Another African Threading Hairstyle


After my first experience with wearing African Threading in public, I was feeling pretty bold. A few weeks later, my hair was annoying me and I didn’t know what to do with it so I thought, why not thread it again? This time around, I went to the salon.

At the salon, I showed them the style I was going for- the same one Yvonne Vixen Ekwere wore in this Fela-Inspired photo-shoot. They told me they did not know how to do it. That they could thread, but they didn’t know how to style the individual threaded pieces together. Welp.

I asked them where else I could get it done and they referred me to Mama Ade, just down the road.

This made me remember the first time I tried to get my natural hair styled in Calabar back in 2014. There was no Game of Fros then. I had gone to like 6, 7 salons and each one told me they could not cornrow and twist my natural hair. I eventually had to go all the way down to the Watt Market, to find someone that would. You can cornrow hair for weaves, and twist with extensions but you cannot apply yourself to cornrow and twist my natural hair because, “modern salon”? Sigh.

I know African threading hasn’t been popular for a very long time- but the whole thing got me thinking. Mama Ade looked about 50 years old. What will happen when all the Mama Ade’s of our world retire? Our indigenous styles like thread would be gone? Wouldn’t that be a shame? Sure, the natural hair salons would know how to do them, but then you’d be paying a premium for what Mama Ade does for cheap.

african threading hairstyle basket

My Experience With Mama Ade

Mama Ade isn’t actually a salon owner. She sells drinks, but also does threaded styles at her shop too. She was wearing the kiko (thread) herself, and I noticed her hair was natural. She threaded my hair outside her shop, practically on the street corner. If you saw someone that looked like me one Sunday evening, yep that was probably me. I haven’t made my hair on the street/ in the open like that, since Calabar, but I felt really comfortable with her.

My hair was freshly washed, and a little damp. The first thing she asked me to do was to comb it myself. Then she detangled the hair section by section again with a comb, the right way- from ends to roots. After detangling each section, she put it in a loose bantu knot. My hair was in 20 to 23 bantu knots before the threading began. I was really impressed. She knew more about handling my natural hair than the people in the salon, who would have charged at least twice as much, to thread my hair. Altogether, the threading took us about 2 hours. I paid, and then I went home.

African Threading updo

Why I Won’t Be Threading Very Often

The hair wasn’t too tight, but I have come to accept that I’m a little tender headed at the back of my head. My scalp did not take kindly to all the detangling, even though it did not hurt as at the time of doing it. You might be asking if skipping the thorough detangling is an alternative, but I don’t think that’s advisable. With styles like finger coils, thread, where your hair is kind of “locked” together (not sure if this is the right word) I think it’s best to detangle well, to save yourself the stress of even worse detangling when you take the hair down. Long story short, I definitely won’t be threading very often.

Should African Threading Remain in the Past?

I wore the thread for 2 weeks and a few days. At first, I would joke about it like, “Call me Eliza or Mosunmola till further notice” but then I stopped. Yes, threading was popular in the old days, but it is still a very valid hairstyle today. My name doesn’t have to change, I don’t have to be an Agbonma, or Mgbeke to wear thread.

I’m AB, a 90s baby and irun kiko/ isi owu/ African threading is just as funky to me.

Threaded styles can be dramatic, too. For me, this style I wore is very simple, nothing out of the ordinary- just, allowed me to protect my hair in peace! This African threading hairstyle on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is definitely more interesting.

African threading hairstyle for work
This hairstyle was perfect for court! Major pro.

For the time I wore it, it was an interesting conversation starter when I went out, and to my slight surprise, people really liked it. I say this not to say that they validated me- but for random people on the street, for people from different countries to tell me they liked my hair, this supports my argument that styling with African Threading still looks good in these our times, and I can’t imagine why it should ever stop being so.

That’s just me. I want to know what YOU think. Let’s talk about it in the comments! Have you tried threading lately? Would you try it? What do you think? Would you like threading to make a comeback, or it needs to stay in the past? Speak on it!




33 Replies to “Another African Threading Hairstyle”

  1. I live in Ghana and I finally mustered the courage to do african threading as well and I’ve kept it in for 16 days now. I was quite self consicious when I first did it. But over time I’ve kind of settled into the look now and to my surprise I have gotten lots of compliements about my hair. Waiting to see how it turn out when I take it out. WIll probably do that in a week or so. We’ll see how it turns out then!. Thanks

    1. Aww hey Mame! How is Ghana? I miss Ghana!
      Glad to hear you tried it and you’re rocking it well!
      Try to enjoy the super stretch for at least one week after you take down the thread 🙂

  2. From my experience, threading really does help to promote growth as it’s a low manipulation style that keeps ones hair and edges perfectly tucked in and protected.

