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Petulia
March 19th, 2016, 05:58 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm sure you might have noticed recently that dutch pigtail braids are becoming really popular. I've noticed particularly that the Kardashians have been receiving a lot of backlash because they've been wearing these braids and calling them normal dutch braids, when apparently they're actually cornrows. So I started to wonder, what actually is the difference between cornrows and dutch braids?

I was under the impression that this is a dutch pigtail braid:
http://s18.postimg.org/mearwaqk9/nrm_1414172018_0y3a6740.jpg (http://postimage.org/)
jpg images (http://postimage.org/) (source: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/how-to/a32463/braid-how-to/)

And that this is cornrowed hair:

http://s12.postimg.org/d6mq3d0zh/Straight_Row_Cornrow_Hairstyle.jpg (http://postimage.org/)
upload img (http://postimage.org/)
(source: http://www.stylesamba.com/top-10-elegant-cornrow-hairstyles/)

And these are the braids that the Kardashian sisters have been wearing:
http://s12.postimg.org/qvl3nyqf1/khloe_kardashian_43fea884_6e51_4dab_8878_32ee100.j pg (http://postimage.org/)
free upload image (http://postimage.org/)
They're a little tighter than regular dutch braids, but there's a lot of YouTube tutorials on these braids (tagged as things like "Kardashian inspired braids") where the people making the videos are still referring to them as dutch braids. What do you think? Are these dutch braids or cornrows?
Maybe we could put together a list of things that make dutch braids different to cornrows so that we can clear this up!

Thoughtcriminal
March 19th, 2016, 07:30 PM
They are exactly the same. There is no difference in tightness, the technique is exactly the same for dutch braids and cornrows. Two names for the same hairstyle, although "dutch braid" is usually the name used when referring to 1 or 2 larger braids, and "cornrows" usually refers to 3 or more smaller braids. Sometimes people refer to 2 dutch braids as cornrows, but they're talking about the same thing.

meteor
March 19th, 2016, 07:41 PM
This is the best description of the difference between cornrows and Dutch braids that I've read: http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com/2011/01/difference-between-french-braids-dutch.html It includes some crystal-clear pictures that make it really easy to see the difference in techniques used. :)

Basically, the cornrow includes the hair underneath (includes the middle section), while the Dutch braid braids *over* the middle section. This slight difference produces visually slightly different results. If formed with the exact same amount of hair, the cornrow will appear slightly thicker than the Dutch braid.

But many people do use those terms interchangeably. ;)

MandyBeth
March 19th, 2016, 08:04 PM
I don't get how Dutch braids don't include all the hair. All I do, I wind up pulling all the hair into the braid unless I'm intentionally leaving some loose. When I've had long enough hair to braid and been in MMA, the multiple Dutch braids going back have been called boxer braids for years.

My understanding, as one with cat fine, straight leaning hair (I can brush out waves without becoming a fuzzy mess) and having a daughter with extremely tight curls, is French and Dutch braids add to the two outside sections only, cornrows add to all three sections. I can do a cornrows type braid on my daughter, not myself. However, it's very grabby on her hair, it takes much longer to braid and it wants to tangle badly. It may very well be that I am at best a novice at that type of braiding. I can't add to the middle on my own head, please, I can't even French braid my own hair.

meteor
March 19th, 2016, 08:13 PM
French and Dutch braids add to the two outside sections only, cornrows add to all three sections.

:thumbsup: That's exactly how I understand it, too! :agree:

yahirwaO.o
March 19th, 2016, 08:14 PM
This is the best description of the difference between cornrows and Dutch braids that I've read: http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com/2011/01/difference-between-french-braids-dutch.html It includes some crystal-clear pictures that make it really easy to see the difference in techniques used. :)

Basically, the cornrow includes the hair underneath (includes the middle section), while the Dutch braid braids *over* the middle section. This slight difference produces visually slightly different results. If formed with the exact same amount of hair, the cornrow will appear slightly thicker than the Dutch braid.

But many people do use those terms interchangeably. ;)

Totally agree! I read this one years ago and realized the difference! Also when you are braiding such small pieces is actually easier to add those sections to the middle and then braid rather the classic way! This works for sure but even for my super straight hair can result in bumps, so pretty much have to do it wet and some product to give that tight effect!

Llama
March 19th, 2016, 09:13 PM
Cornrows are smaller sections and are in multiple rows
But I think as far as how each braid is braided, it's basically the same technique as a regular dutch braid
It's clear to see the difference visually, obviously totally different looks

chen bao jun
March 19th, 2016, 10:39 PM
Dutch and French differ in the whether you add sections over or under. When you only add from one section, it becomes a lace braid (often used for faux crown braids, because doing this makes the hair go circular.

