The Difference between LOCs and Dreads


When you hear the word dreadlocks, what comes to mind? Probably people who haven’t taken a shower in weeks, right? Dreadlocks are more than just an unkempt hairstyle—they’re also a lifestyle that some people choose as part of their religious beliefs or personal convictions. Same goes with small loc extensions. In this article, we’ll go over the difference between dreadlocks and LOCs, while shedding light on the attitudes surrounding each hairstyle.

What are LOCs?

One of the most popular African hairstyles, Locks are made of one single, continuous piece of hair that can range in length from less than an inch to more than a foot in some cases (LOC is short for lock). Because they’re made of just one strand—versus many dreadlocks—LOCs look much thinner and more defined than their tangled counterparts. And unlike dreadlocks, LOCs are typically uniform along their entire length.

What are Dreads?

If you are unfamiliar with African History, you might not be able to tell if Dreads are a different hairstyle from Locs. Historically, Dreads means “dreadful,” and the people with this hairstyle are considered warriors. Dreadlocks are created when sections of hair (usually about an inch in diameter and anywhere from 3 to 12 inches long) are intentionally interwoven or locked together using a specialized technique. In general, you would create dreadlocks by first sectioning your hair into locks and then interlocking them on your scalp to form a web-like structure.

Major Difference between Both of them

LOCs are generally created with two or more separate sections of hair; each section is known as a loc. At the same time, dreadlocks are usually made from one continuous strand of hair that has been folded over upon itself to create a new section of hair. This can be done several times, creating multiple dreadlocks within each LOC which is not found in LOC construction. LOCs and dreadlocks will require somewhat different maintenance routines to achieve similar results; however, both can be maintained in a healthy state if basic guidelines are followed.

Physical Differences between Both of them

Let’s start with noticeable physical differences between both dreadlocks and LOCs. For example, in case you didn’t know already, dreadlocks are not indeed a style of hair; they are intentional knotting of individual strands of hair (typically made by interlocking sections of hair with one another to create said knots). Because of their knotting and locking structure, dreadlocks are also generally easier to maintain than LOCs – although there is no right or wrong way to care for either style!

How Long Does It Take to Grow Them Out?

It really depends on hair length and density at the root, but generally speaking, dreadlocks can take between one to three years to fully form. The great thing about locs is that they don’t grow out as quickly as straight hair; it takes several months before you notice significant growth from your ends. To keep them growing without looking unevenly unkempt, think about incorporating protective styles into your routine every few weeks, like a braid-out or a bun atop your head.


LOCs and dreadlocks are alike in many ways. They’re created using a similar method, generally look pretty similar, and require considerable care to stay looking good (or start looking good). And yet, it seems that many people still don’t understand what LOCS are precisely or how dreadlocks are different from their more well-known cousin. In fact, even those who have LOCs or dreadlocks might not know about some of these differences.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here