Dreads Vs Braids

Dreads vs Braids: Which One Is The Winner?

In the world of hairstyles, braids are one of the most popular options for any occasion. From regular classes to weddings, you can rock a braided hairstyle everywhere, and this is why the variation in braiding hair has only increased with time.

However, apart from braids, dreadlocks are also quite popular among many people out there. Especially for the amazing style they provide you with, dreadlocks are considered to be the number one choice for many young men and women.

Black girls have set the standard too high when it comes to trying out protective hairstyles. This is why both braids and dreadlocks have become popular choices when it comes to getting the hair done. But the question remains, which one is comparatively better?

We know that at some point in your life you have given this question serious thought. But figuring out the answer is quite difficult, so here we have created a small guide that will help you determine which one wins in the battle of braids vs dreads.

Are Braids and Dreads the Same Thing?

This is a question that we receive quite frequently. Many people think that dreads are actually a type of braided style. But in reality, both of these hairstyles are quite different from each other.

For starters, you can start your journey with locs quite easily. First of all, you need to section off your hair. Then create the printings and apply your gel. For each of your square partings, grab your comb and twist the section of hair down the end, and you will be left with your piece of dread.

But in the case of braids, you need two or three strands of hair that need to be interlaced to get that perfect braided shape.

As you can see, the dreads are basically done in a completely different way compared to braids, so these two are not identical for sure. Rather, the differences are numerous.

What are the Basic Differences between Dreads and Braids?

Starting from the way they are done to the cost and stuff, dreadlocks and braids surely differ from each other in many aspects. For your convenience, we have broken down the facts into smaller sections and presented them all in this article. So without any further ado, let’s check out the differences.

Differences between Dreads and Braids

Visual Aspect

Starting with a very common point which is the appearance of braids and dreads. In the debate of dreadlocks vs braids, the first thing that should be taken into account is the visual aspect.

Dreads and braids look quite different from each other, so this can determine which option a person will choose.

While braids have a particular pattern consisting of two or three pieces of hair intertwined together, they can be done in various ways. The fishtail braid and snake braid look quite different from the regular three-strand braids, while the box braids and cornrows are basically your three-strand braids done in a different method by adding extra hair.

On the other hand, dreads are basically pieces of hair that look like rope and can be started by backcombing the hair. While both box braids and dreads require sections to be created beforehand, the method of making these two types of styles are certainly different.

Formation Period

One of the major differences between dreadlocks and braids is the time each of them takes to be formed properly.

Each piece of dread can be done by the backcombing method within seconds to minutes, and the full hair will require a few hours to be completed. However, in order for your dreads to form, it will take around six months or more.

On the other hand, you can braid your hair anytime you want and your braids can be formed within minutes. However, in the case of protective styles such as box braids, braiding your entire hair will take around four to eight hours. But braids do not require formation time as dreadlocks.

Preservation and Upkeep

When it comes to maintaining the hair, dreads and braids actually vary in nature. They might seem quite similar, but the way of upkeep is different for both of these styles.

Dreadlocks are quite low maintenance and you don’t have to do much to preserve them. So, for people who are not bothered about keeping their hair super clean all the time, dreadlocks can be a great choice.

On the other hand, braided styles are needed to be maintained properly, or else they lose the beauty that they had in the beginning. This is especially important if you get your box braids done and go to sleep casually because you will end up finding that your hair doesn’t look as pretty as before.

Compatibility with Frizziness

Frizzy Dreads

When it comes to our regular hair, frizz is a thing that we all like to avoid. But in the case of dreadlocks, you will actually love their frizzy look.

Dreadlocks have a rough and untidy appeal to them, which looks even better if your hair gets frizzy. This is why you will love to keep that frizziness intact with your dreads.

However, if you’ve got your box braids done, frizz will be the last thing that you would like to see in your hairstyle. If your braided hair gets frizzy, the beauty will be lost entirely. This is why braids require higher maintenance compared to dreadlocks.


