The 9 Best Gels For Dreadlocks You Must Try Out in 2023

Create and maintain perfect dreadlocks with these strong-hold and protective gels.

By Shiboli ChakrabortiShiboli Chakraborti, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 
All products recommended on StyleCraze are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission. Learn more about our product selection process here.

There is no set rule for getting the perfect dreadlocks as it is all about experimenting after all. Dreads, locs, weave, however you want to call it, are not only culturally representative but have now evolved into a statement-making style. They require a lot of maintenance including the best gel for dreadlocks to avoid breakage, brittleness, and frizz.

Gels made specifically for dreadlocks should be mildly formulated to avoid any residue getting stuck. It is easy for such ingredients to get stuck in dreadlocks as they absorb quickly. How do you differentiate between gels with good consistencies and gels that only promote product accumulation in the scalp? Well, we have compiled the 9 best gels for you to try right here.

Top Picks
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Best Unisex Option: Soft Sheen Carson Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Silicone-Free Formula: cantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair Moisturising Twist & Lock Gel
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Best Preservative-Free Formula: Genuine African Formula SuperGro Hair Gel Extra Hold
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Best For Color-Treated Hair: Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel
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Best Petroleum-Free: African Pride Black Castor Miracle Extra Hold Braid, Loc & Twist Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Non-Sticky: ORS Lock & Twist Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Long-Lasting Formula: Tropical Roots Firm Locking Gel
Price on Amazon
Best For Daily Use: Dollylocks Coconut, Aloe And Lime Tightening Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Lightweight Texture: Lion Locs Locking Moisturizer
Price on Amazon

9 Best Gels For Dreadlocks for 2023

1. Best Unisex Option: Soft Sheen Carson Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel

4.4
Soft Sheen Carson Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel Image: Soft Sheen

The Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel by Soft Sheen Carson uses micro-emulsion technology that conditions your hair and imparts shine. It reduces hair breakage and does not leave any residue as it does not contain wax or alcohol. The extra hold formula of the hair gel is perfect for braiding, styling, twisting, smoothing edges, and taming frizz and flyaways. Unlike regular creams or waxes, this gel does not cause flaking. Click here to check out a detailed personal review of this product.

Pros

  • Smells good
  • Lightweight
  • Unisex
  • Provides good hold
  • A little goes a long way

Cons

  • Sticky
  • May melt in the sun.
Price at the time of publication: $3.53

2. Best Silicone-Free Formula: cantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair Moisturising Twist & Lock Gel

This hair gel is made with 100% pure shea butter and several other plant-based ingredients. It controls frizz and flyaways and gives you a smooth-looking hairdo. This gel has hydrating properties and locks moisture in your hair shafts to help your hairstyle stay put. To understand the nuances of the product in detail, you can check out this review.

Pros

  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Long-lasting
  • Nice smell

Cons

  • May cause flaking.
Remember
Never use wax on your dreadlocks, as it is tough to cleanse and might make your hair unmanageable.
Price at the time of publication: $5.38

3. Best Preservative-Free Formula: Genuine African Formula SuperGro Hair Gel Extra Hold

4.4
African Formulas Super Grow Hair Gel Image: Genuine African Formula

This all-natural hair gel is made with an advanced formula using potent ingredients like placenta, biotin, West African shea butter, extracts of peach leaves, peach oils, onion juice, and wild bee honey. The essential oils, natural plant and herbal extracts, amino acids, and minerals help induce natural hair growth. This hair gel prevents hair loss and thinning and aids faster and thicker hair growth. Check out this YouTuber’s review of this product.

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Preservative-free
  • No artificial color
  • Non-greasy

Cons

  • Unpleasant scent
Price at the time of publication: $8.48

4. Best For Color-Treated Hair: Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel

4.3
Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Hair Gel Image: Jamaican Mangolime

The Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel provides a solid hold and a smooth finish without flaking or leaving a residue. It is infused with moringa seed oil and manuka honey that nourish your hair. This combination of ingredients helps reverse hair damage and strengthens the hair follicles. It also prevents brittleness and hair breakage, keeping your locks shiny, smooth, and healthy. This locking gel is safe for all types of hair and all kinds of hair textures.

