Dreadlock Product Reviews and Recommendations to help you find the best shampoo for dreads that are residue free!

Top 3 Best Residue Free Shampoos For Dreads – Plus ingredients guide!

Many “residue free” shampoos and many “Dreadlock Shampoos” leave residue behind which build up inside your dreadlocks. Don’t let this happen to you! Find the best residue free Shampoo for Dreads right here with our Dreadlock Shampoo guide and rating system.

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The top 3 Best Residue Free Shampoos for Dreads

#1. Giovanni – Tea Tree Triple Treat

Although this shampoo is not designed specifically for dreadlocks it is truly residue free, washes out surprisingly clean, and it’s ultimately our top vote for the best Shampoo for Dreadlocks!

Get it on Amazon

After your first wash with this shampoo your dreadlocks will feel cleaner than they ever have! You’ll feel like you’ve just gone to a high-end salon to get your scalp massaged with a peppermint scrub that leaves you feeling completely refreshed!

  • No sulfates and residue free
  • Helps with mild dandruff
  • Washes out extremely clean
  • Great for all hair types
  • Suitable for soft and hard water
  • Smells amazing!

#2. Free & Clear – Shampoo

For dreadlocks that are young, this is our top vote for the best shampoo. It is a very minimalist shampoo, without unnecessary additives including scent – so it has a light chemical smell which is what you would expect without added scents of any proper shampoo. It’s effective at cleaning yet rather gentle on the scalp.

Get it on Amazon

This shampoo is very effective at removing oil and sebum from the scalp and hair. It will leave your hair fairly dry, which is good for tightening. It is not recommended for dry or bleached hair without following up with Apple Cider Vinegar rinse or some type of safe moisturizer.

  • Washes out clean – residue free
  • No sulfates, dyes, parabens, fragrance
  • Removes residue from other products
  • pH balanced – most shampoos are not
  • Great for tightening young dreads
  • Easy to find locally at Walgreens!

#3. Trader Joe’s – Tea Tree Tingle

This product wasn’t actually designed to be a shampoo at all but washes out well, smells amazing, and is residue free! This is a great choice for one of the best shampoos for dreadlocks!

Get it on Amazon

You can find this great shampoo for dreadlocks at your local Trader Joe’s for only $4!

  • No sulfates – residue free
  • Helps with mild dandruff
  • Washes out extremely clean
  • Great for all hair types
  • Suitable for soft and hard water

Product and Shampoo Guidelines for Dreadlocks

  • Most commercial shampoos, and many dreadlocks shampoos, are not healthy for dreadlocks
  • Avoid ingredients such as sulfates, silicones, paraffins, dyes, and artificial fragrance – these ingredients can lead to residue build up
  • Avoid “shampoos” that are entirely comprised of oils – these are not actually shampoos at all
  • Understand that the hardness of your water can dramatically affect your washing experience (we’ll be writing about this topic soon)
  • Do not use a standard conditioner – opt for a moisturizer designed for dreadlocks instead
  • Do not use baking soda/apple cider vinegar as a replacement for shampoo – using baking soda too frequently is very harsh on your hair and scalp
  • Only use oils if you have dry hair and scalp – oils act as lubricants and allow knots to slip out which hinders the locking process
  • Wax is never necessary and is certainly not recommended

Switching Shampoo for Dreads

 

If you decide to switch your dreadlock shampoo we highly suggest doing a Dread Cleanse to maximize the benefits of this transition. A Dread Cleanse will help to remove any residue that may have built up inside of your dreadlocks as a result of using certain products. Learn everything you need to know with our Dread Cleanse Guide Here!

Individual Reviews and Recommendations

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Giovanni – Shampoos
★★★★★

Giovanni Shampoo is our vote for the best shampoo for dreads!

Highly Recommended! 👍

Although this shampoo is not designed specifically for dreadlocks it does wash out surprisingly clean.

I’ve had really good results with this shampoo and it may just be the best Shampoo for Dreadlocks! This product can sometimes be found at Walmart or Walgreens which makes it great for convenience!

Get it on Amazon

 

Vanicream Free & Clear – Shampoo
★★★★★

DreadlockCentral.com Review for Free and Clear Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Highly Recommended! 👍

This is one of our top picks for the Best Shampoo for Dreads on the market right now!

