13 Best Shampoos For Dreadlocks 2024

13 Best Shampoos For Dreadlocks 2024

Dreadlocks are one of the coolest hairstyles with cultural and spiritual significance. They are matted or braided chunks of hair that usually look like a rope. 

However, unlike conventional hairstyles, they do not need to be brushed or trimmed on a regular basis.

Maintaining them can be a little tedious and they are prone to dandruff, irritations and can even cause bacterial infections on the scalp and hair. 

If you're planning to opt for dreadlocks, then make sure you use the right shampoos for dreadlocks to keep them clean and build-up free.

Shampoos For Dreadlocks Best For Chief Ingredients
Best Shampoo For Starter Dreads: Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo Dry scalps Moringa Seed Oil, Manuka Honey
Best For Oily Hair: Dreadhead HQ Dread Dreadlock Soap Sensitive scalps Organic Coconut-based Surfactants
Best Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Type 4 hair Saponified Oils of Olive, Castor Bean & Hemp Seed
Best For Sensitive Scalp: Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar Dandruff-prone scalps Rosemary Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil
Best Shampoo for Caucasian Dreads: Dollylocks Coconut Lime Grapefruit Shampoo Bar Type 3 hair Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Castor Oil, Grapefruit Extracts
Best Shampoo for Dry Hair: Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo Daily use Coconut Extracts
Best Shampoo For Dreads and Dandruff: Dollylocks Tea Tree Spearmint Dreadlock Shampoo Oily scalps Tea Tree Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Spearmint
Best For Removing Product Buildup: Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo Product build-up Coconut, Avocado, Almond Oil
Best Shampoos For Dreads Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo Dollylocks Tea Tree Spearmint Dreadlock Shampoo Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo
Clarifying 4/5 5/5 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5
Ingredients 4.5/5 5/5 4/5 4.5/5 3.5/5
Gentle On Scalp 4/5 3.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 3.5/5
Price 3.5/5 4/5 5/5 4/5 5/5
Is It Sulfate-Free Yes Yes No Yes No

At A Glance:

  • After looking at several shampoos in the market and testing them out on factors like ingredients, gentleness, etc. I’ve found that the Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo is the best shampoo for dreadlocks.
  • The Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo does not leave any residue on the hair. It contains a blend of herbal ingredients that are gentle on the scalp.
  • The product helps control inflammation too . This shampoo helps keep dreadlocks looking great.
  • You need a separate shampoo for your dreads as most regular shampoos even the sulfate-free ones contain other ingredients that are too harsh on dreads. They might also loosen your dreads.
  • When choosing a shampoo for dreads choose products that are sulfate-free, salt-free, extra-moisturizing, contain natural oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.

Top Shampoos For Dreadlocks

How To Select The Right Shampoo For Dreadlocks?

A regular shampoo will not be effective on dreadlocks. These contain harsh ingredients like sulfates that leave your type 4 hair very dry and prone to breakage. They also do not help tighten your dreadlocks and will leave them tangled and frizzy. So here is a guide on how to select your cleansing product for dreads.

  • The shampoo must be moisturizing - African American hair needs more nourishment. This means your shampoo should contain ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, mango butter, etc. that will retain moisture in your tresses and give your dreads the slip they need.
  • The shampoo should contain harsh ingredients - So the shampoo for dreads must always be free of SLS and SLES. It should also be free of alcohol, perfumes, and other such hidden components that can dry it out in the long run.
  • It shouldn't cause product buildup - Dreads are not washed often like straight hair. So it is imperative that the shampoo shouldn't contain silicones that will leave residue on hair.
  • The shampoo should cleanse scalp but gently - A good shampoo for dreads should cleanse your hair but not strip it out it's natural oils. So cleansing agents like coconut-derived surfactants, soapnut, salicylic acid are all great ingredients to be present in dreads shampoo.

How often should I wash my dreadlocks in a week?

It is important to keep your dreadlocks clean and free from dirt, dust and debris to maintain healthy and strong locks. The frequency with which you should wash your dreadlocks depends on your individual scalp and hair type.

Generally, it is recommended to wash them about once or twice a week. However, if you have an oily scalp, you may opt to wash them more frequently. In addition, after working out and sweating, you may want to go ahead and wash them then.

Why can't I use a regular shampoo on my dreadlocks?

