Au Curls Naturelle - Curlyfarah
Au Curls Naturelle — @curlyfarah

African thread­ing is a tra­di­tion­al styling tech­nique that goes back ages. For this tech­nique, black thread (typ­i­cal­ly smooth, like shown below in DiscoveringNatural’s video) is wrapped around strands of hair from just above the roots all the way to the ends. This wrap­ping is not just styl­ish, but also pro­tec­tive in many ways, hence its increas­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty in the nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty over the past few years. If you are inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about how to use African thread­ing for length reten­tion, then this arti­cle is for you.  Here are just a few ways:

1. Stretch­ing or straight­en­ing nat­ur­al hair with­out heat

One of the more pop­u­lar ways to use African thread­ing for length reten­tion is to stretch, or even straight­en, nat­ur­al hair. For one, unlike the blow dry­er, thread­ing is a heat­less, less dam­ag­ing option. For two, thread­ing is more effec­tive at stretch­ing than twists or plaits.  The fol­low­ing video is a good tuto­r­i­al on how to effec­tive­ly stretch hair with thread­ing.

2. Pro­tect­ing your ends while styling (e.g., to reduce sin­gle-strand knots)

If you do not want to wrap entire strands of hair, there is the option of just wrap­ping the ends, like Bola does in the fol­low­ing video (after the 6:30 mark). This tech­nique will help to reduce sin­gle-strand knots, tan­gling, and manip­u­la­tion.

3. Using as an alter­na­tive to blowdry­ing pri­or to flat iron­ing

For many nat­u­rals, a blowdry­ing step gen­er­al­ly pre­cedes the flat iron­ing step in order to achieve max­i­mum smooth­ness and straight­en­ing. How­ev­er, this dou­ble dose of heat and manip­u­la­tion can mean break­age for some of us. In order to reduce exces­sive heat and han­dling, try thread­ing as an alter­na­tive to blowdry­ing to get your hair as straight as pos­si­ble. Then fol­low up with your usu­al flat-iron rou­tine as demon­strat­ed in the video below.

4. Pro­tec­tive styling via thread­ing

These last two videos share impor­tant tips and tech­niques (includ­ing how to main­tain your hair) while African thread­ing as a full-on pro­tec­tive style.  Do check them out before start­ing on your own strands.

 Final­ly, to reduce break­age or any mishaps when pro­tec­tive styling, here are a few tips on what to avoid:

- Wash­ing your hair while thread­ed

- Thread­ing too tight

- Thread­ing too small of a sec­tion

- Wear­ing the style for too long (styles are typ­i­cal­ly worn for a few weeks or less)

Have you used African thread­ing to retain length?  Share below!


Empow­er­ing women of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin.

Leave a Reply

33 Comments on "4 Ways to Use African Threading to Promote Length Retention"

Notify of

My mom used to this with my hair when I was a kid, but as a style, not nec­es­sar­i­ly for stretch­ing. I’m Niger­ian. It wasn’t as tight. Way more gap between each pass of the thread. I found it styl­ish… some­times was made fun of, oth­ers liked my hair.


[…] my hair using the African Thread­ing […]

[…] Blue Ivy’s hair, like every black woman’s hair has been high­ly politi­cised and crit­i­cised by west­ern cul­ture and the media. Blue is often pho­tographed with her nat­ur­al, kinky hair and is sub­ject­ed to crit­i­cism and hate by the media who view it as “dirty” and “unkept”. Last year, a woman named Jas­mine Toliv­er cre­at­ed a peti­tion on, ask­ing Bey­on­cé and Jay Z to comb Blue’s hair. The peti­tion had over 5,000 sup­port­ers with one sup­port­er, Nan­cy Kon­do, say­ing Blue looked like a “sheep” with her nat­ur­al hair. Bey­on­cé, who too has faced con­stant crit­i­cism about her hair from… Read more »
Death of Hallyu

Yeah but all the girls shown ALREADY have long hair.


Me say­ing that the girls who teased me had fucked up hair has noth­ing to do with them being non-African. Them teas­ing me because of their igno­rance did.
Maybe you need to get out of your feel­ings.


Reread your com­ment and clean up your foul lan­guage. Africans think they are bet­ter, but in real­i­ty are not.


1. LMAO I’m not gonna edit my com­ment because you don’t like my lan­guage. Sor­ry mom.
2. No one here said Africans are bet­ter than any­one. Let it go like Elsa -___–


Mom? Not even close I am 22 year old woman that has enough respect for peo­ple to not curse them out just because I dis­agree with them. Do bet­ter beloved.


I didn’t curse you out though… o_O
Did you even read my com­ment? lol

If you don’t like curse words, that’s fine and that’s your busi­ness, but don’t try and say I cursed you out when I CLEARLY did not, and don’t try to sen­sor me because I like using curse words.


Hmm. I’m not sure how well my hair would like this with all the pulling. Has any­one with fine hair tried it? How do you mois­tur­ize with it in?

I have fine 4c hair. I stared African thread­ing and have got­ten great results. What I do is the LOBC method. That works for me because I have high pros­i­ty hair. So I use water, coconut oil, raw shea but­ter, then my can­tu cream on each sec­tion. After the LOC I fin­ger detan­gle my hair, I’ll go through again with a wide-tooth comb. This only works if you real­ly detan­gle your hair. To avoid my hair being dry while in the threads I will coat each thread with coconut oil before I thread my hair. I don’t thread to tight.… Read more »

It will hurt, no two ways about that so be pre­pared. The upside is your hair is straight­ened buy wavy/curly when you final­ly take it down, even soft­er. You mois­tur­ize your scalp where the part­ings are or just mist all over with oil. Your choice. I pre­fer greas­ing my scalp and the roots of the thread­ed hair.


