Dreadlocks vs. Braids – Do you know the difference?

Braids vs dreadlocks

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It is a bit surprising in this day in age, but people still get confused between identifying braids and dreadlocks. From afar, they can seem a little similar. However, they involve very different techniques in regards to styling, maintenance and longevity. 

What are dreadlocks?

Dreadlocks (also known as locs or dreads) are strands of hair caused by matting. [1]

The matted hair will usually grow in long strands, providing the person with the dreadlock style. [2]

Dreadlocks can be created using processes, which includes interlocking the hair or by palm rolling the hair. These processes will matt the hair in a particular style. 

What are braids?

Braids refer to lacing or weaving the hair, which allows the person to style their hair in a pattern. [3] This usually sees the hair strands parted in thirds and interweaved or platted to style a braid. 

You can see the differences in braiding styles in the video below. 


What differences are there with time?

Braids can be done pretty quickly. They can be created in a couple of hours. Whereas dreadlocks need 4-8h to be developed. 

Once the braids are done, it is pretty much set and forget. Whereas dreadlocks will still need to be maintained and looked after in the following days. 

The amount of time also depends on the length of the hair as well. 

Braids are temporary. Dreadlocks are semi-permanent. 

As mentioned above, you can get braids and leave them in for 1-8 weeks, depending on the style and maintenance that you provide them. However, dreadlocks can be permanent (or semi-permanent). So once the hair starts to lock, you can keep them in for months or even years. 

What’s the difference in maintenance?

Both will need to be washed and cleaned to maintain a fresh look. With braids, it can be difficult to wash the hair and prevent the hair from frizzing or from the braids becoming loose. With Dreadlocks, a degree of extra care is needed to wash and dry the dreadlocks properly, so that the hair will remain fresh, clean and keep the original look of the dreadlocks. 

You can also see some discussions on this topic on Reddit


[1] Wikipedia – Dreadlocks

[2] Cambridge Dictionary

[3] Wikipedia – Braids

Need maintenance?

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