After our recent post on African thread­ing, read­er Bar­bara L decid­ed to give it a try but added her own twist! Check it out:

I was imme­di­ate­ly intrigued upon read­ing of this age old pro­tec­tive style tech­nique and want­ed to try it myself but with an Amer­i­can twist. I want­ed to be as authen­tic as pos­si­ble so I pur­chased thread at an African hair shop as opposed to using weave thread.

For my take on this tech­nique, I also pur­chased a C-curve weave needle.

A few obser­va­tions

1. Dip­ping thread in oil before use keeps it sup­ple.
2. Mois­tur­ize and seal hair before thread­ing and after thread­ing, on an as need­ed basis.
3. It can be worn up to three weeks at min­i­mum.
4. Wash­ing hair in thread is not rec­om­mend­ed but a dai­ly spritz is fine.

African hair thread­ing is now a sta­ple in my reg­i­men on my quest to be a black girl with long hair.

Here is a video detail­ing how I did a fro-hawk using the African thread­ing tech­nique:

So cool! Ladies, what do you think of how African thread­ing was used for Barbara’s look?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­lis­te, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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46 Comments on "African Threading with an American Twist"

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Mutago Nanus

Not real­ly. I live in Namib­ia and my mom used to do that all the time with my hair. thats like back in the ear­ly 2000’s.


Was curi­ous about this — the arti­cle says the hair­style can be worn “up to three weeks at min­i­mum” but is that sup­posed to say max­i­mum?

I saw the video but I think the per­son in it said they kept it in for 3 weeks, but I’m only ask­ing because I want­ed to know if leav­ing it in longer would be okay — if so, about how long do you think this style could hold? And what sort of main­te­nance would you rec­om­mend? Thank you in advance! :)

Lidia Cornelio

I love thread­ing. Used to get it done often as a young girl in Ango­la. I used to hate get­ting it done when we moved to Amer­i­can. Stu­pid… How social pres­sures & teas­ing can lead you to make igno­rant choic­es! Any­ways I always had healthy hair then. Am bring­ing it back to my regime!

Natural girl

Where do you buy the thread? Does it cause hear break­age (seems like it would? Would like to use as stretch­ing tech­nique too scare to leave in more than one day. Thanks


Wow m nige­ri­an n live in nige­ria bt thread jst used to b 4 kids n deep­er life mem­bers bt m hav­in a new take on it.


Wow! Such an inter­est­ing spin on thread­ing. Im born and raised in Lon­don but of Nige­ri­an, Igbo decent so I grew up get­ting my hair thread­ed much to my dis­may. I have recent­ly start­ed again and absolute­ly love it! So glad its fea­tur­ing on such a pop­u­lar hair site ;)


My mom used to thread my hair all the time when I was a kid. She used to do all sorts of intri­cate styles.…and she’d make them small. I’m try­ing to start doing mine the way she did and the way they do it in South­ern Africa. I like her style and it’s good to see more peo­ple thread their hair. I have a thread­ed pony­tail with exten­sions in the pic­ture below. :))
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curious kinks

quite cre­ative. been mean­ing to do a style like that for a while, but nev­er both­ered. I wish they sell thread in African stores in Toron­to.

im a nige­ri­an amer­i­can.. My mom used to thread my hair when i was a kid and I HATED it lol…of course i dont feel this way now, but when i was young she would sin­gle strand-thread my hair..i was a rough kid–always get­tin into stuff. By the mid­dle of the day the strands would be stick­ing out my head and I looked like Medusa lol–kids would make fun of me and every­thing lol..ANYWAYS, i appre­ci­ate the style now as an adult, not b/c oth­er peo­ple have embraced it, but because my mom knew bet­ter on how to style my hair.… Read more »


Grow­ing up,I used to hate when my mom would thread my hair — it would make my hair defy grav­i­ty even more than nor­mal, but now I can’t thank my mom enough. She helped my hair grow so much!


Yes…I feel you on this. We are Nige­ri­an as well and my mom would thread my hair. I remem­ber peo­ple being so curi­ous about them. 

I remem­ber this one hair style my mom gave me.…and I always won­dered, do they wear their hair like this back at home because I total­ly did not like they style. LOL.


Waow j’aime !! It looks great !!


Wow! This is so cre­ative. Who­ev­er thinks oth­er­wise needs an eye-roll


How cute. Nice cre­ativ­i­ty. I think its great to derive new styles from oth­er cul­tures.


