If you grew up in West Africa – Nigeria in particular – then you’re probably familiar with African Threading. The only difference being we simply called it threading.
Back home, I must have had my hair threaded a thousand times! So when I decided to return back to natural hair, it was one of the the protective styles I embraced.
To jog my memory I began searching for tutorials and stumbled across Girls Love Your Curls via you tube.
Style Confession: At home we use rubber threads to style; since this is difficult to come by in Toronto, Canada [even at African beauty supply stores]. Girls Love Your Curls suggests using weave thread or wool. This is a big help! Both are much easier to buy and are very affordable too. I have 4b/4c curls. This curl type shrinks up to 75 -80%! It is also hypersensitive to constant manipulation. Because it is very fragile and dry, I style mostly with my fingers and very rarely use combs or brushes. I use a metal rat tail comb to part but allow my fingers to do most of the work. I am not a product junkie! My routine is simple and most of the products I use- I make! My favourite combo when doing this style is: DIY Rose water; Leave in conditioner and Homemade Flaxseed gel.
African Threading: Basic tools you’ll need:
- Wet/Damp Hair
- Water [in spray bottle] to revive curls during styling
- Leave -in conditioner
- Oil and/or cream or Flaxseed gel (I mix coconut oil in my recipe; hence I find I don’t need to add extra oil to my hair as I style)
- Hair clips or Bobby pins
- Weave thread or wool
- Music or a good movie!
- Style duration: 2-4 hours
- Skill level: Easy
- Play music or Movie
- Face away from the wall mirror, and using a handheld mirror position yourself so you can see the back of your hair
- Cut weave thread. Make sure its at least 8-10 times the length of your hair.
- Then, create a knot at the top of the thread.
- Next, begin to section/part your hair. You can pre-part your entire head or part as you go.
- Once parting is complete, wrap around the weave thread 5 times at the base [until it is secure] then proceed by wrapping -upwards – away from your head. You can choose to leave gaps as you plait or not. Personally I prefer not to.
- At the end of the plait, create another knot [by wrapping around the thread on your thumb or index finger]. This will prevent your work and the entire process from unravelling.
- Now continue this process until you have threaded your entire head.
- For a final effect be creative! These plaits can be bent or packed together at the crown.
Night time routine: Simply spritz, apply leave in conditioner and oil/cream and wear a satin bonnet.
Weekly maintenance: I often wear African threading for 2-3 weeks and co-wash weekly.
I find that it does not unravel and can easily be co-washed/cleansed without taking down the style!
Related styles: yarn wraps and 2 strand twists. However this style can be completed in much less time!
(c) Shakara Natural Tips 2013
Graphics/Photo: Rene Benjamin
Rubber thread Image source: Blackhairmedia.com