Dreads vs. Locs: Is There Any Difference?

Men and women are always both on the lookout for attractive but easy-to-care for hairstyles. Dreads and locs meet these requirements, which is why they have become increasingly popular over the years. Despite the fact that dreads have become so popular over the years, many people continue to have extreme difficulty differentiating between dreads and loc. So, when it comes to dread vs. locs, is there any difference? Here is an overview of dreads and locs, which will answer this question and more.

What are dreads?

Dreads are a hairstyle that surprisingly originated in Greece, in 3600 BC, which is not something that many fans of this hairstyle are aware of. Many people believe that dreads originated in the 1970s, when singer Bob Marley was popular, but Marley only made dreads popular. Dreads are often referred to interchangeably as dreadlocks, locks, locs, and they’re popular among many different people, both male and female, and black as well as white. Dreads are ropelike strands of hair that are matted together either through braiding or twisting, which results in clumps of hair that can’t be combed or brushed through.

What are locs?

While some people swear that locs are the same thing as dreads and that “loc” is merely a synonym for “dread.” However, others believe just as strongly that dreads and locs are two different hairstyles. According to some sources, locs are ropelike strands of hair that have been matted together either through braiding, twisting, or failing to comb the hair. This definition of locs is practically identical to dreads, so are they the same hairstyle? In the eyes of most people, they are the same hairstyle, just different names to describe the same style.

The debate

There really is no debate, as most people who wear their hair in some type of “locked” style refer to their hairstyle as locs or dreads, choosing to switch the terms up whenever they feel the desire. However, there are a few people who strongly believe that there is actually a difference between dreads and locs. These debaters admit that these two styles are created in basically the same manner, but they claim that there are historical reasons why these locs and dreads are two totally different hairstyles.

Some of the believers that locs and dreads are different hairstyles feel that there are numerous types of locks but only one type of dread. Just some of these loc variations are: sister locs, which are smaller in size than the original size, about 1/2 the size of regular locs, micro locs, which are extremely thin locs that aren’t much thicker than strands of hair, and even faux locs, which aren’t real locs, but they’re made to look real.

Those who believe that dreads and locks are the exact same hairstyle feel that all these loch variations are simply dreadlocks in different widths and styles.

Does the debate make sense?

The debate may not make sense to you or to many other people, and that’s fine. It doesn’t have to make sense to everyone, only to the ones who have taken the time to note the differences. To those who believe that locs are different from dreads, the debate makes a lot of sense, and they will spend hours backing up their claims in order to support their views. Many people could care less about the minute differences in locs and dreads and they will continue to use these words interchangeably to describe the same, exact hairstyle.

Are dreads and locs the same?

According to the definition of them, dreads and locks are precisely the same hairstyles. So, if you’re going to get your hair in a matted, ropelike hairstyle, then it’s up to you what you want to call them. If you are passionate about history and meaning, then you can refer to your hairstyle as locs, but if it doesn’t matter to you, either way, you can refer to them as dreads, dreadlocks, locs, locks, or whatever you desire at any given time. However, if you do come across a person who is passionate about stating the “differences” between dreads and locs, then it’s okay to humor them as a show of respect, even if it won’t change your own personal beliefs.


If you’re one of the people who have always believed that dreads and locs are the exact same hairstyle, then there’s no need to change your mind now. If you want to continue to believe this, then that’s fine, because there really is no definitive answer. You can even talk to several different professional hairstylists who specialize in doing dreadlocks and a majority of them will also tell you that there is no difference between these two hairstyles and that “loc” is simply a different way of referring to dreads, or dreadlocks.

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