African Thread to Stretch Natural Hair

Stretching Natural Hair with African Threading

A safe, heat free way to lengthen hair for wear and styling.

Via NaturallyCurly


African Threading Up Close

A Damn Salon stylist demonstrates the Nwele technique. Here, thread is wrapped around the base of a section of hair.

Thread is wrapped around the entire length of hair from root to tip using a special technique.

Mushiya holds up a finished Nwele next to the model’s loose hair

A side by side comparison, Nwele-stretched hair and shrunken coils on a model.

Elongated and smooth two-strand twists after removing the thread.

Mushiya of The Damn Salon explains the Nwele process to show attendees while rocking a Nwele/two-strand twist out of her own.

Before You Style…

Make sure to detangle hair well before wrapping the thread around each section. The Damn Salon offers a great detangling brush to complement the process and create perfectly smooth sections.


What do you think of this technique? Will you try it?

If you have tried it what tips do you have ?


11 thoughts on “African Thread to Stretch Natural Hair

  1. NubianPrize

    Looks interesting but may take a very long time to do by oneself. May as well just keep doing my 2 strand twists on damp hair using a good twisting butter like Qhemet’s Aethiopika. That alone takes me over an hour.Also, is that salon really called the “DAMN SALON” ? And if so WHY , & where is it located? What an awful name! I can just hear this coversation: “Where do you get your hair done? ” “At the DAMN SALON” ” Geez, sorry I asked ! “

  2. Pam

    It looks so time consuming… it takes me several hours already to put twists in, addin this process would make everything take so long. I stretch my hair out by letting it dry in little buns – that seems to work okay for me.

  3. Khanyi

    This has always been our tried and tested way of straightening without heat here in Africa and its not even as difficult as it looks. By the way it makes hair grow thrice as much!!!thats how we grow the hair at a faster pace…however care should be taken and don’t get it done by someone who has “harsh” hands…its the style I have own as I write its my protective hairstyle and I wear a wig while my hair grows and gets to rest underneath. After deep conditioning I do it myself maybe about four lines going down from front to back( always the easiest when you doing it yourself) …also when you thread up the hair you ill be covering it from the harsh elements of weather sun and cold so much that even when you undo it after two week you will feel a lot of moisture and softness in the hair still kept from the previous application.

  4. Newiski

    I so agree with Khanyi, this is nothing new to us living in South Africa. Its what i have on right now. My hair gets wrapped in wool and gets styled like dreadlocks. That way my hait is growing and it still remains moisturised. Thats also how i grew my 3yr old’s hair. Easy and doen’t take that long to do.

  5. Tina

    I know the article is about the threading hair method for stretching, but am I the only one obsessed by that ombre style of the lady in the third picture. Love color on afros!

  6. carrollifashionista

    Wow! Seeing African threading make a come-back leaves me with a nostalgic feeling. It’s one of the most used styles back then when we were kids growing up in Nigeria. We didn’t even know it then as being protective styling or stretching but if well done it really does stretch the hair almost like pressing. Now I understand why it grew lots of our hair (it was protecting the hair). It really does help in growing hair if its done and left in for about a week or two. Then we had the one called “water-water” cos it was done loosely with the thread not wrapped closely to each other around the hair (this one also give the hair less stretch) and then the other we called “tie-tie” which left the hair almost bone stretched. Trust me, if properly done with care taken to not make it too tight at the base, it really does help in hair growth. It really does protect the entire hair from the environment and extensions or wool can be added to each strand which will still be threaded with the hair to further protect the hair.

  7. Nedoux

    Hello Tamara,

    Lovely blog!

    I’ve done the African corkscrew threading hairstyle twice this year (picture is on my blog), and each time I had it in for 3 weeks.

    I’d recommend threading, it’s the best protective style that I have ever done as my strands were locked in.

    On take-down days, my hair was smooth, and I could even still smell the leave-in conditioner that I’d applied before my hair was threaded. It’s important that the hair is well moisturized and oiled prior to being wrapped in thread, it’s almost like marinating chicken in spices and then covering in foil paper 😀

    Super easy to manage too, all I did spritz with a water and glycerin mix.


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