African threading is an ancient West African hairstyle. It has been used for years by West African women as a means of protecting and beautifying the hair. Recently especially in the last two decades, the use of African threading has declined, as more foreign hairdos have been introduced. If done correctly, African threading offers many benefits.
African threading is now been seen as local and only for women in the villages or for deeply religious people. However, it is an aesthetic part of our culture that should be celebrated and worn with pride. During the time I rocked the style, some people would look at me oddly, ask why I did it. Someone who was exceptionally rude said it was unprofessional and uncivilised and should only be made when in the village. This and many other reasons lead to the birth of Africanism Today.
The benefits of African threading for natural hair are –
- It keeps the hair moisturised and protected even without the constant application of any sort of moisturizer.
- It is the perfect low manipulation style. Because your hair is tucked inside the thread, you can’t touch it.
- It also stretches the hair and makes the hair soft and easy to manage.
- By keeping the hair stretched and moisturized, it makes manipulation easier when taken down and prevents tangles and breakage which can help retain length for longer hair.
- It can also be made in different ways.
African threading can also be used to stretch the hair before it the hair can be styled. It stretches the hair better than any other natural hair stretching method but don’t do it too often because it can affect the elasticity of your hair. Yes, even a non-heat stretching method can damage the hair. Also, resist the urge to make it tight or rocking it for extended periods of time.
I loved switching up my African threading style but after a week, I was disappointed with the Brazilian wool option. I’m not sure if the stylist or the wool is to blame since I used the stylist for the first time but I noticed that the hair started unravelling after a week, unlike the traditional African thread. In addition, threading with wool did not protect my hair, it dried it out.
***Originally posted in 2016, this post has been updated up until 2020.