6 best shampoos for dreadlocks dread maintenance

6 Best Shampoos For Freeform Dreadlocks in 2020

Dreadlock Maintenance
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I’ve been on my freeform loc journey for about 6 years now and have gone through many phases of finding the right shampoo for my dreads. Ideally, you want something that is free of residues, sulfates, parabens, and sodium chloride. However, not all products work effectively for each individual person. Below, I’ve suggested the 6 best shampoos for dreadlocks in 2020.

Contrary to popular belief, it is absolutely important to keep your hair clean whether you have loose natural hair or dreadlocks. The 6 best shampoos for freeform dreadlocks and natural hair I’ve discovered are:

  • PureNature Argan Oil Deep Hydra Nourishing Shampoo
  • Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castille Liquid Soap
  • Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow and Restore Shampoo
  • TGIN Moisture Rich Sulfate-Free Shampoo
  • Dollylocks Nag Champa Liquid Shampoo
  • Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap

*All six shampoos can be purchased for $20 or less and will last several months. The product links below will direct you to Amazon.com

PureNature Argan Oil Deep Hydra Nourishing Shampoo

PureNature Argan oil deep hydra nourishing shampoo for dreadlocks

A co-worker of mine mentioned PureNature Argan Oil (click to buy on Amazon) to me and swears by it. She says it really helps to get her locs squeaky clean.

If you live in a dry climate or tend to have naturally dry hair, then this shampoo along with its conditioner makes for an excellent combination of hydration and hair repair.


  • Excellent for all hair types including frizzy, curly, wavy, fine, or thick hair
  • Contains no sulfates, parabens, sodium chloride, or phothalates
  • Provides deep moisturization leaving your hair feeling silky smooth, stronger, and thicker
  • Helps repair damage that is caused by chemicals in perms, dyes, and excessive heat from styling


  • Best to use it with the conditioner for maximum benefits
  • Can have a strong smell
  • Can cause hair and scalp dryness for some people

Things To Keep In Mind

As with any new hair product you use, you’ll want to test a small amount of the shampoo on a small section of hair to ensure you do not have any adverse reactions.

Sulfate-free shampoos are known to not lather quite as well as shampoos containing sulfates. It’s best to use these products in their diluted form on dreadlocks.

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castille Liquid Soap

dreadlock shampoo freeform dreadlocks dr. bronners pure castile soap

Dr. Bronner’s (click to buy on Amazon) was the first shampoo recommended to me at the beginning of my dreadlock journey. Many dread heads swear by it because not only is it all-natural, but very effective at cleaning dreadlocks thoroughly.

I found that this soap was excellent at cleaning my locs and left my hair with a pleasant peppermint scent. This shampoo comes in many other scents as well but the peppermint version continues to be a favorite amongst the dreadlock community.


  • Made with organic and certified fair trade ingredients and packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle
  • An all-in-one soap meaning you can use it as a shampoo, body wash, laundry, pets, etc.
  • No synthetic preservatives, detergents, or foaming agents
  • Comes in many different scents
  • Has been around since 1858


  • Needs to be diluted as it is a concentrated soap
  • Contains mostly oils so it can leave behind a residue if not diluted carefully
  • Can be very drying to hair and scalp so it’s suggested to follow-up with a conditioner and/or moisturizer

Things To Keep In Mind

Some people are against using soaps that have multiple uses for their hair. However, Dr. Bronner’s is a wonderful exception as this soap is all-natural meaning it’s safe to use for many purposes!

I personally recommend this soap to anyone who is starting out on their dreadlock journey and looking for natural alternatives to their current shampoo regimen.

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow and Restore Shampoo

Jamaican black castor oil for dreadlocks natural hair shampoo

Jamaican black castor oil (click to buy on Amazon) has been used for decades in the natural black hair community and is regarded as one of the most beneficial oils for black hair. This oil moisturizes, thickens, increases hair growth and strengthen the hair follicle while supplying nutrients and increasing blood flow to the scalp.

This shampoo is another favorite within the dreadlock community and highly recommended to those who are looking for something that moisturizes and nourishes their dreads.


