The Black Girl's Braid Dictionary, From Box Braids to Marley Twists
Ever since I was a little girl, Summer was the time my mother would braid my hair. The styles took hours to create, and, of course, I never quite cooperated (which earned me several hand slaps with the comb). However the intricate cornrows would keep my hair untangled through weeks of swimming and day camp. But Summer braids aren't just reserved for little girls (nor are they reserved for Summer!). Many of my friends are still making appointments to get plaits before a big vacation or to take a break from using hot tools for a few months with a protective style. Even Beyoncé and Solange Knowles rock twists when the weather gets warm! From Poetic Justice box braids to Zendaya's famous faux locs, I've broken down the best braids with extensions for Afro hair.
Box braids are one of the most popular styles for Summer vacation thanks to stars like Beyoncé and movies like Poetic Justice. This style uses synthetic, straight hair to create long plaits The term "box braids" come from the box-shaped parts that form when creating this style. The ends are sealed buy burning the fake hair with a lighter.
Video: Box Braids Tutorial
Crochet braids are hard to distinguish between naturally curly or kinky hair. The style is achieved by braiding the hair to the scalp. Then, the extensions are attached to each braid using a crochet needle (with a latch). The weave is then curled with hot water and perm rods. This hair can be cut and styled to look more like Afro hair.
Video: Crochet Braids Tutorial
You can often spot yarn braids based on the bright color choices (even though black is definitely an option). Acrylic yarn is used to create this look, and many different styles can be created — twists, braids, or faux locs.
Video: Yarn Braids Tutorial
Senegalese twists are created by wrapping straight synthetic hair (like Kanekalon) around the roots of the natural hair and two-strand twisting to the ends. This style was popularized by in West Africa, hence the name.
Video: Senegalese Twist Tutorial
Senegalese, Havana, and Marley twists are very similar. The difference is in the hair, not the technique. Marley and Havana hair is kinky or wavy to resemble Afro hair. The hair is attached by twi-strand twisting the extensions in with your real hair.
Video: Marley Twists Tutorial
Ghana braids (or Banana cornrows) are extensions that touch the scalp. It begins like a regular cornrow braid. More synthetic hair is slowly incorporated to create a larger plait near the nape.
Video: Ghana braid tutorial