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Whether you’re years into your loc journey or just getting started, there are so many different methods for maintaining a crown full of healthy locs (or dreadlocks, depending on your preference). Even if you love a low-maintenance routine, the right products can have a major impact on the look, softness, and manageability of your hair. And at the end of the day, the best-looking locs are the healthy ones.
A quick search through the hashtag #locjourney will lead you to an entire community of natural beauty gurus sharing their best tips for thriving locs. Even though you’ll find a flurry of product recommendations, the good news is that nowadays, there is a bumper crop of options spanning the price spectrum. Thinking about getting locs (perhaps sisterlocks) or looking to improve your routine? Check out what women of the loc community recommend for healthy, thriving hair.
Read on for the best products for locs and dreadlocks.
Best Shampoo: Taliah Waajid Total Body Black Earth Shampoo
Chigozie Ezirike is an attorney and event planner with show-stopping sisterlocks. One of her go-to products is this blackberry extract shampoo—it helps to repair damaged hair and even doubles nicely as a hydrating body wash. She says, “It’s common for locs to hold dirt in them, but this clarifying shampoo helps to keep everything clean.”
Best Conditioner: Sisterlocks Reconstructor Conditioner
The topic of conditioners is often up for debate in the loc community since most formulas are made to defrizz and detangle your hair (which is the opposite of what you want, especially for new locs). However, a conditioner like this one can be a great choice for settled or color-treated locs. Use it periodically as a deep treatment to restore moisture under a hooded dry or heat cap.
Best Refreshing Spray: Locsanity Rosewater and Peppermint Daily Moisturizing Spray
Tasia Hawkins claims that this spray has been a huge help throughout each stage of her locs. “When I first got my locs, I wanted to find a lightweight, nice-smelling product to refresh them on a regular basis, especially after workouts," says Hawkins. "I knew if I washed them too much it would slow down the process. This one is is a winner because it smells great, makes my hair feel clean, and can be used daily.”
Periodically rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar can improve the sheen and freshness of your locs by getting rid of excess product buildup and helping to balance your hair’s pH.
Best Oil Blend: Dr. Locs Yaya Oil
This restorative oil promotes shine and deeply conditions locs with the power of grapeseed oil, avocado oil, and jojoba oil, to name a few. Bree Brown, a locs and spirituality blogger, says that this is her go-to oil to maintain her crown. “The all-natural oil blend smells amazing and keeps my locs loose, hydrated, and moisturized! It can also be applied from root to tip, so it's protecting my scalp from over-drying between washes."
Best Leave-In: It’s Natural Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner
Hope Frazier, also known as The Melanated Homemaker is new to her loc journey and has found a sweet spot with this reliable leave-in. She says, “I love this product because it has natural elements such as honey and coconut milk and it holds me over between retwists," says Frazier. She adds, "I also love that it keeps my hair nice and soft, plus there's no buildup so I can use it daily. I feel like it's protecting my hair from the inside and out"
Best Cream: Taliah Waajid Lock It Up
This creamy styling product has become a go-to for both starter locs and for retwisting. It delivers the hold, moisture, and shine that you want without the flaking and buildup that are often associated with holding creams and gels. The alcohol-free formula is also a favorite amongst stylists for its natural ingredients and long-lasting results.
Best Lotion: Design Essentials Moisturizing Lotion
Briana G began her loc journey in January of 2020 and begins her routine with homemade rose water and oil to hydrate her hair. To seal in moisture, she trusts this heritage moisturizing lotion, stating, “I used this product even before I had locs because I had bleached hair. I really trust it to put moisture back in my hair."
Best Essential Oil: Maple Holistics Rosemary Essential Oil
D Bella, the founder of the soon-to-launch Enondra Beauty, had a hard time finding the perfect products for locs, so she decided to create her own line. She always comes back to essential oils and especially loves rosemary oil. She says, “I love rosemary oil for growth and sweet almond oil for reducing dryness.” In addition to hair growth, rosemary oil is also said to help prevent premature graying and promote a healthy scalp.
Best Multipurpose: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap in Peppermint
When it comes to cleaning your locs, you might find that you need more than your average hydrating shampoo. This soap is typically associated with body cleansing, but it truly does it all. Linda Elaine says that it’s a great solution for squeaky clean locs. She swears by it, saying, “This is my favorite product because it's all-natural but it still really cleanses my scalp and clarifies my locs.”
Best Gel: Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera is a popular option for textured hair, locked or not, for its super-hydrating, yet lightweight, consistency. Ninalocs says, “My favorite product is this aloe vera gel. I’ve been using it for more than six years, and it gives my retwists enough hold without leaving my locs gunky." She adds, "It’s so important to retwist with products that wash out clean.”
Best Classic: Sea Breeze Astringent For Scalp & Sensitive Skin
All healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp, and an astringent can be a great option for clarifying product buildup. Miesh B, known as the Sisterloc’d Storyteller, recommends this century-old astringent for a clean and clear scalp. She says, “I have a dry scalp and dandruff, so I prefer diluted peppermint shampoos to keep dandruff at bay. But I also use Sea Breeze via a spray bottle to help my scalp.”
Best Hair Tie: Goody Extra Large Ouch Less Hair Tie
Tying up long, thick hair is always a bit of a hassle, and the last thing you want is your hair tie to pop mid-action. Miesh B. recommends these extra-large hair ties as a solution for keeping thick hair in place. They’re longer and wider than your average elastic, so they can handle the weight of your hair, plus they’re free of metal clasps and won’t snag.
Best Indie Product: GoldiLocs Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Lavender
JBCO has a reputation for accelerating the growth of thinning hair, making it a prime option for locs. Latori Wilder recommends this lavender-scented oil as her current favorite. She says, “You know exactly what you’re putting on your hair and you can also use it on your skin and nails. The oil is thick and a little goes a long way.”
What To Look For in Best Products for Locs
Consider Your Individual Needs
No matter where you are on your loc journey, your hair still has its own unique needs, from being color-treated to sustaining days of high heat and humidity. So when shopping for products—especially those designed to condition or repair—look at what your hair truly needs before choosing.
Natural oils can pack a powerful punch when it comes to the health of your hair or scalp. (And a healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair; more on that in a bit.) Lavender oil, rosemary oil, and olive oil have all been shown to be powerful allies in the fight for stronger strands, so be on the lookout for products that include these ingredients.
Don’t Forget About Your Scalp
While your locs end up getting most of the attention, it’s also important to give your scalp plenty of TLC to prevent dryness and dandruff. Nowadays, many hair care products come with built-in scalp benefits, but if yours needs extra consideration, try an astringent-based product to keep this sensitive area in tip-top condition.
What’s a good product for dreadlocks?
Depending on the length and style of your locs, your care routine could consist of anything from a simple shampoo and conditioning product to a variety of products designed to moisturize, hydrate, and help protect hair.
Should you put products in dreads?
Everyone’s locs journey is different, as are their individual hair needs. While it’s important to properly care for your hair, the products you use depend entirely on what you require. If you're not sure how to best keep your locs hydrated or your scalp clean, consider visiting a loctician.
How do you maintain locs for beginners?
Loc maintenance will depend greatly on where you are in your dreadlock journey. Expect to put in the most work during the first year, during which your hair is most likely to come undone. By the time you reach the two-year mark, however, you'll be able to streamline things. Consider visiting a pro loctician, who can help you come up with your own specific routine.