    I grew up threading a lot while at secondary school and in just three years had achieved waist length. I wish I could go back to the good old days. Now I exclusively thread my daughter’s hair and nothing else. Started when she was one. She’s now five and her hair is hip length. Oh, and her hair texture is 4c all the way. 🙂

  3. Yeah, threading is in now, even people that are not natural are on the train. There are different types of thread that makes it look so much cooler(lol) recently styled mine and my daughters hair and we wore it for a full month.

  4. I think it really suits you. I don’t see myself doing a style as funky as Chimamanda’a but I think I could do this. However since becoming natural 4 years ago, I’ve become so unaccustomed to getting my hair done, that I’ve developed a really tender scalp. If the hair looks neat, it’s probably too tight for me. And if there’s anything I remember from childhood thread is that it’s not the most comfortable hairstyle in the world. So I don’t think I’ll be doing this style soon but it does look nice.

    1. Thank you, Mimi!
      (and, you just made me think about my tenderness. Like, has my scalp always been this tender or it’s as a result of going natural and letting my hair rest most of the time. Hmm)

  5. After removing my didi.. which is what I have on now, my intention is to thread my hair.. I love it and i think it should certainly make a comeback.

  6. Your threading is beautiful! I envy your boldness. Really. This was my go to style in secondary school. Even as senior prefects, we devised ways to thread without looking childish. We would make individual threads and pack it with a scrunchie. Most times I attributed my long hair length to my consistent threading. I miss it somehow and I’ll try it once I’ve summed up enough will. Mama Ade is really good too.

  7. I just summoned the courage to have my African Threading done. First, it took months before I could get the thread. Didn’t want to use the rubber and I’ve heard of not-so-good experiences with the wool. So I stayed away. Everyone has been looking at me funny but I no send them. I’m enjoying my hair and new look. Will definitely do it again

  8. I have done this style several times in the past few years. I would still keep doing it. It’s a fantastic protective style. I do it for my daughter all the time. It’s our go-to style. My daughter and I are both tender headed and the trick to doing this style without the pain or discomfort is not holding it tight at all. I’ve come to realize that even if it doesn’t seem painful while making it; it tends to be painful afterwards. So I check each of the threaded hair for the kind of movement I want it to have before we proceed to the next one. The lady that makes this threading for me has learnt that over time. It took a while for her to come to accept my way of doing this style but we are cool now. I detangle my hair by myself and keep my detangled hair in chunky twist before I make this style. I don’t trust her to detangle my hair without me developing a headache afterwards. For my daughter’s hair, I try to do all the detangling in the shower while the conditioner is in her hair. After washing the hair, we have very little detangling left to do afterwards.
    I also use wool for the threading. I think it’s softer and has more flexibility than the rubber and then would probably not be so painful. The last time I used rubber was when I was a child. Even then I always preferred the other type of thread we had those days.

    1. Thanks for the detailed comment, mama! 🙂
      I’ll ask her to hold it less tight next time. Wool is softer, but I think rubber thread helps with better moisture retention. When you or your daughter take down your wool thread, is your hair super soft?

      1. Yes, it’s always very soft when we take down. There is also this sort of shine/ sheen I’ve observed after take down. Pure wool would dry out your hair but not 100% acrylicwool. 100% acrylic wool is very good with retaining moisture. Almost all the wool we have in the Nigerian market are 100% acrylic anyway (baby wool, Brazilian wool etc). You would find it written on the pack. Natural wool is actually more expensive and I’m not sure it’s readily available in the Nigerian market

  9. I had this done about 3 times in 2014. I had to stop because of the tenderness from my scalp. Couldn’t sleep the first night on 2 occasions . The only time I didn’t feel any pain was when I had it done in the village, the lady was quite gentle and I paid 100 naira.

    1. 100 Naira? Wow O_O
      The tenderness is really something.
      Thanks for commenting, Nimi. So now, I should be looking for someone as gentle as your lady, since such stylists exist! 🙂

  10. This is cute on you!.Yes,irun kiko is not that common unlike before,Brazilian weaves have now taken the spot in Nigeria.Lucky me,the stylist who makes my hair as a child is still the one doing so now just that I have to give her directives all the time.Deeper life ladies know how to style it and rock it well,the stylists making theirs are talented!

    1. Thanks Laddidi! You are so lucky. As a child, all the people that did my hair were really painful, and totally unpleasant. I was too happy to cut it when I had to go to school lol. You are right. The Deeper lifer stylists are pretty awesome!

  11. I can just picture Mama Ade as one of those women who used to thread my hair way back in secondary school. I am actually curious to try it now. It looks good on you and I my wig can sit on it for court then perhaps it won’t be so bad. The thing though is that I have very tender scalp. I am afraid of the pain mehn. It used to be very painful then too. Nice post dear.

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