The word "Malliá" means "hair" in Greek.
The word "Malliá" means "hair" in Greek.

Dreadlock Shampoo

Table of Contents

Knowing the right dreadlock shampoo to choose from varies as the needs of everyone’s hair and scalp can significantly vary from person to person. We all produce skin, hair, and natural oils differently. The way we wash our hair will depend on our combined education and what our hair needs. 

African woman washing hair in sink at salon by a loctitian.

In this article, we aim to educate more about different deadlock shampoos and how they can affect your hair differently. We also have comprised a list of the 5 best ways to wash those dreadlocks. 

DREADLOCKS SHAMPOO ACTS DIFFERENT IN DREADS AND FAUX LOCS

Regular shampoo is made for natural hair and should be used as directed on the bottle. Dreadlocks and faux locs are tightly wrapped and don’t act the same as regular hair. 

These hairs don’t collect oils and sebum from the scalp because of the way they are attached and how the hairs are wrapped. Instead, locs are more likely to collect dandruff, dust, and other foreign contaminants. Because these locs are clumped together, it makes it harder to feel them cleaning dust off objects we collide with. 

African women washing hair bubbles shower - crochet faux locs

You have to wash your locks, but you don’t wash them like your regular hair. Dreadlocks and faux locks hold moisture and absorb cleaning products. You have to be careful how you maintain them to avoid damaging or ruining them.

YOUR NATURAL HAIR AND ITS OILS

Oils produced below the scalp and hair follicles come from the sebum sack located beneath the epidermis. These sacs make natural nourishing oils that help hydrate and moisturize natural hair follicles. These oils are essential for hair growth and overall hair health. Without the nourishment of these oils, hair strands will start to dry out (2).

When cuticles are not regularly kept hydrated, they begin to dry and lose their ability to lay flat and protect the cortex. These scales lock in moisture during dry weather. When cuticles can’t lay flat and close properly, they hold more water during humid days, creating frizzy hair that can be hard to style and maintain. This is different when you are dealing with faux locs or natural dreadlocks.  

Clean frizzy faux locs hair - crochet faux locs

5 OF THE BEST DREADLOCK CLEANING METHODS

Different hair types require other remedies besides deadlock shampoo. Check out five of our favorite ways to wash locs and clean those plaits to get rid of all that build-up and residue. 

CLARIFYING DREADLOCKS

Washing like this will strip your natural hair and healthy scalp of mostly everything. Clarifying shampoo is detergent on steroids. 

It is recommended for when your hair needs serious build-up removal, rejuvenation, and PH balance. It helps deep cleanse into severe build-up. The ingredients help remove sticky waxes, mildew, pollutants, and even the stench from a sweaty scalp. 

There are natural home remedies like the famous Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse or a Baking Soda rinse. These are safer methods for clarifying your dreadlocks because these products don’t contain unsafe chemical detergents. You don’t have only to use home remedies. There are some great products on the web that are great for clarifying dreads. 

Some dreadlock shampoos contain silicones and other minerals that can leave residue in your hair. This is not good for your hair’s health. There is some good dreadlock clarifying shampoos on the market that are paraben and sulfate-free. We recommend organic residue-free clarifying shampoos when washing dreads.

Apple cider vinegar treatment hot oil treatment black hair and in dreadlocks with small application bottle

Clarifying your hair will strip hair and your scalp of mostly everything.

You don’t want to strip the natural oils too many times for healthy dreadlocks because this will damage your hair. Clarifying your dreadlocks often or even just once may cause you to have a dry scalp.

If clarifying is too much, try this extra strength dreadlock shampoo recommended by Creatlocs youtube channel for all your natural dreadlock needs. 

LIQUID SHAMPOO

Many popular shampoos use ingredients called surfactants, conditioning agents, active ingredients, and additives. The liquid shampoo is an emulsifier. 

