7 Best Clarifying Shampoo for Locs

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Best Clarifying Shampoo for Locs

This insightful read is our review of the best clarifying shampoo for locs in 2023. 

Locs, whether thin, thick, long, or short, are prone to dirt and product build-up since they’re uncombed matted strands. In this regard, clarifying shampoo is necessary to cleanse them deeply. 

This time, I will unveil quality clarifying shampoos from my intensive research. 

And from the research, I discovered OUAI Detox Clarifying Shampoo is the best clarifying shampoo for locs. 

For different locs conditions, I disclose more clarifying shampoo best in their category. 

Let’s delve into the details. 

Our Top Picks

The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Locs Reviewed

This article segment unravels how the best cases of clarifying shampoos are beneficial. In addition, it states the most crucial features worthy of your consideration. 

OUAI Detox Clarifying Shampoo 

  • Key features: hydrolyzed keratin, chelating agents, and apple cider vinegar infused. 
  • Item form: Gel
  • Volume: 10 oz., 32 oz.
  • Scent: Melrose place
  • Age group: Adults
  • Best for: Overall

Locs appear trendy and timeless. But maintaining how crisp they should require a professional clarifying shampoo. This, in particular, is the exemplary magic that beats the odds in all-round cleansing. The concentrated shampoo is infused with apple cider vinegar and hydrolyzed keratin for clean loc strands. 

The apple cider vinegar detoxes the locs by eliminating sebum, wax, and grime. Countering the apple cider vinegar, the keratin strengthens the strands to undo the drying effect of the apple cider vinegar. That capability of this shampoo balances the locs pH to stay healthy and with normal shine. 

Topping up is its power to lather up easily in a few dispenses, saving up on its volume for several rounds of use. 

The downside is you might receive this shampoo in a messy state with spills within the packaging. It will not be a bottle full, thus, a waste of money. 

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Dread Head HQ Dreadlock Shampoo

  • Key features: Residue-free, non-irritating shampoo
  • Item form: Liquid
  • Volume: 16 oz. 
  • Age group: Youth, adults
  • Best for: Sensitive scalp

In the extensive world of hair shampoos, sensitive scalps have their counterpart. This clarifying shampoo is formulated with irritant-free gentle ingredients, providing a fresh feel. 

With its gentle prowess, it does not deposit residue. But instead, it eradicates the residue from both the locs and scalp. As it does that, it aids in tightening the locs since the locs are dirt-free, contributing to a faster dreading process during touch-ups. 

The shampoo also lacks moisturizing and conditioning agents. These cause greasiness. And their absence makes it easier for this shampoo to dissolve the gunk and, upon rinsing, gets them out of the locs. 

However, the formula does not lather up easily. So, you’ll have to use much of it to get the clarifying results you need. And its clarifying strength does not last long as flakes re-appear after a few days. 

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Design Essentials Oat Protein and Henna Shampoo 

  • Key features: Cruelty-free, alcohol-free, non-stripping shampoo
  • Item form: Liquid
  • Volume: 8 oz. 
  • Age group: Adults
  • Best for: Color-treated locs

Beauty divas love to add a touch of color to their locs from time to time. The bleaches and dyes debilitate the locs, and a strong protein shampoo is inevitable. That’s where the design essentials oat protein and henna shampoo strikes in. 

It bolsters the strands with oat protein that augments hydration for a soft feel. It also eliminates flyaways, frizz, and stiffness in the locs for a more attractive appeal. The henna promotes thickness and luster while toughening the strands to be insusceptible to breakage. 

The formula is also highly penetrative since it’s liquid and lightweight. Therefore, it will get to every hair within the locs and unload the unneeded slime. 

Unfortunately, it makes your hair feel dry and brittle, so you’ll have to follow up with a conditioner. Additionally, it takes time to lather well. 

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Eden Bodyworks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo

  • Key features: Refreshing, tingling ingredients
  • Item form: Liquid
  • Volume: 8 oz. 
  • Scent: Peppermint
  • Age group: Adults
  • Best for: Dandruff

The Eden Bodyworks Clarifying Shampoo releases a refreshing, tingling sensation on the scalp. The peppermint and tea tree botanicals get rid of the itchiness that escalates painful scratches and dandruff. As it clarifies the locs, it makes the scalp and locs resilient to dandruff. 

It also replenishes comfort by increasing blood circulation in the scalp. The hair follicles also turn out to be healthier than before. This helps in hair growth, enabling your locs to flourish length-wise. 

This shampoo is  harmless and hair-friendly. It’s purely natural and does not contain sulfates for the good of your own locs. Sulfates may suffocate your locs by leaving them dehydrated. 

Sadly, the packaging of this shampoo is poor as the cap comes loose and the shampoo spills in the packaging. And if overused, it may leave your locs lifeless. 

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Tea Tree Special Shampoo 

  • Key features: Vegan, color-safe, scalp-refreshing formula
  • Item form: Liquid
  • Volume: 33.8 oz. 
  • Scent: Tea tree
  • Age group: All
  • Best for: Oily Scalp

The long search for shampoo for your oily scalp and hair type finally stops at this point. After a try with several shampoos and receiving disappointments, you can do with the tea tree special shampoo. By how the name sounds, it’s specifically made for excessive oils. 

Oily scalps are hard to clean because of the sebum that combines with the styling products. This shampoo rigorously takes out all the oils to refresh the scalp. 

Plus, it reinvigorates the scalp and locs with shine and vibrance. Once they dry up, they appear renewed, and people might think you went to a hairdresser for a revamp. 

Its strong smell lingers even after rinsing it out and fades after an hour. Therefore, it could affect scent-sensitive users. And the lid is delicate and may get into your hands in a broken state. 

