15 Best Gels For Dreadlocks, According To A Hair Expert’s Reviews – 2024

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

Reviewed by Alexandro Vasquez, Hairdresser
Written by Shiboli Chakraborti, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach
Edited by Aditi Naskar, MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness
Fact-checked by Ramona Sinha, MA (English Literature), 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 in addition to good maintenance and cleansing routine 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 15 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
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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
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Best Non-Sticky: ORS Lock & Twist Gel
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Best Long-Lasting Formula: Tropical Roots Firm Locking Gel
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Best For Daily Use: Dollylocks Coconut, Aloe And Lime Tightening Gel
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Best Lightweight Texture: Lion Locs Locking Moisturizer
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Best For Frizz Control: Style Factor Lock Booster
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15 Best Gels For Dreadlocks (2024) To Keep Them Healthy & Buildup-Free

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

4.4

The Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel by Soft Sheen Carson uses micro-emulsion technology that conditions your hair and imparts shine. This popular locking gel 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 non-flaking gel for dreadlocks will also help prevent dryness. Click here to check out a reviewer’s experience of this product.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Sticky
  • May melt in the sun.

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

4.3
Cantu Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel with Shea Butter for Natural Hair Image: Cantu

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 anti-frizz gel for dreadlocks can also help tackle flyaways and give you a smooth-looking hairdo. This conditioning gel has hydrating properties and locks moisture in your hair shafts to help your hairstyle stay put. It is also not tested on animals, making it an ethical choice. YouTube beauty creator Keisha Charmaine says, “The product has a nice smell. It maintains my retwists even during the hot days. The gel also provides you with a natural-looking hold along the edges.” To understand the nuances of the product in detail, you can check out a reviewer’s experience in this video.

Pros

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

Cons

  • May cause flaking.

protip_icon Remember
Never use wax on your dreadlocks, as it is tough to cleanse and might make your hair unmanageable.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received over 16,765 rave reviews on Amazon, proving it is a mass favorite.

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. Many reviewers have praised the product’s effectiveness in preventing hair loss and aiding faster and thicker hair growth. Check out this YouTuber’s review to explore the tester’s experience with this product.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Unpleasant scent
Soft Sheen Carson Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel
Best Unisex Option
cantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair Moisturising Twist & Lock Gel
Best Silicone-Free Formula
Genuine African Formula SuperGro Hair Gel Extra Hold
Best Preservative-Free Formula
Hair Type All Wavy, Frizzy, Curly Thin
Dimensions 6 x 4 x 2 inches 4 x 5 x 6 inches 2 x 2 x 2 inches
Weight 14 Ounces 13 Ounces 4 Ounces
Rating
Reviews24,85816,7654,753
Price$3.53$5.38$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 nourishing ingredients like moringa seed oil and manuka honey. This combination of ingredients helps reverse hair damage and strengthens hair follicles. Jae, a personal blogger, finds this product to be amazing. He writes, “The product itself is very lightweight, as opposed to many other heavier gels and waxes out there. It also isn’t very sticky on the fingers. The gel is water-based, which is a very good thing. When twisting hair, you want to use a product that is as close to the consistency of water as possible. Another great thing about this particular product is the lack of petroleum (i).” It also prevents brittleness and hair breakage, keeping your locks shiny, smooth, and healthy. Marquita, a hair care enthusiast on YouTube says, “I really like this gel. The smell is amazing. You also get a nice hold and it lasts for a week and half. There is no flaking as well.” 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

This lock-stimulating gel for dreadlocks keeps your hairdo neat and manageable – it smooths flyaways and leaves you with smooth and shiny hair. It is infused with a potent combination of black castor oil and coconut oil. Black castor oil has proven efficacy in sealing in moisture in your locks, preventing hair breakage, and promoting hair growth. Coconut oil hydrates and repairs damaged hair. Hair care vlogger Tiana Alexandra says, “There wasn’t any white residue when I applied the product in my hair. There was no flaking either. This product is ideal for people who wash their locs often.” 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

protip_icon Did You Know?
It is best to apply petroleum-free gel to your hair, as other gels can significantly damage and dull your hair.

