locking gel for dreads

9 Best Locking Gel For Dreads 2024 | For Shiny, Healthy Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks are formed when your hair strands lock in with each other or when you braid your hair. For this, you’ll need locking gel for dreads!

It is a very popular hairstyle that serves various purposes. They have been a part of various cultures and movements around the world including Buddhism, Hinduism, Rastafari movement.

It is also widely seen among the Masai tribes in Africa.  Dreadlocks are also a very fashionable hairstyle and have been seen on various celebrities like Wiz Khalifa, Jason Momoa, Jaden Smith, Lisa Bonet etc.

However, dreadlocks are not low maintenance. They require proper grooming to look neat and hygienic. 

Best Locking Gels For DreadsBest ForChief Ingredients
Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Hair GelDamaged HairManuka Honey and Moringa Seed Oil
Murrays Gel Loc-LockDry HairAlmond Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Keratin
ORS Lock and Twist GelOily HairCoconut Oil, Soybean Oil
Bronner Brothers Tropical Roots GelFlyaways, EdgesGlycerin, Panthenol, Guava, Pineapple
African Formulas Super Grow Hair GelThinning Hair, BreakageWild Bee Honey, Coconut Oil, West African Shea Butter, Virgin Olive Oil, Basil, Safflower And Peach Oils,

What is the best locking gel for dreads?

After using all the top locking gels in the market, I’ve realized that the Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Hair Gel is the best locking gel for dreadlocks today. It is made of natural ingredients, has a strong hold, and offers enough flexibility to help you shape your dreads well.

This is where locking gels for dreads come into play. Locking gels help in encouraging your hair to lock together and form beautiful dreadlocks.

It also gives a natural look to your hair and makes it shiny. There are different locking gels available for different hair types. 

How we selected the best locking gel for dreads?

After looking at several styling gels in the market, we tested the top ones based on the following parameters. Next, we rated them on a scale of 1-5.

  • Hold – The gels have been rated based on how strong of a hold they provide.
  • Moisturization – These gels should be nourishing and moisturize hair and not just lock dreads in.
  • Flaking – The dreads shouldn’t flake or leave residue behind.

We have put together a list of the best locking gels to build beautiful dreadlocks.

Top Locking Gel For Dreads 2023

How to select the best locking gel for dreads – A Buying Guide

There are so many locking gel for dreads available in the market. Selecting the right one from so many options can be confusing for you. 

You have to find the one that caters to your needs and gives you the best results. 

When you have dreadlocks, you should be very careful while using hair products because they might stay in your hair and leave a residue. 

This build-up can clog your pores and cause various issues like dry scalp, irritation, inflammation and hair fall. 

We have listed a few aspects you should look into, before buying a locking gel for your dreads to get the best results. 

Natural Ingredients– Natural ingredients are so much better for your hair than chemical ingredients. A lot of ingredients in our hair products are harmful in the long run. 

Look for a natural moisturising ingredient like shea butter, argan oil, Aloe vera etc that can nourish your hair. These ingredients can combat hair fall and promote a healthy scalp. 

Holding power– One important skill of a locking gel is its ability to hold your hair in place. Select a gel with good holding power. You could check the reviews to see what the customers have to say about its holding power. 

This will help in giving you neat dreadlocks. You can also preserve your edges and prevent flyaways using the right locking gel. 

Easy to wash out: A lot of hair products leave residue or product build-up in your head. This is especially true for products for dreadlocks.

If there is product residue on your head, your follicles will become clogged and cause breakouts and irritations on your scalp. 

So it is important to look for a product that is easy to wash off. 

Harmful chemicals– Hair products contain harmful ingredients that help in building lather or increasing the shelf life of the hair product. 

These aren’t beneficial in the long run and can cause damage to your hair. 

These ingredients are sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, phthalates, silicones etc. The ingredients cause long term side effects like hair thinning, dryness, hair fall etc. 

Make sure to check the ingredients list in the packaging and look for harmful ingredients before finalising the product. 

Why You Need To Use A Locking Gel For Dreads

Using a locking gel for dreads can be beneficial for several reasons, especially during the early stages of dreadlock formation and maintenance. Here are some key reasons why individuals often use locking gel for dreads:

