8 Best Shampoos for Your Dreadlocks

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Dreadlock Shampoo-1

This is our review of the best shampoos for dreadlocks in 2023.

You want to show off your trendy dreadlocks free of flakes, greasy locs, and an itchy scalp.

Choosing a delicate shampoo is essential. 

I understand your frustration. Searching for the best dreadlock shampoo is not easy.

Don’t panic! I’ve experienced the freedom and versatility of locs and researched the 8 best shampoos for your locs.

And I found that Dollylocks 8oz Nag Champa Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo is the best overall choice.

A healthy scalp with dreadlocks is the goal regardless of the texture of your hair. Let the list below assist you on your journey.

Let’s dive right in.

Our Best Shampoos for Dreadlocks

1.  Dollylocks 8oz Nag Champa Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo (Best Overall)

2. Lion 2 in 1 Locs Shampoo and Conditioner (Best Shampoo and Conditioner)

3. Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo (Most Versatile)

4. Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar (Best for Baby Locs)

5. Peculiar Roots Clarifying & Detox Black Charcoal Shampoo (Best for Hair Detox)

6. Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo (Best for Dry Scalp)

7. Dread Head HQ Dread Dreadlock Soap (Best for Sensitive Scalp)

8. Dollylocks 12oz Tea Tree Spearmint Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo (Best for Oily Scalp)

8 Best Shampoos for Dreadlocks Reviewed

Each shampoo on this list promotes natural cleansing with essential oils for itchy scalp, dandruff, buildup, and improving your hair’s pH balance.[1]

Dollylocks 8oz Nag Champa Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo

Dollylocks 8oz Nag Champa Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo
  • Main ingredients: Olive oil, coconut oil, castor seed oil, and sweet almond oil
  • Key feature: Gentle yet effective cleansing with an aroma
  • Type of Product: Phthalate-free fragrance; Weightless, Residue-free
  • Locs Stages: Mature Locs
  • Size: 8 Fluid Ounces
  • Best for Overall

Coconut oil helps repair dryness, releases toxins, and has natural sun protection.

I named this dreadlock shampoo the MVP for a good reason; people of all hair textures have reviewed this product as a great cleanser. 

But, some customers report difficulty getting the residue out of their dreadlocks. If you have a partial dreadlock hairstyle, the undreaded hair may become greasy and oily, as described by an Amazon customer.

Lion Locs Shampoo and Conditioner, 2 in 1 Co Wash

Lion Locs Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Main ingredients: Aloe leaf juice, jojoba oil, argan oil, and castor oil
  • Key feature: Leave-in or rinse, cleanse, hydration, and softening
  • Type of Product: Vegan shampoo, Residue-free, with no sulfate.
  • Locs Stages: All hair types, styles, and textures
  • Size: 8 Ounce Cream
  • Best for Shampoo and Conditioner

If you mistake washing your dreadlocks with regular shampoo, don’t fret.  Lion Locs will help end the unraveling of your locs, and will safely remove the chemicals from your scalp and hair.

This shampoo and conditioner formula will soften and hydrate your hair without leaving any buildup.

But, customers report the formula is too watery. Did you know that water makes up ¼ of each hair strand? This watery blend of essential oils will nourish and hydrate your growing locs. If you are allergic to nuts such as argon, this blend may not be for you. A customer reports a terrible allergic reaction to this product.

Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo

Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo
  • Main ingredients: Coconut based formula
  • Key feature: Reduces drying time after wash and tightens dreadlocks
  • Type of Product: Residue-free and unscented
  • Locs Stages: All hair types
  • Size: 16 Fluid Ounces
  • Best for Most Versatile

If you feel your dreadlocks are oily, or if you suspect dry rot. This dreadlock shampoo helps get the gunk out and assists in your air dry routine.

Whether you’re in the baby loc stage or have mature dreadlocks, this product will tighten your locs while providing a clean wash with no residue.

Customers are concerned about not knowing the coconut-based formula’s exact blend. However, 4.6 out of 5 reviews recommend this shampoo. If you are looking for a nourishing formula that lasts longer, moisturizes, and has no scent, this may be a loc shampoo for you.