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has received 8,419 reviews from customers on Amazon, indicating its popularity and reliability.

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

4.3
ORS Lock and Twist Gel Image: Orshaircare

The ORS Lock & Twist Gel has a creamy textured infused with coconut milk extracts and soybean oil that lock in moisture and nourish the locks. This hydrating gel for dreadlocks softens hair and eliminates frizz and flyaways. This hair gel imparts shine and gives your hairdo a neat and clean finish. Plus, it is not tested on animals. Hair care enthusiast Bliss on Youtube says, “This gel worked wonders for me when I installed my micro locs. It is also good for passion twists. It leaves no residue, no flakes, and no white cast. The product does not offer a hard and crunchy feeling to your hair; rather, it makes your locs softer.” A hair care blogger loves the ingredients of this product. They write, “This is the only gel in my product stash and so far I have used this for a braid-out since I am still learning how to do two-strand twists. I used it after moisturizing and sealing as usual. It produced reasonable hold when I undone the cornrows. Most importantly to me, it does not have a drying effect on my hair (ii).”

Pros

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

Cons

  • May cause flaking.

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

4.3

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 aids collagen improvement and promotes hair growth. It is also a natural antioxidant with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and it helps maintain healthy scalp and protects the hair from thermal damage and UV rays. Here’s a lightweight gel for dreadlock definition that does not leave behind any residue and does not cause flakiness as well.

Pros

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

Cons

  • May cause irritation.

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

4.3

The Dollylocks Coconut, Aloe And Lime Tightening Gel is specifically formulated for dreadlocks. It is infused with a blend of coconut extract, aloe 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 hair shafts and promote healthy hair growth. This lightweight gel for dreadlocks also helps improve hair elasticity and repair damage caused by chemicals and heat. The unique formula tames frizzy hair and eliminates flyaways or stubborn hair, giving you a clean and neat-looking hairdo.

Pros

  • Contains organic ingredients
  • Suitable for chemically treated hair
  • Smells good
  • Water-soluble
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May cause flaking.

9. Best Lightweight Texture: Lion Locs Locking Moisturizer

The Lion Locs Locking Moisturizer is your go-to solution for the locking process as it holds, twists, and tames your locks. This all-natural gel for dreadlocks 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 hair moisturizer deeply penetrates hair shafts, opens the cuticles, and seals in moisture. It prevents breakage, eliminates frizz, and leaves you with healthy and shiny locks.

Pros

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

Cons

  • May cause stiffness.

10. Best For Frizz Control: Style Factor Lock Booster

4.4
Style Factor Lock Booster Image: Style Factor

With the Style Factor Lock Booster, you can braid straight hair, twist coils, and lock your natural hair easily. It is formulated with rosehip oil that has proven efficacy in moisturizing your hair and boosting its shine. When it comes to your hair strands, this product is a game-changer. It tames excess frizz and fortifies your hair follicles with intense nourishment. This flakes-free product is your go-to hairstyling ally as it holds your hair in place for hours without causing buildup.

Pros

  • Long-lasting hold
  • Flake-free
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Causes no buildup

Cons

  • Greasy

11. Best Against Hair Breakage: Soft-Sheen Carson Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel

4.6
Soft-Sheen Carson Let's Jam! Condition & Shine Gel Image: Softsheen

The Soft-Sheen Carson Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel is formulated with micro-emulsion technology. This versatile product allows the gel to hold your eye catching hairstyles in place for hours and keep your tresses conditioned. The flake-free formula reduces hair breakage and tames excess frizz. Specifically crafted for those moments when you’re dealing with unruly hair, this gel works amazingly for twisting your hair and smoothing out the edges.