Corn rows or cane rows as they are sometimes called, are the same as Dutch braids in technique (you add the new hair from underneath so that the bumps appear on top) and the difference is that people do one dutch braid or maybe two, but multiple cornrows, at least four or five but more usually many, many more that that. Also corn rows are usually done in African hair types--unless you go to the west indies for a vacation where part of the tourist experience has become having your hair of whatever type put into cornrows while you sit on the beach. They are called corn rows I believe because they are so many that they look like multiple rows of corn growing in a field (if you use your imagination). Or cane rows in places like the Caribbean where they don't grow corn (maize) but grow sugar cane.

Braids tend to stay better in curlier hair types and super well in very tightly curly hair, which is clingy. You don't have to put those little rubber bands on the ends or anything to make them stay and you can do them even in just washed hair--while with straighter hair types it can be a problem to do them at all, and if you do them, to get them to stay. Lots of little braids or cornrows are very well suited to certain kind of AFrican descent hair, also, because they can be protective. My mother, for instance, should barely touch her hair at all--it's very fine as well as very curly and touching means breaking it off. Wearing cornrows allows her to do her hair once every two weeks or so--and not touch it in between at all. thus her hair is not being touched--and stays on her head and grows.

so the size would the main difference. FRench or Dutch braids, big and few; corn or cane rows mutliple and small.

some of this is not just hair type, but hair length. A woman with longer hair would tend to wear one French or Dutch braid, or at most two, also because it is a pain to French or Dutch braid longer hair of any hair type. At a certain length, it differs by person probably, you start to get back braiding--you know, where as you braid your hair, the bottom starts braiding itself without your volition and tangling up. so you wouldn't want to do very very many braids and have this problem repeated over and over. Also, its pretty impossible to do just one or two braids on hair that is shorter. Many women of African descent have extremely broken off hair due to poor hair care habits and also due to the use of chemical products and heat on very fragile hair, sometimes from an extremely young age. And nowadays, hair weaves. If your hair is only 2 or 3 inches long, you can't do one large braid, it's impossible. but you can do a lot of tiny ones, and it easier is to do corn rows than little single english braids in that case. You can do very artistic, beautiful things if you have skill and patience

http://naturallymemedia.com/natural-hair-styles-cornrows/
http://africanhairstyles.info/2015-cornrow-hairstyles/


Interestingly in France, there is no such thing as 'French braids' OR cornrows--its all called 'nattes africains'--african braids. The FRench have a lot of history with Africa, due to many colonies there and many francophone people are African or African descent. Martinique and Guadeloupe in the West Indies are actually part of France, though far away, just like Hawaii and Alaska are US states, though not on the continent and the women from these islands are romanticized a lot, as well as women of AFrican descent in general (the French have never really fallen out of love with Josephine Baker). so 'nattes africains' would be something exotic in a good way (even though the history is of course complex and not all of it positive)

I haven't seen the kerfluffle on the internet about the Kardashians braids but I am suspecting it is another one of those 'cultural appropriation' firestorms the Kardashians seem to ignite all the time.(I'm starting to wonder if they, loving publicity as they do, do it on purpose). I am sure that people are claiming, this is an AFrican American hairstyle that they are profiting from unrighteously or something like that; you know, the people that do hang out on their computers all the time getting worked up about major world issues such as if Kim Kardashian has a right to have a big butt (yeah, seriously . Roll eyes.)

Actually, of course, people of every culture have always worn braids and always worn french or dutch braids or cornrows or whatever you want to call them, for all of human history. It's only in the last century that American/Europeans started to wear short styled hiar, starting with the 20's flappers, that you couldn't easily braid that braiding as a skill was lost to European descent women. Look up that Janet Stephenson hairstyle archaeologist and you will see plenty of cornrows in hairstyles used by ancient Roman women and doesn't that Elling woman hairstyle involve at least some french braiding? Back in the Iron Age in scandinavia or something? So no race can really claim this--though it is a fact that in contemporary times women of African descent tend to know how to braid and women of European descent tend to not know--unless they've learned on LHC, of course.

so the correct answer to the OP's question would be 'all of the above'

-

Horrorpops
March 19th, 2016, 11:08 PM
This was a very interesting thread to read! I had no idea what technique could be used to create cornrows or how it could differ from a dutch braid... very educational! :o Also what a great history lesson chen bao jun, thank you!

lauren_alia
March 19th, 2016, 11:25 PM
I haven't seen the kerfluffle on the internet about the Kardashians braids but I am suspecting it is another one of those 'cultural appropriation' firestorms the Kardashians seem to ignite all the time.(I'm starting to wonder if they, loving publicity as they do, do it on purpose). I am sure that people are claiming, this is an AFrican American hairstyle that they are profiting from unrighteously or something like that; you know, the people that do hang out on their computers all the time getting worked up about major world issues such as if Kim Kardashian has a right to have a big butt (yeah, seriously . Roll eyes.)