This shampoo is very effective at removing oil and sebum from the scalp and hair. It will leave your hair fairly dry, which is good for tightening. It is not recommended for dry or bleached hair without following up with Apple Cider Vinegar rinse or some type of safe moisturizer.

• Washes out extremely clean with no residue
• No sulfates, dyes, parabens, gluten, fragrance
• Helps remove residue left over from other products
• pH balanced – something most shampoos cannot boast
• Great for tightening young dreadlocks
• Easy to find locally at Walgreens!

Get it on Amazon

 

Trader Joes – Tea Tree Tingle
★★★★★

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle for Dreadlocks

Highly Recommended! 👍

This product wasn’t actually designed to be a shampoo at all but washes out well, smells amazing, and doesn’t contain any sulfates!

This is one of the Best Shampoos for Dreads! If you want to save some money buy it at a local Trader Joe’s for much cheaper!

Get it on Amazon

 

Vital Goods – Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo
★★★★☆

Vital Goods Liquid - The Best Shampoo for Dreads!

Highly Recommended for soft water. 👍

Not recommended for hard water 👎

The main ingredient in this Dreadlock Shampoo is black soap, which is healthy for dreadlocks and washes out very clean while the Shea Butter moisturizes your hair to keep it nice and healthy. There are additional oils added to help keep your scalp even healthier! Just be careful about using this Dreadlock Shampoo with hard water.

Get it on Online

 

Knotty Boy – Locking Gel
★★★★☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Knotty Boy Locksteady Dreadlock Gel

Somewhat Recommended. 👍

This product isn’t something that is a necessity by any means, but it can really help to tame really frizzy hair. The great thing about this gel is that you need a very small amount of it to be effective and it washes out completely clean!

If you expect this product to be anything like Jamaican Mango and lime you’ll be disappointed. This is designed more to hold down frizzy hair instead of lubrication. If you use this product we recommend that you do so sparingly.

Get it on Amazon

 

Knotty Boy – Dreadlock Shampoo Bar
★★★☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar

Recommended. 👍 But only for the first 6 months of your dreadlock journey.

This Dreadlock Shampoo bar is effective at tightening young dreadlocks and reducing dandruff. However, it leaves a residue behind. We recommend using this only for the first 6 months of having new dreadlocks, then do a deep cleanse and switch to a better product.

Get it on Amazon

 

Home Health – Antidandruff Shampoo
★★★☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Home Health Antidandruff Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Undecided/Neutral 🤔

This shampoo helps cut down on itching and scalp flaking associated with dandruff, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.

The only reason why we rated it at 3 stars, instead of 4 or 5, is because this product contains sulfates which are known to leave residue in dreadlocks.

If you’re dandruff is just killing you this shampoo might be worth trying!

Get it on Amazon

 

Coconut Oil Soap – Liquid Shampoo
★★★☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Coconut Oil Soap for Dreadlocks

Undecided/Neutral 🤔

Not recommended for hard water 👎

This Shampoo for Dreads is mostly oils, which leaves me to question it’s cleaning capabilities.

Although this shampoo washes out clean, it is mostly just a mix of essential oils. This will not be good for hard water.

 

Dread Empire – Liquid Shampoo
★★★☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Dread Empire shampoo for Dreadlocks

Undecided/Neutral 🤔

Although this Dreadlocks Shampoo is trusted by some of our peers we are unsure of the effectiveness of this product.

We cannot confidently recommend this product at this time.

We will update this review in the future.

 

Shea Moisture – Shampoos
★★★☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Shea Moisture Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Undecided/Neutral 🤔

I’ve always been hesitant to give this Dreadlocks Shampoo the “OK” to my clients. It is typically used on re-twisted locs which are usually slathered with product.

Crocheted dreadlocks on the other hand sometimes do not do very well with oily and/or moisturizing products because the lubricant nature can allow loose hair and knots to slip out. This shampoo is also not good for hard water situations.

We do not completely condemn this Dreadlocks Shampoo line by any means, but we would recommend using a 4 or 5 star shampoo in this guide instead.

Get it on Amazon

 

Renpure – Shampoos
★★★☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Renpure Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Undecided/Neutral 🤔

Although we have not tested this Shampoo for Dreadlocks, and the reviews on Amazon are mixed, the ingredients look very good. We will be testing and updating this review soon.

