBuy Now
Dollylocks Nag Champa Dreadlock ShampooPure botanicals,
Organic coconut
Check on Amazon
Knotty Boy Dreadlock ShampooRosemary essential oil,Tea tree essential oil,Peppermint essential oil Check on Amazon
Dread Head HQ Dreadlocks ShampooOrganic coconut based surfactants
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Water,Magnesium chloride and nitrate
Check on Amazon
Knatty Dread Dreadlocks ShampooCoconut surfactants Check on Amazon
Bewild Dreadlock ShampooOrganic coconut extracts
Hemp seed oil
Check on Amazon
Trader Joe’s ShampooCertified organic botanicals
Peppermint essential oil,Tea tree essential oil,Eucalyptus essential oil
Check on Amazon
Design Essentials Oat Protein ShampooHydrolyzed Oat Protein
Check on Amazon
Dollylocks Dreadlock ShampooPure botanicals
Organic coconut oil
Tea tree essential oil,Spearmint essential oil,Grapefruit seed extract
Check on Amazon
Jamaican ShampooTea tree extracts
Deionized water (aqua),Coco Betaine,Camphor,Menthol
Check on Amazon
BUYWOW Apple Cider ShampooShampoo:
Pure Himalayan spring water infused with natural apple cider vinegar
Coconut oil,Avocado oil,Olive oil,Argan oil,Vitamins E and B5
Check on Amazon

10 Best Shampoos for Dreadlocks

#1: Dolly locks tea tree spearmint liquid dreadlocks shampoo

About the product- This product is made up of natural ingredients. It is absolutely weightless and does not leave any residue after the wash. It maintains the ph. of the hair and prevents the scalp from any allergies. It prevents the hair from damage and makes them stronger. It also prevents them from falling and early aging.


  • Maintains ph.
  • Completely Natural and organic.
  • Residue-free


  • 1. May cause dry scalp
  • Dry hair

Ratings- 4.5/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#2: Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle ShampooAbout the product- This product is a special one because it has essential ingredients like eucalyptus extract, Peppermint and Tea Tree which keeps the scalp fresh and clean. It is completely organic and hence is suitable for every hair type and for all hair textures. It keeps the scalp hydrated and provides them with the nutrients that are required by the hair for effective hair growth.


  • Suitable for all hair type
  • Organic Ingredients
  • Keeps scalp fresh


  • May make the scalp dry

Ratings- 4.0/ 5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#3: Ultrax Labs Hair Surge

About the product- It is made up of a special caffeine blend that helps in effective hair growth. It is suitable for both men and women. It helps in the stimulation of hair growth. It also improves the quality of hair and its texture. It makes the hair smooth and bouncy. It instantly adds volume to the hair and makes them look healthy.


  • Caffeine components
  • Effective hair growth
  • Reduces hair fall


  • Dry Scalp
  • Dandruff

Ratings- 4.0/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#4: Dolly Locks Lavender Sky Dread Locks Shampoo

About the product- The best aspect of this product is that it has a good lavender smell that makes your bath soothing and relaxing. It is made up of organic Ingredients that does not harm the hair in any way. It has the essentials of coconut to nourish the scalp. It does not leave behind any residue after the wash. It fights the damage and makes the hair grow stronger and healthier.


  • Keeps hair nourished. 
  • Soothing scent.
  • Nourishing oils


  • May cause rashes
  • Not for all hair types

Ratings- 4.0/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#5: Brickell Men’s Daily Strengthening shampoo for men

Brickell Men’s Daily Strengthening shampoo for menAbout the product- This product increases the volume of the hair and makes it look fuller. It has special extracts like mint and tea tree essentials that keeps the hair fresh and odour free for more than 24 hours. It is made up of natural ingredients and prevents the hair from any kind of damage due to the chemicals. it also stimulates the hair growth.



  • 1. Natural ingredients
  • Tea Tree and Mint extracts
  • Stimulates Hair Growth


  • It might make the scalp dry
  • May cause Hair Fall

Ratings- 4.0/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#6: Herbal Essences Shampoo

About the product- This product has special ingredients like cucumber and mint which keeps your scalp fresh and clean all the time. It revives the hair within 21 days. It has a special blend of natural ingredients that has the potential of antioxidants and makes the hair soft and bouncy. It also prevents the hair colour and makes it last longer.