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar
  • Main ingredients: Rosemary, tea tree, and peppermint formula
  • Key feature: Excellent for full body wash
  • Type of Product: Residue-free, biodegradable, non-toxic
  • Locs Stages: All dreadlock stages
  • Size: 4.75 Ounces Bar
  • Best for Baby Locs

This product may be a good choice if you are constantly retwisting or braiding your dreadlocks in the baby loc stage.

No wax, conditioners, or chemicals can cause dandruff or buildup. 

If you are trying to do your part in being more environmentally friendly, this dreadlock shampoo bar is biodegradable and non-toxic.

Several customers appreciate the value of the shampoo bar for the money. But, do not place the shampoo bar directly on your locs. Be sure to lather in your hand and wash as directed to ensure no residue is left behind.

Peculiar Roots Clarifying & Detox Black Charcoal Shampoo

Peculiar Roots Clarifying & Detox Black Charcoal Shampoo
  • Main ingredients: Activated charcoal, coconut oil, hemp seed oil
  • Key feature: Refresh and renews while removing build up and residue
  • Type of Product: Clarifying and detox shampoo
  • Locs Stages: All Dreadlock stages and hair types
  • Size: 8 Fluid Ounces
  • Best for Hair Detox

Hair breakage, mildew, and dandruff were not in your ideal vision of growing your dreadlocks. This shampoo will repair and detox your dreadlocks.

If you are concerned about the detoxing process stripping your hair of its natural oils, this product will not strip or dry out your hair.

It is recommended you detox twice a year or monthly. Detoxing your locs too often can strip your scalp of its natural oils. However, some customers use this product once a week to prevent buildup accumulation.

Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo

Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo
  • Main ingredients: Coco betaine, camphor menthol, manuka honey, and moringa seed oil
  • Key feature: Removes build up and maintain the twist in the locs
  • Type of Product: Ancient Jamaican recipe
  • Locs Stages: All Dreadlock stages and hair types
  • Size: 16 Fluid Ounces
  • Best for Dry Scalp

If you are experiencing dandruff or an itchy scalp, this shampoo may be a good choice. The antioxidants from the manuka honey help reduce shedding and repair a dry and itchy scalp.

Customers rave about the tingling feeling and the removal of buildup. 

But, some reviews warn potential customers about a cold medicine aroma from the menthol blend. The camphor menthol component most recognized from the topical ointment Vapor Rub, is a natural ingredient that helps reduce scalp irritation.

Dread Head HQ Dread Dreadlock Soap

Dread Head HQ Dread Dreadlock Soap
  • Main ingredients: Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, sodium glycolate
  • Key feature: Whole-body use, deep cleanse, and tighten locs
  • Type of Product: No fragrance, residue-free, and hypo-allergic
  • Locs Stages: Mature Locs
  • Size: 8 Fluid Ounces
  • Best for Sensitive Scalp

A tingling scalp with a fragrance isn’t for everyone. This dreadlock shampoo is a good alternative if you don’t desire conditioners and saponified oils. 

 If you are unsure which product to avoid that might trigger your allergies, this dreadlock shampoo might be a good option.

The Dread Head HQ Dread Dreadlock Soap is best for sensitive scalps with the baby or mature locs.

With this shampoo, those with baby locs report significant improvement in tightening and growth. Unfortunately, this product has sulfates. Sulfates are notorious for causing dry scalp after stripping your scalp of its natural oils.  

Dollylocks 12oz Tea Tree Spearmint Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo

Dollylocks 12oz Tea Tree Spearmint Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo
  • Main ingredients: Aqua/Water, Olea europaea (olive), fruit oil, and cocos nucifera (coconut) oil
  • Key feature: Gentle cleansing that relieves itchy and oily scalps
  • Type of Product: Fragrance-free; lightweight, and residue-free
  • Locs Stages: Mature Locs
  • Size: 15 Fluid Ounces
  • Best for Oily Scalp

 This dreadlock shampoo will regulate the overproduction of sebum and any inflammation in the scalp.

