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Is There Any Difference Between Locs and Dreads?

3 mins

Patricia Davis

If you thought locs and dreads are the same hairstyle, you're mistaken. Here's a look at their differences and how you can achieve these two very similar looks.

Locs, dreads, and dreadlocks. Have you been using these words interchangeably for that gorgeous Afro hairstyle? You might be using them wrong. 

While locs and dreads look very similar, they are not the same. If you ask your hair stylist for dreads when you really mean locs, you might end up with a hairstyle that you didn't intend to sport. Here's a look at the difference between locs and dreads – what they are and how you can look after them.

Table of Contents:

  • What Are Dreadlocks or Dreads?
  • How to Get Dreadlocks?
  • What Are Locs?
  • How to Get Locs?
  • Backcombing and Twisting
  • Securing
  • Wax and styling
  • How to Maintain Locs

    What Are Dreadlocks or Dreads?

    The history of dreadlocks dates back to biblical times when Samson vowed never to cut his hair. More recently, people following the 1960s Jamaican Rastafari Movement sported the look to keep themselves in a natural and pure state, as God intended. 

    The hair is left long and not combed. Over time, the strands get tangled and separate out into individual masses and sections of knots. When you look at a single dreadlock from up close, it looks very similar to steel wool – fibers woven together in a close-knit to form a solid mass. So, although sported as a hairstyle, dreadlocks result from a lifestyle.

    What Are Dreadlocks or Dreads, dreadlocks care routine

    While no single culture has staked claim over dreadlocks, there are stories (some mythological) of various gods sporting the look. Egyptians were also known to wear this hairstyle, although they had accessories that gave their dreadlocks a neat and manipulated look. 

    In Nigeria, children born with dreadlocks are viewed as gifted and influential. People from Africa are blessed with a hair texture that quickly forms into dreadlocks.

    How to Get Dreadlocks?

    Always start with clean hair. Use a clarifying shampoo to remove all traces of product build-up and oil from your hair and leave your scalp clean. 

    WOW Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo is a plant-based, clarifying formula made of raw apple cider vinegar, sweet almond oil, and nettle leaf extract. The shampoo naturally clarifies build-up, balances the pH levels, soothes the scalp, and promotes strength and shine. It's the perfect shampoo to clean and strengthen your hair before starting your journey with both dreads and locks.

    The easiest way to get dreadlocks is to stop looking after your hair, but it does not mean you have to leave it messy and dirty. However, it would take several months to get the organically-set look you want finally.

    apple cider vinegar shampoo, shampoo for dreadlocks

    The disadvantage of dreads is that they could end up looking matted or unkempt.

    What Are Locs?

    Locs are dreads that are created artificially by a hairstylist or in a salon. The term locs is derived from dreadlocks as it mimics a neater and more maintained form of the same style. Locs are one of the most well-known African hairstyles. You could even try doing it yourself at home, with the help of a friend.

    How to Get Locs?

    Locs are artificial dreads. Start with a clean scalp. Use a clarifying shampoo like WOW Skin Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo to eliminate oils and product build-up and strengthen your hair.

    Part your hair into small, easy-to-work-with, half or one-inch square sections. Work on each section at a time – this is how to create a lock on each section:

    • Backcombing and Twisting

    Hold a section of hair with one hair. Backcomb the hair with a fine-tooth metal comb with the other hand. As you backcomb each section, gently twist it to keep the strands of hair in place and get a well-shaped lock. Don't hurry through the process, or you will end up with uneven locs.

    • Securing

    Once you have completed backcombing and twisting the loc, secure it at the end with a rubber band. Secure the loc with a second rubber band close to the scalp. Both rubber bands are essential if your hair is straight or wavy. You might not need two rubber bands if your hair is African-textured. Remove the rubber bands once your hair has locked (after about three months)

    securing dreadlocks
    • Wax and styling

    Apply dread wax along the length of each lock to secure it in place and prevent frizzing or drying. If your hair is naturally curly or you have African-textured hair, you might get away with skipping this step.

    How to Maintain Locs

    • Shampoo your hair once a week to eliminate oil and residue on the scalp. A clarifying shampoo works best. You don't have to worry about moisture loss because this hairstyle prevents loss of moisture.
    • Condition your hair with an apple cider rinse (eight ounces apple cider vinegar and 16 ounces water) twice a month.
    • Cover your locs with a silk scarf wrap while you sleep.
    • Roll the dreads between the palms once a day to maintain the smoothness of the dreads. Begin at the scalp and work your way down. It will also help new hair growth to dread faster and neatly.
    how to maintain locs

    Dreads and locs are not the same, although they look very similar. While dreads are naturally created and a part of a lifestyle, locs are made artificially in a salon. 

    It's essential to start creating dreads and locs with a clean scalp. Work slowly on each section of hair to get a uniform and neat look. Finally, maintaining your locs is critical – shampooing, rinsing, and daily and weekly maintenance are necessary.

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    Patricia Davis

    If you are searching for the right guidance for beauty and wellness products, then Patricia Davis is the person to follow. She has been making people more aware of beauty, wellness, and health products, with her regular posts, product reviews, and more. Her domain expertise, obtained through years of work as a beauty magazine editor, helps immensely.

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    If you are searching for the right guidance for beauty and wellness products, then Patricia Davis is the person to follow. She has been making people more aware of beauty, wellness, and health products, with her regular posts, product reviews, and more. Her domain expertise, obtained through years of work as a beauty magazine editor, helps immensely.
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