  • Cucumber and Mint essentials
  • No paraben and gluten
  • Prevents hair colour from wearing off.
  • Comes in a teen pack


  • May cause dandruff
  • May make the hair dry and rough

Ratings- 4.0/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#7: Dolly Locks Rosemary Peppermint Liquid Dread locks Shampoo

About the product- This product has special rosemary and peppermint essentials that keep the hair clean and dirt free. This also prevents the hair and the scalp to get rid of any odour. It maintains the ph. balance of the scalp and helps in the hair growth. It has the goodness of coconut which nourishes the hair. It is specially recommended for mature dread locks. It also prevents the scalp from any infections or bacterial accumulation on it.


  • 1. Recommended for dense and mature dread locks
  • Nourishes the hair
  • Residue free
  • Rosemary extracts


  • May cause hair fall

Ratings- 5/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#8: Ethique Eco Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar

About the product- This product is specially recommended for those who have an oily scalp. It has the goodness of lemon, orange, rosemary and all the other components that prevents the hair from dust and odour. It keeps the hair fresh and clean. Once used conditioner application is not required. It leaves the hair soft and bouncy.


  • 1. Lemon, rosemary, orange and basil extracts
  • Natural
  • Maintains the scalp ph.


  • May cause hair fall
  • May make the hair dry

Ratings- 4.5/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#9: Nudred Shampoo I.T. bottle

About the product- This is the perfect solution for dry hair. It nourishes the hair and makes it dense and black. It prevents them from falling and provides them with the goodness of essential nutrients. It makes the hair shinier. This is the perfect product for those who are looking for a perfect solution to manage their dread locks. It hydrates the hair and targets directly the root cause of the problem.


  • 1. Nourishes and hydrates hair
  • Prevents hair fall
  • Prefect from afro curls


  • Not for all hair types
  • Not recommended for dense and oily hair type

Ratings- 4.0/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

#10: Knotty boy Shampoo Bar

About the product- This is a perfect on the go solution for the messy hair. It nourishes the hair and makes it fresh. It prevents the hair scalp from dandruff. It is specially recommended to be used during summers as it keeps the scalp fresh and clean. It prevents the accumulation of residue. It is made up of bio degradable elements.


  • Travel-Friendly
  • Keeps scalp fresh
  • Biodegradable components


  • May cause hair fall
  • Might make the hair dry

Ratings- 4.0/5 stars

Buy Now at Amazon

BUYING GUIDE – Dreadlock Shampoo

Residue is the foremost factor to consider while choosing a dreadlock shampoo. Even if a shampoo provides foamy cleanse, the conditioning and hydrating agents present in it, will leave a residue behind.

Why Residue is A Big Deal for Dreadlocs?

Waxes, silica and synthetic silicone are some of the common ingredients in any commercial conditioners, shampoos or soaps. These ingredients are water soluble, so they coat the hair strands and get trapped. Gradually, this leads to product or residue build, damaging the hair.

This product buildup is even more damaging to dreadlock structure. Because the hair will be tightly packed and matted in this hair style, there will no space for reside to escape.

Though you rinse your hair properly, residue traces can still linger in the dreadlocks and strip out their moisture. Even if the dreadlocks seem to be completely dry, residue will leave the inner layers slightly damp – which makes them perfect environment for fungi and bacteria to growth.

Residues also delays the time taken for the locks to fully mature. They may also promote unravelling. If the dreadlocks are not properly maintained, product buildup will increase and it can lead to irritated and itchy scalp.

How to Choose a Dreadlock Shampoo?

Regular shampoos are not suitable for dreadlocks. You have to use shampoos that are specially formulated for maintaining dreadlocks. If you are unaware of which factors to consider while purchasing a dreadlock shampoos, then the below buying guide will be helpful.

1.Say No to Shampoos that Leave Residue

The foremost factor to consider is to check whether the shampoo leaves any residue or causes product build up. In dreadlocks hair style, hairs are closely matted – so cleaning them is quite challenging and difficult.

