The 13 Best Products for Dreadlocks and Locs of 2022

With top picks from Taliah Waajid, Sisterlocks, and more.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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Byrdie / Lecia Landis

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.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Our pick for best shampoo for dreadlocks is Taliah Waajid Total Body Black Earth Shampoo, a moisturizing and clarifying shampoo that efficiently removes build-up from lots without drying out hair. When it comes to styling lotions, we love Design Essentials Daily Hair Moisturizing Lotion. The almond and avocado oil blend works amazingly on both wet and dry hair.

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?

We conducted hours of research on the best products for locs and dreadlocks, evaluating each on formula type, concerns targeted, and results delivered. For each product we gathered insights from people in the loc and dreadlock community who regularly use the product in question to get a sense of how it holds up in real life.

Read on for the best products for locs and dreadlocks.

Best Shampoo: Taliah Waajid Total Body Black Earth Shampoo

Taliah Waajid Total Body Black Earth Shampoo
What We Like
  • A little goes a long way

  • Softening and clarifying

What We Don't Like
  • Contains dyes which may be off-putting to some

We love this nourishing formula for its ability to repair damaged hair. It even doubles nicely as a hydrating body wash. "It’s common for locs to hold dirt in them, but this clarifying shampoo helps to keep everything clean,” says Chigozie Ezirike, who uses this product regularly.

Product Type: Shampoo| Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Conditioner: Sisterlocks Reconstructor Conditioner

Sisterlocks Reconstructor Conditioner
What We Like
  • Moisturizing

  • Uses high quality food grade proteins to nourish hair shaft

What We Don't Like
  • Ingredients not listed

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.

Product Type: Conditioner | Byrdie Clean: Not listed | Cruelty Free: Not listed

Best Refreshing Spray: Locsanity Rosewater and Peppermint Daily Moisturizing Spray

Locsanity Rosewater and Peppermint Daily Moisturizing Spray
What We Like
  • Amazing botanical scent

  • Does not leave product residue or build-up

What We Don't Like
  • Spray bottle might be hard to pump, according to some reviewers

A lightweight spray like this formula is ideal for daily use. This one works wonders when it comes to adding softness without causing build-up. Tasia Hawkins, who uses this product regularly, 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.”

Product Type: Refreshing spray | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Oil Blend: Dr. Locs Yaya Oil

Dr. Locs Yaya Oil
What We Like
  • Invigorating, natural scent

  • Nourishing formula moisturizes hair

What We Don't Like
  • Too much product can weigh hair down

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 who uses this product regularly, 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."

Product Type: Oil | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Leave-In: It’s Natural Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner

It’s Natural Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner
What We Like
  • Doesn't leave residue or build-up

  • Softens and moisturizes hair

What We Don't Like
  • Scent can be sweet for some

Hope Frazier, also known as The Melanated Homemaker regularly uses this product, although is new to her loc journey. She 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."

Product Type: Leave-in conditioner| Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Cream: Taliah Waajid Lock It Up

Taliah Waajid Lock It Up
What We Like
  • Nourishing formula

  • Adds softness to hair

What We Don't Like
  • Some reviewers note flaking

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 buildup that is 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. 

Product Type: Holding cream | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Lotion: Design Essentials Moisturizing Lotion

Design Essentials Moisturizing Lotion
What We Like
  • Moisturizing

  • Amazing floral scent

  • Repairs shaft damage

What We Don't Like
  • Can weigh some hair textures down

Briana G, who regularly uses this product, 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, adding, “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."

Product Type: Holding lotion | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Essential Oil: Maple Holistics Rosemary Essential Oil

Maple Holistic Rosemary Essential Oil
What We Like
  • Moisturizing

  • Calming scent

  • Adds shine

What We Don't Like
  • May weigh down some hair textures

D Bella, who regularly uses this product, 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. Of this particular formula, she says, “I love rosemary oil for growth and sweet almond oil for reducing dryness.”

Product Type: Oil | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Multipurpose: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap in Peppermint

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap in Peppermint
What We Like
  • Natural formula is gentle on hair

  • Clarifies build-up

What We Don't Like
  • Scent may be too strong for some

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, who regularly uses this product, 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.”

Product Type: Cleanser | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Gel: Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel

Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel
What We Like
  • Lightweight formula

  • Natural scent

  • Nourishing to hair

What We Don't Like
  • Some reviewers note the hold isn't strong enough

Aloe vera is a popular option for textured hair, locked or not, for its super-hydrating, yet lightweight, consistency. Ninalocs, who regularly uses this product 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.”

Product Type: Gel | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Classic: Sea Breeze Astringent For Scalp & Sensitive Skin

Sea Breeze Astringent For Scalp & Sensitive Skin
What We Like
What We Don't Like

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 who regularly uses this product 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.”

Product Type: Scalp astringent | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty Free: Yes

Best Hair Tie: Goody Extra Large Ouch Less Hair Tie

Goody Extra Large Ouch Less Hair Tie
What We Like
  • Do not crease hair

  • Ideal for locs

What We Don't Like
  • May be too thick for some

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., who regularly uses this product, 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.

Product Type: Hair elastic | Byrdie Clean: N/A | Cruelty Free: N/A

Best Indie Product: GoldiLocs Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Lavender

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, who regularly uses this product, 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.”

Product Type: Oil | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty Free: Yes

Final Verdict

When it comes to the best shampoo for dreadlocks, we love Taliah Waajid Total Body Black Earth Shampoo, which is moisturizing and clarifying. When it comes to styling lotions, we recommend the top-rated Design Essentials Daily Hair Moisturizing Lotion, which contains a natural blend of oils to provide lightweight hair hydration.

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

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.

FAQ
  • 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.

Updated by Jill DiDonato
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Panahi Y, Taghizadeh M, Marzony ET, Sahebkar A. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trialSkinmed. 2015;13(1):15-21.

  2. Lee BH, Lee JS, Kim YC. Hair growth-promoting effects of lavender oil in c57bl/6 miceToxicol Res. 2016;32(2):103-108.

  3. Panahi Y, Taghizadeh M, Marzony ET, Sahebkar A. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trialSkinmed. 2015;13(1):15-21.

  4. Ezekwe N, King M, Hollinger JC. The use of natural ingredients in the treatment of alopecias with an emphasis on central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia: a systematic reviewJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2020;13(8):23-27.

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