In search of your next protective style? Haaaave you tried Ghana braids yet? Similar to cornrows, but with extra braiding hair added throughout the process, Ghana braids are a great go-to for those looking for a quick, versatile hairstyle that can be worn so many different ways (we’ve gathered 15 ideas below, but we honestly could’ve kept going). Not only are Ghana braids one of the easier braided hairstyles to have put in and taken out (which means you don’t have to go to your appointment prepared with a long list of things to do while getting your hair braided), but they’re also super customizable based on your vibes/goals. Below, Jasmine “Jazzee” Santiago, a haircare and texture expert, and La’Khouri Francis, a D.C.-based Yeluchi hairstylist, break down everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Ghana braids.
What are Ghana braids?
“There’s such a great, rich, beautiful cultural history of braiding that has been so diluted,” Santiago says, explaining how Western culture has developed its own simplified take on Ghana braids. “By the time we get to where we are today to talk about Ghana braids, it’s pretty basic,” she says. In the simplest terms, Santiago defines Ghana braids as a braiding technique that takes a basic cornrow hairstyle and adds hair to it. If that sounds a lot like feed-in braids, that’s because it is.
Although both feed-in braids and Ghana braids are very similar in technique, Francis says that Ghana braids should end up looking thicker and fuller than feed-in braids. “What makes Ghana braids different is the substantial amount of hair added through the braid for volume,” Francis explains. “Feed-in braids have hair added through the braid as well, but a stylist is able to manipulate it in a way to where the braid stays the same size.” Another difference? “Hair is usually added for length with feed-in braids as opposed to volume with Ghana braids,” she says.
How long do Ghana braids last?
Although Ghana braids can last up to a month if properly maintained with products and hair coverings while you sleep, both experts recommend wearing Ghana braids for two weeks only (three weeks max, says Francis) so that the hair doesn’t dry out and take your style from protective to damaging.
Do Ghana braids break your hair?
Ghana braids, like any protective style, can damage your hair or scalp if done too tightly—but you can avoid it. Francis explains that although tension is needed for most cornrow styles, too much tension can do the opposite of a protective style, which is why it’s important to see a knowledgeable stylist and try to speak up if you feel pain during your braiding (easier said than done, right?).
Got all that? Good. Now, for even more advice from the stylists—plus 15 ridiculously gorgeous Ghana braid ideas to copy—pls keep scrolling (and screenshotting).
Ahem, hey—want even more hairstyle inspo? Then you should def join Cosmo Unlocked today.
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