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My Misconception About Locs: Why You Shouldn’t Call it Dreadlocks

When I was much younger, the idea I had about locs was that they were for less-than-sane individuals. You can’t blame my adolescent mind as those were the most common people I saw with locs in Nigeria.

It wasn’t until 2020 when I decided to change my look with my hair and locs were what I chose to go with, that I started paying attention to what locs were all about. Before that time, I knew locs as a hairstyle that ladies were starting to rock but, I never saw it as more than that, a hairstyle. But locs is more than a hairstyle. It is a statement and a very bold one at that. When you decide to wear your hair in this fashion, what you’re saying is, “I’m choosing to embrace my natural hair and stop conforming to European standards of beauty". At least that’s how I have come to interpret it and that’s how most loc heads see it too. Some may have had their hair in locs because they just want to have a ubiquitous hairstyle. A hairstyle that they would be known for. That was me, too.

I grew up knowing my mother with a particular hairstyle, a low-cut jerry curl style that in all the years I’ve lived, I have never seen anyone whose low cut looks exactly like my mother’s own. I wanted that too. For people to be able to describe me as the lady with locs and when I grow older, people would acknowledge that I must have had my locs for so many years. Oh, the joy, thinking of that. Those were what I wanted to achieve with my locs, and recently I have come to understand that there is more to having locs than meets the eye.

Thanks to the many loc heads I follow on Instagram; I was able to obtain in-depth knowledge about locs and even come to understand how the word dreads is not a very accepted word in the loc community. Here in Nigeria, that is the popular word we have been used to calling it, dreads, dreadlocks in full.

Now, let me explain why you should stop calling it that.

Dreadlocks originally appeared on Egyptian objects in ancient Egypt, which is where the first examples of the hairstyle are known to have originated. A man's might is directly related to "the seven locks on his head" in the Old Testament's account of Samson and Delilah, while the Celts were said to have "hair like snakes" in Roman chronicles. It is also said that Greeks, Vikings, and Germanic tribes all wore dreadlocks.

However, Rastafarianism is something altogether different. It began in the 1930s, with Ras Tafari's coronation as Ethiopia's ruler. Guerrilla troops made a vow not to shave their hair until the emperor was restored after being exiled during an invasion. The religion had resonance with the prevailing ideologies of the time, including as nationalism, socialism, and black power. As a result, it was attacked by the government who sought to put an end to the "Rasta" movement and began locking up people in possession of cannabis. They saw it as a threat to Christianity. Cannabis was used by Rastafarians because they believed it led to a more lucid state of wellbeing. The term "dread" refers to how their dreadlocks were perceived as repulsive and terrifying. (

After reading that, you can understand why the word dreadlocks when used to refer to a person with locs just does not sit well. You can be forgiven if you say it from a place of ignorance but you, yes you, reading this right now, never refer to them as that again.

One of the biggest misconceptions about locs is that locs are dirty and make you look unkempt. Erm, I wash my locs once every week and so do a lot of other loc heads out there. I guess the “unkempt" look people refer to is the freeform locs. People like Mayowa,  Blxckdreads, and a bunch of others.

Personally, I think freeform locs look cool and sometimes I have an inner battle with myself whether or not to continue with manicured locs or to leave my locs to do their own thing, that is, freeform. I love the aesthetics of freeform locs but at the same time, I want my locs to show people that have a wrong perception about it that locs can look like every other appealing hairstyle. Sigh. Such a dilemma I am in.

With that said, here are six women rocking locs that I love.

1.    Adanna

Adanna was the one who motivated me to dye my hair fully black. Before I dyed it, I always thought black locs were boring but nowI love my black head of locs better. I am also inspired by how she started her locs when her hair was short and how her locs have transformed over the years.


2. Chick Like Moi

Chick like Moi has had her locs for thirteen years. She is a goal because I hope to keep my locs for that long and longer. I also love how slim-thick her locs are.


3. Hallease

She also started her locs when her hair was very short and I’m glad to see how her locs look now.

4. Meccahs Micros

When I came across her page and saw her locs, it was love at first sight. I love how full and luscious her locs appear to be.


5. Amy Faye

It’s the thickness of her locs for me. Thick locs have always been the goal since I started my locs and I’m still contemplating combining some of my locs together.


6. Cc Devereaux

When I saw her locs, it made me fall in love with micro locs. If I ever start my locs over, I will consider doing micro locs.


There are still a lot of women rocking locs that I love but, these are the ones that top the list.

Edited by: Sean Mulryan 



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Tags: #freeformlocs #womenwithlocs #misconceptionsaboutlocs #dreadlocks #locs


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