African hair braids offer great summer hairstyles for kids
By Leah Fletcher
With the summer upon us, you might be looking for a hairstyle suited to your child’s active life and need to keep cool. During this scorching, hot season, African hair braids might be a great choice because they are easy to create and maintain, regardless of hair texture. Braids offer the perfect protective hairstyle and solution for swimming, sports and summer play, which can mean messy hair.
Look below for tips on creative and stylish braiding ideas you can outfit your child with for the upcoming summer season.
Choosing a style
Kids can select from a range of braided hairstyle options found in magazines or found in photos on the Internet. Braids run the gamut from cornrows to individuals and from plats to twist. They are unisex and the gender differences are emphasized by variations in length, width and adornment. The primary skill required to create African hairstyles are braiding, twisting, and the ability to part hair. If you do the braiding yourself you will need a rattail or parting comb, clips, hairbrush, hair moisturizer and rubber bands. For some styles, beads are required. There also are African hair-braiding shops that may do the job for you. Shop around. Prices vary and the hairstyle will dictate costs and time.
Types of braids, braids, braids...
Cornrows are braids that lay flat against the scalp, and can be styled in a number of directions depending on how the hair is parted. Some select a basic cornrow. The hair will be braided from the front hairline to the nape of the neck in long, straight rows. Others have their cornrows transformed into pigtails or ponytails. Talented braiders can create circles, swirls, zigzags, squares and other creative designs.
Girls typically wear basic cornrows that are parted in two to three inch sections. Synthetic hair can be added to the cornrows to extend their length and for fun, beads of various colors and shapes can be fastened to the ends of the braids. Cornrows can last up to a month with synthetic hair and without it about a week.
Boys typically wear cornrows without synthetic hair or beads with slightly thicker sections at three to five inches. In addition to wearing them straight back, they also wear them parted in the center with braids going from the crown of the head, at the part, down to either the right or left hairline.
Individuals are free hanging braids that cover the entire scalp and are typically worn by girls. They range from very small to large, which can be done with natural hair, or with extensions using synthetic or human hair. If the individuals are braided with synthetic hair, they can be sealed at the ends by wrapping the tips of the braids around a plastic roller and dipped into hot water for 30 seconds. When they are removed from the water and the roller, the braids are sealed in a spiral curl. Individual braids with extensions can last up to one to five months, and with out extensions for up to one month.
Plats are large individual braids that cover the head in sections. The sections, roughly about 16, do not require extensions, and are secured at the tips with rubber bands. Both girls and boys can wear plats, but they are more popular with boys due to their simplicity. Plats last for about one week.
Twists are primarily worn by girls, and can be worn in the same style as braids, such as cornrows, plats and individuals. They can be worn with or without extensions. However, twists are not as popular as braids because they lack a weave/lock pattern, making it difficult for the hair to hold for a reasonable time period.
Caring for braids
To maintain a crisp appearance, all braids, regardless of style, should be maintained daily. Before bedtime, it is important to sprits the hair with a light moisturizer and then cover the head with a silk scarf. The texture of the hair will determine if additional moisturizing is required in the morning to maintain a light sheen.
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