Taking care of locs can be more challenging than other hair types since you may have to deal with lint, dirt, and residue buildup. So to keep them clean and healthy, you need a strong cleansing shampoo that can clear out impurities while providing moisture to your locs. A shampoo designed for locs should also be lightweight to avoid weighing your hair down or making it feel greasy.
Among various products online, Maple Holistics' Tea Tree Special Formula Shampoo took the top prize in our list of favorites! This shampoo is formulated with essential oils like tea tree, rosemary, and lavender that can help rejuvenate and strengthen your locs. Plus, it's hypoallergenic and suitable for all hair types! Continue reading to find out other shampoos made that the cut in our 8 best list, as well as our buying guide, reviewed by a licensed cosmetologist, with tips for choosing the right product for you.
Denise is a licensed cosmetologist who advises people on certain products they should get. She formally worked at Ulta and is now headed into a salon.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
Experts featured in this article only reviewed the content of our buying guide. They had no part in the selection or ranking of products or services listed.
The products and services listed are ranked independently by the editorial team based on the relevant research (as of 11-04-2022).
When choosing a loc shampoo, take a close look at the formula to see if there are ingredients that can make your locs look healthy and vibrant. Avoid harsh chemicals like sulfates as well, since they can dry out your hair.
This buying guide will further explain what other factors you should consider to pick out the best shampoo for yourself!
A shampoo designed for locs should contain ingredients that can nourish and prevent them from being affected by environmental aggressors. Keep them in mind while making your selection!
The last thing you want is for your locs to look dehydrated and lackluster. So, to give them nourishment and moisture, look for natural oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil.
These oils are effective in keeping your locs healthy and moisturized, while at the same time supplying essential fatty acids that help reinforce your hair and fight off the damaging effects of pollution, UV rays, and other environmental aggressors.
You ideally want to find oils in the conditioner. Be wary of oils, as they can be drying because they are a sealant. In a clarifying shampoo you want to find clarifying oils like tea tree and peppermint in the shampoo. Always try to shampoo the hair twice and then use conditioner once.
After a long day (or week), you might need a strong cleansing shampoo to remove all the dirt and impurities from your hair. And for locs, you need ingredients that can penetrate deep into your hair for a thorough cleanse. Locs can be tougher to clean and more susceptible to lint, dandruff, and residue build-up in, so cleansing power is important!
However, you don't want anything too harsh that might end up stripping your hair of its natural oils and shine. To counter this, look for a formula with essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, rosemary, and tea tree. These essential oils can help remove residue build-up and sebum accumulation on your scalp, leaving your hair feeling fresh and clean!
Apple cider vinegar is another great option. It helps to clarify your hair and remove any debris that's clogging your follicles. It can help manage or even get rid of dandruff too!
I don't have a specific brand of shampoo to use as I haven't gotten that far in my journey and everyone's head is different, I'll let you know how I would wash a head full of locs.
For one, it is better to go for a more clarifying shampoo, which can be drying but will remove everything. If I notice a customer has dandruff, I'll go for a sulfate shampoo such as sulfur 8 as well as an apple cider vinegar detox. If there isn't bad dandruff I just go in with a regular clarifying shampoo.
Since locs can accumulate residue buildup easily, you should choose a formula that won't weigh down your hair. Avoid pore-clogging, comedogenic ingredients such as beeswax. They might be great moisturizers, but they can leave behind a lot of residue. Heavy oil ingredients such as cocoa butter and wheat germ oil might clog your pores and make your locs look greasy as well.
To be on the safe side, look for products with a lightweight, anti-residue formula since they will keep your locs light while eliminating any excess buildup.
If one ever gets a shampoo that does have too much residue, they should opt for a deep cleansing conditioner. Also, an apple cider vinegar detox or just a detox in itself will help to remove the build up. But the best thing to do is not get a shampoo that has residue in it!
Many shampoos use additives that might dry out your hair or cause irritation. So avoid these common additives to preserve the health of your locs!
Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, are probably one of the most common ingredients in shampoo due to their powerful cleansing properties. However, they can harm your hair cuticles and strip hair of its natural oils, leading to breakage, brittleness, split ends, and even eczema.