• No sulfates, dyes, parabens, gluten
• Hydrates dreadlocks that are dry or mature
• Safe shampoo for dyed dreadlocks
• Available at some Target locations

 

 

Dollylocks – Liquid Shampoo
★★☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Dolly Locks Dreadlock Shampoo

Not Recommended – especially for hard water 👎

This Dreadlock Shampoo is almost entirely oil, which does not truly wash your dreadlocks.

Although Dolly Locks is better than most commercial brands, it tends to leave an oily residue which can inhibit locking. I’ve found it difficult to maintain my roots with this shampoo because the oiliness lubricates the knots I’m trying to make. For that reason we do not recommend it to our clients. I’ve also suggested to our clients to switch this shampoo with one of our top 3 shampoos and have received great feedback from them saying that it was a dramatic improvement when they stopped using this product.

 

Argan Oil – Generic
★★☆☆☆

Argan Oil for Dreadlocks

We only recommend this product for dry hair only if used sparingly.

Great things about Argan Oil:

  • Rich in Vitamin E and Fatty Acids
  • Very moisturizing for dry and damaged hair

 

This product is still an oil which can slow down the locking process. Please use sparingly.

My Tangled Knots – Liquid Shampoo
★★☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of My Tangled Knots shampoo for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended, especially for hard water 👎

This Dreadlock Shampoo is made by using saponified oils. Saponified oils are often terrible in hard water because the minerals in hard water greatly reduce the cleansing properties of the shampoo and also leave a film of soap scum on your hair.

We also expect the pH of this particular shampoo to be higher than what is recommended based on the ingredients and use of saponified oils.

Therefore, we do not recommend this shampoo for long term use.

 

 

Dr. Bronner’s – Castile Soap
★★☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Dr Bronners for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎 

This product is NOT a good Shampoo for Dreadlocks!

Many people with dreadlocks claim that this soap is great for dreadlocks, and it may be great for many things, but dreadlocks is not one of them, especially if you have hard water.

Please avoid using this product. If you insist on using it make sure you dilute it properly and only use it if you run out of your normal Dread Shampoo.

 

Knotty Boy – Liquid Shampoo
★★☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Knotty Boy Liquid Dreadlock Shampoo

Not Recommended. 👎

Although Knotty Boy’s Dreadlock Shampoo bar is pretty good, their liquid shampoo really fell short in my opinion.

This product just doesn’t do as good of a job at tightening, cleaning, and reducing dandruff as the Knotty Boy Shampoo Bar does. It also tends to leave some residue behind, therefore we don’t recommend using this product.

 

Let’s Jam! – Locking Gel
★☆☆☆☆

Let's Jam! Locking Gel for Dreadlocks Review

Not Recommended. 👎

This product is ONLY useful on African American hair textures with the twisting method. It is NOT useful for any other method or hair type.

For straight, non-kinky, and many mixed race hair types, this product will simply delay (or possibly even prevent) your dreadlocks from maturing. It acts as a lubricant which is the last thing you want when forming knots. I’ve had plenty of clients switch away from products similar to this and seeing almost immediate results of their dreadlocks tightening up.

Also, the label states “no build up” but the ingredients include “fragrance” and dyes which often build up inside of dreadlocks.

Dove – Shampoos and Conditioners
★☆☆☆☆

Dove Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

Dove shampoos contain certain ingredients which leave residue inside your dreadlocks and any conditioner will lubricate dreadlocks which slow down or even prevent knot formation.

The main ingredient in most Dove products that leads to build up is Sodium Laureth Sulfate. It also contains “fragrance” which often builds up as well.

 

Beeswax – Generic
★☆☆☆☆

Beeswax for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

  • The wax may hold water inside of your dreadlocks leading to dreadrot
  • Wax will hold onto dirt and lint
  • Your dreadlocks will be heavier
  • It’s virtually impossible to remove

 

You DO NOT NEED WAX to start dreadlocks, and you especially don’t need wax after your dreadlocks have matured! If you insist on using wax only use it to lightly coat the outside of your dreadlocks, do not melt it into the body of your dreadlocks with a blow dryer.

Jamaican Mango and Lime – Locking Gel
★☆☆☆☆

Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gel for Dreadlocks Review

Not Recommended. 👎

This product is ONLY useful on African American hair textures with the twisting method. It is NOT useful for any other method or hair type.

