By Jc of The Natural Haven

Have you heard of African threading? It involves wrapping thread around hair and is often used to create sculptural styles and originated in west Africa (a modern African version in the pic is above). Some salons in the US are offering the same service actually as a heatless stretching method, the nwele technique ( fyi as a Swahili speaker that should be nywele meaning hair).  Last week however as I was tweeting away I found a different version which seemed a lot more practical for those like me who prefer simple, quick styles.

I love love love Nadine’s version (in the video below) which actually looks like a twist. This is not something that I have seen before and I have just tried it on my hair and love it  because
1. My hair looks fuller compared to a box braid
2. The method is super fast compared to braiding
3. There is no fiddling with the ends when it comes to undoing
4. Nice stretching achieved and fully protective

You do need some dexterity to be able to do the style on your own head. I have officially abandoned box braids until swim season when I will have to see how these hold up to regular swimming.

African Threading Tutorial

Ladies, have you tried African threading?

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85 Comments on "African Threading; Would You Try It?"

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I am Nigerian American and my grandmother would do styles like these when I was younger. I would try this as a stretching technique or even a styling technique.


A big yes! I’m Nigerian and I grew up wearing threads. Its one method that always grew my hair. The twist method above used to be called sun gas in Nigeria, I would love to try this again if i can find someone to create a modern version for me.


My family is gullah, and I’ve been told women would keep their hair threaded during e the week and take it down for church and special occasions. Never tried it myself though–I do worry about styles that pull


I’m from Ghana and my mum did this for me and my younger sis allllllll the time when we were kids. Coincidence I dd a vid of this in my yt page about a week ago haha x


I LOVE THIS METHOD and various styles!!!! I would love to try this some day and I’m glad you posted about it. I came across the same video a while back but I thought it wasn’t a service offered publicly. If anyone in the DMV area know of any salons please let me know. The only salon I feel comfortable going to (haven’t been in a loooooong time) is off of Georgia Ave. I wonder if they offer it…


try African Hair Braiding by Georgia in Silver Spring Sad-I go there but don’t know the street. I believe it’s Fenton.


Yes, I would try it but if I didn’t have to wear it in the featured style.


My mom did this when we when back to South Africa for holiday by a lady from Ghana. During the time her hair grew so much but was difficult to undo.

Nope Jc. I have not tried these yet but I am SO glad that you posted this. I have been searchng high and low for something that I can do to my hair myself and that may last longer than 3-4 weeks. This may be the answer. I cannot paint, braid or flatiron my own hair. I simply do not have the skills to do these things. I wash my hair, oil it and walk away. Now I can make a mean part. And this only takes some parting, sectioning off and some thread as it shows. I may try… Read more »
The Natural Haven

I did the corkscrew type threading in about 3 hours (my hair is type 4, somewhere between apl and brastrap lengthwise). I did do many other things in between so I would say the actual threading time was 2 hours.


Yeah I have been looking into it in last couple of months. I like the style of the corkscrew style rather than the extreme sculpture style. With the corkscrew version makes the hair look more like twists but you can maximize on length. But I would love someone to do it for me before attempting it on my own head.


It’s cool for a hair show or something fashion related, not reality.


I like it but it makes my hair dry no matter what i do. I use either sewing thread or yarn


This takes me back to when my mother use to take me and my younger sister to her Nigerian friend to get our hair threaded. Unfortunately we have no photos. The style in the picture is a amazing, i may have to start doing this to my daughter’s hair.

Actually, my family is Ghanaian and I grew up having my hair braided like that – mostly the one without spaces in it. In fact I used to be teased at school all the time about having snakes in my hair (I am sure any Ghanaian/West African who didn’t grow up there would say that too, lol!). I haven’t tried it on my own natural hair yet, but I was planning on doing so in the next couple of weeks, so was pleasantly surprised when I saw this. We never made the initial knot at the beginning though, I am… Read more »

Omg! Yvonne!!! I’m from the Rep. of Congo and I grew up getting that done, and before I bc-ed again that’s one way I would stretch my hair. But the snakes jokes at school! I thought I was the only one!


Lol that’s funny I’m from naija and this is the best way to straighten Ur hair without the complications lol


yup yup, Nigeria in the house. lol, yeah i did this a lot when i was younger, especially a time when my hair was shor, mine werent over the top as this image though. and yeah the snakes jokes i didnt really get that. just people teasing that its local. lol X_X

Jo Somebody

Indeed! Another Nigerian here. I had this done when I was small, so can’t really remember teasing or exactly how it was done. It must’ve stopped before I was 5. I have photos of me with the style and I think my aunty used to do it because my mama couldn’t.


lol @oyinlade lol at naija in the house!

Queen Esther

I’m Nigerian and totally agreed, threading is the best way to soften your hair without chemicals in it.

My mum prefers me to do the snake intertwined, that way my hand can do less damage and she saves money cos it could last for 2 weeks and she had to fight with the school for asking us to change hairstly every week.
memories….. but would only thread now for just a particular reason or if i’m dared.



N hello there to my fellow west African babes!


Plus I have to say, my hairstyles as I kid were not so avant garde, so you can do many more subtle hairstyles with it. Many people even do the single free braids using it as well, they end up looking like dreads. But learning not to put too much tension is key, growing up, I went to bed a few times on the first day with headaches when they were pulled too tight, so look out for that, it can mess up your edges too if they are pulled too tight.


I’m Nigerian, but raised in the states. I can totally relate to the teasing. My whole school (even some teachers) called me Medusa when I had my hair threaded. I thought it was beautiful, but apparently, I was alone in that thought and I soon grew to resent getting my hair threaded because of the remarks and looks in school. It was traumatic then, but I’m over it now.
I actually know a lot of people bringing this back. They have it done in smaller sections and use yarn instead of thread.


i’m also Nigerian but i grew up in Germany and boy was i teased for wearing this hair style.
I wore it till i was 12. the guys in my class would call me “baumtelefon” which means (tree telephone) yea, i know -_- my skin reminded them of a tree and the threading was seen a telephone wires. i can now laugh about. but back then it was hard 🙁


Just love, love , love ALL of Nadine’s videos. I tried and loved the effect however how does one prevent the ends of the hair just by the knot from breaking off when untangling. I find that 1 in 5 braids give me a little trouble.


no i dont think that i would wear something like that unless im in a fashion show.


for some reason I cannot STAND any tension on my hair even a loose ponytail gives me a headache it looks cool but i shudder at the thought


Agreed. I really don’t think stretching that much is good for anyone’s hair. Way too much tension.