Sea Salt and Lemon Juice on Dreads: Is It Good? What Does It Do? Complete Guide

Young African American female with dreads soaking up the UV rays under the sun

Dreadlock hair care regimens are numerous – there’s one for virtually any loc problem you’ll encounter. You’ve got aloe vera and rose water for minor dryness, penetrating and sealing oils for deep conditioning, and the list goes on.

But one remedy that’s making its internet rounds is lemon juice and sea salt for dreads that don’t seem to be locking.

If you’re curious as to whether this remedy can help your locs mature quicker, you’re in the right place. We’ll explore sea salt and lemon juice on dreads in detail in this article.

Sea Salt and Lemon Juice on Dreads: The Rundown

Black woman with pretty brown skin wearing thin sisterlocks

We all know that natural dreads don’t mature overnight. Oftentimes ladies with mature locs started their deadlock journey many years ago. They take time…sometimes a very long time.

In some cases, it can take a year or even longer to reach the mature loc stage.

Until that happens, you’ll need to be very careful about dreadlock care and maintenance to set a good foundation for your locs (frequent retwists/interlocking sessions, super careful washes, and more).

That’s why many people with dreads are looking for a solution to get their hair to loc quicker. One of the best ways to speed up the locking process is to use a lemon juice and sea salt solution.

Both the lemon juice and sea salt temporarily dry out your hair (making it rougher and less slick) so that it’s better able to snag and tangle with neighboring strands.

This mixture contains only a few ingredients that are easy to find and don’t cost a fortune. You can also use the mixture on fully matured dreadlocks to control loose hairs as needed.

How To Make a DIY Lemon, Water, and Sea Salt Recipe

Making a lemon juice and sea salt solution is super easy, but there are some ins and outs that you should be aware of. The following steps will help you get the results you want without destroying your hair.

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  1. Gather your ingredients. Lemon juice or a lemon (i.e., fresh lemon juice), sea salt, hot water from the tap, a measuring cup, and a spray bottle. You can also use Himalayan pink salt in place of the sea salt if you’d like. Do not use table salt, though, since it is highly processed and contains chemicals that may be considered harmful to your hair.
  2. Add 1 cup of hot water to the measuring cup.
  3. Cut your lemon in half using a sharp knife and a cutting board. Then squeeze the lemon juice into the measuring cup. If using lemon juice that you’ve purchased from the store, use only 1-2 teaspoons.
  4. Measure out 1.5 teaspoons of sea salt and add it to the measuring cup.
  5. Stir the mixture well. Make sure all of the salt has been dissolved. The finished solution will look a bit cloudy.
  6. Add natural oils as an optional step. Though this isn’t necessary, you may also want to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to this mixture. Doing so will help to maintain some of the moisture in your dreads, countering the drying effects of the salt and lemon juice. This is an optional addition to the recipe, so feel free to leave it out for a more effective spray. Some our favorite natural oils are olive oil, coconut oil, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil.
  7. Pour the finished mixture into your spray bottle and begin applying it to your dry hair. Spray it over all of the locks, giving them a light coating of the solution. Be sure to avoid your scalp since the solution could cause irritation or a burning sensation. If you use this spray on mature dreadlocks, only apply it to the tips or your loose roots.
  8. Allow the solution to work its magic on your hair for a few hours. Then wash your hair as usual to remove the salt and lemon juice. It is best not to leave the solution on for longer than 3 hours. 

The Benefits of Lemon Juice and Sea Salt on Dreads

African American wearing a houndstooth jacket with black hair color

There are a few benefits to using lemon juice and sea salt spray for your dreads. These include:

  • Removing moisture for denser, tighter locks
  • Faster formation of mature locks
  • Frizz reduction

The beauty of the lemon juice and sea salt solution is that it gives you the dreads you want in less time. Of course, you do need to be careful when using it.

Too much dryness can lead to brittle hair that breaks easily. That’s why following the proper steps when creating and using this mixture is so crucial for healthy hair.

Pros and Cons of Using Lemon Juice and Sea Salt

Cute black girl standing near the beach aloe vera rinse treatment for her 4B locs

There are several good reasons to try out the lemon juice and sea salt solution for your dreadlocks. This is due to the ingredients used to create this spray.


  • Tighter, more mature dreads. Salt is beneficial due to its ability to remove moisture from your hair. This is the same effect that you would get when swimming in the ocean without actually going anywhere near one. It dries the hair, pulling those strands tighter together for tighter dreads. Sea salt is also a natural product, so you can get the results you want without chemicals. Though it shouldn’t be used daily, applying this spray a couple of times a week won’t do permanent damage.
  • Less frizz. In addition to tightening your dreads, sea salt also helps tame any frizz you may be dealing with. This gives your dreadlocks a much cleaner look that you’ll love to show off.
  • Lower risk of bacteria and fungi. The lemon juice used in this mixture also has a few benefits that you may want to consider. It contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in your dreads. This is especially important since damp dreads are prone to mold and mildew growth and shouldn’t be washed very often. You should consider using a shower cap during your regular showering sessions. Click here for a good jumbo shower cap that works well for ladies with dreadlocks.
African American girl with healthy locs soaking up the vitamin D outside near the beach


  • Moisture loss. Both sea salt and lemon juice suck the moisture from your hair. Though this likely won’t be an issue when used occasionally, it could cause unexpected damage with prolonged use. This includes extremely dry hair, brittle strands, and breakage. Those with already dry hair will notice these issues arising much quicker than others.
  • Contamination. Sea salt comes from evaporated seawater (i.e., salt water). Though it is a natural by-product, it could contain traces of heavy metals and microplastics. This is because those items are in our oceans, contaminating everything, including the salt in our water. 
  • Stickiness and lint. Lemon juice may also cause some unexpected side effects. This can include stiffness or a sticky texture that could attract dirt and lint. The citric acid in the juice can also alter the color of your hair, lightening your strands. If you like your hair color the way it is, limiting lemon juice is best since it can lighten hair strands. On a lighter note (see what I did there), some women mix sea salt and lemon juice to lighten their hair.

Note: We don’t recommend using lemon juice and sea salt on your hair if it is color-treated or if you’re experiencing any thinning.

You should also steer clear if your hair has been relaxed or permed since these chemical processes can leave your hair vulnerable to dryness and damage. Adding a drying product to your loc routine could end up doing more bad than good.

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When you decide to get dreadlocks, you likely want them right away. This isn’t an option, though, since it takes a long time to get the mature dreads you may be picturing.

However, a lemon juice and sea salt spray can help speed up this process when used correctly. It can give you the dreads you want without causing irreparable damage to your hair. We hope this article has been helpful to you in your loc journey!

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