After testing dozens of products I found the Lion Loc Locking 2-n-1 shampoo and conditioner to be the best conditioner for dreads.
Dreads are beautiful but require the right products to keep them moisturized and healthy. While they don’t require the daily maintenance that other hairstyles would since they stay twisted consistently, it is important to ensure the scalp is healthy.
As dreads grow, they get heavier, which means that the roots need a little extra attention. The right conditioner will hydrate the scalp and hair without weighing your dreads down. Not to mention, the hair itself needs hydration. Just like our skin, the hair shaft is porous and can become dry, brittle, and damaged without proper conditioning.
That’s why Lion Loc Locking 2-n-1 Shampoo and Conditioner is our best overall conditioner for dreads. It hydrates the scalp and hair and repairs damage. We’ll talk more about this awesome co wash shortly.
The best conditioner for dreadlocks works as a leave-in conditioner, providing consistent hydration to both the hair and scalp. It should also be lightweight, so it doesn’t weigh down your locks. Not to mention, it doesn’t cause flaking or build-up.
However, we know that not everyone is looking the same for both dreads and conditioners. For that reason, we have gathered the six best conditioners for dreads and reviewed them.
Our Picks for Best Conditioner
Best Overall: Lion Locs Locking 2-n-1 Shampoo and Conditioner
Best for Natural Shine: Design Essentials Kuki and Coconut Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner
Best for Daily Protection: Influence It’s Natural Coconut Milk Leave In Conditioner
Best for Sisterlocks: Sisterlocks Reconstructor Conditioner
Best for Scalp Repair: Jamaican Mango and Lime Protein Conditioner
Best for Dry and Damaged Hair: Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner
Lion Locs Locking 2-n-1 Shampoo and Conditioner is our favorite from a list of outstanding options because it is a safe and effective way to cleanse the locks of buildup while providing much-needed hydration.
Washing tends to dry out the hair, stripping it of essential oil and moisture. But supplementing with this deep conditioner will leave your hair cuticles clean, revived, and ready to style. It can even operate as a leave-in conditioner for locs. Just apply it to the hair and leave it.
The formula is unisex and works on all hair types. That means you can use it on your microlocs, interlocks, dreadlocks, braids, natural hair and even sisterlocks. One thing that makes the product stand out is its vegan and organic nature. It’s free of sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.
This formula combines ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, meadowfoam seed oil, argan oil, green tea leaf extract, rooibos leaf, activated charcoal, and jojoba oil in a sulfate free formula. These ingredients hydrate and protect the hair while adding shine.
If you’re ready to try an all-purpose leave-in conditioner, the Lion Locs Locking 2-n-1 Shampoo and Conditioner is a great choice. This product works wonders on dreadlocks and does an excellent job of removing dirt and oil from the hair. Experience the softness, clean feeling, and healthy look of your locks with this product.
Great for color treated hair
Natural oil ingredients like argan oil and castor oil that make it great whether you have normal hair, fine hair, or natural hair
Comes in an eight-ounce supply
Smell is off-putting for some
Design Essentials Kuki and Coconut Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner is our best pick for a natural shine. This product adds shine and moisture to all hair textures, including natural, relaxed, braided, loc’d, and extensions.
It’s filled with botanical extracts that penetrate the hair shaft to add shine and hydration. The ingredients list includes kukui nut oil, coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, and jojoba oil. All of these collaborate to add shine and moisture to the hair.
The leave-in conditioner also has a detangling agent that makes it easier to comb through the hair, which is essential for locs. The formula is also lightweight. It won’t weigh down the hair. Use it weekly on dry hair or in between shampoo sessions.
One thing that makes this product stand out from the rest is the smell. It has a sweet heavenly coconut scent. The scent is strong enough that others can smell it when you walk by.
Lightweight and moisturizing deep conditioning formula – match with a sulfate free shampoo
Detangles frizzy hair
Scent is too strong for some
If you have dreads, you understand how quickly a day out in the winter can turn into a frizzy, dry mess, just as a day in the hot sun can leave your dreads feeling dry, brittle, and in need of hydration.
Daily protection is key to keeping your locs healthy and looking their best. That’s where Influence It’s Natural Coconut Milk Leave In Conditioner comes in. Use it daily to protect the hair from environmental damage.
The coconut milk and shea butter hydrate and nourish the hair, while the natural oils add shine and protect the hair from damage. The formula protects the hair from the stressors of the day by reducing breakage and any mechanical damage from styling or pulling.
Simply spray the product onto damp or dry hair strands and style as usual. This water-based leave-in conditioner for locks is weightless and fortifies and smoothes the cuticles for easier styling.
Other ingredients included in the Influence It’s Natural Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner are wheat germ acid, wheat germ oil, jojoba seed oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, ginseng root, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, lappa root hydrolyzed keratin panthenol, collagen amino acids, and natural botanicals.
The great thing is that it’s water-based, so you don’t have to worry about it building up on your dreads. Instead, the water will help the natural oils and other ingredients penetrate the hair shaft to hydrate and protect it from the inside out.