Using shampoo infused with sulfates might dry out your hair significantly and leave your locs looking stiff and dull. So opt for a sulfate-free shampoo to protect your locs from any potential dryness or other damages.
While sulfates can cause issues, it might work differently for everyone. For some people who have heavy dandruff or have high porosity locs the sulfate shampoos might be a big help.
In a clarifying shampoo you want it to strip everything, and since it strips everything it could leave the hair super dry, of course, and one should be careful. This is why the conditioner is an important part of hair care, because it brings the moisture back into the hair. A deep conditioning treatment should be considered as well, if it is necessary.
Many shampoos are formulated with parabens, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben, to help prevent microbial growth and to prolong their shelf life.
Nonetheless, parabens might lead to irritation, itching, and redness, especially for those with a sensitive scalp. They can also draw out the moisture from your hair and strip away natural shine.
Due to this, it is better to to go for a more natural shampoo. If one notices the shampoo is giving them an allergic reaction, stop immediate use and either test another shampoo or go for a more natural shampoo.
Parfum (or fragrance) is frequently found in the ingredient list of a shampoo. It helps deliver an enticing scent to your hair, but do you know that this ingredient may be irritating to those with sensitive skin or allergies?
In fact, both synthetic and natural fragrances have been shown to cause scalp irritation, redness, and even allergic contact dermatitis in certain peoples. So before applying a product, you should do a patch test first to ensure that it's safe for you!
You probably have heard that the pH level is important in skincare. But do you know that it's the same for your hair? When the weather is a little bit off (either too dry or humid) or even when you are suffering from sleep deprivation, the pH level of your hair likely becomes imbalanced as well. Therefore, your hair might look much more tired or even fall out.
So to keep your locs vibrant and healthy, pick a pH-balanced shampoo that helps maintain a healthy pH level for your hair (usually at 5.5). It helps ensure that your hair cuticles are sealed, thus preventing breakage and fallout. It will also provide moisture, tame frizz, and remove static.
This is very important. Also, a healthy diet and, as was stated, a healthy sleep schedule are important when coming to the pH of one's hair. Since the hair's pH is more acidic (3.6-5.5), it is better to find a more alkaline shampoo. If, on the rare occasion, one notices that the hair is more alkaline, go for a more acidic shampoo (or deep treatment) to level the pH.
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Tea Tree Special Formula Shampoo
Hypoallergenic Shampoo With Tea Tree Oil Strengthens Your Locs
Oat Protein and Henna Deep Cleansing Shampoo
Oat Protein and Henna Nourish and Deeply Cleanse Hair
Original Gold Label
Vegan Shampoo With Biotin and a Herbal DHT Blend Prevents Hair Loss and Brittleness
Strengthen and Restore Shampoo
Black Castor Oil and Shea Butter Strengthen and Restore Damaged Hair
Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo
Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifies Your Scalp and Adds Shine to Dull-Looking Hair
Dreadlock Shampoo Bar
Biodegradable Bar with Rosemary, Tea Tree and Peppermint That Doesn't Leave Residue
Dread Head HQ
Unscented Shampoo with Coconut-Based Surfactants Tightens Locs
Lactic Acid Removes Stubborn Buildup
This clarifying shampoo is enriched with tea tree oil to strengthen your hair, reduce fallout, and make your locs look much more luscious. The product also features lavender and rosemary to help eradicate lice. Plus, the formula is hypoallergenic and sulfate-free, thus making it suitable for all hair types.
Some reviewers didn't notice any major differences before and after using the product. However, over 4,000 reviewers gave it five stars! Reviewers with locs note that it helped them get their dandruff under control.
Users were amazed at how effective the product was in removing stubborn residue and buildup. Many also appreciated the gentle formula that didn't trigger any irritation or cause itching. Some further added that their hair looked and felt much softer and shinier.
This shampoo is formulated with botanicals to remove dirt without ridding your hair of its natural oils. One of the main ingredients, oat protein, helps nourish and moisturize your hair. Meanwhile, henna protects it from environmental damage.
