Caring for African Hair Lesson 3: The Art of Parting |

The Art of Parting

Parting is half of the beauty of any braided hairstyle.  Even if you are not so good at cornrows yet, being good at parting will at least make your individual braids look fabulous.  You should use the stick end of your rat tail comb for this.  Be careful if you use the cheap ones though.  If it scratches the skin on your hand, it’ll scratch your scalp.  Smooth edges that are too jagged with a nail file.

So let’s start with a simple style for girls’ pigtails.  If you don’t yet know how to part as you go along, secure each section with a rubber band or hair clip before proceeding to the next step.

simple01 Part the hair down the middle vertically.
simple02 Then part it again horizontally so that you have four sections.  The horizontal part should extend from the middle above one ear, to the other.
simple03 Now make two more vertical parts, starting from the center front of the first two sections, to the original center line in the back.
simple04 Now make two more parts starting from the back of the ears to the center line again.  Here’s a side view.
simple05 This is it from the back.

Now let’s have a look at a simple cornrows pattern:

style01a For cornrows style, you will of course have to begin by planning.  Your parting pattern in this case is going to be with sections beginning at 1 and 1/2 to 2 cm. or wider, gradually narrowing until they all reach a central point at the crown of the head.There are at least 3 styles you can do with this parting pattern.
style01b One of them is all of the rows starting a the hairline and extending towards the crown.
style01c Another is with all of the rows starting at the crown and going towards the hairline.
style02c Yet another style is achieved by making alternating rows, one up, one down, one up, and so on.

But what if you want to do a style that has a really complicated parting pattern?  How do you keep it neat without getting confused?

The answer is strategy.  Remember, the way to keep it from being painful, and to cut down the amount of time it takes is planning.

We’ll use a popular elaborate pattern as an example, individual braids with diamond shaped parts.  Bear in mind that this is a 2d example, and that in real life, you will need to go by the shape of your individual model’s head.

diamond01 First, you’re going to think about the sort of pattern you want to accomplish.  With diamond parts, some like to have the sections meeting at their apexes like chevrons, while others prefer spiraling rows of squares or rectangles.  Either way you are not going to make them exact on a human head, so you have to figure how to get the closest you can based on their head shape and hairline.
diamond02 What you want is a style something like this, where the individual braids can hang loose or be pulled into an updo, and still look great.
diamond03 What you do to keep it all organized is to first divide the pattern into major sections.  I would recommend at least three, possibly six.  Tie all but one of them out of the way with a rubber band or hair clip.This accomplishes two things we’ve touched on already…Staying organized, and preventing the hair from matting while you’re working.  Remember it’s going to shrink as it dries, and you don’t want to have to overuse detangler spray.
diamond04 Now take the last major section, and separate what will be your first line of parts in the style.  Tie off what is left with a rubber band or hair clip.
diamond05 Then make the part for the first braid, and tie off what is left in the rest of the line with a rubber band.  As you can see, now you have a clear area to work with.Once you’ve braided that section, take the rubber band off, take another section, tie the rest, braid your working section, and so on.

It might seem a bit much, but it really does save time for a novice or occasional braider.  If you do something right the first time you don’t need to redo it.  Also, it takes some time before one gets to the point where they can hold curly hair down with the sides of their hands while braiding.

I hope you have found this mini course helpful. If you did, it would be very much appreciated if you would donate to help keep this site targeted ad free. Thank you for reading. Blessings and Ashé!

Lesson 1: Basic Overview | Lesson 2: Natural Options and Beading

© 2005 Sis. Nicole T. Lasher

About Sis. Nicole Lasher

Webmatron of and other sites in the network.

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