Pros

  • Long-lasting hold
  • Non-drying
  • Flake-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Wax-free
  • Alcohol-free

Cons

  • Unpleasant fragrance

12. Best No-Residue Formula: NaturAll Twisting Paste

4.4
NaturAll Twisting Paste Image: Naturall

The NaturAll Twisting Paste is loaded with kiwi and avocado that nourish your dreads and provide you with easy grip control when twisting your hair. It tames excess frizz, eliminates flyaways, and protects your hair from damaging free radicals. This loc gel helps you twist or braid your hair while smoothing out the ends for a more polished look. It does not cause flaking and is easy to wash out. This hair gel is safe for daily use.

Pros

  • Safe for daily use
  • A little goes a long way
  • Long-lasting hold
  • Flake-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Unpleasant fragrance

13. Best Flake-Free:Murray’s Gel Loc-Lock

4.1
Murray's Gel Loc-Lock Image: Murrays

The Murray’s Gel Loc-Lock is enriched with olive oil and sweet almond oil that nourish your hair and soothe itchiness on dry scalp. It locks your hairstyle in place without causing flaking. It works on all types of hair, straight or curly.

Pros

  • Non-greasy
  • Soothes itchy scalp
  • Pleasant fragrance

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold well for long

14. Best For Hair Smoothing: Goiple Braid Gel With Hair Combs

4.4
Goiple Braid Gel With Hair Combs Image: Goiple

The Goiple Braid Gel provides outstanding shine, leaves no residue, and smoothes out hair tips. This flake-free gel is suitable for natural, 3C, and 4C hair types.  It is packed with antioxidant-rich beeswax that helps you mold your hair the way you want and argan oil that strengthen weak hair and protects it from external damage. The gel is also infused with coconut oil that moisturizes the hair and prevents further breakage. It comes with two combs and one hair clip which come in handy when you are styling your hair.

Pros

  • Flake-free
  • Leaves no residue
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Long-lasting hold
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Comes with styling combs and a clip

Cons

  • Very Greasy

15. Best Shine-Boosting: Taliah Waajid Lock It Up

4.4
Taliah Waajid Black Earth Products Lock It Up Image: Taliah Waajid

The Taliah Waajid Lock It Up holds your hairstyle in place without causing flaking. It is packed with nourishing ingredients like yarrow root, rosemary, nettle, and Indian hemp that moisturize the hair and protect it against damaging elements. The product helps tame excess frizz and keep your locs shining. It is also suitable for color-treated hair.

Pros

  • Suitable for color-treated hair
  • Non-greasy
  • Flake-free
  • Long-lasting hold
  • Causes no buildup

Cons

  • Difficult to spread on the hair
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

There are different types of gels available, so it is important to find the one that is right for your hair type. Choose skin-friendly, expert-recommended 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 strong-hold 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

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

The Bottom Line

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 professional-grade gels help keep the outer hair smooth and provide a good hold. They also help to control flyaways. The Soft Sheen Carson Let’s Jam! Condition & Shine Gel is lightweight and prevents dryness, while the African Pride Black Castor Miracle Extra Hold Braid, Loc & Twist Gel helps lock in moisture and promotes hair growth. But if you are looking for something that improves hair elasticity and tightens dreadlocks, try the Dollylocks Coconut, Aloe, and Lime Tightening Gel. It is always ideal to invest in dermatologist-tested gels that are formulated specially to hold the hair in place. Read reviews to be sure of your choice and stay away from the gels that cause flaking and stiffness to your hair.

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 a harmful ingredient to dreadlocks.

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

Retwisting dreads in 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.

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 gels for dreadlock maintenance and to keep their tresses healthy and bouncy, 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.


References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

    (i) Dreadlock Noir
    https://dreadlock-noir.blogspot.com/2011/03/product-review-jamaican-mango-lime.html

    (ii) Mindful Hair Care
    https://mindfulhaircare.blogspot.com/2013/03/new-product-ors-lock-twist-gel.html

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