Black Hair Styles: Threading

Articles and features on black hair care and black hair styles.

Black Hair Styles: Threading

Black Hair Styles: Threading

theaded hair packed into a crown One hair styling method I haven't seen for ages is Threading. I'm not sure how wide spread it is these days but it used to be (perhaps still is) commonly seen in West Africa.

Essentially the hair is parted into different sections and thread is wound around, all along the length, of each section giving you threaded plaits. You may have seen people doing something similar with hair pieces using strands of them wrapped around the hair to create 'Silky Locks'.

thread for threading hair For some reason the most popular thread used was a black 'Made in China' cotton thread though sometimes you will see a rubbery thread used which gives the plaits a shiny effect.

Let's talk about how threaded plaits are created in a bit more detail:

stylist winds thread into a loop The stylist would get 4 to 6 packets (the number of packets depends on hair thickness and length) of thread, hold their ends together and then proceed to wind the bunch around her big toe and her hand (see illustration) to create a multi-strand loop of thread.

This loop would then be cut to give a large number of single strands of suitable length.

Using 4 or 5 strands of thread at a time she (never seen a man threading hair!) would then begin to create the plait. It's quite a skill, the experts wind the thread around very fast yet with great precision.
multi-strand loop of thread single strands of thread section of hair being threaded

Usually the plait would be done with no gaps i.e. you wouldn't see any hair along the length of the plait. Sometimes though gaps are left or you might even have threaded sections interspersed with braided hair.

It is possible to include hair pieces so that each threaded plait is thicker and/or longer than it would be without them. When the end of the plait is reached a knot is tied and any excess thread cut off. You'll end up with a head full of stiff threaded plaits sticking out of your head, these are then bent and joined together in a variety of artistic ways:

The plaits can be:
- simply bent around the head
- packed together to give a crown effect
- wound around a pen or other rolling device to create curls in the plaits
- tied down to give a Bantu knot effect
- and many others effects

Compared to braids, threading styles can be completed very quickly but you have to be careful that the stylist doesn't make them too tight or you'll have a few sleepless nights not being able to lay your head down comfortably!

Threaded hair can last for 2 weeks or more, when you undo the plaits you will find your hair straight and smooth underneath; so it's a way of straightening out your hair after it's been washed - great if electricity supplies are inadequate, you don't have access to hot combs or you don't want to use relaxing chemicals.

an elegant threaded hair style Threading used to be popular across all ages though now, with everyone wearing weaves and wigs, it seems to be seen mostly on school girls. But hopefully, with articles like this, we can get more women wearing elegant threaded creations on their head.
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