6 Best Shampoo for Dreads in 2022

Best Shampoo for Dreads
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If you have dreadlocks, you know the importance of keeping them moisturized, clean, and well-groomed. Keep reading to discover the best shampoo for locs.  

What’s the Best Shampoo for Locs? 

Washing your locs every two to three weeks is essential to protect the style. However, using regular shampoo won’t keep them as healthy. 

We’ve reviewed six shampoos made explicitly for locs. We think Dollylocks Shampoo is the best due to its design, efficiency, effectiveness, and overall customer satisfaction. 

Our top 6 picks for the best shampoo for dreadlocks:

  1. Best Overall: Dollylocks Shampoo
  2. Best 2-in-1 Shampoo: Lion Locs 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner
  3. Most Versatile: Knatty Dread Shampoo for Dreadlocks
  4. Best Shampoo Bar: Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar
  5. Best for Hair Detox: Peculiar Roots Detox Shampoo for Locs
  6. Best for Kids With Locs: SoCozy Curl Shampoo for Kids

Below, we’ll detail the pros and cons of each product, how to use it, and how to shop for shampoo for your locs. But first, let’s go over why using shampoo explicitly for locs is so critical.

Why You Need Shampoo for Locs

Even though locs are a natural protective style for afro-textured and curly hair, they will require maintenance to keep them healthy. You should wash your locs every 2 to 3 weeks to keep them moisturized and remove any trapped dirt or oil in the hair. 

If you’ve never washed your locs before, it’ll be a bit different than regularly washing hair without locs. Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Wet your hair with regular warm water until it’s extremely wet all the way through. 
  2. Read the instructions on your shampoo bottle about the amount of shampoo to use.
  3. Add the shampoo to your locs, making sure to get every part of your hair and scalp. 
  4. Rinse your hair with water until it runs clean and there’s no more soap in your hair. 

It’s essential to focus on getting the water into the locs and to your scalp, where it can wash away oils and products that are stuck there. 

Best Shampoo for Locs: Top 6 Picks

Now, let’s get into our top six shampoo products for locs. We’ve narrowed these down into several categories to help you decide which is best for you. 

1. Best Overall: Dollylocks Shampoo

Best Overall
Dollylocks 8oz Nag Champa Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo
Pros:
  • Scent is delightful.
  • Best for mature dreadlocks.
  • Residue-free formula.
  • Made with organic coconut.
Cons:
  • Relatively small.
  • The scent is powerful.
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Dollylocks prides itself on its scented residue-free formula for loc shampoos. You can purchase this shampoo in several scents, including:

  • Nag Champa
  • Tea tree spearmint 
  • Coconut lime 
  • Lavender sky
  • Rosemary peppermint

Reviewers mention that this product is their favorite loc shampoo and that it works excellently for afro-textured hair. Other reviewers noted that the product smells exactly like Nag Champa and leaves a delightful scent behind after washing. 

Overall, the reviews for this product are strongly positive. The only cons people have mentioned include the size and how long the scent lingers in the hair. If you’re not a fan of the smell, it might be best to choose another scent or one of the other shampoos on our list.  

2. Best 2-in-1 Shampoo: Lion Locs 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner

Best 2-in-1 Shampoo
Lion Locs 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner
Pros:
  • Made with afro-textured locs in mind.
  • Vegan and organic formula.
  • It's both a shampoo and a conditioner.
  • Leave it in or rinse it out.
  • Works with any hair type.
Cons:
  • Might be overkill if you don't want conditioner.
  • Moore expensive than others.
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Lion Locs has created an excellent 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner product with locs of all types in mind. Their product will work on dreadlocks, microlocs, faux locs, twisted locs, and braids. 

We’ve chosen this product for our list of best shampoo for dreadlocks because it’s versatile, made in the USA, healthy, and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. This one fits the label for those looking for a vegan hair-care option.