  1. Aid in Dreadlock Formation: Locking gels are specifically designed to help hair strands bind together and form tight, uniform dreadlocks. They provide the necessary hold and structure to encourage the locking process.
  2. Reducing Frizz: Locking gels can help reduce frizz and flyaway hairs, which can be particularly problematic when dreads are still maturing. Keeping stray hairs in check can give your dreads a neater appearance.
  3. Hold and Control: Locking gels provide a medium to strong hold, helping to maintain the shape and structure of your dreads. This is especially important in the early stages when dreads are still taking shape.
  4. Preventing Unraveling: Dreadlocks can sometimes unravel or become loose, especially if you have straight or fine hair. Locking gels can help prevent this by keeping the dreads secure.
  5. Hydration: Some locking gels contain ingredients that moisturize and condition the hair, which can be beneficial for keeping your dreads healthy and preventing breakage.
  6. Style Versatility: Locking gels can also be used for styling your dreads in various ways, such as creating twists, buns, or updos. They add flexibility and hold to your dreadlocks.
  7. Natural Ingredients: Many locking gels are formulated with natural ingredients that are gentle on your hair and scalp, reducing the risk of damage or irritation.
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It’s important to note that while locking gels can be helpful during the initial stages of dreadlock formation and for occasional touch-ups, they are not a substitute for proper dreadlock maintenance, which includes regular washing, separating, and palm rolling.

Overusing locking gel or relying on it too heavily can lead to buildup on your dreads, which can be challenging to remove and may affect the overall health of your hair.

Additionally, some people prefer a more natural approach to dreadlocks and choose not to use locking gels. The decision to use locking gel or not ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the specific needs of your hair type and dreadlock journey.

If you decide to use locking gel, it’s essential to choose a product that suits your hair type and to follow the instructions carefully to avoid any adverse effects.

How To Apply Locking Gel For Dreads

Applying locking gel for dreads requires some care and attention to ensure that you get the desired results without damaging your hair or causing buildup. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply locking gel for dreads:

You will need:

  • Locking gel specifically designed for dreadlocks.
  • Clean hands.
  • A mirror (optional).


  1. Clean Your Dreads: Start with clean, dry dreadlocks. Make sure your hair is free from debris, lint, and product residue. If your dreads are not clean, consider washing them before applying locking gel.
  2. Section Your Hair: Divide your dreadlocks into manageable sections. This will make it easier to apply the gel evenly and ensure that all your dreads are covered.
  3. Apply a Small Amount of Gel: Take a small amount of locking gel (usually a pea-sized amount for each dread) and rub it between your palms to warm it up. This will make it easier to spread evenly.
  4. Start at the Roots: Begin applying the gel at the roots of your dreads. This is where you want the most hold and control. Use your fingertips to work the gel into the hair, starting from the scalp and moving downward.
  5. Work Down the Length: Once you’ve applied gel to the roots, gently work your way down the length of the dreadlock. Use a twisting motion or palm rolling technique as you go. This helps to distribute the gel evenly and encourages the locking process.
  6. Repeat for Each Dread: Continue this process for each section of your dreads, working one dread at a time. Be patient and thorough, ensuring that each dread is coated with gel from the root to the tip.
  7. Check for Even Application: Use a mirror or ask someone to inspect your dreads to make sure the gel is evenly distributed and that there are no areas where it’s applied too heavily or too lightly.
  8. Allow to Dry: After applying the locking gel to all your dreads, allow them to air dry or use a low-heat hairdryer if needed. Avoid over-drying, as excessive heat can damage your hair.
  9. Style as Desired: Once your dreads are dry, you can style them as desired. Locking gels provide some hold and flexibility, allowing you to create different dreadlock styles.
  10. Repeat as Needed: Depending on your hair type and the level of maintenance your dreads require, you may need to reapply locking gel periodically. Be cautious not to overuse it, as this can lead to product buildup.

Remember that the amount of locking gel you need may vary based on the thickness and length of your dreads. Start with a small amount and add more if necessary to avoid excessive buildup.

It’s essential to choose a high-quality locking gel that is specifically designed for dreadlocks and to follow the product’s instructions for the best results. Additionally, maintain a regular dreadlock maintenance routine, including washing, separating, and palm rolling, to keep your dreads healthy and well-maintained.

Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Hair Gel

Best Strong Hold Locking Gel For Dreads

jamaican mango and lime locking gel

I have found that the locking gel from Jamaican Mango & Lime is one of the best locking gel for dreads. This product is specifically designed to form dreadlocks. 

What I like most about this locking gel is that it contains the goodness of moringa seed oil and manuka honey. Moringa seed oil is rich in zinc and improves the level of keratin on your hair. It also makes my hair soft and shiny instantly after application.

Manuka honey acts as a good conditioner for your hair and improves hair growth, but my favorite part is that despite being so moisturizing it doesn’t leave my hair greasy or flaky.

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Another plus point about this product is that it is free of harmful ingredients like petrolatum, mineral oil, sulfates and parabens. So you don’t have to worry about your hair or scalp health.

how to use locking gel for dreads

You also do not have to worry about flakes, debris or product buildup after using this locking gel. 

I absolutely adore how this gel locks in moisture on your dreads and helps in re-twisting locks.

The product also guarantees a long-lasting hold so your dreads stay neat looking longer.  But the best part about this is that you have a 100% refund offer if you are not satisfied with the product. 

