7 Common Misconceptions About Dreadlocks

By April 15, 2020 19 Comments
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I bet you’re familiar with people walking around looking unkempt,Β and you’ve yet to understand what this is about. I’ll break it down for you; dreadlocks are matted hair. Do you see? It’s that simple to grasp.

Dreads or locs, despite your choice of words, are a part of the natural hair community.

Dreadlocks are a natural way black hair embraces freedom.

In simple terms, natural hair is coily by nature, so when you don’t comb your afro for some time, it starts to marry itself. Therefore, forming this thing called dreadlocks!

Dreadlocks myth

In this post, I’ll refer to dreadlocks as dreads, locs, dada. Don’t feel confused; they’re all the same thing.

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about dreadlocks, especially freeform dreads. The majority of the things you’ve heard are lies. Calm down, and I’ll explain these to you.

I’ll inform you why people believe these myths and the truth you should embrace.

Cool? Let’s dive in

But, there was a time I was like you too, you could tell me nothing good about dreadlocks. Coming from a typical Igbo home, I’m aware anything dreadlocks was tagged pure insanity.

But times have changed; in fact, I have some dreadlocks as I’m writing this post now.

Here! See for yourself

View this post on Instagram

My freedom locs at 2 weeks old vs 3 months old. πŸ˜‰ Changes- After the twist pattern faded, it got thicker and started shrinking. Any Questions? πŸ₯° πŸ˜… Yes I started with two strand twists βœ… . . . . . . . . . . . #thicklocs #sistahswithlocs #locjourney #locs #Iamlocd #womenthatfreeform #starterlocs #semifreeformlocs #Ilovemylocs #babylocs #loclife #loc_nodread #dreadlocks #teamlocs #locdnotbound #loclivin #locqueensonly #explorepage🀩 #chiderastephen #locaholics #thickdreads #freeformdreadlocks #blackwomenwithlocs #locinspiration #beginnerlocs

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Now, I’ll highlight some common misconceptions you’ve heard about dreadlocks and debunk them softly for you.

We’re all here to learn and unlearn. That’s the beauty of life. Right?

1. Dreadlocks are Dirty

You might argue that they are dirty, but did you get close to the person? No, I guess. The idea that dreadlocks are dirty relates to the rumour that people with dreads never wash their hair. A BIG FAT lie!

*coughs & grinds teeth*

People with dreads are more likely to wash their hair often. Due to the liberty of never having a bad hair day. You know that feeling you get when you could smoothly run water from your head to toes.

Black man with dreadlocks

The feeling is heavenly, and natural hair loves water(dreadlocks are part of the natural hair community). So it’s easy to bath with it.

Sometimes, you’ll base your assumptions on a personal encounter with one person. This notion isn’t right. It’s like concluding all the eggs in a crate are bad because you ate one spoilt egg.

You can do better.

2. Dreadlocks are Ghetto A.K.A razz

Where do we even start here? Let’s try to define ghetto. That would throw some light on why some people think dreadlocks are razz.

Ghetto, as a noun, refers to a low-income community. But when ghetto is used in this sense to modify something, it means that thing is of low quality and shabby.

That means when people say dreadlocks are ghetto; they’re trying to remove any element of bourgeois from dreadlocks.

So if you wore dreads, you’re poor or from the marginalized minority.

This misconception is another fat lie. In as much as I’m not a fan of all things celebrity endorsement, these celebs have dreads too.

J Cole’s dreadlocks

Jay-Z and JCole are my favourite male celebs with locs. Black men, embracing their inner power.

Will you call them ghetto? No!

3. Dreadlocks are a Lazy Hairstyle

This idea might be the part I bend a little. Let’s look at it this way. Dreads are a minimalist style because it’s really low maintenance.

If you nurture salon dreads, you probably need to see your loctician once in months. Saving a ton of time and money. Also, you need just the essential hair products to keep healthy dreads.

Moreover, filling your hair with too many chemicals can lead to buildup, which nobody likes.

For dreadlocks: a good shampoo, a well-formulated hair oil, and some natural beeswax( if you’re not free-forming) is more than enough.

Again, I should add that the reason dreadlocks look “faded” brown is due to sun exposure. Sunlight bleaches the natural hair colour. So natural dreads will have a tint to it, what some people think is dust.

4. Dreadlocks are Irresponsible

This misconception is such a negative vibe. It causes a lot of harassment in Nigeria. People will assume you’re a thug or a yahoo boy when you have dreads. Sad, isn’t it?

Dreadlocks are deeply attached to these crimes that people always view those with the hairstyle as “misfits.” Judging and guessing all the wrong things about you.

A yahoo boy is a fraudster in Nigeria.


Locs are just a style, and people should have the freedom to choose what hairstyle they want to rock. Not everyone with dreads is a thief, cultist, irresponsible, or immoral.

The fact is that people will always fear what they don’t understand. Personally not sure how far back I can trace this myth.

Ohh, this too.


Black man with long dreadlocks

Some people assume that most females with dreads must be tomboy, queer, or butch. I mean, lesbian. This belief is a funny lie.

The hairstyle doesn’t influence sexual orientation in any way. These two are mutually exclusive.


5. Dreadlocks are Spiritual “dada”

In Nigeria, dada refers to children who are born with dreadlocks. It’s is native to the Yoruba tribe but understandable to other parts of Nigeria.

You’ll hear people joke that dada is always from birth, while dreadlocks are an intentional choice. That’s the distinction.

It’s common to find people that assume dreadlocks confer a form of diabolical power- juju or dark magic.

Also, there’s a popular myth that a dada child is a god and should not have his hair shaved. Almost like the Samson in the Bible.

Some people believe these dada children have healing powers and high intelligence.