Ok. I will pass. I’m not inter­est­ed in doing a hair style that hurts. I endured enough of that with years of relax­ers and my mom telling me It was okay because women had to “suf­fer to be beau­ti­ful.” Plus I don’t think my type of hair would like this because I need to put water and/or water based prod­ucts fre­quent­ly in my hair to stay mois­tur­ized. Thanks for the info.


Don’t pass it up lol. The same way we bear pain with braids, weaves and corn­rows. I guess it’s bear­able pain. I speak from child­hood mem­o­ries when I did it tight for school. It can be done less tight if you go to some­one who knows how to. It’s best kept for a week but you can still mois­tur­ize. I have box braids right now and I mois­tur­ize my scalp every oth­er day.

Adeola @ The Mane Captain

i do thread­ing. Havent done them in a whle though .


I agree. Africans seem to have a prob­lem with any black who is not from Africa. Talk­ing to each oth­er in there lan­guage while look­ing at you laugh­ing in your face. Rolling there eyes at you for no rea­son. Not to men­tion when I was in Lon­don I actu­al­ly heard a group of Africans call me and my friends N!ggers. Can you imag­ine.


Real­ly, Ali G? While I don’t doubt you, pray tell, who uses the N-word more in speech? Cer­tain­ly not Africans and you know it. Maybe they were refer­ring to you as “nig­ga”, the way rap­pers and the like do…and that I don’t like either. Don’t pre­tend that Africans are nev­er teased by black Amer­i­cans for their accents, names etc. If I tell you sto­ries, eh…Anyways, this is about hair style not Africans vs AA.


African or African Amer­i­can does not make you guys dif­fer­ent from each oth­er. African Amer­i­can still have same old foun­da­tion and same African blood run­ning in their veins. The dif­fer­ence is just loca­tion. Copy?


I total­ly agree with @afrocapricornette:disqus this is a dis­cus­sion about hair so it’s best to stick to the mer­its of the hair style which per­son­al­ly I think are many. I haven’t done the style in my adult­hood but defi­nate­ly want some­one who knows how to do it to style it for me. 

We should also ALL remem­ber that we grav­i­tate towards who or what we are com­fort­able to and though prej­u­dice is not accept­able, that is one of the main rea­sons for it whichev­er side you fall on.


This was great. Thank you for post­ing this along with a num­ber of great videos to watch.


i remem­ber doing thread­ing as a child haha i hat­ed it :( i got mocked for it. i always pre­ferred braids


Not any­more Sis, thread­ing is becom­ing trendy now.


I am 47 years old and I remem­ber as a child my grand­moth­er used to do the African thread­ing on my hair. I hat­ed it, how­ev­er she called it “wrap­ping the hair”. It grew my hair, but the kids @ the school had no mer­cy.…


When I was tran­si­tion­ing and try­ing to keep heat out of my hair I did the thread­ing and It helped out so much I could keep that in my hair for a week. I espe­cial­ly loved it when I would go to the gym and all I had to do was dunk my head under water to rinse out the sweat and then just let it air dry. It was a big help, but I haven’t been able to put it in on my own yet. I’ve always had my friend Cyn­thia to do it for me.


Here’s a YouTu­ber with a styl­ish, adult ver­sion of african threading…in my opin­ion.


“The wrap­ping is not just styl­ish…”
LMAO it’s not styl­ish. I’m African and my mom used to do this to my hair all the time when I was grow­ing up. And the non-African black girls used to tease me to hell but at least my hair was longer than chin length.


Non African peo­ple will nev­er real­ly under­stand why we do things to our hair. Actu­al­ly my lit­tle cousin had start­ed to use col­ored soft string and has start­ed a sen­sa­tion at her school. By adding the col­ored string it’s fash­ion­able in her school. It’s no dif­fer­ent then when peo­ple used to go down to Mex­i­co and would wrap col­ored string around their hair and then would let it grow out.


I’m Niger­ian and did this as a child till a tween whilst liv­ing there. It is styl­ish but I don’t need to remind you of the tears that fell dur­ing the process lol. The upside was the take-down and how the thread just slid through your hair and the relief that came with it…aaahhh! Thank­ful­ly, I nev­er wore it in Amer­i­ca because I would’ve been teased no doubt.


Well as a non-African Black woman I’ve always had hair down my back. Why is it that Africans seem to have such a dis­dain for oth­er Black peo­ple? Just because you are from the con­ti­nent it doesn’t make you any bet­ter than us.


If at all you’re sens­ing a dis­tain, It is more from the cul­tur­al clash. Tra­di­tion­al African val­ues and stereo­typ­i­cal black Amer­i­can behav­ior do not mix. Oil and water. The same way black ppl give some­one a hard time when they believe he is not act­ing ‘black’ enough. The Tra­di­tion­al African out­look dis­likes the ‘American/hood’ per­sona. Both sides are guilty of it.


Where did you get the idea that Africans have dis­dain for oth­er Black peo­ple? You lost me some­where…


I know many Africans and to be hon­est they def­i­nite­ly have a neg­a­tive view of Black Amer­i­cans. Do you know what an akat­ta is? I’m not sure I spelled it right, but there is most cer­tain­ly a dis­dain.


I’m sor­ry that hap­pened to you. As a black Amer­i­can woman I think it can be styl­ish. Remem­ber most chil­dren and adults tease when they are envi­ous and/or do not under­stand. Not all black girls think like the ones that teased you, try to not to group all of us togeth­er.