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Tree Braids for African American Hair

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.


Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 17, 2011:

Thanks, Bamba!

bamba on May 01, 2011:

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 :


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Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on December 26, 2010:

Did you watch the video, Amy?

Amy on December 25, 2010:

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

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on November 19, 2010:

Thanks, Journalistmommy!

Journalistmommy on November 16, 2010:

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.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on November 11, 2010:

Anastasia, thanks for the added info!

Anastasia on October 27, 2010:

In England we call this style pick and drop

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on June 27, 2010:

Thanks, Research!

Research Analyst on June 24, 2010:

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

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 12, 2010:

Glad you liked it, Ms. Anne!

msannec from Mississippi (The Delta) on May 10, 2010:

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.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 03, 2010:

Good to see you, Granny!

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on May 01, 2010:

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

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 30, 2010:

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

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 30, 2010:

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

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on April 30, 2010:

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....

prettydarkhorse from US on April 30, 2010:

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

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 30, 2010:

Thanks, Entertainment!

entertianmentplus from United States on April 30, 2010:

Well done habee!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 30, 2010:

No - thank YOU, HH!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 30, 2010:

Hi back, Mike!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 30, 2010:

Great hub, habee, and thank you.

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on April 29, 2010:

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!


Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 29, 2010:

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

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 29, 2010:

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

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 29, 2010:

Hi, Denni! Thanks for reading!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 29, 2010:

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

Veronica Allen from Georgia on April 29, 2010:

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.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 29, 2010:

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

Katie McMurray from Ohio on April 29, 2010:

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 :)

Denni on April 29, 2010:

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.

sheila b. on April 29, 2010:

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.

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