Crochet faux locs shampoo residue free - crochet faux locs

With the help of detergents when cleaning the dirt and oils become entirely engulfed in shampoo. Dirt and oils become unable to stick to surfaces and are washed away with water. The detergent helps break the surface tension between oils and moisture. 

Usually, the oil created by your hair, called sebum, Allows the water to wash away the oils. The shampoo must use an extraordinary chemical reaction. 

The shampoo is suitable for removing oils and dirt from your hair. Conditioners, on the other hand, do the opposite. They add products to your hair to help with nourishing the follicles and closing in moisture.

Shampoo and conditioner would technically be opposites. They serve different purposes. 

DRY SHAMPOO ON DREADLOCKS

Dry shampoo is not cleansing your hair and scalp. It’s a powder that’s absorbing some of the oil and preventing your hair from clumping.

Dry shampoo bottle of crochet faux locs hair product for cleaning dreadlock shampoo

We don’t recommend dry shampoos on dreadlocks unless you physically can’t wash your hair. I want to extend the time between washes.

DREAD SOAP AND ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Some brands have been able to put shampoo into a bar soap called deadlock soap. The dread soap is used in warm water and lathered up while being applied to each natural dreadlock. These deadlock soap bars are organic and residue-free and really allow you to get personal with each and every one of your locs. 

Make sure to thoroughly wash out your dread after use as we have seen reviews where customers have noticed some organic residue. Washing your dreadlocks with warmer water can help the dread soap work its way through your hair comfortably. 

Using dread bar shampoo on dreadlocks cleaning faux locks with gloves

MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER GETS YOUR HAIR RIGHT

Dreadlock conditioner works differently than dreadlock shampoo.

A hair strand is covered in microcells that look like small fish scales. As time and damage happens to the hair, the scales start to bend out and point irregular. The conditioner works by moisturizing these cells, giving them moisture and nutrients. The hair strands become smoother, shinier, and create less static electricity. 

Black man with dreadlocks cleaning his hair outside

Just as shampoo opens the hair cuticles, conditioner closes them, trapping in nutrients and adding moisture. This keeps hair healthier and with less breakage. 

RESIDUE AND BUILD UP IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE

Cleaning your hair isn’t the same anymore. With cleaning products like triclosan, petro, formaldehyde, phthalates, 1,4-dioxane showing up in a lot in top brands, we find the amount of residue being left behind increases. 

THE INFAMOUS SHAMPOO RESIDUE

The shampoo is meant to loosen build-ups and entrap oils while helping wash them away. 

The chemicals used in most detergents don’t wash away thoroughly when you are rinsing out your hair. Because of this, Your locks will begin to smell, look dull, and gain a little weight. The build-up of this residue can turn great amazing hair into soft, lifeless locs. Products that have accumulated on your hair prevent moisture, oils, and other nutrients from penetrating your hair.

Residue-Free Shampoos typically don’t contain waxes, synthetic silicones, and silica that coat your hair to make it “feel” superior. These products leave a residue on your hair. Synthetic silicones are derived from soft, plastic, gel-like substances called polymers.

Most products you use to style up your hair can leave a residue behind. 

White residue on dreadlocks hair being shown and being help by a blurred hand in the background

THE WHITE STUFF

Are you finding white stuff in small pockets or a kind of tint that is left on your hair? This is that infamous white stuff we always hear models and deadheads complaining about. Several reasons, including sebum, the residue can cause this, build-up, product, and dandruff.

RESIDUE-FREE SHAMPOO

Many companies have come out with a line that claims to be residue-free because of the potential to build up dread heads.

 These are good to use as a dread shampoo because they limit the amount of soap scum and residue left after washing. Many of these products don’t contain any paraben or sulfates because these minerals leave a residue behind. 

Residue free neutrogena

Although many of these companies claim to have “Residue-Free” Shampoo, we are claiming False. It’s almost impossible to break the surface tension of dirt and other hydrophobic materials without some detergent. 

