By Hadassah Agbaps - April 21, 2012

     Most Nigerian men and women are conversant with braided hair. I can proudly say that over here, you can get more than decent braids put in for a minimum of N400.
While reading other natural hair writeups, I was initially confused by the names of protective styling methods,like box braids,sister locs,twistouts, African threading and even the term protective styling. Without pictures, I would have been lost!
        In Nigeria, -*wetin be protective styling sef,abeg go with ya big big gramma?!* - we simply braid our hair to get it out of the way due to its wrongly perceived 'unmanageability'.
When we are old enough to decide, most of us simply resort to relaxers to get more 'managable' 'silky' straight hair and only braid during the really hot months!
When we do style our hair 'protectively', we have lots of beautiful things we do.
I will not go into the history of African hairstyling as this can easily be googled and the purpose of this blog is to get a Nigerian's personal view on natural hair and methods used to dealing with it...but I digress...
I will start with Nigerian lingo as pertains to hairstyling.

 They could be synthetic or natural.
 Synthetic extensions are more commonplace. The most popular is the kanekalon hot water styling hair extensions. Popular brands include Expression and Amigo.
 Natural extensions are very rare over here.
Chimamanda Adichie rocking box braids.
      Expression Braid 

Braids with extensions. Source:

 They can also be synthetic or natural. Synthetic weavons are much more affordable and the styles in them last much longer. They can be put in once (some fix it up to four times though I don't really buy that idea).

Weavon. Source:


 I don't know what else it's called outside Nigeria. It is cornrows done with attachments. The attachment is added a little piece at a time during the braiding process.
 It is almost impossible to be caught napping while the weaving is going on because both the "braider'-who braids the hair and the 'braidee' - who gives the attachment to the braider one little piece at a time in quick successions- work together to get the hair done.

Ghana braids. Source:
This is done in a similar manner to Ghana weaving. The difference is that some hair is let out. I think it is called Crochet Weaving outside Nigeria.

 This is done using rubber ,wool or cotton threads to wrap the whole length of the hair from roots to tips. It doesn't just end there. The threaded hair is then arranged into beautiful intricate updos.
 I loved threaded hair when I was little because it always straightened my natural hair when taken out and I retained hairlength.
 The downside is that the hair was usually threaded too tight in an attempt to grasp the roots which spelled doom for my hairline and for the first two days, bedtime isn't something you look forward to!
When done with a light hand,threaded hair is a great protective style.
It's a pity that most Nigerians view threaded hair as a style for children and uber-religious people.

 This includes braiding, twisting and cornrowing. It is usually done with your hair only (i.e. no extensions).This is a common method of protective styling for school children.
 Adults may plait but since their hair is not as full and thick as that of children (due to bad hair care mostly and ageing), they plait with attachments to increase the fullness of their hair.
This mohawk style is called "Shade" or "Clap" in Nigeria.

This style is called "Hanubiyu"in Northern Nigeria and "Didi" or "Two hands" in the south.

This is called "two shuku" in Nigeria

This is called "All back"

This style is called "Love Come Down" in Nigeria
 I guess most of you know this one. Over here,it can be grown naturally especially for religious purposes or 'induced'.
 By induced, I mean that it can be created artificially using natural hair by palmrolling with loc waxes or by putting in already prepared dreadlocks that are sewn in individually to each braided strand of hair with a cotton thread.
 I usually prefer the artificial dreads because although expensive to put in, it is temporary and you can carry it for months while your own hair grows.
 It is also friendly to the hairline.
Dada or dreadlocs

Our very own Nigerian, Dakore.

I would like to say at this point that braidouts and twistouts are perceived as 'undone hair' especially if it is not perfectly defined. When perfectly defined,it is seen as a wig or a weave. After the weave checks which come out surprisingly negative, the next question is if you are mixed on your greatgrandparents side! Lol!
 Many Nigerians I've come across don't believe you can have great natural hair naturally but that's a story for another day. 

So there you have it! Did I miss any hair style?
Live Beautifully. Naturally.

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  1. Tree Braid is similar to the crotchet braid, but the technique is different

  2. Hello I need help can someone explain how to remove sewn in dreads please I don't want to cut my hair thank you

    1. Hi Hadiza, to take down sewn in dreads, I'd suggest you go back to person who put them in as she'd be more knowledgeable and take them out without cutting your hair.


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