Difference Between Dreads and Locs

three african american woman wearing dreadlocs

When it comes to African American hair, there are many styles to choose from. Two popular styles are dreads and locs. While the terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. In this post, we'll explore the difference between dreads and locs and how they're unique in their own way.


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What are Dreads?

Dreads, also known as dreadlocks, are a type of hairstyle that involves intentionally matting or tangling the hair. This creates thick, rope-like strands that are often associated with a more rugged or bohemian look. Dreads can be achieved in several ways, including backcombing, twisting, or using a crochet hook. Dreads tend to be thicker and more defined than locs. Some people refer to them as hair locks or simply locks.-- Ensure your dreads are not too tight to avoid a receding hairline. Check out our blog post How To Stop Receding Hairline With Dreads

What are Locs?

Locs, also known as dreadlocks or simply locks, are a type of hairstyle that involves letting the hair naturally knot and tangle over time. Unlike dreads, locs do not require any manipulation or styling techniques to achieve the desired look. Locs tend to be thinner than dreads and can have a more organic, flowing appearance. They are a natural and low-maintenance hairstyle that requires little upkeep.

History of Dreads and Locs:

Dreadlocks and locs have a rich cultural history that spans many different cultures and time periods. In ancient Egypt, dreadlocks were often worn by royalty and were seen as a symbol of status and power. In Rastafarian culture, dreadlocks are a symbol of spiritual purity and a connection to the divine. In modern times, both dreads and locs have become a popular way for people of African descent to embrace and celebrate their natural hair texture.

How are they different? 

Dreadlocks and locs, although both involve knotting and tangling hair, the difference between dreads and locs lies in their approach and appearance, Dreads are intentionally created with manipulation to achieve a thicker, more defined, and rugged or bohemian look. In contrast, locs form naturally over time, resulting in a thinner and more organic appearance that can be styled in various ways. Despite the negative connotation of the term "dreadlocks" due to its historical roots, it is still commonly used interchangeably with locs or simply locks.

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While dreads and locs may seem similar at first glance, they are actually quite different in terms of their origins, appearance, and maintenance. By understanding the differences between these two styles, you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. Whether you choose dreads, locs, or another natural hairstyle, embrace your hair and celebrate its unique beauty.