They don’t test on animals either. The company advertises this shampoo as free from parabens or oils that’ll cause flaking or residue to stay behind on your locs.

It’s dye and wax-free, so you’ll never get a waxy finish on your hair after several washes. Lion Locs also offers gels, loc growth serum, and tightening spray for your locs. 

3. Most Versatile: Knatty Dread Dreadlock Shampoo

Most Versatile
Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo
Pros:
  • Specifically for locs.
  • Helps to grow your hair in loc form.
  • Great for a variety of hair types.
  • Doesn't leave residue. 
Cons:
  • Some users say is doesn't work well on natural hair.
  • No scent.
  • Not specific to any one type of loc.
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We’ve chosen Knatty Dread Dreadlock Shampoo as the best shampoo for various locs because it provides a clean wash with little residue and is specifically for many hair types. It’s an affordable option that won’t break the bank. Plus, it doesn’t contain any harmful oils. 

The only downsides to this product are that it doesn’t seem to work for everyone’s hair, and it doesn’t have any fragrance for making your hair smell fresh. However, it’s an excellent option for growing your hair, as it doesn’t tighten it up with parabens and harmful chemicals.   

4. Best Shampoo Bar: Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar

Best Shampoo Bar
Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar
Pros:
  • Non-toxic and biodegradable.
  • Made specifically for dreadlocks.
  • Great for the scalp.
Cons:
  • It takes a lot of work to get used to.
  • May cause residue over time.
  • The smell tends to fade over time.
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If you prefer shampoo bars over shampoos for your locs, this is the one for you. User reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with only 1% of the reviews being 1-star. 

To use this shampoo bar, make sure you lather the soap in your hands and then rub the soap into your hair using your hands. If you rub the bar directly on your locs, you’ll get an oily residue that sticks to the hair. 

The ingredients of this soap are primarily organic. It includes palm and coconut oil and essential oils for scent. The scent is rosemary, tree tea oil, and peppermint. If you don’t like those scents, you may not like the scent of this shampoo. 

5. Best for Hair Detox: Peculiar Roots Detox Shampoo for Locs

Best for Hair Detox
Peculiar Roots Detox Shampoo for Locs
Pros:
  • A delightful coconut scent.
  • Black charcoal for detoxing.
  • It's an anti-dandruff shampoo.
Cons:
  • It isn't specific to one type of locs.
  • The company removes poor reviews from their page.
  • It can be costly for the size (8 oz).
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This detoxing charcoal loc shampoo is perfect for those looking for a cleanse. You shouldn’t use this shampoo regularly, as it can strip the hair over time. Instead, it should be used for a one-time cleanse when your hair gets build-up or full of dirt and products. 

Peculiar Roots advertises this product as organic and chemical-free, with a powerful detoxing effect. The company does suggest using their conditioner alongside the shampoo, but that’s up to you.  

6. Best for Kids With Locs: SoCozy Curl Shampoo for Kids

Best for Kids With Locs
SoCozy Curl Shampoo for Kids
Pros:
  • Made specifically for kids with curly and afro-textured hair.
  • No parabens, dyes, or harmful chemicals.
  • Salon-tested and approved.
Cons:
  • It doesn't work as well on fine curly hair.
  • Some reviewers don't like the smell.
  • Doesn't moisturize as well as others.
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It’s hard to come by a good product for children with locs or afro-textured hair. This shampoo is excellent for your child with thick locs that needs a product specifically made for their hair. You can also use it on braids, naturally curly hair, and afros. 

Since this product is for children, it has a light floral smell and has fewer ingredients to ensure gentleness on their soft skin and scalp. You shouldn’t use this if you’re an adult, as it won’t clean your hair as thoroughly. 

Finding the Best Shampoo for Locs for You

Best shampoo products for dreadlocks on a white counter with hex tile backsplash
Igisheva Maria/Shutterstock

When shopping for shampoo for locs, you should keep several factors in mind. Locs are an essential protective hairstyle and can also be an excellent way to show your personality and style.

