Aloe vera is an incredibly nourishing succulent. It is used in traditional medicine for healing wounds, treating burns, reducing inflammation and digestive aid. It’s also popular for treating skin conditions, such as acne, dermatitis,
One of the major problems we dread heads face is an itchy scalp. For the first year, my head would itch so badly that I would end up with bumps all over my scalp. I tried the commercial “itch relievers,” even one recommended by my loctician, but nothing significantly helped me.
In my dread journey, I also come across a large list of hair products that were my favorite before I had dreads, but I can no longer use them. The reason being that many of the hair products out there will attract dirt, lint and other things to the dreads. You’ll want to be extra careful of what you’re putting in your head.
But thankfully, aloe vera is NOT one of those things. In fact, your scalp will love this simple ingredient added to your hair treatments. The day I tried fresh aloe vera on my scalp, it felt like I had just hit a jackpot. This plant will work miracles for your itchy and inflamed scalp.
Aloe vera benefits for dreadlocks
There are so many benefits in aloe vera that you’ll immediately want to start putting it in your hair (if you haven’t been convinced already). For the purpose of this blog, I’m only going to stick to the dread-enhancing properties.
- Aloe vera contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
- It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C and E,
andmore than 20 minerals.
- Aloe vera contains acemannan, a complex carb that removes toxins and dead skin cells.
- Aloe vera is largely made up of water. One of the main benefits of using aloe is to moisturize the scalp. Applying it directly to the roots of your hair will hydrate your skin and it and provide nutrition to your hair. Once it dries, it won’t leave anything behind or clog your pores.
- In other words, aloe vera is residue-free!
- Aloe vera contains vitamin E which strengthens and nourishes your hair follicles. It creates more elasticity and prevents breakage.
- Aloe is a natural conditioner leaving your hair shiny and smooth without causing your hair to dry stiff.
- It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff, and conditions your hair. Aloe vera tends to have a chemical that’s similar to that of keratin which helps rejuvenate the hair.
- Aloe vera helps to control frizz. For those who like to have a controlled mane (especially at the beginning of the dread journey when frizzies are all too common), this is one of your best natural solutions.
- Aloe vera will help to heal wounds caused by excessive scalp scratching. It might also help with scalp psoriasis and pimples on the scalp.
Important things to note
- Don’t go to the store and buy any kind of aloe gel in a bottle. The bright green aloe vera you find at the pharmacy is likely to contain additives, especially chemicals needed to maintain its shelf life. I recommend you use the real leaf! You can purchase aloe vera leaves at most grocery stores. You may have never seen it before because you weren’t looking for it, but it’s surprisingly a popular item. Better yet, you can buy an aloe vera plant at a nursery and use the leaves as you need them. Last resort, you can buy the leaves online (even though that’s a pricey option).
- Just like anything, use aloe in moderation. Aloe is extremely hydrating for your scalp and a healthy scalp will return healthy hair. A word of warning though. In newer dreads, excessive use of aloe can hinder the locking process a bit. Like I mentioned earlier, aloe vera is a natural conditioner and too much of it can cause detangling. Spray it in those targeted itchy spots when necessary but don’t drench your scalp with it. A little bit will go a long way. Check out the recipe I use (below) which has many other properties to keep your scalp healthy and hydrated without the side effects of loosening your dreads at the root.
Aloe vera spray for an itchy scalp
A while back I researched online for aloe vera dreadlock recipes. I got amazing ideas from other people and I used their tips to craft a recipe that is my current favorite. You can alter this recipe to your liking. This gel spray can be used on all hair types and styles. I use it on my dread roots and my family uses it on their scalp too. Everyone can enjoy the benefits this amazing succulent has to offer!
You will need:
- 1 aloe vera leaf
- distilled water
- 12 to 15 drops of essential oils (choose your favorite blend)
- 5 drops vitamin E oil (optional)
- A metal spoon
- A mini blender
- A thin metal mesh strainer
- A large bowl
- Two ice cube trays
- An 8 oz. spray bottle
1. Thinly cut the pointy edges of the aloe plan so you’re not poking your fingers.
2. Cut the leaf in several sections and then slice it down the middle.
3. Using a spoon, scoop the gel out directly into the blender. Make sure you get all the gel out of the leaf. [Save the leaf for a nice facial treatment later!]
4. Blend the aloe gel until smooth.
5. Strain the gel through the strainer into a large bowl. You may have to swirl it around with a spoon to get the maximum amount of gel.
6. Use an ice cube tray to collect all the aloe that has not passed through the strainer. I freeze these cubes and add them to my smoothies later.
