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… 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… 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!