Normal shampoo cannot handle this challenge. Shampoos that are specially formulated to suit dreadlock requirements can handle it very well. But not all dreadlocks shampoos are perfect and you should never blindly trust brand’s marketing claims.

So, we recommend checking out the ingredient’s list. If the shampoo contains any ingredients that start with PPG or PEG, then avoid them – as they lead to product build and leave residue behind.

2. Natural Oils is an Added Benefit

Natural oils are beneficial for maintaining proper dreadlocks. So, having natural oil ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba or argan oil are helpful in nourishing and moisturizing the locs. As our hair’s natural sebum cannot provide enough moisture to all the turns and twists, this addition can be beneficial.

Apart from that, we recommend to look out for products with anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Some of these ingredients are tea tree, neem or peppermint extracts. They are helpful in maintaining the dreadlocks clean and fresh.

3. Sulfates are a Big No No

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulpahte (SLES) are the two main hair damaging culprits. These two surfactants are known to damage hair cuticles and strip out moisture from hair proteins. Especially, for dreads, these ingredients should be avoided at any cost. Because they can cause scalp sensitivity and dehydrate the locs. Some good quality dreadlock shampoos in the market don’t come with sulfates.

4. Organic Shampoo is Not Always Good

Organic has become a new marketing trick to sell products. Many naturalists believe these claims and use organic shampoos for dreadlocks, thinking they are safe. But that is not true always.

Natural ingredients leave residue. So it is important to check whether the shampoo contains essential oil or saponified oils. But stay away from oils mixed with carrier oils.

Even if they are organic, few ingredients are not suitable for dreads as they leave residue. For example, beewax can leave a lot of residue so it is definitely a no for dreads. Before purchasing a dreadlock shampoo, we recommend checking out their ingredients list. Avoid shampoos that contain wax or petroleum and choose the one that has natural oils.

5. Stay Away from Allergens and Irritants

Some shampoos contain parabens which are used in order to increase the shelf life. But several studies have proved that, they have allergic and other side effects. Propylparaben, methylparabben, benzylparaben and butylparaben are some of the common parabens often used in shampoos. Some parabens are listed in their suffix names.

Apart from that, fragrances can also cause allergic reactions to some people. Almost 85 types of fragrances are listed for allergic reactions. Some of these are naturally present in the few ingredients often used in shampoos.

Some people can be allergic to natural items like aloe vera or coconut oil. So, whenever you are trying a new shampoo, we recommend to do a patch test on the back of your hand. As every person has unique immune system – if one person is allergic to a certain ingredient, it doesn’t mean another person will necessarily have the same reaction. Similarly, the allergens and irritants mentioned in this article may or may not develop a reaction.

6. Analyze Before Purchasing

Before purchasing a dreadlock shampoo, don’t blindly believe the marketing gimmicks. Take a look at the ingredients and specifications mentioned on the bottle. Make sure the product you choose is completely safe and suitable for dreads. Few commercial dreadlock shampoos are worthy to invest however you should analyze beforehand for its authenticity.

What is the Right Way to Wash Dreadlocks?

Washing dreads regularly will help you maintain them fresh, clean and healthy. Most of the hairstylists recommend to wash the dreads at least once in a week. However, make sure to use right kind of shampoo. Below, we have provided step-by-step instructions on how to choose a shampoo.

Step 1 – Wet the Hair and Apply Shampoo

  • Make sure you have got the right dreadlock shampoo.
  • Always use warm water for better results.
  • Start by wetting the hair. As the hair is matted tightly, you may require more water than usual.
  • Give the hair some time to absorb the water.
  • Take required amounts of shampoo and spread it across the scalp and hair strands.

Step 2 – Scrub the hair

Once you have completed to lather the hair, scrub the scalp. During first wash, you may not experience foam. It can be due to dust accumulated. So, you can rinse it and shampoo again. Make sure the shampoo has spread throughout the head. This process usually takes at least 3 minutes.

Step 3 – Wash it Off

Wash the shampoo using water. Now check the hair whether it is clean or not. If it required more shampoo, then repeat the hair washing process. And rinse the hair thoroughly after it. Make sure the hair is clean and not slippery.

