Top 6 Dreadlocks Must Haves

Here you can find 6 dreadlocks essentials, in order of importance:

  1. Shampoo (and our tip for using shampoo bars)
  2. Detox or deep cleanse
  3. Nightcap
  4. Crochet hooks
  5. Refreshing / conditioning spray
  6. Tightening products



1) Dreadlocks shampoo

We can never stress enough how important it is to use the right shampoo, as shampoos that are not specific for dreadlocks will often leave a lot of residue in your hair. In the long term, residue buildup can lead to the formation of mildew and several other issues. It's also very important to use products that are gentle on the skin. 

You’ll have to avoid most “regular” shampoos but have no fear, you’ll still have plenty of choice. 

In the liquid shampoo section you can find several options from world renowned brands that offer top quality, residue-free dreadlocks products, with a lot of different scents. And if you’re interested in solid dreadlocks shampoo, take a look at the shampoo bars section. 

Tip for using shampoo bars: Remember not to rub the shampoo bar directly on your dreads, or you’re likely to trap some product which will be just like product residue from cheaper non-dreadlocks shampoos. Instead, you should create some lather and use that on your hair. This mesh bag can really help you create a good amount of lather, and it can be hung to dry so your shampoo bar will last longer. Plus, it will make it easier to handle your shampoo bar when it starts to get small.


 Some of the shampoos and a mesh bag

2) Dreadlocks detox or deep cleanse

This is a common practice among dreadheads. It’s called detox or deep cleanse as it’s a small cleansing ritual to get rid of dust, product residue and any trace of mildew or unwanted bacteria from your hair, making them super fresh and squeaky clean. 

It doesn’t matter how often you wash your dreads, there will always be a small amount of debris that shampoos cannot get out. In this case only a detox/deep cleanse can do the trick. What you’ll need:

  • A basin
  • Warm water
  • A detox kit
  • About 20 minutes of your time (15 to soak your hair and the rest to rinse them).

Follow the instructions on the package, and enjoy this little cleansing ritual. If you have never done it before, you may be surprised by the colour of the water!

And if you’re looking for more information on how to keep your dreads clean, please refer to our Clean Dreadlocks Guide.


2 dreadlocks detox products and a girl with dreadlocks with her hair being cleaned in an inflatable basin

Dreadlock detox or deep cleanse using an inflatable hair basin 


3) Dreadlocks nightcap

Wearing a dreadlocks nightcap is beneficial for a variety of reasons, especially lint prevention. Lint is textile fiber that gets stuck in your dreads from bedding, clothing, towels, etc. It builds up over time until it gets very obvious and looks like grey bits of fluff intertwined with your dreadlocks. The most common remedy for excess lint is to hide it by dying it. Picking it is not recommended as it can create weak spots in your dreads. A detox kit can help you reduce lint, but won’t eliminate it completely as some may think, so the best thing you can do is to prevent it.

It’s especially recommended to protect your dreads while sleeping, because every small movement of your head creates quite a bit of friction on the pillow, mattress and blankets which then leads to the formation of lint in your dreads. By wearing a dreadlocks nightcap you can also keep the frizz under control, so your roots will need less maintenance. Using a nightcap is a small habit that can go a long way in your dreadlocks journey. DreadLab’s nightcap is made of super smooth satin and will protect your dreads from friction, lint, dust and frizz.

4) Dreadlocks crochet hook

A crochet hook is handy for fixing loose hair and loops on the go. It’s easy to carry around and easy to use. You will need different sizes for different stages of your dreadlocks journey: for young dreadlocks you can use a large hook, but for mature, more compact dreads you’ll need a smaller size. On DreadLab you can find different brands of crochet hooks with sizes that range from 0.5 to 1.5mm. It’s wise to have a few hooks with you in your dreadlocks journey, and keep in mind they can break after some time, because they’re such thin tools. So it’s good to get yourself at least one extra hook. For crocheting correctly the grip is important: basic hooks are made of stainless steel, which can be slippery, so you can choose a comfortable bamboo handle or a plastic handle instead. Our full selection of hooks is found in the tools section.


dreadlocks crochet hooks


5) Refreshing / conditioning spray

Itchy scalp with dreadlocks is a common problem, especially for new dreadheads. To help you with this, a good dreadlocks refreshing spray is an absolute must have. The best dreadlocks brands in the world offer refreshing and conditioning sprays to hydrate both your skin and your dreads. These products will give your scalp some relief, help healing irritated skin, control dandruff, and will make your dreads feel soft, so they stop itching. Plus, your dreads will smell fresh and clean at all times. See the products on this page.


6) Tightening spray or gel

Last but not least, every dreadhead should have a product that helps dreadlocks mature and reduces frizz. The choice is between tightening sprays and gels. Before these products existed, people used to rely on wax to keep their dreads neat and tidy, but nowadays we know that wax is only a temporary fix. It will make your hair look neat, but it also lubricates them and prevents the natural locking process. Plus, most wax is hard to wash away and attracts lint and dust. 

The best tightening products are water-soluble, so they can be washed and won’t leave residue. They help your hair knot and they’re delicate on the skin. See all the tightening products here.


This was our list of dreadlocks essentials. We hope you enjoyed reading it, and that you’ve learned something new!


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 About the author

Margherita Orso Pletti - Italian dread maker, youtuber and blogger living in the UK. Creator of, website in Italian about dreadlocks.
a girl with dreadlocks walking through trees