-
That's exactly what it is. I've seen some... interesting arguments in the YouTube comments section of various dutch braid tutorials lately. People seem to have different ideas of what cornrows are too. By the definition in the link meteor posted cornrows add hair to the middle and dutch braids don't, but a lot of people have been arguing that dutch braids and cornrows are the exact same thing and we shouldn't call them dutch braids... Some say cornrows are when there's more than two braids, some say it doesn't matter even one braid done in that fashion is a cornrow... And some people seem to think white girls shouldn't do dutch/French/whatever braids at all, which I find a bit ridiculous.

Wusel
March 20th, 2016, 03:24 AM
My scalp hurts when I see the second picture... It's braided so tightly... I almost hear the hairs scream: "Ouch...!"
I don't like it because it looks so unhealthy for the hair...

lithostoic
March 20th, 2016, 07:23 AM
Idk if anyone's mentioned this yet but corn rows are generally finished with twists whereas dutch braids are finished with English braids.

tigereye
March 20th, 2016, 07:46 AM
And some people seem to think white girls shouldn't do dutch/French/whatever braids at all, which I find a bit ridiculous.

Yes, I find it a bit ridiculous too. Before the fashion of short hair, white women knew how to braid theirs. My gran (born 1909, before the flapper period) learnt how to braid hers as a child, because it was common. Everybody did it. My mum learnt how to English braid and french braid as a child because short hair was in fashion, but she didn't want short hair so agreed with my gran that she could keep it long if she learnt to braid it. She taught me and I could do both by the time I was 7 or so.

Thoughtcriminal
March 20th, 2016, 08:20 AM
This is the best description of the difference between cornrows and Dutch braids that I've read: http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com/2011/01/difference-between-french-braids-dutch.html It includes some crystal-clear pictures that make it really easy to see the difference in techniques used. :)

Basically, the cornrow includes the hair underneath (includes the middle section), while the Dutch braid braids *over* the middle section. This slight difference produces visually slightly different results. If formed with the exact same amount of hair, the cornrow will appear slightly thicker than the Dutch braid.

But many people do use those terms interchangeably. ;)

I'm confused, I've never seen a dutch or french braid that didn't include the middle section. Usually isn't the middle section split in two and added to each outside strand?

Viola88
March 20th, 2016, 08:24 AM
I'm confused, I've never seen a dutch or french braid that didn't include the middle section. Usually isn't the middle section split in two and added to each outside strand?

Me, too for the french braid :D After I read the first couple of posts, I actually took my hair down out of a bun and did what I think is a french braid, including all the hair as I went just to make sure I was remembering right (I haven't been able to do a french braid in years, hair too long, but I wacked it last week so french braids are back in the repertoire.) ETA: never tried a dutch braid on myself

tigereye
March 20th, 2016, 08:58 AM
I'm confused, I've never seen a dutch or french braid that didn't include the middle section. Usually isn't the middle section split in two and added to each outside strand?

Yeah, this is what I've always done.
I don't add the whole lot to the middle strand like the "how to cornrow" link in that last website. I add half to each side instead.

Silverbleed
March 20th, 2016, 09:15 AM
I'm confused, I've never seen a dutch or french braid that didn't include the middle section. Usually isn't the middle section split in two and added to each outside strand?

I'm Dutch, and it would blow my mind if this isn't the true method. Or else I've been taught wrong all my life lol! You should always include the midsection at some point, we simply don't take it directly from the scalp. Also it isn't split in two, you'll need it for your three strands you're holding. So basically split in three. Or one strand will end up too thick.
It's best if you leave one or two centimeters from the scalp and your braid inbetween. My mother always braided my hair - almost every single day - and I could always 'lift' my braid a little but all the hair was included in the braid. If you don't do this, it'll be able to move on your head. If you make a braid next to your ear it'll just fall out.

I think the difference is you should never include hair that's below the braid you are holding. I tried to draw an example, I hope it explains a little. If you pull hair too low, your hair will move up while it should go down together with the braid like a waterfall. You should include the hair a little higher. This means you should also leave enough hair for the next part of your braid.
Gosh I find it so difficult to explain in English xD I hope this drawing explains what I try to say.

http://i.imgur.com/dXTjmxj.jpg
Take hair from the green line or sideways, but don't take hair at the red line. That's too low.

Edit: I must add this is based on what we call the 'opvlecht'. There's probably more variations of it in my country but the opvlecht was the most common together with the invlecht,aka the French braid.

Arctic
March 20th, 2016, 09:16 AM
I'm confused, I've never seen a dutch or french braid that didn't include the middle section. Usually isn't the middle section split in two and added to each outside strand?

IF I understand this correctly, that is a variation, I think Torrin uses this method, but nope, it's not the "usual", or only method. Or what am I to say it's not usual, when it's clearly usual to you. But let's just say that there are different methods, and yours is but one.

But I admit I have hard time imagining what you mean. Our brains work in different ways and your way of thinking doesn't seem to make much sense to. Happens a lot when talking about braiding. It might well be that we are not even talking about the same thing.

Hairkay
March 20th, 2016, 09:39 AM
Idk if anyone's mentioned this yet but corn rows are generally finished with twists whereas dutch braids are finished with English braids.

