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Choosing between dreadlocks vs. locs vs. braids? Each style has its own vibe and history, and it's cool to understand what sets them apart before taking the plunge.

This blog post is here to help clear up any confusion and give you the scoop on how locs differ from braids.

We'll also touch on why some folks choose one over the other – whether it's all about ease or making a style statement. Stick around as we untangle their differences together!


Locs vs. Dreadlocks


Locs and dreadlocks might look similar, but the words we use to talk about them matter. "Dreadlocks" is a term that people used in the past. It has links to negative ideas and history because it suggests that natural hair is scary or not nice.

Now, many people say "locs" instead. This word shows respect and pride for a hairstyle with deep cultural roots.

Saying "locs" rather than "dreadlocks" also highlights personal choice and style without any bad meaning. Locs are strands of hair that are twisted and allowed to grow into ropelike pieces over time.

They can be made in different ways like twisting, braiding, or palm rolling. On the other hand, dreadlock was used as a general name for matted coils of hair. But today's focus on culture wants us to honor this traditional African hairstyle by using the right words—so we say locs!

Locs vs. Braids


When comparing locs and braids, it's important to understand the techniques used in creating each style, as well as the differences in appearance and the type of hair used. These factors can help you determine which hairstyle best suits your personal preferences and lifestyle.


Techniques Used


To create locs and braids, different techniques are used to achieve distinct styles that suit various hair textures and preferences. Here are the techniques:

  1. Braids: This involves weaving three strands of hair together in intricate patterns using an over-under technique, commonly known as cornrows.
  2. Locs: Locs are formed by either twisting or interlocking the hair to encourage it to mat and form into individual sections over time.
  3. Twists: Twisting involves dividing the hair into smaller sections and then twisting two strands around each other to create a rope-like effect, often used in creating starter locs or maintaining locs.
  4. Interlocked locs: This technique forms new growth into existing locs without unraveling or adding extensions, promoting natural formation and growth.
  5. Instant locs: Instant locs involve a specialized method of creating immediate locs using various tools, typically preferred for quicker results.




Dreadlocks are thick, rope-like strands of matted hair that form through a natural process or with the help of wax or gel. They have a distinct, chunky appearance and tend to be thicker than traditional locs.

On the other hand, locs are created by twisting sections of hair together regularly over time to form cylindrical or rope-like strands. Locs can vary in size and thickness depending on the method used for their formation.

In contrast, braids involve weaving three sections of hair together to create intricate patterns close to the scalp. They result in a neater appearance compared to both dreadlocks and locs.

Type of Hair


For locs, the type of hair used is typically coarser and thicker in texture. This texture allows the hair to hold the distinctive rope-like pattern without unraveling easily.

On the other hand, braids often use various types of hair, including synthetic and natural options.

Synthetic hair can be used to add length or different colors to braids, while natural hair is also common for a more authentic look. In contrast, dreadlocks are formed using untreated natural hair that has not been combed or brushed.

In creating locs, the focus is on working with the natural texture and pattern of the coarser hair strands. The goal is to let the locs form naturally over time as opposed to manipulating them heavily during formation.


Factors To Consider When Choosing Between Locs and Braids


When choosing between locs and braids, consider the process of formation, upkeep, and maintenance, as well as cultural and societal influences.

Each hairstyle requires different levels of care and has unique cultural significance that may influence your decision.


Process of Formation


Forming locs involves a natural, freeform process. After washing and conditioning the hair, it's left to air dry without combing.

As the hair grows, it naturally tangles and forms into individual sections or "locs." However, interlocked locs require more manipulation; they're created by weaving a tool through the strands to form each loc.

On the other hand, creating braids involves parting the hair into small sections and weaving three strands of hair together from the scalp to the ends.


Upkeep and Maintenance


Locs require regular washing to keep them clean and healthy. Use a residue-free shampoo to prevent buildup, and make sure your locs are completely dry after washing to avoid mildew.

Also, retwisting is needed periodically to maintain the appearance of your locs.

On the other hand, braids also need proper care to last longer. You should wash your braids carefully with a gentle shampoo and conditioner, ensuring that they dry thoroughly afterward.


Cultural and Societal Influences


Cultural and societal influences play a significant role in the choice between locs and braids. For many individuals, the decision is rooted in their ethnicity and cultural heritage.

Locs are often deeply connected to African and Caribbean cultures, symbolizing spirituality, identity, and heritage. On the other hand, braids have been a long-standing tradition in various cultures around the world as a way of expressing creativity and cultural pride through intricate patterns and styles.

Moreover, societal perceptions can impact one's choice of hairstyle. While both locs and braids have gained more acceptance in professional settings over time, some industries still hold biases against these hairstyles.




Understanding the unique characteristics of these hairstyles is not just about terminology—it's about respect and recognition of an individual's hair journey. These styles are more than a fashion choice; they're a testament to versatility and ease, offering a variety of styling options while simplifying daily routines.




Can anyone wear dreadlocks, locs, or braids?


Yes, anyone can wear these styles! They come from different parts of hair history and represent diverse cultures.


Do I need special products for styling my dreadlocks or locs?


Yes, you might need particular haircare products designed for maintaining moisture and health while helping your locks stay together nicely.


Is it possible to transition from dreadlocks or locs to braids?


Transitioning from dreadlocks or locs to braids usually involves a significant process that may include carefully detangling or cutting the hair, whereas moving from braids to locs can be a more straightforward journey.


Can locs and dreadlocks be washed like regular hairstyles?


Yes, both locs and dreadlocks can and should be washed regularly to maintain scalp health, though the frequency and technique may differ from loose hair.



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