Talking about differences, here is a major one: the longevity of your dreads and braids vary quite prominently. Let’s know the details ahead.

You can literally wear your dreads for more than a year. Yes, you heard us right. If you are using human hair extensions, then your dreads are going to last for two to three years. However, if you use synthetic hair for your dreads, then your dreads are going to stay put for six to twelve weeks.

But the scenario is completely different when it comes to your braided hairstyle. With proper maintenance, your box braids are going to last for four to six weeks. On the other hand, cornrows can last between six to eight weeks with the right upkeep.

So it is clear that your dreadlocks are going to last longer than your braids, which is a major determining point for many people when choosing their hairstyle between dreads and braids.

Styling Hair

When it comes to styling your hair, it is actually easier to shift from one style to another if you have braids. Because your braids can be undone at any time, and then you can opt for other braiding styles or regular hairstyles.

However, you cannot undo your dreads any time you want. Although you can do braids with your dreads, taking them off for switching to another hairstyle is not on the table.


Once you get your dreads locked, you can literally turn them into a braided style, and then undo the braids to get back to your dreads again. But there’s no going back of this sort with your braids.

This is because taking off braids means you actually get back to your previous hair. Although you can do ponytails or buns out of your braided hair, unraveling them doesn’t allow you to enjoy your braided style anymore.

Moreover, your dreads can be washed without the worry of getting ruined. But when it comes to your braided style, be prepared to be a bit disappointed.

Washing Method

The way you wash your hair is also different when it comes to your dreads and your braids. While dreads require multiple shampooing sessions, braids require extra care.

Washing Dreads

Washing Dreads

Although many people have the conception that those with dreadlocks do not wash their hair, it is actually a wrong thing to assume. Dreadlocks are required to wash and the frequency depends on their maturity.

The first step is to make the dreads and scalp wet properly well. Then taking a little bit of shampoo, you need to work it into the hair. Once the proper amount of lather is created, massaging the scalp entirely is necessary.

If the dreads are matured, milking is needed to be done. You need to wash your hair with a lot of water for proper cleansing. A second and third shampoo session is also recommended, and make sure to wash out everything thoroughly after each session.

Washing Box Braids

Washing Box Braids

In the case of your box braids, soak your braids and rub shampoo on your scalp ensuring that it is fully saturated. Then rinse your hair properly and use a light conditioner. Grab a big towel to soak up the maximum amount of water from your hair. Finally, let your hair dry completely and apply oil to your hair.


The cost also differs when it comes to getting your dreads or braids done. As for your dreads, it will take around $48 to $147, and the cost can even reach $1,400 if you are opting for dreadlock extensions.

On the contrary, your box braid appointment is going to cost somewhere around $75 to $450 based on the size of braids and style you are willing to achieve. As for your cornrows, you need to keep around $38 to $183 aside while sitting for the session.

So, Which One is the Winner?

If you have read all the way down to this point, then you have reached the part where you can finally end the dreads vs braids debate.

Dreads and braids both are amazing hairstyles that will provide you with your desired look. While dreads can give you that messy and free vibe, braids will make you look pretty and sophisticated.

The maintenance, care, and versatility of braids and dreads vary largely, so you can pick the one based on your preference. If you love to change your hairstyles on a monthly basis, then braids can be your champion. But if you are fond of long-lasting styles, then dreads are definitely the winner for you.

So based on your personal opinion and analyzing the facts that we have presented in this article, you can decide which one will go perfectly with your lifestyle, and give the medal to that particular style!

Final Words

Protective hairstyles vary in appearance and method, but they are great for your hair. So no matter which one you’re going for, it all depends on your feasibility to declare one as the best. The same thing goes for the dreadlocks vs braids debate.

We hope this article has helped you figure out the winning hairstyle for your hair. There are both pros and cons to both of these hairstyles, but we love them equally! So try them out and figure out which one suits you the most.

Just remember to wear your style with confidence, and the rest of the work will be easily done!

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