Step 4 – Dry Your Dreads

Even though it seems simple, this step is equally important as any other in this process. If the dreads are not dried properly, then they can get smelly and musty.

Using a towel, squeeze out all the water. You can use a hair dryer at the lowest temperature. However, you can air dry it as well.

Important Tips to Consider While Using a Dreadlock Shampoo

  • Make sure the shampoo you choose also has pH balance. A good shampoo always caters to the scalp and hair equally.
  • Though it is good to have oils in the shampoo, it doesn’t mean most of it should be oil. Because, it will not deliver the results.
  • Check your dreadlocks regularly. If you observe any buildup, then the shampoo you are using may not be helpful.
  • To remove any build-up, you can use apple cider vinegar or baking soda. You rinse a few times using these ingredients (diluted in water).
  • Protect your hair from friction and breakage just like you would do with other hairstyles. For protection during sleep, you can wrap the hair using satin head wrap or sleep on a silk satin pillowcase.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why am I seeing residue even after using a dreadlock shampoo?

Even after using dreadlocks shampoo, sometimes you can still see some residue in your hair. This can be because of saponified oils – they stick to the hair strands and trap dirt. Rinsing and washing well will help you to combat this problem. Next time, make sure to choose a product that doesn’t contain saponified oils.

2. Does natural dreadlock shampoo work on damaged hair?

This usually depends on ingredients present in the shampoo. Some high quality dreadlock shampoos that have natural oils as ingredients surely help to repair the damage.

3. What is a dread rot?

Dread rot is a nightmare for people having dreadlocks. If the locs are not cleaned and dried properly, it can lead to mold and mildew growth which is referred as dread rot. If you are dealing with a dread rot, never use scissors to deal with it.
Using a high quality dreadlock shampoo, rinsing hair properly and dry it completely can be helpful in removing the mold and preventing dreads in future.

4. How often it is recommended to wash the dreads?

To maintain the health of your dreadlocks hair, we recommend to wash your hair at least once in a week. And also make sure to dry the locs completely.

5. How to dry the dreads?

Below is the step the step procedure…
1. Using fingers, squeeze each dreadlock.
2. Now use a microfiber towel to squeeze the locs again.
3. From roots to ends, palm roll the dreads.
4. If the locs are still wet, shake them by flipping your head.
5. If the weather is warm, then air dry them.
6. During winters, use hair dryer at lower temperature for 10 minutes to dry them.

6. Is it ok for white people to have dreadlocks?

Yes, people from all backgrounds, colors and enthicities can have dreadlocks.

7. How to tell if the shampoo is leaving any residue or not?

If there is any residue left on your hair, then…
1. You will feel like some heavy coating is weighing your hair down.
2. Hair will appear dull and dry even after washing
3. Hair will not hold the style like it has to – like curls will not last long, braid-outs will fall after just one or two days.

8. Is it ok to use conditioner on dreadlocks?

Never use conditioner on dreadlocks as it contains butters and oils which will get attached to your hair. They are tough to remove from your hair. If you want to deal with dryness or soften the locs, we recommend to use essential oils like lavender or orange. But dilute them in any carrier oil like olive oil or grapeseed oil. But don’t apply oil on the roots.
For better results, warm up carrier oil. Apply it on the hair strands and wrap the hair in a plastic bag and cloth. You can wash the hair after an hour or you can leave it overnight before washing.

9. What are the best brands for dreadlock shampoo that don’t leave residue?

There are few high-quality dreadlock shampoos that stand out in the market. We have mentioned them below…
This brand solely deals in providing dreadlock specific hair shampoos. Due to their organic products, they are often featured in popular magazines. They have a lot of positive reviews from customers who have been using their products for several years.
Knotty Boy
This brand was founded by people who have dreads. They have over 30 years of experience in making hair products specifically for dreadlock hairstyle. They are one of the popular dreadlock shampoo brands in the market.
Design Essentials
Since their inception in 1973, they have been dedicated in providing specially crafted products for natural hair care. From the year 1990, they have upgraded their product range and included shampoos for dreadlocks.


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