Cute and Cre­ative! :)


Nice style,i wish peo­ple would stop being pet­ty about the title. I am african and my hais was NOT styled like this so it is a twist to it.

Annie L.

+1,000,000,000,000! Some peo­ple just have noth­ing bet­ter to do.

Jo Somebody

Agreed. I’m Nige­ri­an and have seen lots of thread­ed heads in my time, but not like this.




No offense, but this seems like a style for peo­ple who can’t braid/do corn­rows.

Jo Somebody

Which is exact­ly why I’m inter­est­ed in try­ing it. A great alter­na­tive option!

Annie L.

Not every­one has per­fect­ed the art of braid­ing and asinine com­ments as some oth­ers.


Why are mak­ing that seem like a bad thing. Not every­one has the abil­i­ty to braid or do corn­rows. Its called being cre­ative and try­ing some­thing new. Geez, I’m get­ting tired of some of the­se back­hand­ed com­ments.


lol, sure does
and I’m glad because I can’t!!!


Is that a bad thing…?


Love it! The use of the weave needle is quite inter­est­ing.

I’m Nige­ri­an and that thread is what my grand­moth­er used to style my hair when I was younger. My moth­er tells me it’s called “ceil­ing fan thread”. I’ll have to go to the African gro­cery store with her to try to find it.


Yep. the weave needle is an inter­est­ing touch.


I’d prob jab my scalp. Good motor con­trol


they do this in south africa;just with a dif­fer­ent type of thread


I don’t mean to cause a fuss but what exact­ly is meant to be amer­i­can un this spé­ci­fic hair­style? I even didn’t know there was such a thing as Amer­i­can twist.…

Annie L.

To ‘put a twist’ on some­thing doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean a lit­er­al twist, it means adding a vari­ant fea­ture to a stan­dard tech­nique. Also, every cul­ture on the globe has their take on hair twist­ing and braid­ing.


I wasn’t ask­ing about the twist but was won­der­ing what was the use of adding Amer­i­can to the name of the style, like when peo­ple say African Amer­i­can hair as if it was some­thing dif­fer­ent from the hair we have in Africa. It baf­fles me a lit­tle. I am west African and I can’t get the point in this “recur­rent” spec­i­fi­ca­tion.…


But @anna L thanks for the expla­na­tion on the expres­sion “add a twist to” :-))


whoa i can­not wait to try this!


aaaaaaaaaaaawe­some ive been rack­ing my brain to see how to use this. AND you used Utada’s “First love” you’re like my new favorite per­son


That’s the first thing I noticed, too. Utada’s my favorite artist of all time! I can’t wait until she comes back from her hia­tus. :)

It’s amaz­ing what you can do with the African Thread­ing tech­nique. I may try it…eventually.


OMG!!! I’m glad I wasn’t the only who noticed that was “First Love.” Utada is one of my favorite artists! 

And I also love this style. I loved the oth­er post on thread­ing, but this is a lot more acces­si­ble than the oth­er one. Very beau­ti­ful and very cre­ative.


Bet­ter ques­tion: Can I order this thread online.


Hi Tan­icka

I’ve searched high and low for an online ven­dor to no avail but from what I’ve read weave thread can be used but note it doesn’t have the same sheen or silk­i­ness as the tra­di­tion­al­ly used thread.

And thank you all for the feed­back! You all wish me luck, I plan on using AHT until the end of the year…mid back length here I come ;-)


Hmm, love­ly styles, bu I don’t under­stand the Amer­i­can twist in the title.

The styles she has on her head are not strangers to some tribes in African, a lot of Peuls etc… do sim­i­lar hair­dos on a dai­ly basis.


South Africans also do this style

I’m not sure she knows there are sim­i­lar styles in Africa. How­ev­er, most of the times I have seen African thread­ing done, it was not used to cre­ate a corn­row like style. Note how she threads right next to the scalp–Maybe this is the “Amer­i­can” twist she means i.e. she’s using an old tech­nique but just putting a new spin on it. I hope peo­ple don’t tear into her because of the name on the video.  Many times thread­ing is done at the ends of hair after it has been corn­rowed or on loose hair but not close to the scalp(from… Read more »
Annie L.

Great reply and infor­ma­tion, thanks!


Over­all, I think her styles are cre­ative and inter­est­ing, the only thing she needs is to have more defined parts and to make them neater, the results could be stun­ning!

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Wow she is so cre­ative. I’ve got to try this.


i love this!