Why is your dread shampoo better than your competitors? - Dreadlocks FAQ's
Our original Dread Soap is the only completely residue free dread shampoo on the market. You'll find lots of shampoos with herbs, essential oils, and other "natural" additives. Some of these additives supposedly to stop itching, others claim to help with dandruff, most just smell pretty and sound good on the label but they all have one thing in common: The end up as residue left in your dreads.
Some other dread shampoos now claim low residue or no residue because they realize the advantages and wish they could provide them, but some quick research shows they are totally full of it....residue I mean.
We've even seen the "residue free" claim on Castile soaps and other home made oil based soaps. Castile soaps can be made from a variety of vegetable oils, often olive oil, or animal fats. Traditional Castile soaps have been used for ages. Prized by those who swear by the silky, soft feeling these soaps leave on the skin. The layer of film they leave behind acts as a conditioner for the skin helping avoid dryness. This film or residue can be seen in the sink or bath tub as a "soap ring" after these soaps have been used. This visible precipitate is a by product of the calcium and magnesium ions in our water combining with the soap as it tries to clean.
It probably won't surprise you much that this layer of film also acts as a conditioner that helps knots slip apart and dreads loosen. While the residues left behind on the skin provide a benefit, moist skin, the same residues sit inside dreads, and hold moisture there as well, making it tougher and tougher for your dreads to dry and increasing the chance they'll grow mildew and you'll get "dread rot". These soaps can be used for dreads but if you plan on keeping your dreads long term you need to have a plan in place that remove residue regularly so build up does not occur and lead to dread rot.
The real pity is that "dread rot" never occurs early on. It's not until the dreads get tighter that holding moisture becomes an issue. We've heard from too many people that have cut off beautiful, two or three year old dreads that had been healthy for years and then began drying slower and slower due to build up of residues, which eventually led to getting "the rot". Man that sux. In addition to using the right soap there are some other things you should know about getting dreads dry after you wash them. Go here for some great info on getting your dreads dry.
If you are in a situation where you can't get a residue free soap but you want to pick out the best temporary substitute check out this page for finding a decent dread soap in a pinch.