7 Best Shampoo for Dreads: Treat your Locs

black man with dreads

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best shampoo for dreads is, then we recommend the SheaMoisture African Water Mint Detox & Refresh Shampoo as the best one.

Dreads are great if you take care of them properly. When you do not take care of them, they can seriously affect your overall look negatively. One of the most essential parts of taking care of them is selecting the best shampoo for dreads. 

In this article, we are going to review the following Shampoos for dreadlocks




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SheaMoisture African Water Mint Detox & Refresh Shampoo
  • Affordable and long-lasting
  • Helps to detoxify your scalp and hair
  • Leaves your hair feeling soft
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Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
  • Reduces the amount of deep cleaning you need to do
  • The product washes out thoroughly
  • Does not contain harsh chemicals
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Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar
  • Helps promote healthy hair and scalp
  • Helps to develop tight dreads
  • Can be used on the whole body
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PURA D’OR Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Shampoo
  • Biotin helps to strengthen your hair
  • Helps to maintain a healthy scalp
  • Contains natural DHT blockers
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Jamaican Mango And Lime Tingle Shampoo
  • Good at removing residue
  • Appealing smell
  • Gives a gentle, tingling sensation
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Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend
  • Pleasant, light smell
  • Detoxifies your hair
  • Affordable
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Free And Clear Hair Shampoo
  • Free from sulfates and perfumes
  • Effective at removing residue
  • Suitable for people with sensitive skin

What Makes the Best Shampoo for Dreads

You need a shampoo that is going to deep clean your dreads without leaving any residue. If the product you use does not wash out thoroughly, you will be left with heavy dreads that are sticky and flakey. Some products are also very drying, and ingredients that dry your scalp will make it itch. 

Ingredients that Work Well

There are a few ingredients that you want to look out for in a shampoo for your dreads. These ingredients will help you get a deep-down clean that feels great. Some of the best ingredients are: 

  • Tea Tree Oil 
  • Argan Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Coconut Oil

Ingredients to Avoid

You also want to make sure that the shampoo you use is free of harsh chemicals and anything that leaves a waxy residue. The ingredients you want to stay away from if you are looking for the best shampoo for dreads are: 

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens 
  • Alcohol 
  • Artificial fragrances
  • Formaldehyde
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

How Often Should You Clean Your Dreads?

You should wash your dreads at least every couple of days and go no more than a week without shampooing. The longer you go between washes, the more oil and debris will build up in your hair, and the harder they will be to clean. 

In addition to regular cleaning, you should do deep cleaning of your dreads from time to time because even the best shampoo for dreads cannot get them completely clean on the inside. 

If you maintain your dreads properly regularly, you will not need to do as many deep cleanses. However, you should do at least a couple of deep washes with baking soda and apple cider vinegar at least a few times a year in addition to regular shampooing. 

You always want to make sure that your dreads smell fresh. So, washing them before they start to get any kind of odor is a good idea. If you notice a weird smell from your hair, you want to make sure you wash and dry them properly as soon as possible. 

How to Shampoo Your Dreads

It is crucial to shampoo your dreads properly. If you do not wash them correctly, you could end up doing more harm than good. Each step in the process is essential if you want to have clean and healthy dreadlocks.

Get Your Hair Wet

Getting your hair wet is not easy when you have dreads. You may have to submerge your hair in water rather than just run the shower over your head. However, getting your dreads wet will help you work up a good lather. You also want to use water that is warm but not too hot. Extremely hot water can irritate your scalp and dry your hair. 

Wash Your Scalp 

Washing your scalp is important because it will keep your scalp healthy and prevent scalp conditions that could lead to hair loss. Some common scalp problems you could have are: 

Each of these three scalp problems is a concern. However, folliculitis and tinea capitis are the two that are most concerning. Both can be the result of a bacterial or fungal infection. They can cause unsightly patches on your scalp and flaking, as well. 

Work The Shampoo Into Your Dreads

After thoroughly washing your scalp, you need to work the shampoo into your dreads. Make sure you get a good lather and work out the dirt out. 

Rinse Shampoo Thoroughly

Once you get the shampoo worked into your dreads, you need to wash the shampoo out thoroughly. You will want to rinse your dreads out several times until the water runs clean and your scalp is completely clear of any shampoo or dirt. 

Dry Your Dreads

One of the most important parts of washing your dreads is to make sure they are completely dry. If you do not dry your dreads properly, they can rot inside. That is the absolute worst thing that can happen when you have worked hard to develop beautiful locks. 

To dry your dreads, it is vital to wring them out as soon as you finish shampooing them. By wringing them out, you reduce the amount of water. Then, you want to towel dry them to get even more of the water out. You can do this by grabbing a few dreads and patting them with a dry towel. 