This is news to me. Most people I know who cornrow don't finish with twists but a braid. Braiding was a daily part of life where I grew up.

I grew up not using the terms Dutch braid or French braid or even English braids in the Caribbean. I also pick up all the hair sections. We'd call the French braid reverse cornrows/canerows. English braids were known as plaits and then there were twists. I really don't pay much attention to the Kardashians so it doesn't bother me what they do or don't do. I started off plaiting from young then by 10 I was doing reverse cornrows/canerows then regular cornrows/canerows. The last time I tried reverse cornrows/canerows someone from the Caribbean complained that I wasn't picking up all of the hair underneath. I assume that some do it that way.

Here's some pics of cornrows. Most don't finish with twists.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=simple+cornrow+designs&sa=X&rlz=1C1CAFA_enGB644GB644&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ved=0ahUKEwjL7-Gxzs_LAhWFeA8KHXZLAIMQsAQIGw

tigereye
March 20th, 2016, 09:52 AM
IF I understand this correctly, that is a variation, I think Torrin uses this method, but nope, it's not the "usual", or only method. Or what am I to say it's not usual, when it's clearly usual to you. But let's just say that there are different methods, and yours is but one.

But I admit I have hard time imagining what you mean. Our brains work in different ways and your way of thinking doesn't seem to make much sense to. Happens a lot when talking about braiding. It might well be that we are not even talking about the same thing.

Hm. I thought I meant the same thing as thoughtcriminal, but I defenitely don't do the same thing as Torrin.

Arctic
March 20th, 2016, 09:57 AM
I probably just mis-interpretted, as I wasn't really able to wrap my mind around it, what the method you guys talk about is. I have thought I have seen them all, but either I haven't, or my brain is just wired very differently. That happens really often, when I read textual discription about how people braid.

chen bao jun
March 20th, 2016, 10:04 AM
If it doesn't use the middle section, which usually means that it's being augmented only from one side, then it's called a 'lace braid' whether you are going over or under.

Here, have a look at this hairstyle of a Roman empress. Part of it is 'lace braids' which the hair archaeologist calls 'over directed asymmetrically augmenting braids' and she shows very clearly how to do them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_HPjg-f8iQ

Hope this helps.

Arctic
March 20th, 2016, 10:07 AM
I know lace braid. I guess I just don't somehow understand what you guys mean. In my opinion lace braid most definitely uses middle section. Every 3 strand braid uses middle section.

Petulia
March 20th, 2016, 10:10 AM
Thanks for that chen bao jun, it was very interesting to hear some of the history behind these braids.

I've been doing these dutch pigtails by adding hair to the outer two sections only, never to the middle piece. I'm going to try adding to the middle piece as well and see if it resembles the pigtail braids that the Kardashians have been wearing, to work out whether they're actually dutch braids or cornrows now that we've cleared up the difference between the two techniques!

chen bao jun
March 20th, 2016, 10:15 AM
Arctic, I think I was unclear. Of course lace braiding USES all three sections. You can't braid without doing that. But in lace braiding you only AUGMENT (take up a piece of hair and add it to the braid) from one side. If you were doing a normal French, Dutch braid, each time you are ready to put a section into the braid, you would take up a piece of hair and add it (augment). If you are lace braiding, you braid as usual when you are doing, say, the right side, but every time you do the left side ONLY you add a piece of hair. It's very hard to explain but if you look at the video I just posted, you will see what I am talking about.

It is done because it creates a slightly different effect. The braid will naturally curve towards the direction you are taking hair from, instead of being straight. It's very useful for crown braiding and I believe that that 'hello my lovelies' lady--her name is slipping my mind at the moment, has a video or two in which she demonstrates a 'lace crown braid' that is very suitable for long hair.

But you can live your whole braiding life and never bother with lace braiding, which is, to me, a tad more difficult than 'normal' French or Dutch braiding or cornrowing. Its harder than one would think to remember NOT to add hair to both the side and one starts getting confused without concentrating and ends up adding hair to both just automatically--at least this always happens to me unless I concentrate.

ETA: Torrin Paige

chen bao jun
March 20th, 2016, 10:20 AM
Hairkay, I agree that the Kardashians have had their fifteen minutes of fame and I personally wish they would go away, but I know they still have a lot of fans and also a lot of people love to hate them. It's funny, having people who love to hate you keeps you going (and making money) just as much as having fans does.

I haven't followed this latest thing either (or even heard of it before clicking on this thread), but the internet is pretty predictable at this point. People (and trolls) just repeat the same comments again and again and again and again--you don't have to actually read certain things to know what people are going to say. and what other people are going to say who disagree. It's like being in a dysfunctional family that meets every single holiday--and every single holiday ends up with the exact same argument going on --and the exact same person stomping away in a temper swearing never to come back again. Except of course they do. AAARGH.