Some reviewers were disappointed that they received leaking products. Some also said the shampoo dried out their hair, so you might want to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner to keep your hair hydrated.
On the other hand, many reviewers were pleased that the product effectively removed buildup on their scalp and left their locs feeling squeaky clean. Others further added that their hair felt light and soft after washing.
This shampoo is infused with biotin and a proprietary herbal DHT blend to supply your scalp and hair with essential nutrients. You can say goodbye to dryness, brittle strands, or hair loss!
The addition of nettle extract, pumpkin seed, and black cumin seed oil further improves the health of your hair and removes all impurities.
Many reviewers were impressed that the product helped thicken their locs and add more volume to their hair. Many found their locs looking much healthier and more luscious.
Another reason to consider this shampoo: Pura D'or plants one tree for every bottle of product sold with Eden Reforestation Projects, and they've planted over 110,000 trees so far!
Infused with nourishing ingredients, such as shea butter and black castor oil, this shampoo can rejuvenate your damaged hair, keeping it hydrated and healthy. The clarifying formula also helps eliminate buildup to leave your hair feeling clean and refreshed.
Plus, the product is ethically-traded and sustainably produced, so there's all the more reason to fall in love with it! Some reviewers were disappointed that the product came leaking or damaged. Others wondered if the Amazon product was legitimate, so we included the link from Walmart as well.
On the other hand, many commented that this product gave their scalp a deep clean, helped their hair grow faster, and didn't strip away natural oils. Many further added that this product was perfect for strong, healthy locs!
This formula is infused with colloidal oatmeal extract to nourish hair and soothe your scalp. Plus, the shampoo boasts apple cider vinegar, which helps cleanse your hair of buildup and impurities to make it look more radiant. Even better, there are no parabens, sulfates, or dyes in the formula!
Reviewers were in love with how the product made their coarse and dry hair much softer and shinier. Many also mentioned that their scalp felt clean, and they found no dandruff or gunk left behind in their locs.
However, reviewers noted that the product contained fragrance. So if you have a fragrance sensitivity, do a patch test first!
Crafted with a blend of rosemary, tea tree, and peppermint, this shampoo bar removes impurities from your hair while being gentle on your scalp. Also, the product is non-toxic and biodegradable.
Many reviewers claimed this shampoo was their favorite, saying that it helped mature their locs faster. Many were pleased that the product provided their hair with moisture too!
Some reviewers noted that the bar felt a bit sticky on their hair during application, so you should rinse it carefully. Others also mentioned that the lightweight formula of this shampoo didn't weigh their hair down but made it feel soft and healthy instead!
Looking for a shampoo that can tighten your locs? This shampoo uses coconut-based surfactants to thoroughly clean your hair and help it bind, knot, or tighten faster.
Furthermore, it's crafted without fragrance, dyes, phosphates, or oxidizers and is less likely to irritate your scalp. Plus, the product is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, so you can feel good about purchasing it!
Some reviewers found the shampoo to be too drying or watery for their taste. On the other hand, many reviewers were heads over heels with this product, since it helped remove residue buildup and actually make their locs tighten faster! Many said the shampoo rinsed quickly and easily as well.
Crafted with strong cleansing ingredients such as lactic acid, this shampoo can remove dulling deposits and restore your hair's natural shine. It's also safe for color-treated hair and can actually brighten highlighted, bleached, or gray hair.
Reviewers were happy that the product effectively removed buildup without stripping their hair off its natural moisture or color. Furthermore, many found their hair much softer after using the shampoo.
However, some reviewers noted that the Amazon product may not be the real deal. So we included a link to the official website for you!
Your hair is susceptible to environmental damage from pollution and UV rays, so try a hair treatment to keep your hair healthy and vibrant!
No. 1：Maple Holistics ｜Tea Tree Special Formula Shampoo
No. 2：Design Essentials｜Oat Protein and Henna Deep Cleansing Shampoo
No. 3：Pura D'or ｜Original Gold Label
No. 4：Shea Moisture｜Strengthen and Restore Shampoo
No. 5：Aveeno｜Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo
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