Pros

  • Color-safe
  • Smells good
  • Petroleum-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Silicone-free

Cons

  • Greasy

5. Best Petroleum-Free: African Pride Black Castor Miracle Extra Hold Braid, Loc & Twist Gel

4.4
African Pride Black Castor Miracle Extra Hold Braid, Loc & Twist Gel Image: African Pride

This gel for dreadlocks keeps your hairdo neat and manageable – it smooths flyaways and boosts shine. It is infused with a potent combination of black castor oil and coconut oil. Black castor oil seals in moisture in your locks, prevents hair breakage, and promotes hair growth. Coconut oil hydrates and repairs damaged hair. The extra hold hair gel can be used on dry and wet hair.

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Petroleum-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Smells great

Cons

  • Leaves residue
Did You Know?
It is best to apply petroleum-free gel to your hair, as other gels can significantly damage and dull your hair.
Price at the time of publication: $24.99

6. Best Non-Sticky: ORS Lock & Twist Gel

4.3
ORS Lock and Twist Gel Image: Orshaircare

The ORS Lock & Twist Gel is a cream-textured hair gel infused with coconut milk extracts and soybean oil that lock in moisture and nourish the locks. It softens the hair and eliminates frizz and flyaways. This hair gel imparts shine and gives your hairdo a neat and clean finish.

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Mild scent
  • Non-sticky

Cons

  • May cause flaking.
Price at the time of publication: $9.71

7. Best Long-Lasting Formula: Tropical Roots Firm Locking Gel

4.3
Bronner Brothers Tropical Roots Firm Locking Gel Image: Bronnerbros

The Tropical Roots Firm Locking Gel is perfect for braids, twists, and locks. It contains tropical ingredients like pineapple and guava that nourish and maintain your hair. Pineapple has enzymes that enrich the hair follicles and provide nutrition. It reduces hair fall, strengthens the hair shafts, and improves the elasticity and thickness of hair.

Guava extract is enriched with vitamin C that improves collagen and aids hair growth. It is also a natural antioxidant with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that helps maintain scalp health and protects the hair from thermal damage and UV rays. This gel does not leave behind any residue and does not cause flakiness.

Pros

  • Dairy-free
  • Pleasant scent
  • Long-lasting hold

Cons

  • May cause irritation.
Price at the time of publication: $7.18

8. Best For Daily Use: Dollylocks Coconut, Aloe And Lime Tightening Gel

4.3
Dollylocks 8oz Coconut, Aloe & Lime Tightening Gel Image: Dolly Locks

The Dollylocks Coconut, Aloe And Lime Tightening Gel is specifically formulated for dreadlocks. It is infused with a blend of coconut extract, aloe vera extract, lime oil, avocado oil, oat protein, hemp seed oil, and grapefruit extract. The natural essential oils and extracts help nourish and tighten dreadlocks.

The aloe and coconut extracts strengthen the hair shafts and promote healthy hair growth. This gel for dreadlocks also helps improve hair elasticity and repair damage caused by chemicals and heat. The unique formula tames frizz and eliminates flyaways, giving you a clean and neat-looking hairdo.

Pros

  • Contains organic ingredients
  • Smells good
  • Water-soluble
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May cause flaking.
Price at the time of publication: $34.95

9. Best Lightweight Texture: Lion Locs Locking Moisturizer

4.4
Lion Locs Hair Locking Dreads Moisturizer Image: Lion Locs

The Lion Locs Locking Moisturizer holds, twists, and tames your locks. The all-natural gel is infused with aloe vera leaf juice, hydrolyzed wheat protein, lavender oil, argan oil, and ylang ylang. It is made with handpicked organic ingredients that nourish and fortify your hair. This lock gel penetrates deep into your hair shafts, opens the cuticles, and seals in moisture. It prevents breakage, makes your hair healthy and shiny, and eliminates frizz.

