A braid is a pattern or complex structure in which intertwining of hair is done. The most basic forms of braids are created out of 3 strands of hair.
Multiple strands are used to create complex hair braids. Number of strands used for creating braids is always odd. The history of hair braiding can be traced back to at least 5000 years.
Braiding has a long tradition in Africa and it dates back to 3500 BCE. Although Africa is home to many different braid styles, the practice of braiding is also found in other continents like Asia, America and Europe. In some parts of the world, customs and traditions are associated with braids.
For example, in the Hopi tribe of America, there is a custom that only married women must wear braids. One of the reasons behind carrying out the braiding of hair is to keep them clean. Apart from giving your hair a beautiful look, the braids also keep them safe from splitting.
Different Styles of Hair Braiding
There are many different forms of braiding that one can use for styling the hair. Use of braids isn't anymore limited to girls or women. Nowadays, even men are trying out different braiding hair styles.
It is a common form of hair braiding. It is created by dividing the hair in 3 strands; in the first step, right strand is crossed over the central one. The next step is to cross the left strand over the central. This pattern continues until the end of the strands is reached.
The French braid is very much similar to English braid. However, the basic difference between them is that in the former, strands picked for braiding are the ones present at the center of the scalp.
African Hair Braiding Styles
The Zulu knot is one of the popular African hair braiding style. It is widely used in the United States. In this style of braiding, hair is divided in a pattern of either triangles or rectangles evenly formed across the head. The hair contained in each of the rectangular or triangular sections is then tied into a knot.
... for Men: There are many different cornrow styles that can be used by men. Allen Iverson, one of the NBA players is best known for sporting the cornrow braids. Box braid is another cornrow style being widely used.
African-American Hair Braiding Styles
Cornrows can have designs in straight lines as well as in the complicated, geometric and curvilinear patterns. The cornrows were originally used for creating a wavy hair texture.
... for Kids
Cornrows are the best braiding styles suited for kids. They are easy to maintain and one doesn't have to spend much on them. For little girls' ponytails, the styles with ringlets and pigtail look good and are quite easy to manage.
The different hair braiding styles described here give us an idea of the variety of ways through which appearance of hair can be changed and enhanced. The different hairstyles with braids not only look good, but also are quite easy to maintain.