Truth be told, humans have been braiding their hair - and beards - for thousands of years, all around the world. It never really went OUT of fashion but now, thanks to popular media, it is very much IN fashion.
All thanks to Game of Thrones! There's nothing like a hit TV show to start a craze, and those GOT girls have been totally rocking the braid!
Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa and, of course, Khaleesi are the queens of the braid. So much so, that women - and possibly men - have been rushing into salons, demanding the GOT look. There are online tutorials on the subject, even ticket-only workshops!
The earliest ever braid was created around 30,000 years ago. And there's proof - a figurine of a woman, the Venus of Willendorf, made between 28,000 and 25,000 BC. She appears to have braids. So, too, does the Venus of Brassempouy, made 25,000 years ago.
From then on, braids seem to be everywhere, especially during the Bronze and Iron Ages.
Many people today choose braids because they are neat, tidy, and easy to care for, and there was probably an element of that way back when also. But braided hair was also a form of communication. How a woman wore her braid depicted whether she was single, married or a widow.
The type of braid also identified what tribe you were from and your social status. We're guessing it could get a little confusing at times!
Africa has long been associated with hair braiding, and some of the designs are amazingly intricate. Again, these were used to communicate your tribe, age, marital status, social status, wealth, religion, and more.
In some ways, nothing much has changed. Braiding was seen as a social activity, where the women and children gathered and spent hours braiding and talking. It's much the same now, except we go to a salon and probably enjoy a latte while we're there! But there is still the social element to the event.
Braids come in all shapes and sizes, from the traditional plait, to intricate weaves and cornrows. Some people believe that plaiting or braiding encourages hair growth. This may not be true, but wearing your hair in braids does protect it.
Braiding reduces everyday wear and tear on your hair, so you tend not to damage it as much. And because it isn't being brushed and combed all the time, there is less breakage. However, don't braid your hair too tightly, as this can cause damage.
This also raises the question of how long you should keep your braids in. Some experts say 12 weeks in the cut-off. After that, you should take the braids out, and let your hair 'breathe' for a while before re-braiding. During the break, it's recommended you book in for a cut and intense conditioning treatment.
Braids certainly are low maintenance, which makes them brilliant for holidays, or the beach. Smooth over a protective leave-in conditioner, and you'll vastly reduce damage done by the sun and sea. Be sure to rinse in fresh water at the end of the day and spritz regularly with conditioner.
There's a lot of choice when you braid your hair. Choose from box braids, Ghana braids, jumbo braids, or how about Senegalese twists? Or you might prefer partial braids, inspired by Game of Thrones.
You can also decorate your braids with braid cuffs, hair jewellery, and beads. There's no end to what you can do. And everyone will know what to get you for your next birthday too!
As with most things in life, there is a right way, and a wrong way to braid. For the best results - and care of your hair - we recommend going to a salon that does a lot of braiding. You'll find plenty right here on Bookwell.