3 Reasons Your Dreadlock Shampoo Is Leaving Residues On Your Dreads

3 Reasons Your Dreadlock Shampoo Is Leaving Residues On Your Dreads

Do you have residue on your dreadlocks but you don’t know how you got it?

Here are three reasons why your dreadlock shampoo might be leaving build-ups on your locs.

You Are Using a Castile Soap Cleanser

Castile soap cleansers such as the popular ones from Dr Bronner’s will react with hard water and form soap scum. This will leave a sticky film on your hair.

Watch the video below to see the difference between hard water and soft water:

Although, Castile soaps seem to be a natural and biodegradable solution to washing dreadlocks, it will not only be responsible for leaving residue on your dreadlocks if your water is hard but also, it’s too alkaline for your scalp. It can be responsible for dandruff, dry scalp and other scalp irritations.

Your Dreadlock ‘Shampoo’ Is Made of Soap

Some dreadlock care brands such as Knottyboy and Dollylocks market their cleansers as ‘shampoos’ when they are technically soaps.

Traditional soaps that are made of saponified oils from vegetable sources and animal fats will leave residue on your dreadlocks after cleaning in the presence of hard water.

These soaps work by attaching themselves to the surrounding gunk and oil so that they can be removed with water. Most of it can be rinsed off with water but in some cases, the residue is left on the hair to build up.

The residue left is not easily soluble in water and is not easily removed by soap, so they easily build up over time.

On the other hand, a shampoo is made of a combination of surfactants.

Click here to learn more about the difference between shampoo and soap.

dreadlock shampoo leaving residue

How to Find Out If Your Dreadlock Shampoo Is Made of Soap?

If your cleanser contains the ingredients below, it is most likely made of soap and can potentially leave residue on your dreadlocks:

  • Sodium Hydroxide,
  • Potassium Hydroxide,
  • Potassium Olivate,
  • Potassium Castorate.

Your Shampoo Contains a High Amount of Vegetable Oils, Silicones, Or Conditioning Agents

We recommend when shopping for a dreadlock shampoo to look out for a translucent shampoo. It will contains less ingredients that can potentially leave residue on your locs.

Below are some ingredients to avoid in your dreadlock shampoo to reduce residue:

  • Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride
  • Polyquaternium-10
  • Ingredients ending with “-cone”


Moreover, if you find that vegetable oils are the beginning of the ingredient list of the packaging of your dreadlock cleanser, it means that the shampoo has a high level of oils that might be responsible for the residues.

Here is a list of the vegetable oils to look out for in the most popular dreadlock cleaners:

  • Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil,
  • Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil,
  • Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil,
  • Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil,
  • Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil.

natural dreadlock shampoo Australia

What to Do If Your Shampoo Has Left Residue On Your Dreadlocks?

If you have residue build up on your dreadlocks, here are steps to follow to get rid of it:

  1. Stop using the cleanser you are currently using
  2. Soak your dreadlocks without Detox My Dreads Loc Bomb. You might have to repeat this step a few times to get rid of the buildup. Ensure that you press your dreads to remove all the residue.
  3. Start using our Classic shampoo to avoid future build-up.
  4. Make sure that you deep cleanse your dreadlocks once a month with our Wash My Dreads Deep Cleanser shampoo.
Love Locs Natural dreadlock Shampoo Deep Cleansing
Love Locs Natural dreadlock Shampoo Deep Cleansing



Using the wrong cleanser can cause gunk build-up on your dreadlocks. Make sure that your shampoo is translucent, not made of soap especially if your water is hard or if you are not sure about the water hardness in your local area and doesn’t contain silicones, conditioning agents and high level of oils.

Also, ensure that you deep cleanse your dreadlocks every month to reduce the chances of residue formation.

Lear more about water hardness here.