7 Best Clarifying Shampoos For Dreadlocks In 2022

Clean your locs to achieve smoother, tangle-free tresses with good hair care products.

By Shiboli Chakraborti, Certified Skin Care Coach
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If you have been looking for a clarifying shampoo for locks, we have exactly what you need. Dreadlocks have the word ‘dread’ in them for a reason, and anyone who wears dreadlocks like a pro deserves acknowledgment. Many celebrities have flaunted the locs and taken care of them the right way, but they require twice as much care and maintenance than regular hair textures. As combing your hair to keep the blood circulation on is no longer an option, you need to ensure your scalp is absolutely clean to keep infections at bay. Here are 7 clarifying shampoos specially crafted to attend to locks.

What Is A Clarifying Shampoo For Locs?

Clarifying shampoos thoroughly clean and remove dirt from your hair and scalp. They help in getting rid of stubborn buildup left by conditioners, styling products, and daily environmental factors. Clarifying shampoos for locs are a good addition to your hair care routine when you have a serious buildup of sebum and dirt.

Regular shampoos contain conditioning agents along with cleansers to help in moisturizing, but these can leave residue on your hair and scalp, which is counterproductive. Clarifying shampoos contain 80-90% water with a high level of surfactants to get rid of residue and grease in the hair.

Some examples of surfactants are ammonium sodium lauryl sulfate (deeply cleanses extreme buildup on very oily hair) and cetyl fatty alcohols, chlorides, or bromides (mildly cleanse the hair and make it soft). However, nowadays, clarifying shampoos also contain plant-based cleansers and coconut surfactants that deeply cleanse your hair and scalp without being too drying.

Now that we have understood what clarifying shampoos are, let’s look at the 7 best clarifying shampoos for locs on the market.

Top Picks
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Best Lightweight Formula: Dollylocks Nag Champa Shampoo Bar
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Best For Moistuizing: Dollylocks Nag Champa Liquid Shampoo
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Best Cruelty-Free Formula: Knatty Dread Loc Shampoo
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Best For Itchy Scalp: Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo
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Best For Detangling: Stylin' Dredz Spray Dreadlock Shampoo
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Best For Colored Hair: Bb Tropical Roots Clarifying Shampoo
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Best For Oily Scalp: Nothing But Clarifying Shampoo
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7 Best Clarifying Shampoos For Locs

1. Best Lightweight Formula: Dollylocks Nag Champa Shampoo Bar

Dollylocks Nag Champa Shampoo Bar Courtesy of DOLLYLOCKS

Do your locs need deep yet gentle cleansing? The Dollylocks Nag Champa Shampoo Bar should be your go-to. The antioxidant-rich deep cleansing formula is extremely lightweight and residue-free. It is enriched with plant-based ingredients like organic coconut oil and African shea butter that cleanse your hair and scalp for a squeaky clean feeling. The bar also contains Hawaiian sea salt that tightens your locs. The invigorating, earthy, and floral nag champa scent lifts your spirits and refreshes your senses. Just rub the product onto your hair to create a thick lather that deeply cleanses it without leaving any residue behind. Check out the review of this product on YouTube to know why it is one of the best out there.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Refreshing scent
  • Long-lasting
  • Residue-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Preservative-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Handmade

Cons

None

2. Best For Moistuizing: Dollylocks Nag Champa Liquid Shampoo

This shampoo from Dollylocks is recommended for mature dreadlocks. Its residue-free formula cleanses and keeps your scalp refreshed and hair squeaky clean. It is formulated with pure botanical and plant-based ingredients, such as organic seed oils, that provide intense nourishment with deep cleansing. The shampoo can also be used to cleanse synthetic dreadlocks. The lightweight product has an earthy champa scent that keeps you refreshed throughout the day. In this YouTube video, you will find a detailed review of this product.

Pros

  • Weightless
  • Moisturizing
  • Long-lasting
  • Smells good
  • Phthalate-free fragrance
  • Residue-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Preservative-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons

None

3. Best Cruelty-Free Formula: Knatty Dread Loc Shampoo

Your search for a truly residue-free shampoo for your locs ends here! The Knatty Dread Loc Shampoo gives you fuller, thicker dreads that instantly feel cleaner. Its special formula also dries your hair faster as the roots are cleaner. The shampoo tightens your dreadlocks and promotes new hair growth. It contains coconut surfactants, unlike other shampoos with saponified oils. The unscented shampoo makes your hair smell and feel clean and fresh. It is suitable for locs of all hair types.

Pros

  • Unscented
  • Lathers well
  • A little goes a long way
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • May dry the hair out

4. Best For Itchy Scalp: Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo

The Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo is excellent for use all over the body. It contains almost no conditioning agents and is made from 100 percent pure saponified vegetable oils. It is enriched with organic tea tree, rosemary, and peppermint oils that help cleanse and soothe itchy scalps. The shampoo has a minty fresh scent and gives a sparkling clean look to your locks. It is free of chemical foaming agents and softeners, making it gentle on your locks.

Pros

  • Lathers well
  • Non-drying
  • Unscented
  • Biodegradable
  • Vegan
  • Non-toxic
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

None

5. Best For Detangling: Stylin’ Dredz Spray Dreadlock Shampoo

The Stylin’ Dredz Spray Dreadlock Shampoo is specially formulated with foaming ingredients that create a thick lather to lift and clean all the buildup on your scalp. The residue-free formula also hydrates your hair and does not tangle it. It is enriched with tea tree oil that prevents buildup and eliminates dandruff from the scalp, leaving it soothed and itch-free The shampoo promotes healthy hair growth, adds shine, and prevents fall-out. The easy-to-use packaging allows you to spray on the product for effective cleansing.