Because the use of detergent is needed, there will always be some residue. More prominent companies respectfully label their products with 90 percent “residue-free” or up to 95 percent “residue-free.”

When shopping online or on Amazon, look for products specifically labeled “Residue Free.”

REMOVING WHITE BUILD-UP

If you notice a new build-up, it could be from your diet or hair care routine changes. Reverse these changes to see positive results. Hot water is not going to remove this on its own, as most of these residues are hydrophobic. You will need to deep clean or clarify your locks to remove this build-up.

Black african man washing dreadlocks in shower on blue background

ORGANIC VS. RESIDUE-FREE

Typically, when something is organic, it contains natural ingredients and is free of genetically modified organisms, nanomaterials, human sewage sludge, plant growth regulators, hormones, and antibiotic use in livestock husbandry are prohibited. Natural ingredients are typically biodegradable. 

This means the product is free of harmful chemicals that are not naturally occurring. This is not the same as Residue-free. 

Bottle of castor oil for hair with conditioner and shampoo in brown bottle

Residue-Free refers to products free of minerals or chemicals that will leave behind a residue after being rinsed off. Many products are labeled sulfate-free or paraben-free

This is why Castor Soap is usually made organic but does not qualify as residue-free. 

FAUCET WATER RESIDUE BUILD-UP

Are you still getting Build-up? 

You started using products that are “residue-free,” and you have stayed away from those “hydrating shampoos,” but you are still getting build-up?

It might be your water!

Studies have shown that minerals in hard water coming out of your tap leaves a residue behind(1). Thus, many companies make a water softener filter to help remove a lot of these minerals. If you notice there’s a lot of residue on your dishes, your sink, or even in your shower, it might be your water!

HOMEMADE ORGANIC DREADLOCK SHAMPOO 

If you are worried about what products they put in deadlock shampoos and you would like to make your own homemade DIY detergent, then check out this cool video from RasBookie on how to make dread shampoo at home!

FAQ

CAN YOU USE DREADLOCK SHAMPOO ON FAUX LOCS?

YES.

Dreadlock shampoo is made not to leave residue and to help cut down on build-up. We don’t recommend deep cleansing faux locks with shampoo because it can strip natural hair types and hurt healthy hair. 

IS CO-WASHING BAD FOR DREADLOCKS?

CO washing is shampoo detergent and conditioner mixed. . These combined products are gaining more popularity than some of the best shampoos. These products claim to wash and condition hair with special detergents. These detergents are not traditional and don’t leave residues like most emulsifiers. As the products clean, they are also said to lock in moisture. 

Co-washing is most beneficial on curly hair and wavy hair. It also brings back life to dull, dry hair. You wash your hair with the product and lather up, then comb it through and let it sit for a little. Minutes later, wash it out like usual. The moisture should be locked in, and the hair is feeling nice and clean. 

WHAT SHAMPOOS DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR DREADS?

  • DOLLYLOCKS Tea Tree Oil or Nag champa Shampoo
  • Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar
  • Shea Moisture Water Mint Detox
  • PURA D’OR Original Gold Label Peppermint Aloe Shampoo with argan oil

WHAT SHAMPOOS DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR FAUX LOCS?

  • Jamaican Mango And Lime Tingle Shampoo
  • Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend
  • Dolly locks grapefruit rejuvenation
  • Neutrogena Shampoo with coconut oil and essential oils

CONCLUSION

Keeping a healthy hairstyle requires knowing your hair needs

Always look out for dry and itchy scalp. Wash less frequently when you notice these issues. 

If you would like to recommend some products to us, leave a comment below.

SOURCES

1.Hardness of Water, www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/hardness-water?qt-science_center_objects=0.

2. Draelos, Zoe D. “Essentials of Hair Care Often Neglected: Hair Cleansing.” International Journal of Trichology, Medknow Publications, Jan. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002407/.

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