As someone who naturally has 4b type hair, I had to figure out a way to thread my hair and keep it secure.
African Threading My Way
I have natural 4b type hair, which is both soft and fine, and so whenever I wash my hair, it shrinks a lot. This creates a problem whenever I do any wash-and-go routine. So I need to:
- Prevent breakage
- Stretch or lengthen the hair
- Retain moisture
- Prevent shrinkage
The African threading method for growing hair does that. I consider this technique the ultimate protective style for natural hair.
Learning how to stretch out our natural hair without heat has some great benefits.
Stretching Your Natural Hair and Keeping It Healthy
Stopping hair breakage. Your hair will suffer breakage if it is dry and frizzy, and tangled up too. You cannot comb through it. Doing the African threading along with trimming your split ends, doing a protein treatment for dry hair, washing, using a good conditioner for natural hair breakage and adding a good detangler for natural hair will stop or prevent hair breakage.
Stretching your 4c/4b kinky black hair. This technique holds the hair in a stiff or straight position. The hair is now almost lying side-by-side to each other instead of coiling around each strand, this helps to stop tangling, and knots. Remember, our natural pattern is spiral in appearance. Therefore, 4b and 4c natural hair strands do not lie straight next to each other; instead, the hair strands overlap and touch each other. The power of the African threading is that it attempts to hold the hair in a straight jacket type position.
The hair now starts to stretch or lengthen, and the growth of the hair is easily seen. This has a positive effect on our self-esteem, being that most natural ladies want our hair to be noticeably longer.
Moisturize for kinky, coiled hair. Our hair needs moisture at all times. Water is our friend. Without water, our hair will not grow. So water is our No. 1 moisture contributor along with sealants like shea butter and our favorite oils. Make sure that the water is in a spray bottle and infused with olive or coconut oil and add some *green tea extract. When you apply these and then completely wrap the hair using the African threading technique, this keeps the moisture locked into the hair and so the hair will begin to grow.
Reduce shrinkage in natural hair. Again this technique holds the hair in a straight position; this helps to stop tangling because the hair is not growing on top of each other. The longer you keep your African threading in, the longer the hair growth becomes. Some people keep the threading for up to 4–6 weeks each time it is done.
During these times you should wear a wig whenever you are going out. Tie the threads together flat on your head before you put a wig over the threads, or else the threads will be sticking out from under the wig.
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When the hair is sufficiently stretched out, and you take out the threads, it looks like you blow-dried it, does it not?
How I Thread My Natural Hair
- To thread your hair, first, take a small portion of your hair (if you have short to medium hair) and part it into two, and twist them together to form a twisted curl. Twisting my hair before threading gives my hair an added layer of protection, due to the fact my hair does not have the strong nor voluminous texture of tightly curled 4c hair.
- Now tie a knot at one end of the thread to anchor the hair at the root.
- Next, place the knotted end under your thumb and then start to wrap the twisted hair.
- Wrap around the root of the hair at least 2–3 times, now start to move the thread slightly downward after each wrap around. Just before you reach the end/tip, take a little shea butter to moisten the tip. This is to protect your ends, to keep them moisturized. Your hair breaks at the tip of the hair (not at the root). Check for split ends, and if you find any trim the ends. This is especially important if you plan to keep the threads in for a long time. You do not want all that hard work to be wasted due to split ends.
- Next, roll the end/tip upwards (going towards the root) and then wrap the thread around the end about 2–3 times and about halfway back up (like you are going back to the root). This makes the threading more secure, and won’t slide off so easily.
- And now one more step in this process: use a small elastic rubber band to wrap around the hair where you decide to end the wrap. Look at the image above.
- To better manage this process, you could part your hair into 4–8 sections using clips and then thread within each section. See the video below.
African Threading on Wet or Dry Hair?
Some people do African threading on wet or dry hair, but I prefer to do it on damp hair.
Remember: our hair is kinky so it curls or coils on itself. So without water, a detangler, and a leave-in conditioner the hair will break very easily.
If you notice the right side of my hair near my temple breaks very easily, but it is improving.
What Thread Type Should I Use?
Personally, I think it is a matter of choice which is the best type of thread for African threading to use for your hair.
You can use either weave threads, shoelaces, or even silk yarn. I keep three types of threads on hand.
Your Nighttime Routine
You should protect your hair and the threading by covering your hair with a silk bonnet and scarves for natural hair and should consider sleeping on a satin pillowcase. Why? because if you use a terry or cotton cloth to cover your hair, they will rob the moisture from your hair. The satin material is also gentle on your hair, on the African threading, and on your ends too.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Rosemarie Graham