Braids are so much more than a hairstyle; traced back to 3500 BC to the Himba people of Namibia, they tell stories of entire cultures. For thousands of years styles such as cornrows, Ghana or Goddess braids identified things like age, marital status, religions and ethnicity. For the ancient Egyptians in 3100 BC it was social rank, and their shoulder-length braids were depicted on tomb drawings and artefacts.
Since, the dexterous fingerwork has honoured heritage and provided an outlet for expression. Seen no better than on hip-hop stars like Janet Jackson and Brandy in the nineties, and Alicia Keys in the early noughties, braids are a communal tradition and social art. Historically they involved sitting patiently between a loved ones legs, and depending on style, technique and skill, can take anywhere from four to ten hours.
Gearing up for your next appointment? “Wash your hair with Dizziak Hydration Wash and Deep Conditioner, and let your hairstylist moisturise it for you,” says braid specialist Afi Attipoe. “You can wash them, however be sure to really rinse out all the product to prevent any build-up and make sure it’s fully dry. Moisturise once a week, drink plenty of water, and when removing the braids and be sure to unravel all the way to the top to prevent any breakage.”