6 Down & Dirty Tips on Choosing A Dreadlock Shampoo
Whether you’re just starting to explore natural hairstyle possibilities, are beginning to grow dreads or have been wearing locs for a while now, it’s important that you learn just how to shampoo dreads to ensure that they stay healthy and keep looking great.
Well, to put it simply, you can’t just shampoo dreadlocks with any old shampoo you pick up at the 99 cent store. You need to use a dreads shampoo if you want to get the best results and avoid hair care woes. But what makes for a good dreadlocks shampoo you ask? Read on to discover some important tips about shampooing dreads…
1. Residue Is a No No. Locs can easily absorb ingredients like fragrances and oils from shampoos and other hair care products. Even if you thoroughly rinse your hair, traces of residue can linger in your locs and absorb moisture. Even if your dreadlocks feel dry, that residue that’s lurking behind might leave them still slightly damp, increasing your risk of developing dread rot. Always rinse your hair thoroughly after washing your locs, meaning twice as long as what feels natural or “enough.”
2. Most Shampoos Will Leave Behind Residue. You’ll find a number of conventional and even specialty ethnic shampoos on the market that claim to be “residue free,” but in actuality most still leave behind some traces of ingredients. Before buying any shampoo, it’s important to check the ingredient listings for any ingredients that start with the letters PPG or PEG. These ingredients are likely to leave behind residue on dreadlocks and should be avoided. Right now, I’m using Jason’s Tea Tree Normalizing Shampoo. Reason being, it doesn’t have any any harsh chemicals (i.e. no parabens, no sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate or phthalates and not tested on animals). I read about it on a dreadlocks forum and sought it out, when I finally found it and saw on the packaging that it’s recommended for itchy scalp (which I have), with that I was convinced enough to try it and have been very happy with the results.
3. Sulfates Are Not Your Friends. There are two surfactants commonly used in shampoo that people of all hair types are starting to avoid like the plague: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES). Both of these ingredients have been shown to potentially damage the cuticle of the hair strands and to strip moisture from the inner layers of hair proteins. These cleansing agents should be avoided if you have dreads, as they can trigger scalp sensitivity and leave locs dehydrated.
4. “Organic” and “Natural” Are Not Synonymous With “Safe for Dreadlocks.” Many shampoos today are touted as being organic, natural, naturally derived, made with organic ingredients and so on. Many Naturalistas make the mistake of assuming products with these types of labels are automatically safe for their locs, but that’s not always the case. Many natural ingredients can still create residue, making it important that you only choose formulas with essential oils or saponified oils not oils mixed with carrier oils. For example, a lot of people still use beeswax for their dreadlock maintenance. Yes, beeswax is technically “natural” (and who could hate those cute little bees busy making honey and other goodies for us?) but it’s a death knell for dreads because it attracts lint and unsightly buildup.
5. Search Before You Buy. Before purchasing any shampoo for dreads, don’t simply be swayed by pretty packaging and clever marketing angles… flip the bottle over and take a scan of all of the ingredients contained in the formulas. Find out whether or not they’re really dread safe before you make your purchase. There are commercial products out there that are safe, but it can take a bit of investigation to find them.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Your Own. Because it can be so difficult to find a residue-free shampoo for dreadlocks, many Naturalistas (and NaturalMistas) choose to whip up their own homemade rinses. You can find a number of recipes online that allow you to make a big batch of dreadlock rinse with just a few easy-to-find ingredients.
Whether you decide you want to make your own dreads shampoo or purchase one of the dreadlock shampoos that are currently available on the market, your locs will thank you by being easy to manage when you take the time to shampoo your dreads with a formula or natural rinse made especially for locs.
And to keep that healthy vibe going, consider adding a Dreadlock Shampoo Brush to your dreadlock maintenance routine. It’s like a pamper party for your scalp…