Pros

  • Refreshing scent
  • Residue-free
  • Easy to use

Cons

None

6. Best For Colored Hair: Bb Tropical Roots Clarifying Shampoo

The Bb Tropical Roots Clarifying Shampoo cleanses the hair with a relaxing and tingling sensation. It extracts residual buildup from the scalp and helps remove chlorine from your hair to offer deep cleansing. The formula also has rosemary and aloe vera that hydrate your locs and soothe an itchy and dry scalp. The shampoo is easy to rinse out and an ideal pick for color-treated dreads.

Pros

  • Residue-free
  • Weightless
  • Color-safe
  • Easy to rinse off

Cons

None

7. Best For Oily Scalp: Nothing But Clarifying Shampoo

This sulfate-free shampoo removes excess oil, deep-seated contaminants, and residue from your scalp and locs. It helps get rid of buildup that occurs due to chlorine, environmental aggressors, and styling products. The formula adds volume and removes dullness to make your locs manageable, allowing you to enjoy a good hair day. Use at least once a month and follow it up with a hair mask to lock in the moisture.

Pros

  • Refreshing citrusy scent
  • Lightweight
  • Safe for color-treated hair
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Petroleum-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Colorant-free
  • Residue-free

Cons

None

If you are sporting dreadlocks, you are supercool! However, we do know that a lot of hard work is involved in taking care of this specific hairstyle. It not only needs a lot of products to stay neat and moisturized, but also requires frequent cleansing to avoid frizziness. It is also equally important to find the perfect shampoo that will keep your dreadlocks clean and crisp. Here is a list of things you should keep in mind before buying a clarifying shampoo for your dreadlocks.

If you are sporting dreadlocks, you are supercool! However, we do know that a lot of hard work is involved in taking care of this specific hairstyle. It not only needs a lot of products to stay neat and moisturized, but also requires frequent cleansing to avoid frizziness. It is also equally important to find the perfect shampoo that will keep your dreadlocks clean and crisp. Here is a list of things you should keep in mind before buying a clarifying shampoo for your dreadlocks.

Things You Should Consider Before Buying A Clarifying Shampoo For Your Dreadlocks

Ingredients

Go as chemical-free as possible. Avoid shampoos containing parabens, sulfates, and preservatives. The ones that are marked non-toxic would be a good option. Choose shampoos with ingredients like keratin, moroccan argan oil, lavender, chamomile, rosemary, and jojoba oil that are known to keep tresses nourished and well-maintained.

Hair Concerns

Since dreadlocks are tricky to style and require maintenance, it is important to choose a shampoo that cleanses at one go! Clarifying shampoos, on their own, can be drying in nature as it is supposed to strip the hair of product build-up, dirt and oil. However, if you are already battling dry or damaged hair, go for shampoos that hydrate the hair while cleansing it.

Usage

Washing your dreadlocks can be a mammoth task, so you need to go as long as possible between washes. It is best to opt for a shampoo that will provide long-lasting results. Choose clarifying shampoos that would offer deep cleansing without weighing your hair down.

Fragrance

Stay away from clarifying shampoos that promise amazing aromas. This product’s job is to deep cleanse your hair, and nothing else! If you want nice-smelling hair, opt for scented conditioners, texturizers or moisturizers. If you really want a scented shampoo, choose one with a mild, natural scent – like jojoba or jasmine.

Price

Clarifying shampoos come in all prices, so it is not necessary that the most expensive one is the best out of all of them. Check the ingredients list and then decide for yourself. You do not need to break the bank just to wash gunk from your hair as the mid priced ones do the job just fine.

Clarifying shampoos help in getting rid of the stubborn scalp buildup left by styling products and environmental factors. They are absolutely non-negotiable if you are currently sporting dreadlocks which are immensely prone to gathering buildup. Without a clarifying shampoo, you run a high risk of getting infections. These shampoos contain plant-based cleansers that deeply cleanse your scalp without drying the hair. They are safe and available in various forms like sprays, bars, and liquid shampoos. They are cruelty-free and paraben-free.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Shiboli Chakraborti, the author of this article, is a hair care enthusiast. Her recommendations on the best clarifying shampoos for dreadlocks are based on user feedback and product reviews on trusted platforms and brand websites. The products mentioned in this list will make your job easier while maintaining your thick locks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do you clean your locs using a clarifying shampoo?

The frequency between each wash depends on your hair type and lifestyle. More product or dirt buildup will result in more frequent washes. Since clarifying shampoos strip away all product buildup, it is recommended to use them once a week.

How can you avoid residue formation when conditioning your locs?

Skip the conditioner altogether. Residue is an unavoidable result of conditioning and other styling products used on your hair. Therefore, the best way to keep your locs residue-free would be to frequently wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo.

How do you tell if a shampoo is truly residue-free?

If your hair feels weighed down, flat, heavy or coated, your shampoo is definitely not residue-free. If the shampoo leaves residue, your hair will be dull and oily and will not feel or smell fresh. A strong scent post-washing also means that your shampoo leaves residue. Also, the whitish tinge of the locks disappears when they are wet and reappears once your hair becomes dry. This tinge change indicates that the shampoo is not residue-free.

Is clarifying shampoo good for dreadlocks?

Yes. Clarifying shampoos for dreadlocks are a great addition to your hair care routine. If you have a severe product buildup and dirt, regular shampoos will not work. Clarifying shampoos contain conditioning agents that help moisturize the hair without leaving residue on your scalp.

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Shiboli has a master’s degree in English literature from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and is a certified... more

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