However I did feel that the hold, while long lasting is not strong. So it won’t hold thick or very greasy or kinky hair in place well. You might need another dose of gel for that.


  • Contains Moringa seed oil and manuka honey that nourish your hair
  • Sulfate, paraben, mineral oil and petrolatum free
  • Long-lasting hold that helps dreads stay in place longer
  • Does not leave build-up or flakes
  • Money-back guarantee


  • Might not give a stronghold

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 3.5/5
  • Moisturization – 4.5/5
  • Flaking – 4.5/5

Related: Best Shampoo For Dreadlocks

Related: How To Make Faux Locs Less Frizzy

Murrays Gel Loc-Lock

Best Non-Flaky Locking Gel For Dreads

beeswax best locking gel for dreads

I got this gel to try as it is a very popular product and I was very happy that I wasn’t disappointed.

It gave me beautiful natural looking dreadlocks. And I love how it is enriched with the goodness of olive oil and sweet almond oil. 

Olive oil is a great moisturizer for your hair. It penetrates deep into your hair shafts to retain moisture, make your hair shiny and aid in healthy hair growth. Sweet almond oil also has great hydration properties and reduces dryness and flaking of the scalp. 

And my hair looked amazing after trying this lock gel!

This locking gel is said to give a medium hold, so you can expect some level of flexibility if you want to change your hair style in case.

when should i use locking gel for dreadlocks

You should also expect the formula of this hair gel to be a bit watery. I didn’t mind this as my hair can get greasy sometimes. But it’s not everyone’s choice. So if you have very dry hair, I think that you should try out a gel with more oil-based ingredients.

I also love that It has a pleasant smell that is soothing to your senses.


  • Contains sweet almond oil and olive oil that moisturize without leaving hair greasy
  • Pleasant smell that’s not overwhelming
  • Suitable for locks, twists and braids (so it’s very versatile)
  • Prevent flakes so it won’t dry or harden in hair


  • Thin consistency that’s not moisturizing enough

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 4/5
  • Moisturization – 4/5
  • Flaking – 4.5/5

ORS Lock and Twist Gel

Best Non-Greasy Locking Gel For Dreads

best locking gel for starting dreads

The ORS lock and twist gel is a great product for beginners who are looking forward to locking or twisting their hair. 

It has a white jelly-like consistency and a very mild smell. I found that the locking gel absorbs quickly into my hair to give me instant results while creating dreadlocks.

But my favourite part about this gel is that it is non-sticky. So you do not have to worry about your hair appearing greasy after using.

You also do not have to worry about this product leaving and building up or flakes. 

A little goes a long way for this locking gel so you only have to take a minimal amount of product while applying it to your hair.  So I found this gel to be very economical as well.

This gel is also really suitable for people transitioning their hairstyle or those with short, natural hair. This is also an easily available and very affordable product. So I give it bonus points for it’s price!


  • Suitable for beginners as it’s very easy to apply
  • Absorbs well into hair so it won’t make hair greasy
  • A little goes a long way so it’s economical as well
  • Affordable price range for the quantity provided
  • Includes natural ingredients like olive oil that nourish hair
  • Reduces flakes on hair as it doesn’t harden on strands


  • Might dry out your hair in long run as it contains alcohol and added perfume

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 4.5/5
  • Moisturization – 3.5/5
  • Flaking – 4.5/5

Bronner Brothers Tropical Roots Gel

Best Medium Hold Locking Gel For Dreads

best strong hold locking gel for dreads

The Tropical roots firm locking gel gives you a feeling of being on a tropical island. It is enriched with the goodness of pineapple and guava. 

If you are looking for a locking gel with a firm hold that can tackle your stubborn hair, look no further. This product gives you a strong hold that lasts long. 

It absorbs easily and can be washed off easily, so you also do not have to worry about any build-up or residue that the product might leave. 

This product is made up of natural ingredients that are highly nutritious for your hair. It is free of harmful ingredients like artificial dye or artificial colour. 

This is a great product if you are looking to maintain braids, locks and twists. It also encourages hair growth. 


  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Artificial dye-free
  • Artificial colour free
  • Strong hold
  • Does not leave build-up
  • Accelerates hair growth


  • Might not work on all hair types

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 4/5
  • Moisturization – 4/5
  • Flaking – 4/5

African Formulas Super Grow Hair Gel 

Best Natural Locking Gel For Dreads

best locking gel for freeform dreads

This is also one of the most popular locking gels. The African formulas super grow gel contains a wide array of nutrients like plants, oils, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbal extracts. 

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The formula contains a unique combination of biotin and placenta extracts. Placenta extracts improve hair growth and density. Biotin is one of the most important proteins for hair growth. 

It helps to tackle hair thinning, breakage and hair loss. I could notice new hair growth after using this locking gel. 

