The Evolution of Hair Braiding
Written by Melodie Garcia, Hairdresser at Golden Ocala.
A classic hairstyle that has never gone out of style is the braid. It has swooped over many cultures, each having their own individual take on it. Throughout time, the braid has gone from symbolizing power to giving a sense of individuality. While every braid has an interesting background story, we have chosen a few key players in history who twisted up the hair game.
The Braid in BCE
As discovered through ancient statues and rock paintings found by a French ethnologist, braiding has been a popular hairstyle for all ages since early 3500 BCE. The braid was first seen in Africa in the form of Cornrows, which are multiple tightly twisted braids that can make up a section of your hair or the whole head of hair. Depending on the style of the Cornrows, you could tell a person’s age, status, religion, kinship, and ethnicity.
Braids were also found in ancient Egypt. Just like in Africa, the way your hair was braided spoke of your status. Anyone with status would wear braided strands with beads within their hair every day. Although their braids were much less decorative, the common people would also wear braids as a way of keeping their hair out of their face while working. Men often shaved their heads except one single tuft and it was generally styled in a braid. Upper-class men would wear beaded braids in their beards to imply wealth.
The Style in Greece and Europe
Women in Greece didn’t just wear braids, they mastered them. Braids reached new heights with twists, curls, and wire frames. In BCE times, women who could afford not to work kept their hair long and vibrant. They would spend hours creating cryptic updos to show the world just how well-off they were. Some styles were saved for special public occasions to prove rank and status. In Europe, braids were used for more practical purposes. Working women would use the braid to keep their hair clean while working or doing chores. It also was a way to keep women’s hair neat in between baths.
The Modern Day Braid
Today the braid has past, present, and futuristic looks. We have a braid style for every type of occasion. Each style of braid represents an individual expression of personality. We have taken the best parts of the previously mentioned styles and put our own special twist on them. You can have an accent braid modeled after Cleopatra or a classic Native-American inspired braid. There are over a hundred different styles of braids just waiting to be played with!
Now that you know a little about where this trendy hairstyle came from, you can determine where it’s going. Every person is unique and has the ability to become a fashion icon. We would love to see what styles you have created with braids! Share your hair pictures with us on our Facebook page! If you’d like to have a special braided updo for your next event, members can make an appointment at our salon by calling (352) 402-4350.