African Hair Braiding 101: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go

braided mohawk

Protective styles, such as faux locs and marley twists, have become trending topics in our hair journeys and processed and natural hairnistas alike are getting in on the action.

While many of us are self-professed kitchenistas, working it out at home or by watching YouTube tutorials, one of the more popular options is visiting your local “African” braiding shop to get our ‘do’s done. This no-frills option is often great because it features low-cost, same-day appointments and can be extremely time-efficient – especially if two braiders go to work on your hair at the same time.

[SEE ALSO: Why Your Braids Are Itching (And How To Stop It)]


I must admit that before moving to Brooklyn, this wasn’t my cup of tea. For one, I am more than capable of braiding my own hair and two, there always seemed to be a stigma in my midwestern town about getting your hair braided by the “Africans”. Since I’m West African – Liberian to be exact – I’ve had to school many folks on how prejudice they’ve sounded. But, I’ve also been told very real horror stories that would make me light someone up if those things happened to me.

What I have come to realize, though, is the issue is not 100 percent cultural. More often than not, it leans towards newbies just not knowing what to expect — especially in a no-frills environment. So, click through for 14+ things you should know before getting your hair braided at your local shop.

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About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

isis is a music, hair and communications junkie. founder of Sadiaa and editor for HypeHair.com.