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Dollylocks Plant-based Clarifying Shampoo 

  • Key features: Lightweight, residue-free, strengthening shampoo
  • Item form: Liquid
  • Volume: 8 oz., 16 oz. 
  • Scent: Rosemary peppermint
  • Age group: Adults
  • Best for: Organic shampoo

Are you a naturalistic dreads person looking for a deep dread cleanser? You could try this out to satiate your desire for something plant-derived yet clarifying. 

Dollylocks shampoo is made with ingredients derived from plant matter. They offer residue removal abilities to keep the locs clean and good-looking. And while cleaning the locs, it suffuses them with a rosemary peppermint scent to kill any bad smell. 

The same ingredients are full of strengthening properties. They make the locs have minimal damage, so they are in their thick and voluminous original shape. 

However, the product is too runny. A lot of it can accidentally be dispensed and wasted away. Hence it would help if you are very vigilant when applying it to not apply it in excess. 

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Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo 

  • Key features: dreadlocks-tightening shampoo
  • Item form: Liquid
  • Volume: 16 oz. 
  • Scent: No scent
  • Best for: Scent-free shampoo

This clarifying shampoo suits people with high levels of sensitivity to scents. Even though it’s infused with coconut surfactants, it does emit a coconut fragrance. It’s scentless to keep your health in check. Expect no scalp inflammations, allergies, or asthma triggers. 

While there’s no scent, it still sufficiently dislodges dirt built on the locs and the scalp. It does away with the coat of oils on your locs for residue-free hair. If there are flakes from wax, the shampoo clears them, too.

If you use this shampoo, you’ll also notice the locs lock faster. Since the locs are made clean, they’re easier to dread or restyle. 

Even though it’s a locs shampoo, some buyers claim it leaves sebum behind, especially in thick locs. It’s not in high concentration as it appears too liquid and could work better on fine-haired locs. 

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How to Select the Right Clarifying Shampoo for Your Locs

The different brands create confusion when understanding what’s most suitable. The kind of verbosity displayed on these products distorts the preciseness of the descriptions. Here is what to check so that you’re on the right track and in line with your locs’ interests. 

Locs Hair Type

Despite the confusing variety of brands, you’ll find that these shampoos are specific with what hair type they work in. They may be for straight, curly, wavy, texturized, color-treated, or all hair types

How good your clarifying shampoo is depends on whether you align it correctly with your hair type. Look into seeing that the product description section gives details. If not, thoroughly browse the internet for you to get to the part that says what hair type it’s designed for. 

Scalp Type

Knowing your scalp type is essential to determine the right clarifying shampoo. Your scalp could be dandruff-infested, itchy, oily, sensitive, normal, or on the flip side, overly dry and flaky. 

You examine the different bottles until you land on the right fit for the scalp conditions. Most of the brands outline the particular scalp type their shampoos best fit. 


For a clarifying shampoo to genuinely be a clarifying shampoo, it should have a high concentration of heavy surfactants. These surfactants make up the ingredients. They define the degree of deep cleansing and the strength of the clarifying shampoo. 

Anionic lauryl surfactants are the strongest locs clarifiers like ammonium lauryl sulfate. They do not dry up the scalp and the locs. Scrutinize the ingredient list on the label lingo to ensure they’re listed. 

You also need to ensure that the clarifying shampoo you choose meets its purpose. It should perform more grime removal and not increase the build-up present. That can only be enabled by clarifying shampoos devoid of substances ending in “cone” such as dimethicone. 

Also, avoid clarifying shampoos with dyes, alcohol, synthetic fragrances, parabens, and formaldehyde. 


Clarifying shampoos with strong scents are red flags. Mostly, they contain synthetic fragrances which could provoke scalp irritations. If it’s not scalp irritations, they trigger allergic reactions and asthmatic health conditions. 

 Therefore if you’re sensitive to scent-induced clarifying shampoos, avoid them like plaque. And replace them with an unscented clarifying shampoo. 

Best Clarifying Shampoo for Locs

FAQs About Clarifying Shampoo for Locs

Can you wash your dreads with regular shampoo?

Realistically, it would be best if you didn’t use regular shampoo to wash your dreads. If you overlook this recommendation, you’ll likely face serious build-up over time. The locs will appear gunky, dull, and generally unpleasant. 

How often should you use a clarifying shampoo on locs?

The best to do is to wash the clarifying shampoo twice monthly. In other words, wash the locs after every two weeks for the safest cleanse. 

Washing the locs more frequently poses adverse effects on the locs as they’ll dry and frizz up. Clarifying shampoos are made for occasional use, so alternate with regular cleansers. 

Does apple cider vinegar get out loc build-up?

Yes, it’s a multi-purpose household cleaner that you can use to remove grimy build-ups. Even though it clears dirt, ensure that you apply it in your final rinse and in reasonable amounts. 

It best serves as a post-shampoo formula after you’ve rinsed out the shampoo. And later follow up with a conditioning treatment. This helps strengthen the locs if the apple cider vinegar strips the locs of excess moisture. 


Incorporating clarifying shampoo into your regular loc maintenance routine is of great significance. This kind of shampoo is the most effective dirt remover when you require a deep locs cleanser. To start you off on the right foot, OUAI Detox Clarifying Shampoo is our best clarifying shampoo. Keep in mind that your locs’ cleanliness determines your overall physique and comfort.

Author: Charity Nasike


Charity Nasike is a passionate wig wearer and basically has diverse knowledge related to wigs' care and maintenance. When she's not writing, she's either in the kitchen trying out new recipes or on social media advising fellow ladies tricks to apply on their wigs.

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