7. Pour 4 oz of aloe gel (from the bowl) into the spray bottle (fill half of the bottle). Use the second ice cube tray to collect the rest of the aloe from the bowl and freeze it. Since aloe vera is in its natural preservative-free form, it can get rancid within two weeks.
8. Now you can add essential oils to the spray bottle. My favorite essential oils for this recipe are rosemary, tea tree, and lavender. A few drops will go a long way. I typically add 12-15 drops of essential oils to the entire 8 oz bottle. Since tea tree and lavender are very potent, I usually add 3 drops of each of those and 6 drops of rosemary. If you only want to use one essential oil scent, then I recommend you add no more than 5 drops of that oil so the smell doesn’t become too strong.
9. While it’s not completely necessary, sometimes I add 5 drops of vitamin E oil to my spray. Vitamin E helps to repair damaged hair follicles at the root and promotes hair growth. It also hydrates your scalp and increases blood circulation. (Aloe vera naturally contains some vitamin E but these drops give it an additional boost). Caution: Not all vitamin E oils are created the same. Many contain additives and some even contain soy. Make sure to read the label prior to purchasing.
10. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with distilled water. Shake and spray on your roots.
Save this aloe blend in the refrigerator to keep it fresh longer. It also feels more refreshing to your scalp when the spray is cold.
NOTE: When you’re ready for a new batch, allow the aloe cubes to defrost in a glass and continue the process starting with step # 8.
This spray should last you up to 2 weeks in the fridge. If it smells strange or it turns a pinkish color, then it has gone bad.
I heard that adding a few drops of lemon juice may extend the shelf life. I’m not sure if this is true but I add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the mix only during summer months because lemon juice can help to lighten your hair when exposed to the sun.
I love aloe vera for all the amazing properties it brings to my scalp and hair, without leaving any residue or yucky hair textures. A healthy scalp is vital to healthy dreadlocks!
I always encourage others to incorporate aloe vera into their hair routine, whether they have dreadlocks or not. This spray has worked wonders on my itchy scalp and I hope it does the same for you!!
What has been your experience using aloe vera in your hair? Let me know in the comments!
Hi when I spray this blend? Is it after shampooing? Thanks
Hi! You can spray it anytime. 🙂 I spray it when my scalp gets itchy, which is usually when my hair and scalp is dry.
I appreciate your knowledge on caring for locs. I’m interested in creating my own loc cream/gel to retouch and maintain my locs but need something all natural that will provide a strong hold,thicken, strengthen, grow and protect my scalp from irritation and breakage as well as thinning out without a flaky buildup that smells really nice. Can u help me?
Hi Monique, I’m sorry for the late reply.
I don’t have much experience with creating my own dreadlock products, other than a basic moisturizing spray. As for gel, I use pure aloe vera (from the leaf) but that doesn’t provide too much of a hold, it’s more for itchiness relief. I’ve had a really good experience using Lion Locs Moisturizer Gel (you can read my review here: https://dreadlockulture.com/lion-locs-locking-moisturizer-review/) but if you want to make your own, I would look at the ingredients of that moisturizer, as well as similar brands that have good reviews, and recreate your own version using all-natural ingredients.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂
Hellow! I just started my locs journey, thanks for rhis advice. I use Stlyin’ Dredz Products(Spray Shampoo, Mouisture Splash, Mouldin’ Gel Wax) Since I started locking, I’ve experienced a very itchy skin on face, neck and around my chest, on scalp as well. Do you have any idea about these company’s products!? Cause I am tired of using anti allergic pills.Thanks.
Hi Magdalena! Congrats on starting your loc journey 🙂
I haven’t heard of that brand before so I don’t know anything about their products. But if I were you, I would stop using them for at least two weeks to see if your skin condition improves. Meanwhile, look at the ingredients list on the label of each product to identify any ingredients that may be causing the itchiness/ allergies. I would also stop using the gel/wax altogether since that will not benefit your locs- it’ll make them heavy, sticky, and contribute to attracting lint.
If you want to email me photos of the product labels, I can help you determine the good/bad ingredients. Also, I would be happy to provide alternative options for washing and moisturizing your locs using ingredients that will help to improve your skin’s condition and reduce itchiness 🙂 Feel free to get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m pretty stoked that I came across your blog. I’m 2 months in my dreadlocks journey I’ve been going crazy the past few weeks of fighting my itchy scalp :(. I’m about to try out your aloe spray and was wondering if you had any recommendations for a travel size one where it doesn’t have to be refrigerated?
Thanks so much 🙂
As for travel options, I would look into dehydrated aloe vera gel- it comes in powder form and you can reconstitute it with water in small quantities. That way, you won’t need to refrigerate it. I will be trying this for myself soon and can let you know the results.