Arctic
March 20th, 2016, 10:23 AM
Like I said I do know lace braid. Now I understand what you meant by "using", thanks for clarifying! :)

MandyBeth
March 20th, 2016, 01:09 PM
If I French or Dutch braid, I start with a top section, then two lower halves. Start the top section as an English braid, then for the next cross, pick up a section from the left half for the left outside strand, and a section from the right half for the right outside strand, braid, pick up sections, so on and so forth. I'm using all the hair, but nothing is added to the center strand. Adding to all three on myself is impossible, adding to just the middle on myself is a tangled mess. Either method on my curly haired daughter is a diabolical mess. Her hair is well into the length that it back braids. I can easily limit and fix that in lace, French or Dutch braiding for how I braid. If I add to the center, I can't get the back braiding to be limited or easy to undo.

The K braids just look like Dutch braids to me. They're just pulled tighter than a lot. Which would make my hair protest mightily, but if your hair is 95% extensions, I guess it's a moot point.

chen bao jun
March 20th, 2016, 02:52 PM
Actually, if your hair is 95% extensions, that is when the tightness becomes a REAL problem in the making.

I can remember when I was young, a definite majority of young African American girls (and I think it was popular in the West Indies and Caribbean, too, Hairkay can chime here) had their hair in cornrows similar to the looks I posted links to on the previous page. They did not wear loose hair ever and if your hair wasn't long enough for 'pigtails' cornrows were what you wore. There was not the tremendous problem there is now with the traction alopecia and I never saw saw a girl or woman who was missing her 'edges' as is so very, very common now. And the corn-rowing was definitely tight. It would be done weekly and it had to be tight to stay in all week.

It looked painful and I believe it probably was, though maybe not so much if you are used to it. I have had my hair braided (not cornrowed, just braided) by black women other than my mother just twice and both times it was done so tightly that I was extremely uncomfortable (and immediately took it out) so I'd guess (can't say for sure since that's not a large sampling of braiders lol, that it's a cultural norm to braid tight and of course its subjective--to me it felt terrible but to someone else it might not).

The point is, though, tight or not tight, you're likely to be fine if its all your own hair being braided, so far as keeping your hair on your head.

I remember women in the old days (I'm talking 1960's, early 1970's) perpetually having broken off hair or to be more accurate, burned off hair (from the straightening combs that were metal heated over the stove fire, with no way to check the temperature), so that it was really short or sort of ragged--but never bald spots or balding. The problem nowadays IMO is that the hair is being braided and hair attached that is too heavy for the hair its being attached to to support. so your own hair is pulled out. This is a process that takes time--traction alopecia doesn't show up quickly and when it does show up, it takes time before its irreversible (i e, until the follicles are so insulted that no hair grows out of them anymore, a la Naomi Campbell in that famous picture). But when it starts happening, women tend to want to hide the balding and thus do MORE extensions, thus making the problem worse.

But again, I don't think its the tight braids alone, people can correct me if they have a different experience or know different.

To go somewhat OT, extensions, of course, have a whole lot of issues other than being attached to tight braids. People glue them on, and the glue is bad for your hair and then there's the issue of getting it out; people do chemical processes to the part of their hair left out to match the extensions; people just simply feel they can leave them in for extremely long time periods (six months or more) and never ever moisturize or care for their own hair at all. All of that creates balding problems and the 'edges' being gone. And in the various African descended communities, there's often this dislike (I don't understand it) for the curlier hair at the edges and nape and the way its looks that leads people to ATTACK it with very stiff brushes and sometimes layers of different gels and products and then to tight bun and brush some more to make it "lay" (down) and they remove it from their heads that way. I've seen videos on youtube showing women doing this that make me CRINGE. And often the women doing this already have edges very far back and clearly damaged and are still doing it, and recommending it to others.

But to return to topic, the big issue with a lot of the traction alopecia is the weight of the hair that's not yours. when you grow your hair out of your own scalp, its never too heavy for your follicles to support (though you can have discomfort putting it up in buns that aren't sectioned, or it can make you hurt more when you have a headache), but when you add someone's elses all at once, and often in huge amounts (the young girls add on waist length hair that's way too thick to be realistic, to short hair, we are not talking a couple of tracks put in once in a while here--the huge addition attached to braids is very destructive.

I doubt the Kardashians in the pics posted on this thread are going to have those particular problems though because I think for once, they don't have extensions in. there's nowhere to hide extensions in those tight braided pigtails, at least I don't see any place, maybe I'm wrong. Plus, with them, next week they'll have moved on to something else, you know? No attention span at all.

Hairkay
March 20th, 2016, 04:46 PM
Actually, if your hair is 95% extensions, that is when the tightness becomes a REAL problem in the making.

