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What Is the Difference Between Dreads and Cornrows?

  • 5 min read

What Is the Difference Between Dreads and Cornrows?

 Are you thinking of picking a new hairstyle to transform your whole look? Dreadlocks and cornrows are two different and unique styles that will be best to get rid of dull hair. Do you know the major differences between two hairstyles, dreads and cornrows? If not, we will help you differentiate between these two. 

Dreadlocks and cornrows have many similarities and differences depending on various factors such as their history, styling, maintenance, age and appearance. Continue scrolling and learn about two trendy hairstyles. 

What are Dreadlocks?

Dreadlock is a protective hairstyle that is considered a semi-permanent hairstyle. The locs appear as roper-like structures which can be styled in the form of braids and buns. In this hairstyle, the hair strands are locked with the help of a hand or some tools such as a crochet needle. Further, the hairstyle takes almost two years to develop fully mature dreads. In addition, the locs can be developed temporarily and unlocked after a few months. 

Dreadlock is a versatile hairstyle that is made with a variety of patterns and locking techniques. Further, you get the freedom to choose the type of locs according to your desire, such as microlocs, sister locks, wicks, interlocks and more. In addition, you are allowed to decide the patterns of locks, the technique of locs, size and length of dreadlocks. Depending on your hair length and texture, you can customize style with dreadlocks. Last but not least, with this hairstyle, you can color your hair and get the look according to your personality. 

What are cornrows?

Cornrows are a traditional yet trendy hairstyle of braids in which the hair strands are braided very close to the scalp in an upward motion. They often appear as simple, straight lines of dreads that can be styled easily in different ways. Although the cornrows are temporary, they can be styled for different events. To get the perfect geometric or curvilinear braids design, start by straightening your hair. Make the braids with continuous underhand and upward motion.

Cornrows also fall in the category of protective hairstyles that helps you protect your hairs for long and allow them to grow naturally. The hairstyle is suitable for all ages, genders and statuses. There is no religious discrimination against this style. Moreover, it is a self-expressive hairstyle that makes you different from others. Last but not least, the hairstyle can last for eight weeks or more. 

So, as you know the basics about both dreadlocks and cornrows, it is time to move forward and learn about the significant differences between these two hairstyles. 

Differences between Cornrows and Dreadlocks:

Both two hairstyles are different but interchangeable. It means you can change the style from the cornrows to the dreadlocks and from the cornrows to the cornrows. Although both styles resemble in appearance, too, here are some major differences you must know before considering any of the two hairstyles. 

   1. Style Creation 

Dreadlocks are a hairstyle that the hairstyle expert must start. Locticians commonly start the locs by using hair equipment or hand techniques. If you want to get started with the dreadlocks. Visit the loctician and share your concern. Make sure to choose an experienced loctician and get started with the selection of the locking method, pattern and installation technique. It takes almost 10-12 hours for the first installation of locks in medium-length hair. The time may vary as per your hair length, texture and locking technique. Further, you will need to wait almost 18-24 months to get mature locks with additional visits to your loctician. 

Apart from the loctician services, you can also start the dreadlocks at home. At home, the famous palm-rolling technique is used. Have a look at some YouTube videos before starting the process, and grab all the essential hair accessories. 

 On the other hand, Cornrows are a single-session hairstyle that can be easily created within 2-4 hours. It lasts for weeks before requiring any maintenance. Try to wear a sleep cap at night to make your cornrows stay longer on your head.

   2. Style Permanence

Dreadlocks are a semi-permanent to permanent hairstyle, which is not easy to unlock. This is the right option if you want a long hairstyle that stays with you as your personality statement. It is a challenging hairstyle as it requires a lot of time and money investment. Dreadlocks are a high-maintenance hairstyle. Further, patience is the key to unlocking this look. On the other hand, if you want to keep a style for a few days, you can look for other options.  

Compared to dreads, cornrows are considered a quick hairstyle that you can revert to after a week. This is a braided hairstyle that can be un-braided whenever you feel. Furthermore, getting rid of cornrows is easy as it is inexpensive and you are not bound to follow any timeline. 

   3. Differences in Maintenance

Both hairstyles require proper hair care and maintenance. With cornrows, it is challenging to wash the head and prevent it from unravelling. The same is valid with dreadlocks, but they can be maintained well with retwisting. Prevent the loosening of cornrows by wiping the cotton balls with Witch Hazel on the head. Further, the style can be maintained for an extended period by taking care of the cornrows at night. Wear a head scarf or a head cap to prevent them from loosening. 

The dreadlocks require proper maintenance when combing, washing, drying, and sleeping. They need extra care as it is a permanent hairstyle, and it takes a long time to get the final results. The loc practitioners suggest no hair washing in the first two months. Further, the locs can be maintained well with the retwisting sessions. Additionally, it is essential to keep the scalp build-up free to avoid any mildew formation in the locs. 

Apart from this, try to keep your hair well-moisturized regardless of your hairstyle. Keep them clean and well to get healthy and fluffy hair. Avoid using any inorganic hair-setting products.

Which is better: Dreadlocks or Cornrows?

 Undoubtedly, both hairstyles are excellent in their way. There is no opinion that one hairstyle is better than the other. It is just a matter of choice for the individuals. However, both styles can be rocked by both genders. The dreads and cornrows pull the roots of your hair and may cause hair loss. 

Additionally, overtightening the hair in the form of locs and braids for extended periods can trigger some side effects such as headache, itchy scalp or tension. So, keeping this factor in mind, there are several remedies too, such as loosening the braids and making thicker locs. 

So, no matter which hairstyle you choose according to your requirements, go for a comfy style that doesn't harm you. Consult your hair expert and get professional advice about the timeline, investment and other hairstyles' pros and cons.  


Depending upon your requirement, choose the right style for you. Cornrows dreads are best if you want to change your look for some events. But, dreadlocks are the best option if you are looking for a permanent and hair protective style. Make sure you choose the style after looking at different aspects of both styles. 



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