Because oily scalps create dandruff and potential hair loss, using a product with tea tree and spearmint should be considered as part of your dreadlock hair care routine.

But, some of the customer reviews report this shampoo did leave a waxy residue. Customers love the scent; however, the product does not lather well. 

Dreadlock Shampoo-3

Why You Need Dreadlock Shampoo or Shampoo Bar

Regular shampoo tends to be thick and not made with a water-soluble blend. A water soluble or shampoo capable of dissolving in water hydrates dreadlocks properly. 

Regular shampoos have lubricated chemicals that unravel locs and leave behind buildup from shampoo residue.

Dreadlock shampoo is formulated to help tighten your locs, treat new growth, hydrate with natural oils, and assist in drying your locs faster.

Having a go-to residue-free shampoo that specifically handles flakes, dryness, and your moisturizing needs will make it easier to maintain.

Shampoos for Dreadlocks

Guide to Buying The Best Shampoo for Dreadlocks


Residue-free means no PEG or PPG ingredients. These ingredients include lubricants, mineral oil, etc.[2]

Residue-free shampoos do not leave anything behind. 

Mildly Cleansing

Shampoos with essential oils and natural blends are mild cleansers for dreadlocks. This gentle formula will remove dirt and excess oils without harsh chemicals like PEG or PPG.

Moisturizing Your Dreadlocks is Essential

Baby locs require a little more moisture for most hair types.

Mature locs usually need less moisture. However, if you know your dreadlocks and scalp require moisturizing once a week, don’t hesitate to do so.

Be Careful With Sulfates

Sulfates cause dryness and irritation to the scalp.

Avoid shampoos with sulfates to keep your dreadlocks healthy.

Watch Out for Organic Shampoos

Look closely at shampoo labels for natural essential oils and no chemicals. Key terms to look for: Vegan free, chemical-free, and biodegradable. 

Regulation is loose in the personal care and shampoo industry. The Mayo Clinic Health System breaks down the Food and Drug Administration and USDA organic certification criteria.[3]

Hair Type & Your Dreadlock Shampoo

Your hair type must be considered before purchasing a shampoo to cleanse your hair. The recommendations are based on in-depth research for dreadlock and scalp care according to hair type.

Dry Hair

Dry hair needs a shampoo that adds moisture to replenish hair follicles and prevent dandruff. A Shampoo with an omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin E component such as coconut oil will hydrate your locs back to health.

Oily Hair

Oily hair needs a shampoo that regulates and strips moisture. Choosing a shampoo that soothes and repairs the overproduction of sebum such as tea tree oil will help manage your oily scalp.

Kinky Hair

Afro-texture, curly or kinky hair requires more hydration due to the difficulty of the natural oil reaching and nourishing the hair strands. A moisturizing shampoo with Jojoba oil enriched with vitamin B, C, and E helps reduce dryness, split ends, and breakage.

Straight Hair

Straight hair textures need a shampoo that offers minimum moisture. But will benefit from clarifying dreadlock shampoo. Clarifying shampoo will cut through grease and any buildup.

Synthetic Hair

Synthetic dreadlocks can be maintained using Dollylocks shampoo, Lion Loc products, and other Synthetic shampoos.

How to Clean Your Dreadlocks with 6 Easy Steps

There is an excellent tutorial on washing and drying your dreadlocks with care. If you need more help, watch the video:

  1. First, soak your hair with warm water.
  2. Wet the bar and work up a lather.
  3. Scrub your scalp gently to remove the dead skin or rub the bar directly between the dreads.
  4. Lather your locs and let the shampoo sit for up to 3 minutes.
  5. Rinse the shampoo out thoroughly.
  6. Dry your hair with a hairdryer. Do not leave hair in a wrapped towel.


After researching ingredients, reviews, and what works for all hair textures, we think Dollylocks 8oz Nag Champa Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo is an excellent choice for your locs.

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20+ Realistic Dreadlock Extensions for Men & Women

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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