Woman with freeform dreadlocks

It is laughable, imagine if people with dreads had that type of power. They can go anywhere, order anything, and live their life however they wish to. That’s pure impossible bliss.

But dreadlocks are not spiritual, and they’re just hairstyles.

6. Dreadlocks are Unprofessional

Professionalism depends on the company and its work policy. It’s common for “corporate organizations” to reject any type of dread.

If you’re current with black culture online, you’ll see the argument about cornrows, Afro, and dreadlocks. It was illegal to have these “black hairstyles” at work, especially the army.

However, after going back and forth, plus some online movements, it’s legal in some US states.


Black activist power wins.

But this is a whole thesis paper on its own. I mean, the aftermath of colonialism and the spillover of slavery.

Let’s skip all the project work.

However, some companies do accept females with salon nurtured dreads. That’s one advantage of being female in this part of the world(Nigeria).

*inhales deeply*

Let’s hope things will change around here.


Freeform dreadlocks, freeform dreads

7. Dreadlocks are for Rastafarians

No, no, no!

Although dreadlocks are familiar with the Rastafarian lot, it doesn’t tie everyone with dreads to the Rasta origin.

I can assure you that I’ve never been to Jamaica, not yet. Also, most people you know with dreads might not know a thing about Jamaica.

People are free to wear dreadlocks regardless of their place of birth. You don’t need to visit Jamaica or speak patois to gain the rights to dreads.

Dreadlocks are a style, just like afro, wigs, braids. The significant difference is that dreadlocks are a minimalist hairstyle, and they are natural.

You don’t need to smoke or act woke to get dreads. Nope! If you feel like it, just do it.

Life is short and adventures are fulfilling

The Big Picture

You’ll probably get acquainted with dreads if you saw more of it on the media. Funny right? Right now, I’m typing as a professor in psychology with a Master’s in Advertising.

*just kidding*


Oh yes!

But, there’s something called “psychological conditioning.” In layman’s words, you build behaviour based on surroundings factors. So, the environment you stay in influences your beliefs and mentality.

That’s the reason you can find something absurd while someone from a different race sees that same thing as a norm.

Flip the coin kind of thing.

That’s the case with dreadlocks.

For instance, how many people do you know personally with dreadlocks? I bet you can count on just one hand.

Dreadlocks are not the norm in our society. That’s why people will easily judge a person with dreadlocks without getting to know the person.


Imagine making assumptions on a person’s lifestyle based on their dreads.

That is super weird.


Bonus point

Dreadlocks are not always from birth. You can go from silky straight hair to matted dreads. It’s super easy to obtain.

If you want dreads, you can choose. Locs have different types, and you can start them through various methods.

Remember, our society fans a lot of negative stereotypes about dreads. But we’re the society.

We can do better, and the change is in our hands.

Take-Home Facts

  • Dreadlocks are not dirty
  • Having dreadlocks is not ghetto
  • Dreadlocks are not a lazy hairstyle
  • Keeping dreadlocks won’t make you irresponsible
  • Dreadlocks are not always spiritual “dada”
  • Growing dreadlocks is not unprofessional
  • Dreadlocks are not only for Rastafarian people

We’ve come to the end of the post. I hope you learned something as I did.

So I hope the next time you see someone with dreadlocks, you won’t be quick to judge them. Instead, you’ll get to know them first. Because people are more than their HAIR.

Why you people hate dreadlocks?

Type a comment below sharing your thoughts. Feel free to express yourself & ask any questions you have.

Share this post with your friends to find out their opinions. Do you love TikTok? Check out these amateur skits!

Remember to wash your hands.Β 

Be fabulous and breathe!

Do check out new fun videos on my YouTube channel.


See you in my next post …

*Hugs* from your online weirdo


Image Source: Brett, Malcolm, Staygroovy, Cole world & Hera ❀️

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Chidera Stephen

Chidera Stephen

I am a free-spirited nomad searching for the meaning of existence in a world scribbled with distractions. Oops! Scratch that, I am amicable, the goofy girl. More like the extrovert you can't get enough of.

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Eastside Hipster
Eastside Hipster
1 month ago

I just wanna say that this article really made my day… I’ve been freeforming for about 8 months and as much as I’ve enjoyed the process, it’s been annoying to be told by people like my mom or her friends that it’s ‘dirty’ and what not and at the same time I can’t explain it cause they’ve never done it themselves. It’s funny how we wanna criticize European standards of beauty yet we can’t embrace our own natural beauty whenever we come across it. But again thank you, great work.

5 months ago

This is so great. Thanks for the feed. I just transitioned to dreads and I’m loving it so far.

5 months ago

I may eventually sport dreadlocks. Just gotta start paying rents.

6 months ago

Excellent piece…Very informative. I really enjoyed your breezy writing style. Keep it up.

6 months ago

Impressive analysis πŸ‘

Eromonsele Emmanuel
6 months ago

The dada talk is definitely the most common on this list, especially since it’s normal for ‘Cele’ churchgoers. Whoops! I learnt something new today, “loctician”
Thanks for sharing Chidera.

6 months ago

I’ve got experiences, mostly bad ones.
1.A woman I dunno from Adam has stopped me and started preaching how locs don’t look good on me “See as e spoil your face fine boy”
2. A woman passing stretched out her hand to touch me all in a bid to explain to a fellow that people with locs are evil.
3. An NPF officer complimented my hair last month. I know say you shock as I been follow shock.
4. My hair is here for a long time. I’m not bowing to Uni pressure at all.

Nice article Chidera. Love this.

6 months ago

Nice write up.πŸ™πŸΌ

This is Damilola
This is Damilola
6 months ago

Wow I love this, you made a lot of sense and I can proudly say I have learnt a thing or two from this article. I hope to see more from you and by the way I love your dreads. 😘

6 months ago



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