Tree Braids

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Tree braiding is a whole category of techniques in which you're braiding in either bulk or wefted hair, and releasing some as you go along.

Different artists have different styles, and some are more "user friendly" than others.  On this site, we try to show you how to get a professional look that isn't hard to take down, and that preserves the hair for possible re-use. Human hair comes from human beings, and synthetic hair has to be produced in factories.  So our idea of a good style is one that both looks good and requires as little environmental impact as possible.  If you have to cut the extension to take it out, or you can't brush through it without a disaster, you also risk damaging the natural hair.

Something everyone should understand about tree-braids is that there is really no way to learn better than practice.  All the instruction in the world will not help you learn better than trying it ourself, and doing it over and over until you get the kind of results that you like.

Too many times, people blame the teacher or the video for their own impatience.  This is one of those things that just takes skill, and one has to understand that not every braider will have the skill or talent, even if they practice it.  Just relax and understand that you don't have to be a specialist at every technique in the world to be a good braider.  If you try it for year at least once a week, and you still don't come out with the results you'd like, just don't worry yourself over it.  Concentrate on the things you are good at.

Among the various techniques for tree braiding are:

  • Braiding in a weft - With this technique, you're basically cornrowing around a weft of hair, and releasing hair as you go.  This is the most patron and braider friendly style, as it is easy to tell what is where, so the patron can take it out themselves if they need to.  It is as simple as undoing cornrows.
  • Braiding in bulk hair on a track - With this technique, you're cornrowing, starting with a method similar to pinch braiding, but as you go along, you release a little more of the hair.  This is a good one if you are a skilled enough braider that you can keep the bulk hair relatively separate, and not get confused.  The disadvantage though, is that your cornrow has to start out fairly thick, if you want to have enough hair to release along the way.  So this is best when you don't have a very long track.  Some like this best when they're doing "layered" tracks that are only a few centimeters long.  (Thank you BlkButtaflies for the awesome video!)
  • Individual bulk hair tree braids - These are favored for some who want the length that pinch braids offer, but want less of a braid showing.  Basically, just pinch braid the hair, but let some few strands go free as you go along, after the first few stitches.  Some make a knot in the hair to secure it, but I prefer to braid in a bit of string, and knot that instead of the hair.  This way the hair doesn't need to be cut for takedown.
  • "Flexi-strand" - An ingenious hair company has started making wefts that have hair sticking out of the spine of them, so they can br braided in.  It's technically tree braiding because it's releasing hair as one goes along, but instead of you having to do the releasing part yourself, it's already done.  You can replicate this using a regular weft by flat-ironing it so that you have some hair to braid in, at about 3/4 cm. intervals, and cutting it down to a working length.  If you choose to re-use the weft, don't forget to use hair clips or rubber bands to keep your braid-in sides and your extension sides separate.


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© 2006 Nicole Singleton Lasher

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