However, without the proper care, your locs can get dry, waxy, smelly, or even not hold their pattern. Here are some of the top tips for buying loc shampoos:

Look for Shampoo Specific to Your Hair Type

Although many shampoos advertise for “all locs,” it’s challenging to offer a product that can target the different necessities of each hair type in one bottle. For this reason, you should look for a shampoo that is ideal for you. 

Afro-Texture and Thick Curly Hair 

If you have afro-textured hair, look for shampoos for thick locs, curly hair, dreadlocks, and tight locs. You’ll want to find one that offers moisture and cleansing for your specific hair pattern. 

Thin/Medium Straight, Wavy, and Curly Hair 

If you have thinner hair, whether it’s straight, wavy, or curly, you should go for a shampoo made for faux locs or curly hair that offers moisture, but not too much. 

Oily Hair or Scalp

If you’re someone who has oily hair or an oily scalp, you’ll want a shampoo that strips moisture but still provides the proper ingredients to protect your locs. You can check with a salon to find specific products for unique hair types. 

Focus on the Wash, Not the Product 

With locs, you may feel tempted to use a ton of product right off the bat. However, it’s best to wash your locs with mostly water and use the shampoo as a helpful tool. In most hair, locs are already a protective style and will keep your hair from being damaged or overly dirty. 

Wash your hair using the loc-specific shampoo of your choice only after deeply wetting your hair and scalp. Use the product once, and refrain from using a conditioner, unless you need the extra moisture. 

Look for Healthy Ingredients

Your loc shampoo shouldn’t contain any harmful chemicals or ingredients. Avoid shampoos that have the following elements: 

  • Parabens
  • Sodium sulfates
  • Carrier oils
  • Sodium chloride
  • Silicone
  • Alcohol
  • Non-organic ingredients

Look for loc shampoos that contain: 

  • Essential oils 
  • Coconut or tea tree oil 
  • Herb extracts
  • Shea butter or honey

Not all organic ingredients are suitable for your hair (carrier oils), so make sure you’re looking at the ingredients, even if the product advertises itself as “organic.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

Man smiling because he just used the best dreadlock shampoo
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Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about loc shampoos for you to learn even more about these essential products. 

What is the best shampoo and conditioner for locs?

Our pick for the best shampoo for locs is the Dollylocks shampoo, as it has lots of great reviews from people with all types of hair and has high-quality ingredients made to protect locs specifically. It also smells great. 

If you’re looking for an excellent conditioner for locs, Dollylocks has a conditioner in the same scent options as their shampoo.  

Can you use any shampoo on locs? 

You shouldn’t use regular shampoo for your locs. Regular shampoos often have ingredients such as sulfates or parabens that are incredibly harmful to your hair. You shouldn’t even use shampoos from salons for non-locked hair, as they’re not made specifically for your hair type. 

How often should you shampoo your locs? 

You should wash your locs every 2-3 weeks. However, if you find that your hair is smelling bad, has a lot of residue or products in it, or isn’t locking as you want it to, you might benefit from a wash or a cleanse more often. Afro-textured hair may need less frequent washings. 

What should I wash my locs with? 

Wash your locs with a loc-specific shampoo or conditioner. If you don’t have those or don’t want to use them, you can wash your hair with an apple cider or baking soda and water mix. These organic products can strip your hair of harmful oils and debris. 

Do locs need conditioner?

You should only use conditioner once your locs have wholly formed. Those with afro-textured or thick hair textures will do best with a conditioner. Those with thin hair textures shouldn’t use a conditioner often or at all.  

So, What’s the Best Shampoo for Locs? 

Our pick for the best overall shampoo for locs is the Dollylocks Shampoo for Dreadlocks. Their formula, scent, and organic composition make for an excellent shampoo that works for many different types of hair. Try them today to see if it works for you.\

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