When you finish towel drying your dreads, you need to either let them air dry or dry them with a blowdryer. The length of time that it takes to dry your dreads will depend on the thickness and the tightness of your locks. 

Whatever you do, do not go to bed with your dreads wet or tie them back when they are wet. Doing this is almost always a recipe for disaster. 

Now that we have all of that out of the way. You need to know what shampoos are the best so you can pick the right one for caring for your hair. So here are some that are the best at getting the job done. Some of these are better than others, but we get into all of that, so you know what is the best shampoo for dreadlocks. 

Best Shampoo for Dreads on the Market Today


Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo 


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Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo is one of the absolute best shampoos you can use on your dreads. It is full of high-quality essential oils that are great for fighting off fungus and bacteria. I like this product because it leaves your hair feeling fresh and light. 

If you suffer from flakes or itching, this shampoo does a great job of fixing those issues. While shampooing your scalp, you will notice a cooling almost tingling effect that is nice. Even after you get out of the shower, you can still feel this product working on your scalp. 

I have not had experience with lice in my dreads. However, this product is supposed to fight off lice, which is good because if you get bugs in your dreads, they are almost impossible to remove.

Another thing I like about this shampoo is that it does not use sulfates, parabens, or silicons. So, there is very little to no buildup. It does not lather as much as some other products because it lacks many of the harsh chemicals that give it a good lather. However, you can tell that it does an excellent job of getting your hair and scalp clean. 

The only real downfall is the smell. There is a really strong herbal smell with this shampoo. However, it is not too bad. It smells fresh because of all the tea tree oil. Plus, the price of this shampoo is affordable for anyone. 


  • It does a great job of getting your dreads clean and reduces the amount of deep cleaning you need to do.
  • This shampoo fights many ailments people with dreads have to worry about. 
  • The product washes out thoroughly without too much effort.
  • It does not contain harsh chemicals, including parabens, silicons, or sulfates. 


  • This shampoo can cause allergies to people with sensitive skin.
  • It has a strong smell that some people might not like.  
  • If you have any open sores, it will burn. 

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar

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Notty Boy is a brand that makes dreadlock care products. So, this product is made, especially for people with locked hair. I like that the makers created this product specifically for locks. The ingredients are also great. The bar has a ton of beneficial ingredients like coconut oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, and peppermint oil.  

The formula is free of most harsh chemicals. It is perfect for people with new dreads. However, if your dreads are more mature, this is not the ideal product to use. 

The reason this product is not great for more mature dreads is that it is challenging to clean out of your hair. It takes a while to get it washed out thoroughly. When you finally get the product out of your hair, it leaves your hair feeling pretty dry. 

Shampoo bars are not for everyone. It is easy to get too much of the product in your dreads. So, if you are using this product, do not just use the bar directly on your scalp or hair. You want to rub the bar between your hands to develop a lather. Then, use the lather by working it into your scalp and your locks. 

Doing this will help you get enough of the product in your hair without getting any clumps or leaving an excessive amount of buildup. 


  • The smell is mild and appealing. 
  • The formula contains ingredients that help promote healthy hair and scalp. 
  • It helps to develop tight dreads, so it is excellent for people who are just starting this hairstyle. 
  • You can use it on your whole body. 


  • Not a great option for people with more mature locks because it is hard to rinse out thoroughly. 
  • Shampoo bars are not for everyone, and it is easy to get too much of the product in your dreads if you are not careful. 
  • For the price, this product goes fast.

Read other reviews here on Amazon

SheaMoisture African Water Mint Detox & Refresh Shampoo

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SheaMoisture makes some great products for curly hair, and the African Water Mint Detox & Refresh Shampoo is one of the best products in their line for dreadlocked hair. This shampoo has an appealing smell. 

It also contains ingredients that make your scalp healthy. I like that this product contains activated charcoal because it absorbs oil and helps to detoxify your hair, eliminating the need for frequent deep cleanings. 

The African water mint and ginger give this product a tingling effect on your scalp that feels nice. There are also no harsh chemicals because this shampoo is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, and propylene glycol. 

Rinsing this product out is easy, and it leaves minimal buildup. Plus, it is not overly drying, which is nice. It does contain menthol, which adds to the sensation it gives when you are washing with it. However, it can irritate some people.  

That being said, if you are only experiencing a mild case of itchy or dry scalp and you do not have any sores, this product is excellent for combating that before it gets out of hand. It is a great everyday shampoo for people with dreads at all stages. 


  • This product is affordable and long-lasting. 
  • The ingredients help to detoxify your scalp and hair. 
  • There are very few chemicals. 
  • This shampoo leaves your hair feeling soft without a lot of buildup. 


