Inside: The Terms Locs vs Dreadlocks

Inside: The Terms Locs vs Dreadlocks

  • Not that we want to put up sides and call one side our rivalry and the other our crew, as the term ‘vs’ may imply, we just want to let you know why here, at Dr Locs, we prefer to refer to our locs as locs minus the dread, which has a variety of implications.

As we know, the history of locs is a long one and stretches into many different cultures across the globe. Though what we also know is the power of language and the way it intensely affects both our conscious and subconscious minds. Language may be able to control the way we think and feel, but as clever and powerful individuals, we too have the power to control language, to shape it, reshape it, and create within and beyond its boundaries, which is more or less how the term ‘locs’ or ‘locks’ came about. 

A Brief History of the Word ‘Dreadlocks’

The term ‘Dreadlocks’ has an interesting history which most notably stems from a group of courageous East African warriors and holy and powerful Rastafarians in Jamaica. On the East African front, the term for ‘dreadlocks’ apparently came from the feeling of dread aroused in anyone who came upon these valiant warriors (who were identified by their hairstyle). In Jamaica, which probably had the strongest influence on the Western World and their black hair history awareness, the term dreadlocks referred to Rastafarians who wore locks as a symbol of their power and religious status. It is said the community feared such powerful figures, as awe-inspiring figures. The history of the Rastafarian movement is a long one, but if you’re interested in reading more about the history of dreadlocks, we have a more in-depth article for you here

But how significant is the term ‘dreadlock’ to someone who isn’t Jamaican and is more interested in relating to their locs through a different lens, which relates to their choices, concepts of beauty, and personal history and/or community?

The Root of the Term ‘Locs’

Though the term ‘dread’ may have positive sentiments to some people, to many others it has a more negative lean. One of the main aims of the natural hair community is to transform one’s perspective of their natural hair. Though we can’t speak for everyone and have no intention of taking on such a responsibility, we do know that the transition towards natural hair is not always an easy one. We want every single individual in the natural hair community, from loose to locked hair to embrace their own natural beauty, to celebrate their own hair texture and natural styles. No, it’s no secret, we’re not in love with chemicals and what they do to our bodies, hair and our planet. We don’t see why one should have to resort to chemicals, or other harmful methods to change their natural-born, ’bangin’ beauty, or why one should submit to foreign (and outdated) notions of beauty. 

The secret behind beauty has always been confidence. If you are truly confident about who you are and nurture yourself with loads of self-love, you will glow from your roots to your toes, and this we can say with 100% certainty. If you’re keeping up with the beauty trends you’d know they’re all going for a natural look to flaunt their natural beauty and so should you! So should we all. 


What we’re trying to get at here is the power of language, the power it has over the way we perceive ourselves, the way we perceive the world and the way the world perceives us. Though we too can master language, the way we speak, to phrases we use and the terms we relate to in order to sustain a positive and healthy outlook on life. Here at Dr Locs we absolutely love the term locs and we love our locs, it couldn’t be more simple than that!

Let us know what term you prefer and why? How has it shaped your life, language and locs?  

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