Wondering why a special shampoo for dreads is needed? Well, regular shampoos have a lot of cleansing agents that help remove dirt, grease, and even hair's natural oils along with the debris. This isn't good for dreads as you need your hair matted and oiled up. You just need something to cleanse your scalp to keep it healthy and a sulfate-free, gentle dreadlocks shampoo will do the job.
A regular shampoo is filled with sulfates and contains other components like alcohol and perfumes, (which dry out the hair) and silicones (which makes hair slippery, causing knots to come undone).
So you'll have to skip shampoos like these as they will make hair too "clean", dry and slippery and not make your dreads matte or the knots tightened at the scalp.

Is it okay to use a shampoo bar on your dreadlocks?

Using a shampoo bar on dreadlocks is a great choice. While it is important to use natural oils and waxes to help dreads form and mature, a shampoo bar can be an effective tool for removing dirt and product build-up without over-drying or damaging your locs.
The key is to avoid traditional sulfate-based shampoos, which can strip the hair of its natural oils. Opt for a mild shampoo bar specifically designed for dreadlocks, as that will help dreads maintain their shape and structure.
Additionally, it is important to use a conditioner or a moisturizer after shampooing to ensure your dreadlocks stay healthy and hydrated.

Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo

Best Shampoos For Dreadlocks

The first shampoo I tried out on my dreads was the Mango and Lime shampoo by Jamaican. I found this shampoo one of the best ones I've used as it manages to be both clarifying and nourishing at the same time.

So this products top priority is to moisturize your scalp and keep it flake-free.

Mango seed oil is also rich in vitamins and minerals and provides numerous benefits to your hair such as preventing dandruff, nourishing your hair, accelerating hair growth etc.

And the manuka honey helps in hydrating your hair by absorbing and retaining moisture. 

I could feel the effects of these ingredients on my hair on the first wash itself.

hydrating shampoo for dreadlocks

If you have a dry and flaky scalp, this is one of the best products for you.

I also found this shampoo to be excellent at cleansing my dreads and removing any product buildup that might be present on your scalp. 

One of the most interesting things I found was the inclusion of menthol in the shampoo. Now this ingredient is really good at any infections or irritations on scalps.

So summarizing, I liked this shampoo as it contains a lot of natural ingredients that will nourish your scalp.

I also give it extra points for being suitable for all types of hair (type 4a, 4b and 4c curls).

If I had one issue with this shampoo it's the inclusion of sulfates. Why just why! If you have coloured hair, I suggest you avoid this one as the sulfates will strip hair color.

Also folks with really sensitive scalps should try something milder like the sulfate-free Dollylocks shampoo.


  • Relieves dandruff and itching thanks its mango seed oil formula
  • Soothing fragrance that is not overwhelming


  • Contains sulphates that strip hair color and moisture

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 3.5/5
  • Moisturizing - 4/5

Dreadhead HQ Dread Dreadlock Soap

best shampoo for dreads

This is a cult favourite for many people with dreadlocks. And one of my go-to products when I wear my hair in locs or other protective styles.

The one problem I've always faced with dreadlocks is keeping clean and make sure that there are no product residues on them. This can get difficult as most products for 4c hair are very nourishing and heavy.

So thank goodness for this shampoo! It left my dreadlocks squeaky clean and nourished. I really liked that the shampoo is free of oil and residue which actually made my dreads even tighter! 

There's also good news for sensitive scalp folks as this shampoo does not contain harmful ingredients such as dyes, fragrances, phosphates and oxidizers. Phew! That was a long list!

Also, this is also a 100% vegan product.

I would suggest using this shampoo if you have a sensitive scalp or want a clarifying product that will remove product build-up.

This shampoo took some time to show effects on my hair. It doesn't contain silicones so you won't find that immediate glossy, smooth shine on your dreads after the first wash.

But don't give up on it and use it for a few wash cycles as it helps dreads considerably.


  • Does not leave residue on hair as it's silicone-free
  • Oil-free formula is lightweight on hair
  • Tightens your dreads and locks hairstyles in place


  • Doesn’t help with frizz immediately as it doesn't contain silicones

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4.5/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 4/5
  • Moisturizing - 4/5

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo

knotty boy dreadlock shampoo

I was looking for a thoroughly clarifying shampoo for my dreads that doesn't contain sulfates and that's when I stumbled across the Knotty Boy shampoo.

I simply loved it! It's guaranteed to give you mint fresh, sparkling clean dreadlocks as it contains saponified oils (which act like a milder form of surfactants).