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • PEG-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Artificial dye-free

Cons

  • May cause stiffness.
Price at the time of publication: $23.49

There are different types of gels available, so it is important to find the one that is right for your hair type. Choose premium-quality, skin-friendly products that are gentle on your hair and offer protection to your tresses. Here are a few points you should keep in mind before buying a hair gel.

How To Choose The Perfect Gels For Dreadlocks – Buying Guide

  • Strength

Hair gels have different holding capacities. If you want a crisp look with minimal movement, go for a strong-hold gel. If you want a more natural look with more volume, and just slight texturing, go for a regular gel.

  • Personal Usage

Some products tend to get runny when exposed to heat and the sun. If you work outdoors during the day a lot, choose products that will stay intact even in immense heat.

  • Ingredients

To maintain healthy hair, your routine should contain gels that are water-based or oil-based, in case of extremely dry hair. Invest in products that can keep the moisture in your hair for a longer time. Castor oil and coconut oil are two of the greatest natural oils. Adding gels containing these oils to your arsenal of hair care products can assist improve your routine as a whole.

  • Brand

When looking for hair gel for dreadlocks, it is important to think about the brand. Many companies use their key ingredients in a product which might not be suitable for your hair type. Also, customers have more faith in certain brands based on the formulations and how the brand has fared in the past. So, if you are unsure about which product to opt for, go for one that is made by a popular brand or simply stick to your safety brand.

  • Fragrance

Since the product will be in your hair for a long time, you can go for gels that smell good. They may be slightly drying though, so keep your hair texture in mind before purchasing one. However, if you experience dryness after continued usage, you should switch to fragrance-free gels.

Infographic: Best Gel For Dreadlocks: Buying Guide & Key Ingredients

Managing dreadlocks can be tiresome. They are prone to frizz, breakage, and flyaways. However, with the best gels for dreadlocks, you can tame your tight locks and maintain their natural shine. These gels are infused with potent ingredients that do their job within seconds. But among so many brands, choosing a suitable product is tricky. Check our infographic below to learn about the key ingredients and factors to consider while buying a hair gel.

Best Gel For Dreadlocks: Buying Guide & Key Ingredients  [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Dreadlocks are rope-like sections of hair that may be braided or partially braided. Although dreadlocks hold a lot of cultural stories, nowadays, it has also become a style statement. Deadlocks, aka locs, or dreads, need a lot of attention to prevent frizziness, breakage, and brittleness. And gels help keep the outer hair smooth and provide a good hold. They also help to control flyaways. So it is ideal to invest in gels formulated specially to hold the hair and has no harmful chemicals. And stay away from the gels that cause flaking and stiffness to your hair.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author of this article, Shiboli Chakraborti, is a hair care enthusiast. She understands that maintaining and styling dreadlocks can be really challenging. To help the readers find the best products to keep their proud locks well maintained, she has carefully and exhaustively researched numerous gels for dreadlocks and poured through several reviews online to compile this list of the best options. The products included in the list help to protect locks against frizz, brittleness, and breakage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is gel good for dreadlocks?

Yes. Hair gels are good for dreadlocks. It makes the hair more malleable and prevents them from weighing down. Gels keep the outer surface of hair smooth which make them ideal for styling . They also keep your locks healthy and flowing.

What is better for dreadlocks -wax or gel?

Gels are better than waxs. Wax is cumbersome and can weigh down your hair and make it look dull and less voluminous.

Can you use Vaseline on dreadlocks?

No. Vaseline is a petroleum-based wax and can be harmful to dreadlocks.

When is it better to retwist dreads – dry or wet?

Retwisting dreads on either dry or wet ways are good. But, retwisting wet hair is much easier and better for your hair.

How often do you have to apply gel for dreadlocks?

Ideally, for well-maintained dreadlocks, you can apply locking gels between 3 to 6 months. If you are using a good-quality, no-residue styling gel, you can use it as frequently as you wish.

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