October 27th, 2007
Posted By:
Categories: Black Haircare

I’ve got cramps in my hands tonight. You see, I spent five hours braiding hair today. ALL the girls were in need of new styles. I started in the morning with the two year old. I did 20 or so simple hanging braids all over her head.

In the afternoon my 12 year old and I did the 5 and 9 year olds, and then in the evening I braided the 12 year old’s hair. The three older girls all decided they wanted the same half-up, half-down style.

I started by making a part across the back of the head, from the top edge of one ear to the top edge of the other ear. I braided the hair below the part in a grid of simple hanging braids– 4 rows of 4-5 braids per row. Above the part I did cornrows that curve from the face and meet in the back at the crown. A zig zag part in the middle gives the braids kind of a stepped look.


Five hours sounds like a lot of work, and it is (I admit as I type with tired fingers.) You definitely want to make sure you allow enough time to do the job in an unrushed way. But my oldest daughter’s hair will look good for two weeks. I’ll probably get a full week out the 9 year old and 2 year old’s hair. The 5 year old has very soft hair, and will probably need something new done in 3 or 4 days. But when you figure the minutes per day time investment, it’s really not that bad.

I get a lot of satisfaction in seeing my fingers turn out a pretty hairstyle. And I find that braiding is a great low key way to get in some loving touch, some body contact, and some bonding time.

If you would like some more information about African hair care, don’t miss this excellent article by Sherry Gragg, or you can cruise my archives for the many other posts I have done about hair.

Photocredit: Mary Owlhaven

10 Responses to “Braiding (and braiding and braiding)”

  1. condo-mom says:

    As a mom to a daughter from China (boring, easy, straight hair) I am in awe of your commitment to your 4 girls and their HAIR !! I know they will grow up with warm memories of the time and care you took in such a personal, loving way. — Rachel

  2. jennobrn01 says:

    yay pictures! i’ve been eager to see pics of your styles! they all look great!

  3. All I can say is that you are amazing!! They look beautiful.

  4. Sunbonnet Sue says:

    very cool hair. your girls are beautiful!

  5. Blaine1975 says:

    Great work, Mary! The girls look amazing (and happy)!!

  6. doula-doula says:

    Whew! They look beautiful, though.

    I was just poking around the hair archives here… I recall that you trimmed one of your daughter’s hair a while back, and were surprised by how much effect just a little trim had. Can’t find it. Any other thoughts on trimming? Have you done it since?

    (My little one arrived in the U.S. with hardly any hair, just a very short strip down the middle like a mohawk. The ends that were that “original” hair are in terrible shape, and feel different from the rest of her hair. I’d like to trim that, but am apprehensive.)

  7. doula-doula says:

    Hey, Mary. That last comment about trimming was me, Marian. =)

  8. Theresa says:


    Before I had AA children, I had NO IDEA of the amount of work that went in to their hair!! I had only had children of several other races – all with very straight hair. The first week that I became a mom to AA children (a sib group of FIVE), I stayed home the entire week and still didn’t seem to have a grasp on the hair care, the braiding, etc.! NOW, when I see several little girls who have well cared for hair, I always go up to praise the mom — I know it’s taken hours and hours to have it look that way.

    I’d love to say I became “good” at it. Instead, my Ethiopian daughters were older at arrival, GREAT at doing hair – including their own – and they LIKE to do others’ hair….they’ve taken over and I have gone back to very simple care and styling for now….maybe one day, I’ll get “good at it”…

  9. Amanda says:

    You’re amazing! I only have 1 little girl, I can’t image braiding 4 heads.


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