Most people with African American hair either use a curly-hair shampoo or a clarifying scalp cleanser. So it was nice to use a product that has been specifically made for dreaded hair.

Oh, and it left my hair smelling amazing as it is formulated with a blend of rosemary, peppermint and tea tree essential oils. No perfumes here!

So all those sensitive scalp folks can use it without a hitch! I found the shampoo removes any itchiness, irritation, flakiness and inflammation from your scalp. 

There is more to it, you can also use it as a body wash! I've actually tried this in the shower. But found the cost of using this product for both hair and body was not at all feasible. But hey, you can do it as the shampoo's really moisturizing on skin as well.

Oh, and bonus points to this shampoo for being biodegradable and non-toxic. It's good to see the environment being cared for!


  • Biodegradable shampoo is good for environment
  • Specifically created for dreadlocks so it suits your hair's needs
  • Pleasant smell that is not artifically added
  • Can be used at a body wash too
  • Does not contain SLS so it's safe to use on colored hair


  • Not recommended for extremely sensitive scalp

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 3.5/5
  • Moisturizing - 4.5/5

Dollylocks Coconut Lime Grapefruit Shampoo Bar

black owned shampoo for locs

I was at first hesitant to use a shampoo bar as I had never done so before. But this shampoo bar is created using plant-based ingredients so I was intrigued.

I liked that the ingredients include coconut, which is a nourishing ingredient for the hair. It provides hydration to the hair and prevents scalp inflammation. 

It also has sea salt which helps in relieving irritation, dryness, flakiness, dandruff and bringing volume to your hair.

After using this bar, I noticed that it also assists in tightening the dreadlocks. My favorite thing about this shampoo is lightweight, residue-free and cleans your dreadlocks thoroughly.

It also has a very refreshing scent that will make you feel fresh the whole day. 

This is also a sustainable option for those who want to make the switch from bottled shampoos.


  • Sustainable packaging that is eco friendly
  • Pleasant smell without the use of perfumes
  • Contains coconut oil and mango seed oil that nourish without leaving residue
  • Lightweight so it's good for type 3 hair
  • Hypoallergic so you can use for sensitive scalps


  • Expensive

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 4/5
  • Moisturizing - 4/5

Loc Medic Hydramint Shampoo

Loc Medic Hydramint Shampoo review

I recently decided to give the Loc Medic Hydramint Shampoo a try. In just one using my locks were as soft as a baby's bottom and I was amazed.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the bottle was the beautiful scent. It smelled of sweet mint and it was very soothing. After wetting my hair, I applied the shampoo and lathered it up. It was thick and creamy and spread evenly through my hair. It was surprisingly easy to distribute and felt great.

Once I had lathered up, I took a break for a few minutes before rinsing it out. The wash felt very effective and when I rinsed it out my locks felt nice and clean.

The Hydramint Shampoo worked wonders because it helped to get rid of the build up on my scalp and rid my dreadlocks of a lot of gunk that had built up over the years. After rinsing out the shampoo, I applied the accompanying Loc Medic Peacemaker Conditioner and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out.

When it came time to dry my hair, I was pleased to find that the Hydramint Shampoo had done such a great job. My locks were soft, manageable and felt cleaned all the way through. What was even better, is that my dreadlocks smell good all day long after using this shampoo, something that was not possible with some others I had tried.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with the Loc Medic Hydramint Shampoo. Its natural ingredients work together beautifully, leaving my hair clean, soft and manageable.

The smell is also delightful and I can hardly wait to wash my hair with it again. For anyone looking for a good quality shampoo to keep their dreadlocks looking and feeling great, I highly recommend this product.


  • Lightweight and won't laeve residue
  • Cleans well despite being sulfate-free
  • Pleasant mint smell


  • None, according to me

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4.5/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 4.5/5
  • Moisturizing - 3.5/5

Twisted Sister Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo

Twisted Sister Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo review

I recently tried the Twisted Sister Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo for dreadlocks, and am absolutely in love with the results. It is an incredible product that does exactly what it promises - it provides an effective cleanse for your dreadlocks without stripping them of moisture or causing any damage.

From the first use, I was taken aback by the scent of the product. It has a beautiful, natural aroma with subtle notes of lavender and rosemary, which makes it very soothing and calming to your senses. This scent alone is enough to make it stand out from other shampoos in the market.