I can remember when I was young, a definite majority of young African American girls (and I think it was popular in the West Indies and Caribbean, too, Hairkay can chime here) had their hair in cornrows similar to the looks I posted links to on the previous page. They did not wear loose hair ever and if your hair wasn't long enough for 'pigtails' cornrows were what you wore. There was not the tremendous problem there is now with the traction alopecia and I never saw saw a girl or woman who was missing her 'edges' as is so very, very common now. And the corn-rowing was definitely tight. It would be done weekly and it had to be tight to stay in all week.

It looked painful and I believe it probably was, though maybe not so much if you are used to it. I have had my hair braided (not cornrowed, just braided) by black women other than my mother just twice and both times it was done so tightly that I was extremely uncomfortable (and immediately took it out) so I'd guess (can't say for sure since that's not a large sampling of braiders lol, that it's a cultural norm to braid tight and of course its subjective--to me it felt terrible but to someone else it might not).

The point is, though, tight or not tight, you're likely to be fine if its all your own hair being braided, so far as keeping your hair on your head.

I remember women in the old days (I'm talking 1960's, early 1970's) perpetually having broken off hair or to be more accurate, burned off hair (from the straightening combs that were metal heated over the stove fire, with no way to check the temperature), so that it was really short or sort of ragged--but never bald spots or balding. The problem nowadays IMO is that the hair is being braided and hair attached that is too heavy for the hair its being attached to to support. so your own hair is pulled out. This is a process that takes time--traction alopecia doesn't show up quickly and when it does show up, it takes time before its irreversible (i e, until the follicles are so insulted that no hair grows out of them anymore, a la Naomi Campbell in that famous picture). But when it starts happening, women tend to want to hide the balding and thus do MORE extensions, thus making the problem worse.

But again, I don't think its the tight braids alone, people can correct me if they have a different experience or know different.

To go somewhat OT, extensions, of course, have a whole lot of issues other than being attached to tight braids. People glue them on, and the glue is bad for your hair and then there's the issue of getting it out; people do chemical processes to the part of their hair left out to match the extensions; people just simply feel they can leave them in for extremely long time periods (six months or more) and never ever moisturize or care for their own hair at all. All of that creates balding problems and the 'edges' being gone. And in the various African descended communities, there's often this dislike (I don't understand it) for the curlier hair at the edges and nape and the way its looks that leads people to ATTACK it with very stiff brushes and sometimes layers of different gels and products and then to tight bun and brush some more to make it "lay" (down) and they remove it from their heads that way. I've seen videos on youtube showing women doing this that make me CRINGE. And often the women doing this already have edges very far back and clearly damaged and are still doing it, and recommending it to others.

But to return to topic, the big issue with a lot of the traction alopecia is the weight of the hair that's not yours. when you grow your hair out of your own scalp, its never too heavy for your follicles to support (though you can have discomfort putting it up in buns that aren't sectioned, or it can make you hurt more when you have a headache), but when you add someone's elses all at once, and often in huge amounts (the young girls add on waist length hair that's way too thick to be realistic, to short hair, we are not talking a couple of tracks put in once in a while here--the huge addition attached to braids is very destructive.

I doubt the Kardashians in the pics posted on this thread are going to have those particular problems though because I think for once, they don't have extensions in. there's nowhere to hide extensions in those tight braided pigtails, at least I don't see any place, maybe I'm wrong. Plus, with them, next week they'll have moved on to something else, you know? No attention span at all.

Yes braids are popular with some in the Caribbean. We usually say cornrows/canerows and plaits but reserve the name braid for when hair extensions are added. A few girls around the age of 14 + sported them once or a few times. Most were happy to just go with the hair they've got. I can only recall two teachers who used them once. I'd seen a family friend do her hair with braids. Big sis even had a hair dresser phase when she started training to become one. I let her cornrow my hair once, never again. She did it too tight. I had to take them out. Some people do hair too tight some don't. Those that do hair tight will do so with ponytails, plaits and every hairstyle they do. I'd seen children in school with hair tied so tight that there scalp buckled. I'd be thinking ouch. When mother was around she'd mutter "poor child". Hair was expected to be contained. With the exception of some with straight hair being cut in the shortest bobs, all hair got put in pony tails/plaits/cornrows. Even those with twa put them in tiny plaits most times. When you got to a teen then maybe you got a chance to wear hair out sometimes.

What I find different from hearing about hair stories in the US is that some never got a chance to see people with natural type 3 or type 4 hair. It was all straightened or kept in extensions. Those that used it in the Caribbean saw it as an occasional thing used once a year or less and it certainly did not stay on your head months on end neither was there a cycle of braid up for at least 6 weeks, unbraid, wash and re-braid year round. I can recall my own mother using them twice in my life.

I know in some places it's frowned upon to have school children using hair extensions. My friend told me about a girl in school was was called up in front of the whole school and shamed because her braids were falling out. She had a twa and it was hard for the extra hair to stay.

I can't stand the whole edge and gel brushing thing either. If it weren't for the internet I'd have never known about the whole phenomenon.