Protects hair from damage
Very good for processed hair
Only eight ounces which is not ideal for daily use
Could be too expensive for what it offers
Sisterlocks are a type of dreadlock that is installed by a professional. They are much smaller than traditional dreadlocks and use a crocheting method for installation. The process can be costly, so it’s essential to take care of your sisterlocks to make them last.
Sisterlocks Reconstructor Conditioner is one of the deep conditioners explicitly designed for settled and color-treated sisterlocks. It’s made with natural ingredients that hydrate and nourish the hair. The shea butter, jojoba oil, and avocado oil penetrate the hair shaft to add moisture and shine.
It’s the perfect deep conditioner for sisterlocks because it helps to repair damage and prevent breakage. The light, creamy formula is easy to apply and will not weigh down the hair. Simply apply it to damp hair and let it air dry. You can apply it as a daily leave-in conditioner to protect your sisterlocks from damage
Hydrates and nourishes hair
Light, creamy formula
Not ideal for traditional dreadlocks
Comes in an eight-ounce supply
If you have dreads, you know that one of the most important things you can do is take care of your scalp. The scalp is the foundation of your dreads, so it’s essential to keep it healthy.
Jamaican Mango and Lime Protein Conditioner is a leave-in conditioner designed specifically for the scalp. The conditioner smells like a juicy mango sprinkled with lime. But don’t let the smell persuade you from its ability to nourish your scalp.
This conditioner contains Manuka Honey and Moringa seed oil for additional scalp benefits. Manuka honey is a natural antibacterial that helps to keep the scalp healthy and free of infection. The Moringa seed oil is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps to soothe the scalp and reduce irritation. It repairs and strengthens the scalp, which heals the hair follicles.
The Jamaican Mango and Lime Protein Conditioner work wonders on those who have hair color in their dreds. The protein in the conditioner helps to repair damage and prevent breakage. The conditioner is another option that can be used daily.
However, it’s also great for deep conditioning treatments. Other ingredients include mineral oil, wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and olive oil. Great for any hair texture but the smell means you should try to match with a lime shampoo.
Made with Jamaican mango and lime
Protects more than just dreads – great for thick hair
Helps to repair damage
Can be used daily
Causes a thick buildup for some
Carol’s Daughter is a well-known brand that makes high-quality hair care products for all hair textures. The Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner spray is one of their best products for dreadlocks. It’s made with a blend of natural ingredients that hydrate, nourish, and restore the shine to dull hair.
The primary ingredients in the conditioner are castor oil, rosemary, and aloe. These ingredients penetrate the hair shaft to add moisture and shine. The aloe also helps to soothe the scalp and reduce irritation.
The Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner is an excellent choice for people with dry or damaged hair. The leave-in formula helps to repair damage and prevent breakage. It works on all hair types, but especially textured hair. It’s weightless, giving your hair a softer texture. Not to mention it looks healthier and shinier. Simply apply it to damp hair and let it air dry.
Great when matched with a curly hair shampoo from shea moisture.
Hydrates and nourishes hair
Weightless formula that will leave your hair smelling fresh
Works on all hair types
Some people don’t like the scent
Comes in an eight-ounce bottle
Now that we have a progressive understanding of the different types of dreadlocks, let’s dive a little deeper into what you should look for when purchasing conditioners for your locs.
Water-Based vs. Oil-Based Conditioners
The two main types of conditioners for dreadlocks are water-based and oil-based. Water-based conditioners are usually lighter in consistency and easier to apply. They’re also less likely to cause a buildup on the scalp.
Oil-based conditioners are thicker and provide more moisture to the hair. They can be a bit more challenging to apply, but they’re worth it for the extra hydration they provide.
When it comes to ingredients, you want to look for natural products designed specifically for dreadlocks. You will generally want to go with sulfate free products, and depending on what you like can go with an option that has ingredients like coconut oil, tea tree oil, almond oil, or Jamaican black castor oil. These ingredients penetrate the hair shaft to add moisture and shine.
While you may be familiar with most ingredients, let’s look at the components not usually used in other hair products.
Meadowfoam Seed Oil
It is a type of oil that comes from the seeds of the Limnanthes alba plant. The oil is lightweight and non-greasy. It’s quickly absorbed into the hair shaft to add moisture without weighing the hair down.
Rooibos is a type of red bush that grows in South Africa. The leaves produce a tea that is high in antioxidants. Rooibos tea has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the scalp and reduce irritation.
Activated charcoal comes from burning coconut shells or other materials. It’s then ground into a powder. The powder is adsorbent, meaning it can absorb toxins and impurities. Activated charcoal can help to remove buildup from the scalp and hair.
Cocoa butter is a type of fat extracted from cocoa beans. It’s solid at room temperature. However, it melts when it comes into contact with the skin. Cocoa butter is a natural emollient, meaning it helps to soften and smooth the hair. It’s also a great moisturizer that can help to prevent breakage.