The shampoo itself is very thick and creamy, which lathers up nicely on the hair. It is gentle enough that it can be used on a daily basis, if needed, yet powerful enough to really cleanse the scalp and hair without over-drying or leaving a sticky or greasy residue. It is absolutely perfect for those who are looking for a shampoo that will keep their dreadlocks soft, clean and healthy.

When I used the shampoo, my dreadlocks felt noticeably softer and looked more vibrant. It is great for those with sensitive scalps, as it is free of harsh chemicals and preservatives, but still very effective in cleansing and removing any buildup. I also felt like it gave my dreadlocks more definition, making them look much more visually appealing.

The Twisted Sister Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo has become my go-to shampoo for my dreadlocks needs


  • Strong clarifying shampoo cleanses buildup
  • Coconut, avocado, and almond oil in the shampoo helps moisturize hair
  • Sulfate-free despite being strongly clarifying


  • Not for regular use especially if you have dry scalp

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4.5/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 4./5
  • Moisturizing - 4.5/5

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar

knotty boy dreadlock shampoo bar

After my previous success with a shampoo bar, I thought I'll try another. So this is another sustainable option for your dreadlocks. 

I was impressed that is the world’s first shampoo bar that is exclusively formulated for dreadlocks and keeps your scalp free from dandruff, itchiness, flaky scalp, irritations etc.

I also liked that this is a 100% natural shampoo bar that leaves no residues. 

The main ingredients are essential oils of rosemary, peppermint and tea tree that fights inflammation on the scalp. 

What I found interesting about this product is that it can be also used on your body. So lazy peeps you've found your favorite.!

shampoo bar for dreads

My favorite part about this soap bar is that does not contain SLS or any chemical agents. It is also biodegradable and mountain-stream friendly. 

However, the bar is high-foaming as compared to the liquid shampoo because of the difference in formula.

I had just one complaint though, after using for several weeks, I noticed that there was a bit of residue left behind. And I had to use a clarifying shampoo every fortnight. If not for this, this bar would have been a 10/10 in my books.


  • Biodegradable, 100% natural, and non-toxic formula
  • Pleasant fragrance without use of perfumes
  • Soothes scalp as it contains peppermint oil
  • SLS-free formula makes it good for coloured dreads


  • Prolonged use may leave some residue

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 3.5/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 4/5
  • Moisturizing - 4/5

Dollylocks Shampoo Tea Tree Spearmint Dreadlock Shampoo

best shampoo for locs

Dollylocks has some great products for dreadlocks and this is one of them.

I really like that the shampoo is available in four different sizes and for first-time users, so I bought the smallest one, 30 ml to see if it work for me or not. 

I loved how the shampoo has tea tree essential oil which is useful in getting rid of any kind of scalp irritations such as itchiness, flakiness, dryness, irritation etc. 

It is an antibacterial agent and helps in unclogging hair follicles. It also leaves my hair feeling fresh after the wash.

tea tree shampoo for dreads

The Spearmint essential also acts as a soothing ingredient that relieves irritations. This is a clarifying shampoo made up of plant based ingredients.

It also leaves a pleasant smell that makes you smell fresh throughout the day. 

If you have a sensitive scalp that is easily prone to inflammations, this shampoo will not aggravate your tissues since it is hypoallergenic.

However, this product hasn't got a lot of nourishing ingredients. So it's not the best thing for dry or damaged hair. If you have oily scalps or use a lot of products and want to prevent residue this is your go-to product.


  • Hypoallergenic so it's good for sensitive scalps
  • Contains tea tree that helps in eliminating dandruff
  • Weightless so it's good for oily hair
  • Residue-free shampoo that also clarifies hair


  • Does not lather well (as it's sulfate-free)

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4.5/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 3.5/5
  • Moisturizing - 3.5/5

Knatty Dread Dreadlocks Shampoo

best shampoo and conditioner for dreadlocks

There are high chances that your dreads might can develop a coating of a thin layer of oil or other ingredients from hair products. 

This shampoo helps in cleaning your dreads by focusing on removing these residues.

This shampoo provides numerous benefits to your locks such as tightening the lock, making it thicker and fuller and helps your dreads dry faster and cleaner. 

It will also help in locking the dreads at the roots easily by cleaning them thoroughly. 

This shampoo does not contain coconut surfactants or saponified oils. 

