Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Stretching Natural Hair: African Hair Threading/ Ghana Plaits

You want to stretch your hair, but you don't want to use heat. Lucky for you, there are several ways to do that. African hair threading is one of those ways. If you want to learn how I do my hair threading, keep reading.

You will need: 

  • Sturdy thread. I found a roll laying around the house.

  • Scissors 


First, prepare your thread. Measure about two to three times the length of the hair you want to stretch. Cut the thread and tie a knot on both ends. This will keep the thread from unraveling. 

Next, section your hair and make a two strand twist. I found that when I do this, I get extra stretch.

Then, take the one of the knots that you created and place it behind the two-strand twist. 

Place the knot below your thumb and hold it close to the hair. This knot will serve as an anchor to the threading.

Begin to wind the thread around the knot and the rest of your hair. There are two ways to do this. Depending on the effect you want, decide which method you want to do.

Method 1: 
Wind the thread around the hair leaving space between each twist.

 This way is very loose and quick. It stretches the hair, but doesn't stretch the hair as well as Method 2.

Method 2: 
Wrap the tread around the hair, but don't leave any space between each revolution. 
I feel that this is the more effective threading technique. It is a little more time consuming, but the hair is stretched more than in Method 1.

Comparisons: Still unsure of which method you want to choose? Here is what the methods looklike side-by-side.

Sorry if the  picture is a bit dark. As you can see,  one side stretches more.

Finally, after you decide which method you want to do, tie a loose knot around the end to secure the plait.

Here I just did a big loop around the plait, pulled the thread through,  and tied it .


Hair threading will unlikely give you the same results as a blow-out, but I still think it's an excellent way to stretch natural hair.

Time to unravel. I did mine 3 hours later.

Take off the knot you tied at the end and just pull. That simple:D

Finished result

Big afro!


  1. Oh snap. This is what they call it. I use to do this style back in elementary school back in Nigeria. The stylist use to do so many styles with them too. If one does very tiny ones, this could also be a protective style ha. Ppl use to claim it made hair long, but thinking of it now, it might have been due to stretching.

    1. yes o...it's called threading!

  2. :D I'm trying to imagine you with a head full of plaits:P

  3. I used to this when I was younger in Naija (Nigeria) as well. It made my hair straight like I just hot combed it without the heat!!!!

  4. Nigeria! I have always wanted to go to Africa! Where are you living now? For how long does this technique usually keep your hair straight?

  5. Your hair is beautiful, I'm definately trying this.

  6. @ Caribbeanie, actually this is a very old method of grooming African hair and not only does it straighten African hair, it helps them grow naturally without breaking or shedding. I'm also Nigerian and this method of styling the hair (though much more tidy and professional than yours) used to be quite common among females here before the craze for weaves and hair extensions started encroaching.

    You could thread your hair (and there are many great ways you could style threaded hair)and keep it for up to 2 months at a time. Thereafter, (like weaves) it starts to look unkept and then you must unthread it, wash it, and re-thread it. Basically if you start to thread with say, 2 inches of natural hair on your head, then in two years you could have as much as 24inches of full, straightened, healthy natural African hair! Under threaded consitions, your hair grows just as it does in dreadlocked state but with one very important advantage, you can undo the threading whenever you want and have your back in its untangled state. I think black women need to rediscover this art.

    1. that's beautiful, amazing to know after all these years.

  7. I think it definitely is a lost art. Thanks for the insight, Nades:D

  8. I am Nigerian (American-born) and my grandmother use thread to style my hair when I was a little girl.

    Now I'm much older, I tried this with a black shoelace (you have to work with what you've got) on damp hair and got great results. I got a nice stretch and it was easier to install/take down than the banding method (using elastic hair ties). I need to get my hands on some thread so I can use this stretching technique more often.

    1. I'm glad the technique worked for you! Hey, if black shoe laces work for you, I don't see why you need to get thread. As long as your hair is safe, I say stick with it!

  9. Thanks so much for this video. I was really struggling with the thread. Your video is the absolute best on how to thread. I tried this style (method 1) on my 10 year old daughter's hair and she loves this style.

  10. Does anyone know a person who can do this? I want to use it to regrow my afro textured hair. Thanks.

  11. where can we purchase this type of thread

  12. Awesome. Thanks for sharing.