Ghana braids are a form of cornrows. Ghana braids originated in Africa and date back to 500 BCE where they could be seen in hieroglyphs and even the sphinx.
The hairstyle reappeared after enslaved Africans were taken across the middle passage as a way of expressing identity while also remaining in line with demands that their hair is kept neat.
Cornrows traditionally could denote religion, familial affiliation, and marital status with the more intricate patterns being added as an act of resistance during slavery, according to Naturally Curly.
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What Are Ghana braids?
Ghana Braids are straight back cornrows that utilize the idea of the feed-in braids method to make them longer and fuller. The main difference in Ghana braids from a traditional feed-in braid, however, is in how the extension hair is fed into the braid.
Hair is fed in over the top of the braid opposed to underneath the braid. It will appear as if there are ring shapes on top of the braids. The braids can be done in various thicknesses. They can also be done with or without extension hair, however, many will choose to incorporate it.
Any extension hair can be used ranging from Kanekalon, Marley, human, and synthetic hair.
I went to Ghana to get Ghana braids & this is what happened
How to Do Ghana Braids?
The braids are usually started with the client's natural hair, then braided to or past the nape. Unlike cornrows, Ghana braids typically start with more natural hair upfront, with the extensions being added as the braider goes further back.
- Part your hair into the number of braids you’d like as well as in the parting design you’d like your braids to be done in.
- Consider adding an edge control or gel to the front of your hair to help with the neatness of the style. You can begin your braid by braiding your hair down a few stitches. You will do the braids like your normal feed-in braid/ cornrow.
- Begin by adding small pieces of the extension hair and gradually make the pieces thicker as you add more into the braid. This will make the gradual transition of the braid’s thickness much more natural.
- When adding in the extension hair you want to fold the extension hair in half. You want to have one half secured under your pointer finger of the braid which will be added into the middle strand of the braid. Bring the other side of the hair around the top of the braid before braiding it in. Braid once and then add in the piece that you wrapped around the top of the braid. You will only want to braid 2 stitches down per piece of extension hair added, otherwise, you will lose the Ghana braid effect.
- Once you’ve completed the braids, clip for any stray hairs while being careful your natural hair isn’t cut. Now, you’ve successfully completed your Ghana braids.
There are many forms of Ghana braids styles as you can choose to have your braids done in an intricate pattern. There is the whirlpool design where your braids can be done in a swirled fashion. Another unique design is the fishbone pattern.
These are options if you would rather have a different look than the original straight back braid design.
Ghana braids are a protective style that can be preserved by wearing a scarf at night and using a braid spray or root stimulator to keep the hair moisturized.
The Palmer’s Olive Oil Formula Hair Conditioning Spray is excellent for keeping your braids moisturized with a natural sheen. Washing the hair is not recommended with Ghana braids.
Easy way to do Ghana Braids
Are Ghana Braids Versatile?
Ghana braids can be done in any color and length, although most women will want their braids to be longer rather than shorter. Many Black women will choose to decorate their braids with wooden beads, metal rings, and yarn decorations to give the style some extra flare.
Ghana braids are usually worn in a straight back hairstyle, but you can opt for creating a bun or ponytails with the braids as well. However, it is a type of style that will be more restrictive with the ways you can style it.
You can not create many different varieties of styles with Ghana braids as they don’t provide much free-flowing movability. Although, they are still a unique short-term protective style, nonetheless.
How Long Do Ghana Braids Last?
This style is perfect if you’re in search of a quick style to keep up for a couple of weeks. Ghana braids is a very protective style, but it is not long-lasting. On average the style will last you for 2 weeks at best. However, the style takes a lesser amount of time than other protective styles to install.
You may not have the style for long, but you won’t spend much time at all having them installed, which can be considered a fair trade for some.
The best way to preserve the style for as long as possible is to make sure you are wearing a satin scarf or bonnet when you sleep. Also, refrain from getting these braids wet as that may ruin the style.
Who Are Ghana Braids Suitable For?
Coarser hair textures ranging from 3C to 4A will do well in this braided style. Also, hair states such as relaxed, natural, and transitioning can handle the style fine.
As with most braided hairstyles, however, if you find that you have a more sensitive scalp, know that the style may be uncomfortable due to the tension involved during installation.
Be aware that you may experience slight discomfort receiving the style, but it should never be unbearable. Your stylist should never install the braids too tightly to where your scalp is in intense pain. If you experience this, have them redone looser, or just remove them altogether.
When to Wear Ghana Braids?
Ghana braids can be seen being worn year-round by Black women everywhere. The style is known to thrive more in summer months as braids are a popular summer hairstyle, and they will give your scalp needed air during the summer heat.
How to: Ghana braids step by step for beginners!
Pros and Cons of Ghana Braids
- The braids are a low maintenance protective style. With Ghana braids, you can enjoy the ease of simply wrapping up your hair with a silk scarf at bedtime and waking up to just take it off and go. There is no other necessary maintenance that comes with this style other than oiling your scalp and possibly spraying some sheen spray for shine.
- The braids can be installed quickly. Ghana braids are great for the ease involved with installing them. They only take an average time of 2 hours to do, which is great if you find yourself antsy in salon chairs.
- The braids are not a long-lasting hairstyle. Ghana braids only last for 2 weeks. This is not a very long time compared to other braided protective hairstyles. This is not a style that can be worn for months at a time.
- The braids cannot be washed nor should they get wet at all. For people that need to cleanse their scalps often while protective styling, these braids will not allow for that. Washing the braids will cause frizz and ultimately ruin the neatness of the style. If you can hold off for 2 weeks on washing your hair, this might not be an issue.
- Along with not being able to wash your braids, getting them wet all in any way isn’t good for them. Many people take on protective styles during the summer to protect their hair and keep it fresh even in pool activities, this isn’t a good style for that. Just like washing, the water will create frizz.