Looking for a protective style and not quite sure which direction to go between getting dreadlocks or getting braids. I have done some research comparing whether braids or dreads are better and here are my findings.
When comparing dreadlocks and braids, deciding on the superior choice depends heavily on your preferred style and convenience. In terms of maintenance, dreadlocks are the winner, as they allow you to clean your scalp with minimal upkeep. With braids, you can expect them to last you 2-8 weeks with regular upkeep.
|Method of installation||1 Method||Multiple Methods|
|Is it time-consuming to install?||Time-efficient||Time Reliant|
|How it looks and feels||Uniformed, neat texture||The matted, bumpy texture|
|Taking care of your braids/dreadlocks||High Maintenance||Very low maintenance|
Deciding on a new style to try on your hair is always a little confusing, especially when presented with more than one style that really appeals to you.
When it comes to choosing between braids and dreads, we can make this decision a little easier by looking at a comparison of the two. Let’s take a look:
The above table is a very brief comparison of the differences between these two styles. However, let’s get into each category to see how they differ.
Method Used For Installation
Both these styles are quite different when it comes to installation. When thinking about braids, installing them is quite simple. Whether you are going for your normal braids or even box braids, braiding is done using a simple three-strand method.
Dreadlocks, however, are a little more complex when it comes to method. These can be made using various methods, all containing their own needs and times requirements.
Some of the methods used to create dreads include: back-combing the hair, twists, and braids that form dreads over time, interlocking hair, or the crochet method.
The most interesting thing to see here is that dreads can, in fact, be made using the braiding method. These braids are then left for a long period of time and turn into dreads. Dreadlocks can also be formed by pure neglect or your natural hair.
Time Needed For Installation
Braids, although they may not seem that way, are extremely time-efficient to install. The method used to install braids also takes less time with a higher level of experience/practice.
The only time braids can be quite time-consuming, is when you get really thin braid extensions installed. This is because the stylist/you can only work with a very small amount of hair at a time.
Dreads aren’t as quick and efficient to install as braids are. They require much more time, effort, and commitment to achieve the individual’s desired look.
Depending on the method used, some dreads could take days, some weeks, and sometimes people even wait for months before they are satisfied with the outcome of their dreadlocks.
When it comes to permanence, braids are definitely not. Braids generally have a lifespan of around six to eight weeks. They are also super easy and quick to remove, especially when comparing them to dreadlocks.
Dreadlocks are, however, considered a permanent style. Due to the complexity in creating a dreadlock and what that means for your natural hair ( it is basically hair that has been matted, with the strands interwoven), this style is definitely a permanent choice.
Although dreads are considered a permanent hairstyle, stylists are finding new and innovative ways to properly remove them, without the need to cut them off completely. This process is extremely long and complex and definitely not accomplished with ease.
Difference in Texture
Dreads and braids are by no means the same when it comes to texture. Although they are both quite appealing, for characteristics unique to each of them, they definitely look and feel completely different.
Braids look like miniature ropes in appearance, due to the 3 piece braiding method. However, braids manage to be quite smooth in texture. They are also quite neat and known for being uninformed and specific in shape and texture. The texture also tends to remain consistent throughout the braid, only changing towards the tips.
When it comes to mature dreads, there is definitely no uniformity in appearance. Dreadlocks are basically formed by matting hair, so they, therefore, have more of a matte texture.
There is also no uniformity as dreads can look extremely different in appearance based on the method used to create the amount of hair in each and the upkeep of the dreads themselves.
Maintenance and Care
When it comes to braids, it is actually the opposite of what you would expect. Although they seem low maintenance, they actually require much more effort and time than dreads do.
To begin, braids are temporary. This means that every six to eight weeks, you either have to redo your braids or remove them completely. Both of these are time-consuming.
Your hair also needs time to breathe between braiding which adds additional time to your care routine.
Braids are also made to look neat and uniformed. This means that it is extremely obvious when they are not well kept. Extra time and effort go into caring for your braids to ensure that they look neat and presentable.
When it comes to dreadlocks, maintenance doesn’t take as much time as you would think, after they have been in for some time. They are also bumpier looking and therefore aren’t expected to look unformed. This means that less effort goes into making them presentable at all times.
When it comes to washing day and moisturizing, surprisingly both dreads and braids are quite similar in method and time needed.
Here are a few extra points to consider when deciding whether you want to invest in braids or dreads:
Amount of hair needed
When it comes to deciding which hairstyle you would like to try, it is also important to consider the current state of your natural hair. This will help you determine which style is actually feasible according to your hair condition. In this case, we are looking at hair length.
Although it may not seem that way, getting dreadlocks for the first time doesn’t require lengthy hair. Basically, if you have enough hair to grip and twist, you’re good to go.
However, it is important to note that dreads retain length. So, if you have long hair and expect your dreads to appear the same length, think again. Dreadlocks generally look around a quarter of the actual length of the hair used.
Braids, on the other hand, are a little different. You will definitely need a little more length, than required for dreads, to get your hair braided. Basically, the more the merrier. However, braids don’t retain length as much as dreads do.
Getting your hair done can be quite expensive and not everyone has the ability to do their own, especially when it comes to braiding and getting dreadlocks.
Dreads are generally more expensive than getting braids done due to the amount of work needed. It is far more than most braid hairstyles and is more time-consuming to complete. However, because dreads are permanent, they actually end up being cheaper than braids in the long run.
It is definitely cheaper to get your hair braided and less time-consuming than getting dreadlocks. It is also less work which means that the price definitely decreases. However, braids are temporary and need to be redone every few weeks. This cost adds up in the long run.