How do you wash dreadlocks?

One of the most common questions about dreadlocks is "how do you wash them?" I'm sure if you've had dreads for any amount of time you've been asked this question.

There's a misconception that having dreadlocks means you don't wash your hair, but it simply isn't true. Having clean dreads is important, and it starts with finding the right shampoo. 

What's the best shampoo for dreads?

When looking for a shampoo to use on your dreadlocks there are plenty to choose from. To wash dreadlocks you need a shampoo that is residue free and doesn't contain ingredients such as silicone and unemulsified oils which work at unknotting your hair and keeping it smooth. Residues can remain in your hair even after rinsing and this can result in build up within the dread, not something you want.

Buying a shampoo which is water soluble, will ensure everything will wash out and therefore not leave any residue. 

Dreadlock Shampoo

Can I use regular shampoo on my dreadlocks?

Many regular shampoos contain residues so you'll need to do some research first to check that the shampoo is residue-free and water soluble.

How do you know if your shampoo is residue free?

Buying residue-free dreadlock shampoo from a trusted source is one way. Shampoos that are made for dreadlocks have been specifically created residue free. You can always read the ingredients to be sure.

In general these are the ingredients should you avoid when looking for a shampoo to use on your dreadlocks. Parabens, Sulfates (SSL or SLES), Polyethylene glycols (PEG) or polypropylene glycols (PPG), Silicone products and Wax.

What are sulfates?

Sulfates are chemcials used as cleaning agents and commonly found in shampoo. Many skin issues are caused by the harsh chemicals inside regular hair care products. Switching to a sulfate-free shampoo, which doesn't dry out your scalp, can make a huge difference!

 Raw Roots have created an organic dread care range that restores and regulates the natural balance of your scalp and helps prevent further skin irritations.

3 of the best Dreadlock Shampoos 

1. RawRoots 

Raw Roots Dreadlock Shampoos are completely sulfate free and residue free retaining the natural moisture of your hair, leaving it soft and strengthened.

"My dreads and scalp have suffered so long with intense dry dandruff flaking and flaking no matter what I do. I’ve tried so many recommended shampoos. I never had any scalp problems before getting dreadlocks. I have not had an issue since buying that shampoo. It fixed my scalp ph instantly. Even my sister who has aggressive scalp psoriasis found relief with this natural shampoo." - Peru 

2. Dollylocks Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo

A rich and invigorating clarifying shampoo made with plant-based ingredients. Lightweight and Residue-Free, leaving your scalp feeling refreshed and dreadlocks squeaky clean! Provides gentle yet effective cleansing with an aroma that will awaken and lift your spirits!

"I love this shampoo.. my dreads are the cleanest they've ever been and they smell divine." - Kat


3. Organic Dreadlocks Natural Oil Shampoo

Organic Dreadlocks, offers you a beautifully mild shampoo especially for dreadheads. Uplifts the senses, cleanses and nurtures the scalp, helps reduce dandruff and may repel nits.

"Love it! I'm so happy with this shampoo! It smells great and works amazing!" Samantha

Dollylocks Cleansing Spray

Dollylocks also have created a Cleansing Spray so you can experience cleanliness without the hassle of washing with water!

"Save Time and Stay Dry"

Cleanse and remove excess oil from the scalp to extend time between regular shampooing.

"Easy to apply Smells beautiful Very refreshing and makes my scalp feel clean" - Rebecca

Prefer Dreadlock Shampoo Bars?

Both Dollylocks and Raw Roots have a selection of shampoo bars available for dreadlocks. Raw Roots also have an AVC Herbal Rinse, recommended to use with shampoo bars.

"Perfect in every way. This is amazing smell so so good and cleans my scalp and dread beautifully" - Karan (Dollylocks Shampoo Bar customer)

How to remove product build up and residue from your dreadlocks?

Dreadlock Detox – Even with using the correct hair products on your dreads, they can still get build up from dirt, lint, etc which your hair can hold onto.

Soaking your dreads with a detox of bicarb, which works to break down the build up in your hair, leaving your dreads lighter and cleaner.

 "Raw Roots Dread Detox, It's excellent for cleaning dreads! Get out all the build up." - Elizabeth

 Keeping Dreadlocks Hydrated

Raw Roots Hydrating Oil

Restores the natural balance of the scalp and relieves and prevents itching, dryness, or flaking scalp and other skin irritations.

"The smell is sweet, earthy and light and so is this oil. No more slick sad hair or build-up from heavy oils. My poor dandruff prone scalp loves this, sparingly massaged on the scalp and work down the dreads keeps my flakes at bay and dreads so soft."

Dollylocks Conditioning Oil

Nourish and renew for a healthy scalp and dreadlocks! This blend of plant-based oils and extracts are closest to the scalp’s sebum. Non-comedogenic and won’t clog pores. Absorbs into skin and hair to protect and balance moisture while preventing dry or flaky scalp.

"This is so good and smells fantastic! Helps my locks but my bangs too!!" - Naomi

Dollylocks Refreshing Spray

Lightly moisturizing and very refreshing! A perfect blend of plant-based ingredients combined for an uplifting "in-between" shampoo spray.Designed to stimulate, hydrate, and awaken the senses - this delightful blend will leave your scalp and dreadlocks feeling clean all day long!

"Love dollylocks products, they are amazing. The refreshing spray certainly does what it says, it smells amazing and gives a lift to my dreadlocks." - Kathleen M

Dreadlocks frizzy after washing?

Straight after washing is the best time to palm roll your dreads but it can be done at any time. Place the dread you want to work on in between the palms of your hands and roll back and forth moving up and down to ensure you get the whole length of the dread.

You can palm roll just with your hands, or with a natural tightening gel.  

Using a product like Tightening Gel or Spray you can apply straight onto the hair to help control frizz and flyaways.

"My hair when washed goes very fluffy & this spray is my saving grace, I love it & it smells divine." - Meg M (Dollylocks Tightening Spray Customer)


To read more about managing frizzy dreadlocks you can read our blog post

 3 Tips for dealing with Frizzy Dreads

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