Ghana Plaits Piggyback Hairstyle



After completing the second set of Ghana plaits, I played around with different hairstyles until I settled with the one pictured in this post. Originally I wanted the plaits to connect upward but my creativity did not go far with that idea. The plaits connecting horizontally was something I could envision clearly in my head as and manifest on Z's head.



Connecting the plaits was easier than I thought. I still need more practice with my creative parting skills but I really do like how this second set of Ghana plaits turned out especially without having to use any barrettes or bands to secure anything. Her hair is literally held together by a thread(s).


I asked Z what she thought of her style after she looked in the mirror, and her response was, 'Eh." I know that she would rather wear the plaits down, but I told her that if she wants healthier hair, her ends have to be protected most times. She settled for my explanation and went on about her business. lol At least she allowed me to get some pictures.


Hopefully she will enjoy the style more once we add a few colorful accessories to dress it up. I will maintain the style by moisturizing it with my spritz as needed every one or two days. The goal is two weeks. We will see!

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Ghana Plaits Removal and Re-installment for Set Number 2



Today was take down day for Z's first set of Ghana plaits. They could have gone for a few more days, but with so much going on at the moment, it was in the best interest of Z and I to go ahead and remove the style today. 

The process of removing the threads took longer than expected due to the fact that her baby hairs in the back of her head were tangled within the threads at the base of the plaits. I am uncertain whether her getting those plaits wet in the bathtub or just regular play and tumbling may have contributed to this issue, but I had to take extra care (and time) not to tug and rip her hairs out near the roots just to get the thread loose. Since her hair was frizzy overall, I had to use the pick to help slide the thread from within her glorious frizziness. :-) The entire process took approximately one hour aka an episode of Sesame Street in kid's time.


Following the removal of the plaits, I sectioned Z's hair into several parts, applied "cheapie" conditioner (Pantene I got on a steep sale weeks ago), and gently finger detangled her hair to remove loose/shed hairs. I rinsed the conditioner out and applied another round of conditioner (Giovanni Smooth As Silk) to co-wash her hair and finger detangle the sections once more. After a good rinse, her hair was soft, well hydrated, and ready to be styled.


Products I used to African thread Z's hair included my homemade moisturizing spritz (which changes often...this time I used aloe vera juice, distilled water, and Shea Moisture Curl Milk), coconut oil, and my whipped shea butter mix. The oil was for her scalp and the shea butter was used as a sealant.

One thing I wanted to do different for this second set of Ghana plaits was to wrap the thread closer together on each plait. In contrast to the corkscrew look of the first set, these plaits came out stiffer and more elongated, which is what I was aiming for since I wanted this set to be arranged into an updo instead of hanging down freely. My goal this fall and winter is to keep those ends protected!


When it comes to coming up with creative parting, I struggle with this feat. I guess that is why I pin so many pins on pinterest of children's natural hairstyles to help guide me and give me some inspiration on how to part for a style. However, what I had in mind as an updo for this set of Ghana plaits sure did not come out that way after I finished parting and threading her hair. Nevertheless, I still liked how the plaits came out and knew that I will make this style work.


Once I completed the plaits, I definitely gained a clearer understanding on how to secure the base of each plait better than my first time without having to wrap the thread around 50 million times. :-) My confidence is growing in this technique, and I look forward to mastering it in the future (once I go and buy tons of weaving thread!).


Although I planned for her ends to go into some type of updo, I still moisturized and sealed them really well. I am hoping that this set of Ghana plaits last two weeks. Stay tuned for the next post to find out how I ultimately decided to style this set of Ghana plaits!

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African Hair Threading Updates Before Removal

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading Updates Before Removal


I thought it would be nice to show how Z's Ghana plaits evolved over the period of their installation. Many times, we tend to post pictures of a hairstyle freshly done, but in reality, over time (or a day or two later), and after enduring the life of an active preschooler, styles do get frizzy. Nevertheless, in our household, we embrace ALL aspects of natural hair--fuzz, frizz, and flyaways. That is just part of our natural territory and we run with it! We will not be defined by how well/long a style stays "kept" and frizz-free. The idea I am promoting is freedom of expression and not bondage to other people's standards and judgment. Remember, we are striving for SELF-confidence. :-)


Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading Updates Before Removal

The Ghana plaits have been wonderful for the most part. I already discussed my pros/cons/proposals about the African hair threading technique. Now we are just riding the course until I remove the threads soon. The plaits are still so soft and have gotten plump over time due to humidity, regular moisturizing, and shrinkage. I actually like them more as they "age".