  • Excellent for natural black hair, dry, damaged, or over-processed hair
  • Contains certified organic raw shea butter which is known for moisturizing and increasing softness in the hair
  • Contains peppermint oil which helps to stimulate the scalp and increase blood flow.
  • Jamaican black castor oil is also great for preventing breakage, dandruff, eczema, and dry, itchy scalp.


  • Can cause hair to feel a bit oily after frequent use for some people
  • Would recommend others to use this shampoo once a month or so as Jamaican black castor oil can cause adverse effects if used too frequently
  • Highly recommend following up with a good conditioner

Things To Keep In Mind

While products containing Jamaican black castor oil are excellent for the hair, it’s important to note that one must use these products in moderation.

This miracle oil shampoo is meant to be used in conjunction with a shampoo that you use regularly. People often find that they love this product at first, begin using it too often, and then eventually see opposite results.

I suggest using this shampoo once or twice a month for the best results. For all other hair washing in between those times, I would use any of the other suggested shampoos.

TGIN Moisture Rich Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Thank God It’s Natural or TGIN Moisture Rich Sulfate-Free shampoo (click to buy on Amazon) is another wonderful shampoo that gently and effectively cleans hair. Amongst the black community, it is often recommended for dreadlocks as it leaves behind little residue and works well with curly hair.


  • Sulfate-Free and does not contain any harsh detergents that strip the hair of its natural oils
  • Leaves hair feeling softer and fuller while uplifting your hair’s natural curl pattern
  • Great smell
  • A little bit goes a long way


  • Contains coconut oil which may not work well with some hair types
  • Because it is sulfate-free, it does not lather as well as shampoos containing sulfates

Things To Keep In Mind

Many hair care products say that they are excellent with all hair types. It is important to remember that what may work for one person, may not work for the next.

It’s best to use a product for at least a couple of weeks before deciding whether or not it is right for your hair unless you immediately see an adverse reaction.

Dollylocks Nag Champa Liquid Shampoo

Dollylocks shampoo for dreadlocks locs

While there are many shampoos out on the market claiming to be good for dreadlocks, only very few actually live up to the hype. Dollylocks shampoo (click to buy on Amazon) has been known to be one of the best shampoos specifically made for dreadlocks.

I’ve personally used this product many times and am quite happy with the results.


  • Residue-free, sulfate-free
  • Hypo-allergenic and ph-balanced for gentle but effective cleansing
  • Made with organic ingredients
  • Leaves locs feeling light and clean


  • Doesn’t lather well due to being sulfate-free
  • Contains less shampoo per ounce than other shampoos at a similar price

Things To Keep In Mind

Although this shampoo contains less product compared to the above mentioned, remember that it is specially formulated for dreadlocks and is highly recommended for mature locs.

Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap

Alaffia african black soap for freeform dreadlocks

This shampoo is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to cleaning dreadlocks and natural hair. I began using this shampoo early in my loc journey and I highly recommend this product to those who are looking for natural hair care products.

African black soap (click to buy on Amazon) has been around for many, many years and traditionally is made in West African countries, most notably Ghana.

While African black soap comes in many different forms and recipes, Alaffia has managed to remain one of the leaders in the industry for delivering superb, high quality, all-natural shampoos.


  • Works well with people who have sensitive skin
  • Very effective at controlling oil production
  • Can be used for the whole body (body wash, facial cleanser, or shaving cream)
  • Made with fair trade and non-GMO ingredients


  • Can be overly drying for some people’s locs
  • This liquid shampoo has a much thinner consistency compared to many other shampoos
  • Does not lather well due to it being sulfate-free

Things To Keep In Mind

As with all shampoos, it is best to follow-up with a good moisturizing conditioner and moisturizer if your hair type requires it. African black soap is an excellent cleanser but can also be very drying for some.


It can be overwhelming when searching for the best shampoos for dreadlocks. Many people do not realize that not all shampoos are meant to be used on locked hair.

Dreads are notorious for soaking up anything they come in to contact with and it’s important to use products that are effective and leave behind as little residue as possible. Using sulfate-free shampoos also helps to promote healthy dreadlocks and prevent breakage.

Check out our post “How To Properly Wash Dreadlocks” to make sure your locs are thoroughly cleaned every time.

*Full disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.