Shampoo dreadlocks clean with the right hair care products

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Let's begin with the conclusion: you need to shampoo your dreadlocks regularly.

That "regular basis" will be different for everyone because it depends on several things like the age of your dreads, your lifestyle, and your personal preference.

If you have dreads that are less than a year old, then you may be concerned that your new, delicate locks will come undone when you shampoo dreadlocks. Temporarily wearing no-snag rubber bands on both the root and tip of each of the dreads may help reduce this problem.

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Dreadlock wearers with more mature locks don't have to worry about this. In fact, mature locks can be washed as much as everyday, if needed. Some wearers wash - or simply rinse water though their locks - every three to five days.

With new or mature locks, you should follow a good hair maintenance routine. To see what your routine should include, please follow this link to our article on dreadlock maintenance.

Dreadlock shampoo types

There are many different types of shampoos out there for those of us with a dreadlocks hair style.

You may have seen several dreadlock shampoo products online or in an offline beauty supply store or other hair product retailer.These shampoos have ingredients that are touted to help speed up the locking process.

But standard, mass-market shampoos may also work well to help shampoo dreadlocks and keep them clean.

You can find shampoos in the following formats:

  • Soap shampoo / bar shampoo

    The best thing about bar shampoo is that it's basically super concentrated liquid shampoo; the water sucked has been sucked out of it and shaped into a soap bar! Dreadlocks get lots of natural and organic attention with this bar format, too!

  • Liquid shampoo

    Shampoo in this format is the easiest to find and the one that most people are familiar with using.

  • Dry shampoo / aerosol shampoo

    In general, dry shampoo is great for camping because it takes up so little space and is less heavy. However, it's also great for when you don't want to go through the whole shampooing your hair in the shower rigmarole.

    Be careful about the amount you use though, because a little really does go a long way. The basic idea is to section the hair, sprinkle or spray the aerosol or dry shampoo onto your scalp and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Let it absorb all the excess oil from your scalp then bend over and shake it out with your fingers.

    You may also want to look around for colors other than the typical white, which works best for blonds. You might even consider dying it yourself.


Any dreadlock shampoo manufacturer will tell you that dreads with little or no residue will lock up more quickly. So whichever shampoo format you choose, you should always opt for a brand that won't leave residue behind.

Residue from shampoo that's left in your hair or hair products that haven't washed out well can lead to itchy scalp, which is fairly easy to handle.

A harder situation to handle is for the left over residue to remain in the core of your dreadlocks, trapping chemicals, dirt and dust in your mane.

Make sure that you're not fooled by naturally-based or herbal shampoos, as they can leave a residue too. The package should clearly state that the product is residue free shampoo.

Ideally, any product you will use to shampoo dreadlocks nicely will be made up of all-natural ingredients with no added scents, moisturizers or conditioners.

If you really want to have a scent in your shampoo, then get an essential oil and put a couple of drops in your shampoo bottle.

Essential oils are great and come in a very wide variety of scents that will get you in any mood you want from happy and perky to calm and relaxed.

So what's next?

After you shampoo dreadlocks (and use a conditioner if you're so inclined), make sure to dry them properly. Many lock wearers complain about lint in their locks and much of that lint can come from the towels used to dry hair after a shampoo.

Instead of a standard towel, get one that's lint free or that uses only fine, yet strong fibers. Check the link section below for some online references to get you started.

dread shampoo, residue free shampoo, shampoo dreads

So to conclude, "yes, yes, YES" you need to shampoo dreadlocks on a regular basis - ideally with a residue free product at least once a month - because washing is the foundation of a good dreadlock maintenance routine.


Links (each opens a new window)

» Check out the best shampoo bar I ever tried
» Finally! Dry shampoo that doesn't make your hair look dull and white

From this website

» You'll need to moisturize those locks after you shampoo
» Why add essential oils or carrier oils to your dreadlock products?
» What other products should you include in your routine?

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