by Carter Toni

Dreadlocks always make a statement. To some, they are a fashion statement and expression of beauty. To others, they have a spiritual meaning and symbolize abandoning all material possessions for a greater cause. Some use dreadlocks to make a political statement, they can be used as a sign of rebellion against the status quo.

  • The terms dreadlocks and locks are usually used interchangeably. However, it is important to understand the differences and similarities between the two. Knowing about dreadlocks and locks will help you to appreciate this hairstyle.

If you want to know more about dreadlocksand locks, or maybe start to grow healthy dreadlocks, you can read this blog, howtoweardreadlocks.com as here we are going to talk about the Differences & Similarities between Dreadlocks and Locks.


The confusion arises because people prefer saying locks instead of dreadlocks. That is because of the negative connotation attached to the term dreadlocks.

The origin of dreadlocks is the slave trade. Slaves were taken from Africa to work in the United States and Europe. These slaves didn’t have the time to groom themselves properly and the right tools to comb their hair. As a result, their slave masters used to call their hair dreadful, which resulted in the word “dreadlocks.” For some, using this term signifies a painful time in African American history where Black people were demonized because of their hair.


  1. Lifestyle Vs Hairstyle

Dreadlocks are a lifestyle while locks are a hairstyle. Someone who has dreadlocks is likely to be a Rastafarian by lifestyle but that cannot be said of someone who has locks.

A hairstyle is cultivated; a hairstylist will create locks while dreadlocks are free-formed naturally. A stylist will use different techniques and products to create for you the locks that you desire. For dreadlocks, you just leave your hair to grow naturally without combing it. If you want to grow healthy dreadlocks, ensure that you keep your hair as healthy as possible.

  • Because of the lifestyle implication, to some people, having dreadlocks is a lifetime commitment so long as they remain a Rastafari. For locks, because it is a fashion statement, someone can change it when they discover another hairstyle.
  1. Fashion Vs Spirituality

In most cases, people who have locks are doing so for fashion purposes while those with dreadlocks have a spiritual reason. That doesn’t mean that someone with dreadlocks has to be a Rastafarian.

  • Locks are trending in the world of fashion. Many celebrities have fallen in love with them. The good thing about locks is that they are versatile. That makes them fit with any facial structure, skin color, or clothes. You don’t need to be black to wear locks. They are also perfect for white people, the same applies to dreadlocks.
  • Locks come in different styles meaning that fashion fanatics can always find what they are looking for. Some styles are easier to maintain and others require commitment. Some styles look masculine while others appear feminine.

Rastafarians use the term dreadlocks, to separate them from locks and indicate that they wear dreads for a higher cause. They have a spiritual connection to dreadlocks and they believe that energy is connected to the hair. This is a belief that is held by many faiths and cultures. The Biblical Solomon lost his strength when Delilah cut his hair. In some faiths, not combing hair means disregarding the vanity and pleasures of the world.

One of the requirements of the Rastafarian religion is having dreadlocks. This religion began in Jamaica in the 1930s and it presently has a worldwide following. Rastafarianism combines Pan-African political consciousness with Christianity.


  • Dreadlocks and Locks are created in the same way

They are created by twisting and re-twisting hair until long ropes are formed. They can be created by several methods including braiding, coiling, and twisting.

  • Unisex

Dreadlocks and locks are unisexual; they are suitable for both men and women. Dreadlocks used to be a masculine thing but nowadays many women wear them. If there is one hairstyle that knows no gender, then it is dreadlocks.

  • Care

The care of locks and dreadlocks involves the same practices. It is important to nourish them regularly to avoid breakages. Shampoo should be applied regularly. If you plan to have locks, you need to be prepared to care for them in the right way.

  • History

Dreadlocks and locks are connected to people of African origin. In many African cultures, dreadlocks were common in the past. They were the preferred hairstyle for warriors and other significant members of society. That doesn’t mean that locks were not in other cultures. Some Native American tribes used to have locks.

For many Africans, locks had a cultural significance. It is Bob Marley of Jamaica who popularized locks through his Reggae music. In Jamaica, locks have cultural and religious significance. In pre-colonial Kenya, the Mau Mau used locks as a sign of rebellion against British imperialism.


  • Freeform locks– These are formed naturally. All you have to do is to clean and wash your hair regularly, then you let it lock over time; you simply undermaintain your hair. The locks that are formed will not have a uniform and precise sizes. Each of the locks will have a varied size and some will be as big as a man’s wrist. Because of their size, there are harder to keep clean. Starting and maintaining freeform locks requires little cost.
  • Traditional locks– These are started using comb curls or finger coils. You can do that at home or you can visit a hairstylist for a uniform look. Maintaining them requires a twisting gel. A metal clip can be used to secure them in place. There is also the option of interlocking your hair.
  • Sister locks– These are very small; they can be as small as micro braids. They are the most expensive locks to create and maintain, costs can start at $500. They involve installing hundreds of locks on natural or treated hair.

The Bottom-Line

Your hair is your crown. Your hair sends a statement to the world, it tells a lot about you. Locks are a fashion statement, they show that you are a trendy person who likes to look good. Dreadlocks can send a cultural, religious, or political statement.

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