It is possible that that picture does have extensions. When you add hair extensions in tiny bits gradually it's called feed in braids. It's done like this.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ3MzlQBkGc

MandyBeth
March 20th, 2016, 05:26 PM
My minion who has curly hair is full on 3c with insane shrinkage. Her hair is 10" on the floor wet. It's about classic dry. 90% or more of the time her hair is braided and up.

With extensions, im just picking on the Kartrashian clan. There's entirely too many pictures out where the extensions are blatantly obvious. I've never had them, nor would my hair tolerate them. So I really know nothing on how they work.

lauren_alia
March 20th, 2016, 05:41 PM
Interesting discussions everyone. :) So, looking back at the pictures in the OP, I'm thinking the difference in the first picture of the Dutch braids and the last picture of the "Kardashian braids" is just the size of the sections being picked up. The first one is picking up larger sections of hair from the sides, and thus there are fewer sections added before you run out of hair to incorporate. In the last picture the braid is started with a tiny section of hair close to the hairline, and they're picking up teeny tiny sections of hair as they go. That results in many more sections being added before you run out of hair to incorporate, which means more braid bumps before you get to the nape. I think this is what is making the braids look "tighter," it's not that the hair is actually being pulled super tight.

Llama
March 20th, 2016, 05:44 PM
Interesting discussions everyone. :) So, looking back at the pictures in the OP, I'm thinking the difference in the first picture of the Dutch braids and the last picture of the "Kardashian braids" is just the size of the sections being picked up. The first one is picking up larger sections of hair from the sides, and thus there are fewer sections added before you run out of hair to incorporate. In the last picture the braid is started with a tiny section of hair close to the hairline, and they're picking up teeny tiny sections of hair as they go. That results in many more sections being added before you run out of hair to incorporate, which means more braid bumps before you get to the nape. I think this is what is making the braids look "tighter," it's not that the hair is actually being pulled super tight.

Idk...I've heard cornrows are done painfully tight if they are being done "correctly". I've never actually had them done on myself but that's what I've heard.

lauren_alia
March 20th, 2016, 06:25 PM
Idk...I've heard cornrows are done painfully tight if they are being done "correctly". I've never actually had them done on myself but that's what I've heard.

Oh, I wasn't trying to say cornrows aren't done tightly. I really don't know about that. I was specifically talking about the braid in the third picture of the OP. (ETA: I guess it's actually the fourth picture in the OP, sorry. The last one of the "Kardashian braids") It looks to me like the effect was created by taking smaller sections making it look tighter, when it may or may not be actually pulled very tight. To illustrate what I mean I just did two dutch braids on my own hair. The first one I took bigger sections- this is how I normally would do my braids because it's faster. The second one I took much smaller sections. You can see that it results in a tighter looking braid with many more braid bumps before I get to the nape. I didn't actually pull my hair any tighter though. The tension of the two braids is the same. I imagine this could be an even more pronounced effect if you have thicker hair than what I do, because you could take even more tiny sections before running out of hair.
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo37/lauren_alia/Mobile%20Uploads/2016-03-20%2017.05.47.jpg (http://s359.photobucket.com/user/lauren_alia/media/Mobile%20Uploads/2016-03-20%2017.05.47.jpg.html)
http://i359.photobucket.com/albums/oo37/lauren_alia/Mobile%20Uploads/2016-03-20%2017.08.23.jpg (http://s359.photobucket.com/user/lauren_alia/media/Mobile%20Uploads/2016-03-20%2017.08.23.jpg.html)

chen bao jun
March 20th, 2016, 06:30 PM
Thanks, Hairkay.

And thanks for information on the feed in braids, that's interesting.

Yeah, the US and natural type 4 hair--its interesting. It goes in cycles, from what I can tell.

When I was a child, all the little girls had their natural hair (in cornrows or braids, depending on length, or hair type, very very few ever had it loose--I actually did, on Sundays only, before my mother decided that hair straightening was the way to go rather than fussing with forming curls--in those day you did it with a hairbrush and some water over your fingers, one by one). But something like 99% of the older black ladies wore wigs, or else had their hair brushed back and pinned wig pieces on--and you certainly never saw a black lady with unprocessed hair unless she was waayyyy into the type 3's.

3c was not 'good' enough for you to be allowed to do that (wear it loose as an adult, though as a kid it was fine). You'd have to be like a 3a, (and my aunts who were 3a spent a lot of the time in giganto hair curlers or doobies, basically to keep their hair straight, because curls of any kind were not really 'in'. they'd take it out only when the weather was exactly right (not too much heat or mugginess in those no-airconditioning days and definitely no rain). If they couldn't be in hair curlers, they'd bun, because you can make type 3 hair in a bun appear to be wavy (okay) rather than curly (bad).