Hello, I just started my lOc journey, it’s been 3months so far and honestly I’ve been misinformed. And now my dreads are dry and frizzy no matter what I use and they are thinning as well. Do you have any ideas of natural products I could use as a remedy.
Hi Emma! Frizzy hair is completely normal, especially during the early stages of locs, but thinning and dryness is not. Check out this article for DIY moisturizer recipes: https://dreadlockulture.com/dread-moisturizer/
I recommend spritzing your locs once in the morning and sometime in the afternoon/ evening. A light misting is enough whenever you feel they’re dry- don’t overdo it though, you won’t want them soaking wet.
I hope this helps! Happy to help if you have any more questions 🙂
I am about a year.5 into my second set of dreads. I cut my first set off 11 years ago (when my son was 6 months old) and I had had those locks for almost 8 years.
I am looking forward to trying your aloe spray as I have dandruff like crazy…I’ve never had an issue with this, and don’t recall it with my previous set…
So there’s that-And then this is my more pressing issue; I will be hiking the 100 mile wilderness in maine the end of this June, and seem to be having difficulty finding good resources to keep my dreads dry during this hike.
My friend and I plan to take it leisurely and will probably be out there for about 12 days total. I feel somewhat silly asking this question-like the answer should be obvious…but because my locs make my head larger, traditional hats, rain jacket hoods, etc. do not cover my head enough, and I am concerned about my hair getting wet and not drying out, and having to sleep with wet dreads.
If you have any pointers on this, or know if any good resources I would be most appreciative!
I really enjoy the knowledge and information that you share.
That’s amazing! Congrats on your first and second sets of locs 🙂 I would love to hear more about your loc journeys!
The 100-mile hike sounds incredible. Have you tried a bandana made of moisture-wicking materials? Moisture-wicking fabrics are fabrics with the ability to pull moisture away from the skin. Moisture is drawn to the exterior of the fabric, which makes it easier to evaporate. If I were you, I would wrap my locs in that. I use a moisture-wicking bandana when I hike and it helps a lot- plus it keeps the hair out of my face 😉
To keep your scalp fresh, you could take a travel-sized spray bottle with witch hazel and lightly spritz your scalp every other day.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions Always happy to help!
I absolutely love aloe vera. My locks are one year 3 months old now and in the beginning I struggled with dry dreadlocks ect. I read up about aloe vera and my luck there is this huge bush of wild aloe vera growing in this park. So I took a few cuttings from them and I planted 6 small branches. They are all getting so big now and new baby ones are growing aswell. So I use that with my blender and rain water rosemary, tea tree and jojoba oil. I use it as a daily spritzer spray. I have another bottle of just rain water and essential oils if I want to take a break in-between. I believe giving your locks moisture every day helps with dry locks. But yeah I agree and love your post. Any more tips for my dread journey. Oh yes I started this new thing and it’s also helping for dry dreads and it seems to be making my locks grow faster. It’s fermented long grain white rice. You first rinse the rice and then you add water (I use rain water) and rub it between your fingers. After a while seel the lid and let it ferment for about 2 days. I add peel of grape fruit or lemon with the fermenting process and the smell is fruity. I add a few essential drops and I strain through cheese cloth and put in spritzer bottle in fridge for one week then make new. I use it about 3 to 4 times a week leaving it in until next wash and that is once a week. Like I said I recently started doing this and all good so far My locks so soft. Just careful for any build up so use a clarifying shampoo every now and again. Blessings to all and especially to you xxx
Hi Tanya!! Thank you for your kind message and for those helpful tips!! 🙂 Wishing you the best on your loc journey!
This is so helpful, thank you!! Excited to try the recipe. I have a couple questions though, you said to use aloe sparingly because it can loosen new roots. Were you referring to the pure gel straight from the plant? Is the spray ok to use all over scalp more often because it’s diluted? I have a heck of a time trying to get my roots to lock so I definitely don’t want to hinder the process but my head is soooo itchy and flakey as well. Also, can this spray double as a daily moisturizing spray since it has the essential oils in it?
Hi Tess! I’m so happy to hear you’ve found this helpful 🙂
The aloe can loosen the roots a little bit regardless of whether it’s diluted or not.. but if it helps to reduce the itchiness, I would use it as needed. Depending on your hair type, the roots may have a harder time to knot but in due time they will, so don’t worry about that 😉
Yea, it can be used as a moisturizing spray too, but again, it might soften your locs. I’d recommend waiting until they’re a bit more mature (at least 6 months old) and then trying it out to see how your locs adapt to it. <-- That's what I would do, but if you want to try it sooner, it's no problem. The worst that could happen is that they take longer to mature, but it won't damage the locs themselves.