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Tree Braids for African American Hair

Updated on April 29, 2010

Women around the world spend millions of dollars and countless hours on their hair. Poets have devoted verses singing the praises of beautiful locks, and most fashion-conscious females are usually very interested in how famous celebrities are wearing their hair. For some African American women, this presents a special problem.

Straight hair styles

If you keep up with the latest hair styles, you know that for the most part, straight hair is “in.” Even women of other ethnicities use flat irons and styling products to achieve super-straight tresses. Many African Americans have naturally curly hair, and if these individuals desire wearing straight hair styles, they sometimes turn to relaxers and perms for the desired effect. Unfortunately, some African American hair products can be extremely harsh, for both the scalp and for the hair itself.

Another option in the quest for straightened hair is a weave, and a new style that’s gaining in popularity is the tree braid weave styling. Tree braids are a great alternative to a traditional weave, and many natural enthusiasts see tree braids as a safe alternative to black hair products like harsh perms and relaxers.

What’s a tree braid?

A tree braid begins with placing your own hair in cornrows. Thin sections of hair are then attached to each cornrow, creating a “tree.” The cornrow serves as the trunk of the tree, with the attached hair serving as the tree’s “branches.” Tree braiding can be achieved with real or synthetic sections of hair.

How to add tree braids to your hair

Some top hair stylists are now specializing in tree braids because of their immense popularity. Having this done by a stylist, however, is usually very expensive. You can do your own tree braiding and save a bundle! For information on how to do tree braids, follow the steps below.

First, shampoo and condition your hair. Then, using a comb, distribute a lightweight styling mixture evenly through your hair. Products made from natural ingredients are preferred. This will help the braids hold. Your hair should remain moist throughout the entire process.

The next step is to divide your hair into three sections, secure each section with a hair clip or ponytail holder, and place the cornrows. Starting with the middle of the center section, take a small section of hair, about ¼-inch thick, and divide it into three strands. Create a braid by picking up sections from underneath the opposite side to add to the center strand. Repeat this process for each section, keeping a tight uniform tension.

To add the tree braid, incorporate the hair extensions from underneath, again using about ¼-inch pieces. After the first three crossovers, strands of the extensions should be added as part of the next cross section. After a few more crossovers, another section of extension should be added. At the end of each section of your own hair, secure the braid with a rubber band. The fewer crossovers you have between each section of added extension, the more natural the extensions will appear.

If you prefer a “chunky” style, use bigger sections of your own hair and thicker sections of extensions.

If you learn better by watching than reading, consider the DVD, Learn How To Tree Braid.

Tree braids are a great option for achieving long straight hair.
Tree braids are a great option for achieving long straight hair.

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    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      African American girls I once worked with had such a nice social life doing eachother's hair. This style is one I never saw, probably because it's so new.

    • profile image

      Denni 7 years ago

      My wife swears by tree braids. Its a nice way to add some straight hair whip appeal on the sistas, without going all out weave.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      habee, ohhhhh these are so cool, I want some for the summer minus the extensions and it would be great to manage my thick curly hair. Very interesting and creative find! Thanks and Peace :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Habee, This is really neat and it would be so much cooler in the summer. Good hub.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      I've had this done before when I went for extensions. While the completed project was lovely, my only problem is that I have a hard time sitting for so long. It is a great way to add extensions in thicker and coarser hair without the fear of too much damgage to the underlying hair.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sheila, same with my black friends. How come we don't do that??

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Denni! Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Cool, Katie! Is that really you in the avatar pic?

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Veronica, it would be hard for me to sit that long, too. Maybe if I had a good book...

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      The information you've presented here is certainly out of any area of expertise I might pretend to claim, but I thought I would say hi and let you know I was reading!

      Mike

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Great hub, habee, and thank you.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi back, Mike!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      No - thank YOU, HH!

    • entertianmentplus profile image

      entertianmentplus 7 years ago from United States

      Well done habee!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Entertainment!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      never know the name of this hehe, although I see many here with braids like that, thanks Habee, Maita

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      That is so cool but I bet I'd get a headache! I already have long straight hair anyhow but I wish I could figure out how to braid it myself. Bob doesn't seem that enthusiastic in learning to do it for me - go figure! Great info as always - maybe I can get him to learn these....oh sure....

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      The tree braids are getting to be very popular, Maita!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Audrey, if you teach Bob, please have him teach Johnny! lol

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      They are so cool. I always wondered how they did it. Now I know. Thanks habee. Another great hub

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Good to see you, Granny!

    • msannec profile image

      msannec 7 years ago from Mississippi (The Delta)

      Great hub, thanks Habee! I'm always looking for something new to do with my hair, I may give this a try now that I know how it's done.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Glad you liked it, Ms. Anne!

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 7 years ago

      Thanks Habee, I really like the detail in the photo, great job.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Research!

    • profile image

      Anastasia 6 years ago

      In England we call this style pick and drop

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Anastasia, thanks for the added info!

    • Journalistmommy profile image

      Journalistmommy 6 years ago

      I had tree braids and I loved them. I would, however, recommend using human hair for your braids. I used synthetic and it matted up so badly I could barely get the braids out without cutting my own hair.

      I get my hair from Perfect Locks. They're really good.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Journalistmommy!

    • profile image

      Amy 6 years ago

      how did you do that style is very beautiful.plzzzzzzzzzzz can you shown me how to get it done cuz I really like it.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Did you watch the video, Amy?

    • profile image

      bamba 6 years ago

      we promote traditional African Hair Braiding. As a Francophone West African Compagny, we bring women business in the carabeen evry year. Come to visit us this year.

      If you are intersted send E mail to : mail@info-com.me.uk

      Thanks

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Bamba!

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