this was serious business because in parts of the US, your hair type could literally determine your LIFE. My aunts had immigrated (this is the Latin American side of the family) to the American South in the late 1940's, early 1950's and it was segregated. Mixed race people like them were 'placed' vis a vis the color line often by hair type. that is, if the powers that be couldn't tell exactly what you were, they'd look at your hair to decide if you got to sit in the front of the bus or in the back, and which bathroom you got to use, 'white' or 'colored.' My aunt who is somewhere in the 2c range had no problems and went anywhere she wanted. I have two other aunts, the one who was probably a 3a was okay so long as she made sure she didn't have a very curly hair day, and the third one wore scarves and hats all the time --lucky for her, it being the 50's, women could wear hats inside. Still, she decided to go live up North pretty quickly and then the others followed. Where it still made a difference. the one with the 2c hair got an office job in Manhattan. There was not officially any segregation, but if anybody else with some African ancestry worked there, you couldn't tell, they would also have looked like her (basically Caucasian) and also not be mentioning the AFrican ancestry. No one who was visibly back had that kind of job at that time.

Of course someone like my mother was going to be on the back of the bus, whatever she did, and nobody would think that she was any whiter even when she wore it absolutely straight, but you can see why there would be a kind of 'drip down' effect and why everybody would wear their hair straight whether it actually made any difference or not.

then, after the civil rights movement, in the late sixties and early seventies, 'natural' hair--that is afros (that was the only kind of natural hair anybody knew about), became very much in. Everything was supposed to be changed and people were supposed to be proud of their AFrican type hair. At this time, black people with looser hair types actually were ashamed of themselves. I had cousins with 2c, 3a hair who were washing their hair with Tide detergent to make themselves fit in better and hide their actual hair type. I myself, as a 3c, which is not out of the range of the usual African descent hair types, not the way that 2c, for example, is, used to roll up my hair on 50 plus brown paper rollers every night, because that hair had to stay up in air. it wasn't enough that it was tightly curly, it had to stay. up. there. Not flop. That was 'too white'.

But by the end of the 70's, you did not wear an afro anymore, nobody did and not only didn't you wear an afro, but women had started pretty uniformly chemically relaxing their hair. When i was a child, women didn't relax their hair, the chemicals were considered chancy and dangerous and only a few MEN (people like James Brown, entertainers, or 'player' types in the neighborhood) had 'conked hair. The process got safer and you weren't so likely to go bald and as I just said, it became the thing to do, only the older ladies still used the old 'hot comb'--or children, on special occasions. Children still didn't have straightened hair yet, though, no matter what their hair type. People would expect girls to wear their hair straight all the time, only when they hit puberty, it was in fact sort of a rite of passage. My mother had been highly, highly unusual in starting me out have my hair regularly straightened at age 8, back in the 60's and the late 70's, younger than age 13 was still not norm. But when you did start to get your hair straightened, in these later years, it was chemically straightened, not the hot comb (at least in big cities like where I lived).

When relaxing hair first came in, you'd relax and then you'd care for it by rolling it up on curlers and getting under a hair dryer. I owned my first blow dryer in high school, but it didn't get very hot and couldn't really be used for straightening hair. It wasn't until the mid 80's that it got to be the thing to relax the hair, blow it dry on high heat and then straighten it further with this new invention, the flat iron.

But by then you had a choice--you couldn't wear natural curly hair but you could either straighten it to death in the way described above OR do these 'curls' --'Jheri curls'--the sort that Michael Jackson put in his hair. In all of his videos, that's what he's wearing (and that's what he had on the day when his hair infamously caught on fire while filming a music video). those were like a big thing in the black community for a while and some people still have them, but a different sort--they don't drip grease like they used to back in the day.

But if you didn't like your natural hair, you still wore wigs, up until I think the early 1990's. That was when I first became aware of hair extensions and hair weaves anyway. People would braid hair onto the edges of their hair from about the mid 1980's, but the 'weaves', which was added hair that you could wear loose, I think that that started in the early 1990's and it was just a few people and they were highly secretive about it and used to do it very realistically. They didn't become so universal as they are now, especially with the very young women for awhile, though. I actually cna't remember exactly when it was that I looked around and realized that, if not the majority, a very very large number of young black women had hair weaves and even children. and little children, 5 and 6 years old, had relaxed hair. It's a major cultural change. But there's been another one gathering steam in the past ten or so years. When I started wear my hair natural, back in 2000, it was a huge big deal and I got a lot of flack--more than I'd got back in the day for wearing the afro. But now its not a big deal at all and in some circles (college girls, young urban professionals in hip areas) there are more people with their natural hair than any other kind, and different hair types too (its not just the 3cs and 4as though that's more of what you see on the internet, in the videos). I'd say, that in the lower income neighborhoods, you see pretty universal hair weave, and in the upper income ones, little to none. I have no idea why this is, but its my very strong impression.

So it's cycled around. Mostly.

Maybe it will be more lasting this time than the afro was. that seemed like such a big change--and it really barely lasted 5 years. so you have to say it was a fad, not a real change.

This is of course just what I personally saw in the areas where i was and I may misremember some things--there would probably be a different take if another person were writing it with different experiences, who lived in different places.

Sorry that it's a book.