  • It can bother some people’s scalp if they have severe irritation. 
  • You might be allergic to some of the ingredients. 
  • The mint smell is strong, and some people might find it overpowering. 

Read other reviews here on Amazon

PURA D’OR Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Shampoo


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PURA D’OR Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Shampoo is not specifically a dreadlock shampoo. However, it is an excellent shampoo for locked hair, especially if you are experiencing hair loss. This shampoo has a ton of beneficial ingredients that help to prevent hair from falling out and to maintain healthy locks. 

It also helps to fight common problems like folliculitis, dandruff, and tinea capitis, which can wreak havoc on your scalp. So, if you are at a point where you need something that is nourishing and gives you extra protection, you might want to give this shampoo a try. 

The natural ingredients like nettle extract, black cumin, and pumpkin seed oil are calming to the skin. It also has argan oil that conditions your hair without leaving heavy residue behind, and there are more than a dozen other ingredients that are beneficial to your hair. 

All of that does come at a price, though. PUR A’DOR is one of the more expensive shampoos that is suitable for locked hair. However, when you need something more powerful, that has a lot of natural ingredients, you are going to pay for that. 


  • This is an excellent product for people with thinning hair. 
  • Biotin helps to strengthen your hair. 
  • Zinc and vitamin E oil help to maintain a healthy scalp. 
  • It contains natural DHT blockers, which help to keep hair from falling out. 


  • This product is a bit pricey for everyday use. 
  • All of the oils do leave some residue. 
  • Better for combating scalp and hair issues than for everyday use. 

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo


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The Jamaican Mango and Lime Tingle Shampoo is perfect for stripping out a lot of residue in your dreads. It has a pretty decent smell, and it is an affordable option. 

However, there are some issues with this product. It does not contain all-natural ingredients. Plus, with extended use, it causes your hair to become dry and might even cause breakage or frizz in your dreads. 

While you do not want a lot of buildup in your locks, you do need some natural oils to protect your hair and keep the dreads tight. When you use this product over some time, you might notice that your hair starts to come undone, which is the last thing you want when you have worked hard on your dreads. 

So, when you use this product, look out for that. If you notice that your hair is starting to get dry or your locks are not as tight, switch to a different shampoo for a while and save this one for when you need to strip your dreads of any buildup. 


  • It is good at removing residue. 
  • The smell is appealing. 
  • It feels good on your scalp and gives a gentle, tingling sensation. 


  • Over time, this product can dry your hair. 
  • This shampoo is not all-natural. 
  • You might notice some breakage with extended use.

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend 

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While Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo is not specifically made for dreadlocks, this one is worth mentioning. It is excellent for frequent use, does not leave buildup, and it contains Apple Cider Vinegar, which is great for maintaining healthy locks. 

The smell is also really mild yet pleasant. Plus, this shampoo is not irritating, so if you have scalp issues, this shampoo can help combat them without burning like some other options. 

There are not a ton of essential oils that are known to be good for fighting off fungus, though, so this one is better for use as a regular shampoo, or use when your scalp cannot handle a product with more potent ingredients.


  • It has a pleasant, light smell. 
  • This product contains Apple Cider Vinegar, which detoxifies your hair. 
  • Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend is affordable. 


  • It does not contain a lot of essential oils. 
  • It does leave some buildup after extended use. 

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Free and Clear Hair Shampoo


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Free and Clear Hair Shampoo is a good product for people who are just starting with dreads. It gives your hair and scalp a thorough clean, and it is free from a lot of unnecessary additives like sulfates and perfumes. 

However, it does contain some chemicals that are not great for locks. It also does not sud very much, so it is challenging to work through more mature locks. It just does not seem like it is penetrating your hair well when you have more mature dreads. 

It also does not contain essential oils, which can be beneficial for older locks, but all around it is a decent shampoo for beginners who are looking for a shampoo that will remove residue and prevent flakes. 


  • It is free from sulfates and perfumes. 
  • It is effective at removing residue. 
  • The formula is suitable for people with sensitive skin. 


  • It does not have a fresh smell. 
  • There are no beneficial essential oils. 
  • Not great for dreads at all stages. 

Read other reviews here on Amazon


After trying each of these products, I like the SheaMoisture African Water Mint Detox and Refresh Shampoo. It is perfect for regular use, yet it does not leave too much residue. It also keeps your hair hydrated, and it smells great. 

The price is also affordable, and this shampoo goes a long way. It gets the job done effectively, and it does not contain too many ingredients, so it minimizes the chance that you will be allergic to something in the formula. 

Another great thing about the Shea Moisture shampoo is that it fights off many of the problems people with dreads face like hair damage, scalp problems, and dandruff. So, if you are looking for the best shampoo for locs, this is a great option that will keep them healthy and nourished.

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