Mustard oil comes from the seeds of the mustard plant. It has a strong smell but is a great natural conditioner for dreadlocks. Mustard oil is high in fatty acids and vitamin E, both of which are great for the hair. Fatty acids help to add moisture to the hair shaft, while vitamin E helps to repair damage and prevent breakage.
Kukui Nut Oil
Kukui nut oil is a type of oil that comes from the kukui nut tree. The tree is native to Hawaii. The oil has been used for centuries by the Hawaiian people. Kukui nut oil is a great natural conditioner for dreadlocks. It’s lightweight and easily absorbed into the hair shaft. It’s also high in healthy fatty acids and vitamin E, both of which are great for the hair.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is a protein broken down into smaller peptides. These peptides can penetrate the hair shaft and help to repair the damage. Hydrolyzed wheat protein can also help to prevent breakage and add moisture to the hair. This is ideal for dreadlocks that are prone to dryness and breakage.
Aloe vera is a popular succulent plant native to Africa. The leaves of the plant contain a gel-like substance that is full of nutrients. Aloe vera is a natural conditioner for dreadlocks, among other things. It’s a great moisturizer and can help to soothe the scalp. It is also full of vitamins and minerals that are great for the hair.
Leave-In vs. Rinse-Out Conditioners
Leave-in conditioners are an excellent option for people with dry or damaged hair. They help to repair damage and prevent breakage. Rinse-out conditioners are a good choice for people with oily hair.
They help to cleanse the scalp and remove build-up. Many who have dreads experience dryness, so a leave-in conditioner is often the best option. The goal is to maintain the moisturization of the scalp and hair to prevent breakage.
When it comes to size, you have a few different options. Some conditioners come in travel-sized bottles, which is great for people on the go. Others come in larger bottles, which are perfect for people with long dreads or those who are in the process of growing them out.
Most of the products on our list that are made for regular use come in only eight-ounce bottles, which is a small amount. To use the product vigorously, you might consider picking up two bottles simultaneously.
Products That Cause Buildup on the Scalp
Products that contain petroleum, mineral oil, and wax can cause buildup on the scalp. It can lead to scalp irritation and dreadlock breakage. If build-up becomes severe, it can require one to cut their dreads and start over. Be sure to scan the ingredients list on any products you use to ensure they will not cause buildup.
If you are using a hair product containing these ingredients, wash your dreadlocks regularly with a clarifying shampoo. How one’s hair responds to these products may differ. Try a small amount of product first to see how your hair reacts.
Below are some common inquiries about leave-in conditioners for locs.
How can I moisturize my locs without oil?
There are different ways to moisturize your locs without oil. One way is to use a leave-in conditioner. Leave-in conditioners are light in weight and easily absorbed into the hair shaft. Another way to moisturize your locs without oil is to use a cream or lotion. These products are also light in weight and easily absorbed into the hair shaft.
Should I spray my locs with water daily?
It’s not necessary to spray your locs with water every day. If you live in a humid and wet climate, you may find that your locs stay moist without the need to spray them. If you live in a dry arid climate, you may want to spray your locs every couple of days or once a week.
How often should I wash my locs?
How often you wash your locs depends on a few factors, such as your lifestyle and the type of products you use. If you have an active lifestyle, it’s a good idea to wash your locs more often. If you use many products, such as hair gel or hairspray, you may also want to wash your locs more often. Generally speaking, you should wash your locs every two to three weeks.
If you use excessive oil in your hair, you will need to wash more often in order to make sure you maintain healthy hair that is residue free.
Why do my locs feel so dry?
There are a few reasons why your locs may feel dry. One reason is that you may not be using enough conditioners. Be sure to use a liberal amount of conditioner, especially if you have long dreads.
Another reason your locs may feel dry is that you may use the wrong type of conditioner. If you have dry or fragile hair, a leave-in conditioner is essential. Leave-in conditioners are light in weight and easily absorbed into the hair shaft.
Why are my locs so stiff?
One reason is that you may be using the wrong type of liquid shampoo. Use a clarifying shampoo if your hair is oily. Clarifying shampoos work by removing build-up from the scalp and hair. Another reason your locs may be stiff is that you may use too much product. If you use a lot of hair gel or hairspray, you may want to wash your locs more often.
The best overall leave-in conditioner for locs is the Lion Locs Locking 2-n-1 Shampoo and Conditioner. This product is made specifically for locs and provides a thorough cleaning and moisturizing of the hair.
The dreadlock Leave In Conditioner cream is a fantastic alternative if you want something more natural. This conditioner comprises only organic ingredients and does a great job of keeping the hair hydrated. It works on all hair types, including locs. You can use it as much or as little as you want. Use it to co wash your locs in between stylist visits, or use it as a leave-in conditioner.
This product contains natural ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, meadowfoam seed oil, mustard oil, green tea leaf extract, rooibos leaf, activated charcoal, and jojoba oil. These components moisturize and protect the hair while also giving it shine.
Check out this article for a list of the best dreadlocks shampoos when you need a deep cleanse!
If you’re looking for an all-natural, organic leave-in conditioner to add to your hair care routine, the Lion Locs Locking 2-n-1 Shampoo and Conditioner is a product you should try.