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading Updates Before Removal

I noticed that some of her barrettes are getting caught in her hair. The reasons could be due to the increased frizziness of Z's plaits and the design of the barrettes. The inexpensive beauty world accessories are not designed well and can have some rugged edges and corners. This will probably be one of the few and final times I put so many barrettes in her hair because of the possibility of damage occurring from the barrettes rubbing against her hair. Besides, my little girl is not as little anymore. She is definitely growing more and more into a beautiful "older" little girl! ;-) She will still be my baby nevertheless...

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading Updates Before Removal


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The Good and Bad of African Threading/Ghana Plaits

Beautifully Curled: Some Issues with African Threading/Ghana Plaits


What is my verdict on my first set of Ghana plaits now that Z has had them in her hair for 5 days now? The answer is...I still totally adore them!!! For the most part aside from a few issues, the African hair threading technique is definitely something I plan on incorporating more regularly into our hairstyling rotation. I see so many possibilities and after perusing and pinning some images on my pinterest board of various styles that can be done using African threading, I cannot wait to head to the beauty store for more weaving thread! The longer Z's hair get, the more I see doing Ghana plait updos! Can't you tell I am excited?!!! :-)

My pros about the Ghana plaits:
  • The corkscrew look is so unique.
  • The way the plaits manage to keep a downward position after a long night of sleep (and tossing and turning). It is amazing how they still hang after each night. With regular two strand twists, I would have to manipulate the twists the next morning with water to get them to hang uniformly downward again.
  • As a result of the previous point, this style is truly low maintenance.
  • Her scalp is accessible for moisturizing as needed.
  • Even after being out in misty, drizzling weather for a few hours and getting the back twists wet in the bathtub, her plaits are holding up pretty well overall although there are some issues that need to be addressed.
My cons/issues about the Ghana plaits:
  • The ends are exposed. This was addressed in my previous post by adding barrettes but this is something I prefer to not continually implement in the future. The barrettes are cute, however, they can still be damaging to the ends if not properly moisturized and handled. I would rather not take the extra risk.
  • In the above picture, the threads started to slip from the ends of some of the plaits on the SECOND day. Now this may a result of my threading technique, but it has been reported by others who have done African threading on their child's hair. The barrettes did stop most of the threads from unraveling all the way to the top although a few did manage to get past the barrettes. Nevertheless, the plaits still maintained their corkscrew shape, and I was able to re-thread those plaits.
  • The threads at the roots of the plaits have begun slipping down (see picture below). This is not a big deal to me, but something I have noticed more as the days passed. This, too, could just be a personal result of my threading technique.

Beautifully Curled: Some Issues with African Threading/Ghana Plaits

So, what are my proposed resolutions for next time?
  • My ideal way to resolve the issue of the exposed ends is to incorporate the plaits into a bun or updo where I can eliminate the use of barrettes yet keep her ends protected. 
  • For the threads slipping at the end, I will aim to double knot the thread and not thread so close to the very end of the plait. Maybe I will stop a half inch from the ends before knotting. 
  • In regard to the thread sliding from the base of the plait, this is something I noticed more on the back plaits than the top/plaits. Many reasons could contribute to this such as rough play, friction from car seat, plaits getting soaked in the bathtub, my threading technique, and etc. The next time, I will just continue to practice creating a secure base without being too tight, and I will reassess the issue if it arises again.
I will leave this set of plaits in until Friday where I will let her sport the style minus the thread and barrettes. On Saturday, I will put in another set of Ghana plaits hopefully (and successfully) into a high bun (or two). I will continue to moisturize her hair with my homemade water and Shea Moisture's Curl Milk spritz every other day. 

Any suggestions are welcomed! :-)

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First Attempt: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits


Recently a few friends on Facebook and in person asked me if I knew how to do African Hair Threading. Initially, I did not know anything about the technique and went straight to the source to find out: Google. Well I came across this awesome YouTube video from the channel Girls Love Your Curls that thoroughly demonstrated the process, and I was highly intrigued to the point that I knew I had to attempt this technique soon. I never recalled seeing girls wearing this particular style (Ghana) plait. The closest I have seen to African Hair Threading is the rope twists (a style I have yet to master).

Fortunately I found my spool of black weaving thread not too long ago and had set it to the side for no apparent reason at the time. I guess it had a reason all along! I started with Z's hair in her banded updo from a few days ago. The only products I used were my moisturizing spritz (water + Shea Moisture Curl Milk) and coconut oil as a sealant.

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

I decided to try my hand at the "scallop" parting method for this hair style. I have seen it on other blogs when styling box braids and always thought it was an ingenious idea. I started from the back and worked my way up.

