A major complaint that people seem to have when it comes to dreadlocks is the price of the soaps and shampoos. The experience you have with your dreadlocks can be rather dependent on how well the shampoo works for you - use an incompatible shampoo and you can end up with scalp irritations, dandruff, residue build up, or even the hair becoming unable to lock. Pick up the right shampoo and growing dreadlocks can be a breeze. I think finding the right shampoo can be one of the most important things you can do for your dreadlocks. Finding the exact right shampoo for you isn’t always that easy and there’s often some trial and error involved, but once you find what works for you it’s plane sailing.
Now whether dreadlock soaps and shampoos are expensive is debatable, it depends on how much you were spending on your soaps and shampoos before you started dreadlocks - and of course there may be added expenses to consider such as shipping or import taxes. However I don’t think it would be much of a stretch for me to say that in general a dreadlock shampoo on average is going to cost more than your regular shampoo.
I think the problem is that most people only look at the upfront cost of the shampoo, they see that their regular bottle of shampoo may cost $5 and the dreadlocks shampoo may cost $15 and make a like for like comparison, when in practice that’s not quite how it works out. I wash my dreadlocks 2 to 3 times per week, each wash I use a little under a teaspoon of shampoo. From a decent sized bottle of shampoo I wouldn’t be surprised to find it last 10, 11, 12 months - I can’t say I’d expect the same sort of longevity from a regular shampoo. While I may pay 3 times as much, it’ll last 3 times as long, if not longer. You also have to take into account the money saved on not buying other products such as conditioners or hair sprays, and potentially more importantly hair cuts. Over the long term, once you get past the upfront cost per bottle I think that dreadlocks shampoos are a bargain and I can’t overstate the difference I experience between using the right types of shampoos are the wrong types of shampoos.
Before I finish, I think it’s worth mentioning that here’s a reason for the price difference and I don’t think that it’s fair to even compare the two and demand the same quantity dollar for dollar. Off the shelf shampoos can be mass produced by multinational companies who can source unimaginable quantities of ingredients, put them together in vast warehouse complexes and then market them to chains of stores around the world. In contrast dreadlock shampoos are usually made by small companies, sometimes by just one person on a small scale in small batches. The ingredients have to be sourced by the individual, not some giant company and the ingredients are also often held to a much higher standard. Many dreadlock shampoos these days invest heavily in top quality ethically sourced, vegan, natural and organic ingredients, whereas the back of a lot of off the shelf shampoos reads more like a chemistry text book, because dreadheads are often more particular and more demanding when it comes to what they put into or onto their bodies. So while bottle for bottle a dreadlock shampoo may command a premium price, I think the prices are justified and the results you experience once you find what works for you more than make up for it.