I liked how iIt is unscented so it leaves your hair smelling fresh and natural. And this means its safe for sensitive scalp folks too.

It can be used on all types of dreadlocks and accelerates the growth of locks.


  • Unscented
  • Tightens your locks
  • Residue-free
  • Does not contain saponified oils
  • Suitable for all types of dreadlocks


  • Expensive 

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 4.5/5
  • Moisturizing - 4/5

Dollylocks Locking Powder sulfate-free shampoo for locs

black-owned shampoo for locs

This is for those days when you are too lazy to wash your hair but you need to get rid of that greasy unwashed look. 

This dry shampoo works perfectly to mask your unwashed dreads. It contains organic ingredients and essential oils that provide nourishment.

This product is best suited for dreads that are brown coloured. It absorbs the excess oils on your dreads and tames unruly strands.


  • Time-saving 
  • Contains organic ingredients
  • Tightens dreads
  • Suitable for all hair types


  • Expensive

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4.5/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 3.5/5
  • Moisturizing - 3.5/5

Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo

best shampoo for dreads and dandruff

This is a sulphate-free clarifying shampoo. 

This shampoo is infused with the goodness of nourishing ingredients such as coconut oil, avocado oil and almond oil that help in locking in moisture on your hair.

You will also notice that your hair grows faster and your scalp has become healthier. 

The shampoo thoroughly cleanses your hair and leaves it squeaky clean. 

It also has a non-sticky, non-drying and lightweight formula that helps in tightening your dreadlocks.


  • Sulphate-free
  • Non-drying
  • Non-greasy
  • Contains Coconut, avocado and almond oil
  • Improves scalp health


  • The scent might be overpowering for some

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 4/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 5/5
  • Moisturizing - 3/5

Neutrogena Anti-residue Clarifying Shampoo

best shampoo for freeform dreads

This clarifying shampoo is free from artificial colours and dyes. It works effectively to remove any dirt, grease or product buildup in your dreadlocks. 

It claims to remove up to 90% of heavy, dulling residue caused by hair products like shampoos, conditioners, styling creams etc.

I suggest you use it once a week to remove the buildup that has gathered over the week instead of making it a daily use shampoo. Otherwise, it can get too drying.

clarifying shampoo for dreadlocks

This can be used on all hair types and it also helps in boosting the volume of your hair.


  • Does not contain artificial colours and dyes
  • Removes buildup
  • Gentle formula
  • Boosts volume


  • Can get drying if used everyday

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 5/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 3.5/5
  • Moisturizing - 3/5


Dr Bronner Shampoo For Locs Pure Castille Soap

Dr Bronner Shampoo For Locs  Pure Castille Soap

I've been using Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap for my locs for quite some time now, and I have to say, it's been a game-changer in my hair care routine.

One of the standout features of this shampoo is its versatility. It's an all-in-one product that can be used for everything from washing my locs to even cleaning my makeup brushes – talk about multi-purpose!

The natural ingredients in this soap, including organic oils like coconut, olive, and hemp, are gentle on my locs and scalp. It cleanses effectively without stripping away essential oils, which is crucial for maintaining healthy locs.

I appreciate that it's sulfate-free, which means it doesn't produce a lot of lather, but rest assured, it gets the job done. The mild, pleasant scent leaves my hair feeling clean and refreshed without being overpowering.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that it requires dilution, as it's highly concentrated. Using it straight out of the bottle can be too harsh on your locs, so dilute it with water, which also makes it more cost-effective.

Now, onto the pros and cons:


  1. Versatile and multi-purpose – great for both hair and body.
  2. Contains natural and organic ingredients that are gentle on locs.
  3. Sulfate-free, which prevents excessive drying of locs.
  4. Pleasant, mild scent.
  5. Available in various scents, allowing for personal preference.


  1. Requires dilution for hair use, which can be a bit of a learning curve.
  2. The concentrated formula can be harsh if not properly diluted.

My Ratings:

  • Residue-Free - 5/5
  • Mildy Cleansing - 3.5/5
  • Moisturizing - 3/5

FAQs about Shampoo For Dreads

What is a good residue free shampoo for dreads?

And there you have it! My list of the top shampoos for dreadlocks. 

Before you buy any product make sure it suits your scalp type and other needs. A good dreadlock shampoo should be cleansing without drying out hair.

And there is the matter of it fitting in your budget as well.  


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