Faith Amour Hair Care

Braids

Posted on: February 16, 2011


BRAIDS
A braid (also called plait) is a complex structure or pattern formed by intertwining three or more strands of flexible material such as textile fibres, wire, or human hair. Compared to the process of weaving a wide sheet of cloth from two separate, perpendicular groups of strands (warp and weft), a braid is usually long and narrow, with each component strand functionally equivalent in zigzagging forward through the overlapping mass of the others.
The simplest possible braid is a flat, solid, three-strand structure in some countries/cases called a plat . More complex braids can be constructed from an arbitrary (but usually odd) number of strands to create a wider range of structures: wider ribbon-like bands, hollow or solid cylindrical cords, or broad mats which resemble a rudimentary perpendicular weave.
Braids are commonly used to make rope, decorative objects, and hairstyles (also see pigtails, French braid). Complex braids have been used to create hanging fibre artworks.
Cornrows (or canerows) are a traditional West African style of hair grooming where the hair is braided very close to the scalp, using an underhand, upward motion to produce a continuous, raised row. Cornrows are often formed, as the name implies, in simple, straight lines, but they can also be formed in complicated geometric or curvilinear designs.
Often favored for their easy maintenance, cornrows can be left in for weeks at a time simply by carefully washing the hair and then regularly oiling the scalp and hair.
Cornrowed hairstyles are often adorned with beads or cowry shells, in the African tradition. Depending on the region of the world, cornrows are typically worn by either men or women.
Unlike the simplest form of three-strand braid, in which all of the hair is initially divided into three sections which are simultaneously gathered together near the scalp (also known as an “English braid”), a French braid starts with three small sections of hair near the crown of the head; these initial sections are braided together toward the nape of the neck, gradually adding more hair to each section as it crosses in from the side into the center of the braid structure. The final result incorporates all of the hair into a smoothly woven pattern over the scalp. If the main mass of hair is initially parted into two or more sections along the scalp that are kept separate from one another, multiple French braids may be created, each in its own section.
Compared to the simplest form of hair braid, a French braid has several practical advantages: it can restrain hair from the top of the head that is too short to reach the nape of the neck, and it spreads the weight and tension of the braid across a larger portion of the scalp. Its sleeker appearance is also sometimes viewed as more elegant and sophisticated. However, a French braid is more difficult to construct than a simple braid because of its greater complexity; when performed on one’s own hair, it also requires a more prolonged elevation of the hands above the back of the head, and leaves more tangled hair along the scalp when unbraiding.

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February 2011
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