Egyptian Braids History: Did Braids Originate In Egypt

Braids are becoming a hot trend. You might have seen people wearing braids at runaways, in fashion magazines, Insta photos. Steaming arguments about cultural appropriation are also on the rise. In such a situation, you might want to know where braids actually originated. Are braids from Egypt or Africa? Let’s learn more about the origin of braids and the Egyptian history of hairstyles.

The History Of Braids In Egypt

Since ancient times braids have been present in Egyptian history. Especially box braids and elaborated wigs. Many celebrities, such as the infamous “Kardashians” were heavily criticized for culturally appropriating braids and black culture.

But what about Egyptians? Can they wear box braids without culturally offending others? Yes, they can because box braids have been a part of Egyptian culture for centuries.

History Of Braids In Egypt

Archeologists discovered a woman’s buried body with 70 weave extensions on her skull. They believe it to be a 3000-year-old Egyptian remains.

Archaeologist Jolanda Bos made some important comments when she found some other Egyptian remains. In those old skulls, she found hair extensions of different colors, like gray and dark black hair. It seemed the hair of multiple people had been used to create their wigs.

Many drawings created centuries ago show us the Egyptian braids. Moreover, researchers also discovered skulls with hairstyles very much similar to the shoulder-length box braids of today.

How Braids Came Into Egypt

How Braids Came Into Egypt

Hairstyles in ancient Egypt indicated the social status, age, and gender of people. Within  1550 -1077 BCE, women preferred longer hair. They wore elaborate wigs made of expensive materials and decorated their hair with plaits, braided ponytails, and expensive accessories. But this was limited to royal wives, noble women and concubines. At that time, wigs on women meant they had a high status.

Though braids originated in South Africa about 3500 B.C, we can find their traces in ancient Egypt about 3000 years ago. Egyptian women used braided styles and wigs to make their hair look longer and hide their aged hair. Box braids were time-consuming to create and women from poorer societies avoided them.

The Evolution Of Braids Within Egypt

 Evolution Of Braids Within Egypt

Ancient Egyptian women loved to decorate their head with wigs, jewels, extensions, and braiding.

Braids are a comfortable style suitable for the hot climate of Egypt. It also helped them avoid having lice. Most Egyptian children had shaved heads with a small amount of braided and curled hair on the right side of their heads.

When girls reached puberty, they could keep their hair long and braid hair, wearing ponytails. Women of high status preferred long and heavily decorated hair. They mostly wore wigs decorated with jewelry, ribbons, and varieties of expensive accessories.

However, invations and whitewashing of Egyptian society have ended the days of braids. The recent curly hair and heat-free trend have again shed light on ancient braid styles. Rasta, cornrows, and dreadlocks are popular among men and women in Egypt today.

The Influence Of Egyptian Culture On Black Women’s Hairstyles

Egyptian Culture On Black Women's Hairstyles

Ancient Egyptians, especially noble women, wore braids. But they adopted this culture from the Nubians. They are nomadic tribes descended from African civilization. Nubians were natives of northern Sudan and southern Egypt. However, their culture was way different from Egyptians.

On the other hand, Egyptians respected and admired the Nubians and eventually adopted Nubian culture and traditions. Nubians were dark-skinned and wore braided long hair.

Although we might see many black hairstyles in ancient Egypt drawings and hieroglyphs and engravings, they originated in Africa. Egyptians were inspired by the Nubian braiding style.

What Hairstyle Did Ancient Egyptians Have?

What Hairstyle Did Ancient Egyptians

Hairstyle in ancient Egypt was different for men, women, and children. The poor and rich society also wore different hairstyles.

Kids wore a specialized shaved-head S-shaped lock known as the “lock of youth.” Boys had to shave their heads entirely when they reached puberty. On the other hand, girls could keep long hair with braiding.

Commoner men in Egypt had completely shaved heads. Royal men or men with noble status wore elaborate wigs and long hair. Women of high status mostly wore long wigs decorated with flowers, gold strands, beads, and ribbons.

Poor women mostly avoided complex braiding styles and expensive decorations. Instead, they decorated their hair with fish amulets, clasps, and hair rings.


Did ancient Egyptians have braids?

Most Egyptians had kinky coily hair, and they preferred wearing long braided wigs.

Are braids part of Egyptian culture?

Yes, braids were a significant part of Egyptian history. Nubian people, royal members, and women of high status in Ancient Egypt wore braids and braided wigs.

What are the ancient Egyptian braids?

The “Sidelock of Youth” is a signature Egyptian braiding style only meant for children of that era.

What Does the Bible Teach Concerning Braided Hair?

The Bible teaches that braided hair is not appropriate for women and that they should dress modestly to avoid being sexualized. The apostles are urging women to dress modestly in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves. The key points of this passage are to add to your faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, and love.

Do Europeans wear braids

Braids are still popular in Europe, and there are many new variations being created. The form of art is evolving and changing with time, keeping people’s fingers crossed for more braid types in the future!

What is the most popular type of braid for Mexican hairstyles?

There are many types of braids that are popular in Mexican hairstyles. However, the most popular type of braid is the traditional style. This style is practical and chic, and there are innumerable ways to wear it. It is available for every occasion, whether you are dressing up or dressing down.

Is braiding a challenge for Asian girls?

Asian girls face challenges while wearing braids because their hair is thinner than other women’s hair.

What was the original purpose of cornrows?

Benkos Bioho, who was brought over from Africa by the Portuguese, used cornrows as a way to weave escape maps and deliver secret messages. He would braid small pieces of paper into the hair on his head so that he could communicate with other slaves in the event of an escape.

Wrapping Up

Braids had a historical and cultural presence in both African and Egyptian cultures. Various Black and African tribes have their own signature braiding styles. Whereas Egyptian people followed the Nubian culture and wore mostly braided wigs. These styles were not worn by commoners or enslaved people of ancient Egypt.

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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