For straight, non-kinky, and many mixed race hair types, this product will simply delay (or possibly even prevent) your dreadlocks from maturing. It acts as a lubricant which is the last thing you want when forming knots. I’ve had plenty of clients switch away from this product seeing almost immediate results of their dreadlocks tightening up.

Also, the label states “no build up” but the ingredients include “fragrance” and dyes which often build up inside your dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks Shampoo – Bar
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Dreadlocks Shampoo Brand

Not Recommended. 👎

Dreadlocks Shampoo bar is known to leave residue behind.

This brand boasts that their products are handmade, which may be something to be proud of, but in my opinion it shows a lack of research and testing. Homemade Dread Shampoos are rarely good for dreadlocks.

 

Dreadlocks Shampoo – Liquid Shampoo
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Dreadlocks Shampoo Brand

Not Recommended. 👎

Dreadlocks Shampoo products are handmade, which may be a noble thing to do, but in my opinion it shows a lack of research and testing.

Other professionals and peers disapprove of this brand as well, and there are many better Shampoos for Dreads on the market.

 

Paul Mitchell – Shampoos and Conditioners
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Paul Mitchell Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

Paul Mitchell shampoos contain ingredients that are not ideal for dreadlocks and all conditioners lubricate dreadlocks which hurts the locking process. This may be a great shampoo for normal hair but we do not recommend it as a Shampoo for Dreadlocks.

The main ingredient in most Paul Mitchell products are Sulfates are not good for dreadlocks. It also contains “fragrance” which often builds up as well.

 

Suave – Shampoos and Conditioners
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Suave Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

Suave shampoos contain ingredients which build up inside of dreadlocks and commercial conditioners lubricate dreadlocks which inhibit knot formation. This is a terrible Shampoo for Dreads!

The main ingredient in most Suave products are Sulfates which are known to build up inside of dreadlocks. It also contains “fragrance” which often builds up as well.

 

TRESemmé – Shampoos and Conditioners
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Tresamme Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

TRESemmé shampoos contain ingredients leave residue inside of dreadlocks and the conditioners lubricate dreadlocks which inhibit knot formation. We do not recommend this as a Shampoo for Dreads.

The main ingredient in most TRESemmé products are Sulfates which are known to leave residue inside of dreadlocks. It also contains “fragrance” which often builds up as well.

 

Neutrogena – Shampoos and Conditioners
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Neutrogena Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

Neutrogena shampoos contain ingredients that are not good for your dreadlocks and commercial conditioners lubricate dreadlocks which prevents knots from forming. This is not a good choice as a Shampoo for Dreads.

Although the product in this picture says “anti-residue formula” the main ingredient is still a Sulfate which is known to leave residue inside dreadlocks. Just because it says “anti-residue” or “residue free” does not mean it is residue free for dreadlocks. These shampoos are designed to be residue free for normal hair.

 

Pantene – Shampoos and Conditioners
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Pantene Pro V for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

Pantene shampoos contain ingredients which leave residue behind in dreadlocks and conditioners lubricate dreadlocks which inhibit knot formation. We do not recommend this shampoo for dreads.

The worst ingredient in most Pantene products is Sodium Laureth Sulfate which is known to build up in your dreadlocks. It also contains “fragrance” which often leaves residue behind as well.

 

Garnier – Shampoos and Conditioners
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Garnier Shampoos for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

Garnier shampoos have ingredients which will build up inside of your dreads and commercial conditioners will lubricate dreadlocks which can prevent knots from forming. This is not a good shampoo for dreads.

The worst ingredient in most Garnier products is Sodium Laureth Sulfate which is known to build up inside of dreadlocks. It also contains “fragrance” which often builds up as well.

 

Herbal Essences – Shampoos and Conditioners
★☆☆☆☆

DreadlockCentral.com Review of Herbal Essences Shampoo for Dreadlocks

Not Recommended. 👎

Herbal Essences shampoos contain ingredients that are not safe for dreadlocks and commercial conditioners will lubricate dreadlocks which inhibit knot formation.

Besides tons of artificial fragrances this shampoo has is Sodium Laureth Sulfate which is known to build up inside of dreadlocks. It also contains “fragrance” which often builds up as well.

 

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