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

The technique is pretty simple once you get an idea of how much tension to apply around the root of the plait to ensure a secure base and how far to space the thread along the length of the plait. My first several plaits were looser at the root due to my learning curve but in no time, I was able to wrap the thread at the base in a manner that was not too tight to cause breakage yet not too loose to promote slippage of the thread. The process of pulling the thread taut to create the corkscrew look was neat. I thought her hair would get caught up in the thread while doing so, but that was not the case at all! Her hair easily glided into shining, bouncing corkscrews all over her head. :-)

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

I love the way the scalloped parting turned out! My husband called it the tortoise shell. Granted I need to work on uniformity of the thread spacing along the plaits, but I am pretty pleased with the outcome. The only thing that concerns me is how the ends are exposed. I am primarily about protective styling over the fall/winter months and did not want to leave her ends just out. I attempted to do some type of updo but her hair is not long enough yet so I ultimately decided to add barrettes to the ends. Not the best alternative but since she does not wear them often, I figured a little (or lot) would not hurt.

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

I will aim to moisturize her ends at least every other day and am hoping this style will last at least a week. Z really loves this hairstyle especially since it is something new, and she can swing her hair. The plaits are very light and soft; I am amazed at the sheen of her hair.

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

Beautifully Curled: African Hair Threading/Ghana Plaits

This style took approximately 3 hours to do with breaks included. In other words, it did not take any longer than it would to do a set of medium twists. I think next time, I will pre-cut and knot the thread to help speed up the process since now I have a pretty good idea of how much thread is needed per plait. I look forward to see how her first set holds up over the next week (or two!). :-)

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Converting Old Twists into a New Updo

Beautifully Curled: Converting Old Twists into a New Updo


After almost a month of wearing twists (2 sets for 2 weeks each) in order to give Z's scalp a break from tension, I decided to convert her two week old twists into a cute banded updo. The day prior to the conversion, I co-washed her hair (with the twists still in) with Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner. The next evening, I proceeded with taking out her twists starting from the bottom and working my way up. As I completed a section of hair, I moisturized and banded it before moving to the next section. Here is a picture halfway through the process:

Beautifully Curled: Converting Old Twists into a New Updo

I did not have a set style in mind but I knew it had to be something simple due to the time constraint (close to bedtime hence the use of the FLASH...gasp!). I decided to connect sections into a high puff and call it a night. Here was the finished style in the back (she would not let me get a good picture of the front view because of the flash...I understand):

Beautifully Curled: Converting Old Twists into a New Updo

Her hair was well moisturized from the co-wash and from the simple spritz I made (water and Shea Moisture Curl Milk). For extra measure overnight, I added a shower cap over her puff to keep it from flattening in the morning (along with her bonnet of course). All I had to do the next day was remove the cap and gently reshape her puff, which was moist and easy to manipulate.

Beautifully Curled: Converting Old Twists into a New Updo

She wore her puff out for two three days before I decided to band that section too in preparation for a new style. I almost always prefer for her hair to be stretched for her styles except when I am doing her twists. I love her twists to look plump and full after styling on damp hair.

Overall the style was pretty low maintenance and easy to do. She rarely wear her hair in a puff because the detangling process can be tedious after a few days so this style was a treat! Detangling her puff prior to banding it was not bad due to the fact that she had a trim a month ago. I gave special care to detangle mostly with my fingers compared to using a comb; her hair was saturated with moisturizing spritz prior to detangling. It is truly a time saver when old styles can be converted into a totally new style. :)

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Using Clips to Reduce Puffiness at the Root of Twists

Beautifully Curled: Using Clips to Reduce Puffiness at the Root of Twists


This post is overdue but is an update to the previous post in regard to my experimentation of using clips to help reduce the usual puffiness that occurs after twisting damp hair. Z slept just fine with the clips in her hair overnight and they were all in tact the following morning.

Beautifully Curled: Using Clips to Reduce Puffiness at the Root of Twists

I carefully removed each clip and was pleased to find that her roots were indeed tighter in comparison to allowing her hair to puff/shrink as it air-dried overnight. Her twists were laid in there intended positions around the fame of her face. The effect lasted a few days before her twists began showing signs of puffiness at the roots.

Beautifully Curled: Using Clips to Reduce Puffiness at the Root of Twists

Overall, this technique is good in regard to creating a tighter look around the roots which helps the twists to look neater and last longer than usual. However, I do not intend on using this method every time I style twists in Z's hair. I believe this approach is more appropriate if I desire her twists to fall in a certain direction as they are setting (air-drying) especially overnight. Even so, I would most likely only clip the upper section of her hair where the roots are more visible in contrast to the back. This set of twists lasted two weeks and held up quite well. 

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