If you are looking for a gel that gives you a strong hold, this could do good for you. This gel has a strong hold that lets you tame your hair.  

But this locking gel has a very strong scent that might be unpleasant to some. So keep that in mind before buying this. 


  • Contains biotin
  • Contains placenta extracts
  • Improves hair growth
  • Tough hold
  • Reduces hair fall


  • Unpleasant smell

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 4/5
  • Moisturization – 4.5/5
  • Flaking – 4/5

Style Factor Lock Booster Twist and Grip High Shine Conditioning Pomade

Best Shine-Boosting Locking Gel For Dreads

best locking gel for freeform dreads

Now my 4c hair is prone to getting really dry and dehydrated. And in this case, any regular locking gel for dreads tends to leave a white residue.

So I was beyond happy to find this Lock Booster pomade by Style Factor. It’s super-moistuzing.

My 4c hair drinks it all up, but if you have slightly oily hair or even a regular type scalp, this much moisture can get overwhelming.

It does tend to leave hair greasy if it’s the type 3 or type 4a texture. So be careful.

Other than that I found this pomade for dreadlocks to be a bit pricey.

But if you’ve got parched, 4c hair like mine and would like a high-shine effect on your dreadlocks, try this product.


  • Gives a high shine look
  • Prevents frizzy hair
  • Good for dreadlocks, twists, and even edge control
  • No white build-up
  • Very nourishing


  • Very expensive
  • Can leave hair greasy

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 4/5
  • Moisturization – 5/5
  • Flaking – 4/5

Lion Locs Locking Moisturizer

lion locs gel review

I’ve been on a journey with my dreadlocks, and finding the right products has been crucial. The Lion Locs Locking Moisturizer pleasantly surprised me with its performance.

Not only does it provide a reliable hold for my dreads, but it also moisturizes them, which is a game-changer.

The gel goes on smoothly, and a little goes a long way. It helps reduce frizz and keeps my dreads looking neat and well-defined. One of the standout features is its natural ingredients that don’t leave my hair feeling heavy or greasy.

I’ve noticed my dreads locking up more consistently since I started using this gel. However, I do need to be mindful not to use too much, as it can leave a residue if over-applied.

best natural locking gel for dreads


  • Provides both hold and moisturization.
  • Natural ingredients.
  • Helps reduce frizz and promotes locking.
  • Little product goes a long way.


  • Can leave a residue if overused.

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 4/5
  • Moisturization – 5/5
  • Flaking – 4/5

Taliah Waajid Tight Hold

can i use locking gel on loose hair

As someone who takes pride in their dreadlocks, I’ve tried my fair share of locking gels. The Taliah Waajid Tight Hold definitely stands out for its incredible hold.

This gel means business – it firmly secures my dreads, even in more active days. It’s perfect for taming unruly hairs and keeping my dreads looking sleek.

The application process is straightforward, and it dries relatively quickly. However, the hold can be a bit too strong if not used in moderation, and it’s essential to avoid buildup by washing thoroughly.


  • Strong, long-lasting hold.
  • Ideal for managing unruly hairs.
  • Easy application and quick drying.


  • Hold can be too strong if overused.
  • Requires thorough washing to prevent buildup.

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 5/5
  • Moisturization – 5/5
  • Flaking – 3/5

Cantu Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel

how to use locking gel on dreads

When it comes to my dreadlocks, moisture is a top priority. The Cantu Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel has become a staple in my routine.

It’s a versatile product that not only helps with locking but also maintains the health and hydration of my dreads.

The gel has a creamy texture that’s easy to work into my hair, and it doesn’t leave a sticky residue. I appreciate that it contains shea butter and other natural ingredients that nourish my hair.

While it provides a decent hold, it might not be the best option for those seeking an ultra-strong hold.

cantu hair gel review


  • Moisturizes and promotes healthy hair.
  • Creamy texture and easy application.
  • Contains nourishing natural ingredients.
  • Doesn’t leave a sticky residue.


  • Hold might not be strong enough for those seeking a very tight hold.

My Ratings:

  • Hold – 3/5
  • Moisturization – 5/5
  • Flaking – 3.5/5

A locking gel might be a good option if you are looking for a product that is lighter than a hair wax. 

You do not have to worry about product buildups with these gels. It is also really helpful if you have frizzy and unmanageable hair. 

Using the right products can make all the difference for dreadlocks and a locking gel would make a great investment for your dreads.

Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?

The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.

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Is There A Difference Between Dreads And Dreadlocks

Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Hair Gel

The best locking gels for dreads will lock your hair in place and keep the nourished. The Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Hair Gel is suitable for all scalp types and provides a strong hold.

Product SKU: JLL24269TGB24B

Product Brand: Jamaican Mango & Lime

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $9.98

Price Valid Until: 2024-05-09

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:


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