Who Invented Braids? [Where They Originate, Types & History]

Did you ever wonder who invented braids? Braids are among the oldest of all human hairstyles, they have been around for centuries. Their popularity became global, but who really invented them?

Braids were invented by the Himba people of Namibia in 3500 BC. Braiding is one of the oldest African hairstyles and the Himba are known for their unique hairstyles and intricate braids, which are often worn by both men and women.

This article will answer this question succinctly yet also provide you with enough history behind braids to make it an interesting read. I will show you where did braids originate and how they became popular worldwide. Let’s check it!

Also, check out the list of 1950 inventions.

Who Invented Braids First?

who invented braids and where

When you try to discover who invented braids, you’ll go all the way back to Africa. 

The history of braids dates back to 3500 BC. It can be found in ancient African culture.

Braiding started in Africa with the Himba people of Namibia, who use hair extensions as part of their culture. 

Women would braid their hair and then dye it with clay from the riverbeds near their village.

They also added beads and stones to their braids, making them more colorful and interesting to look at.

The Himba’s neighbors, the Herero people, also had a tradition of braiding hair that dates back to about 500 BC. 

However, they did not use clay or any other dye in their braids. Instead, they used animal fat from cooked meat from previous hunts or from wild games that they had killed themselves. 

This practice was called “fat-lacing” and often led to some pretty smelly heads!

Below you can find a more detailed explanation about what are different types of braids.

Box braids

Box braids are predominantly popular among South African people, who are credited as the people who invented box braids. 

The braiding technique is simple and very similar to the way people braid hair on their heads.

Box braids are generally done using synthetic or human hair. 

These hair extensions can be colored, straightened, and curled at the end of the process, so it is possible to get a wide range of looks depending on what you want.

Box braids are versatile and can be worn in different ways. For example, you can braid the extensions into two separate braids or three braids for a more elaborate look.


The knotless braid is a hairstyle that has roots in tribes of west Africa.

The style was popularized by the Yoruba people, who used it to adorn and decorate their heads.

It was later adopted by European women, who brought the style to America and other parts of the world in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Knotless braids were also popularized by celebrities like Alicia Keys and Michelle Obama, who wore them during their time in office. 

They’re still worn today by stars like Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé Knowles Carter, and Amandla Stenberg.


Have you ever wondered who invented French braids? French braids have been around for a long time. 

The first documented traces of them are in ancient Mayan culture when they were used as an adornment.

The braids were later popularized in France in the 18th and 19th centuries when they were worn by the nobility as a symbol of their status. 

The braids became associated with royalty in other European countries as well, such as Germany and Russia.


Dutch braids are a hairstyle that originated in South Africa, but they’re now popular all over the world. 

Dutch braids are named after the immigrants who brought them to the Netherlands in the 1800s.

The braids themselves are made from three strands of hair, twisted and folded over each other to create a plait. 

The ends of the braids are then tucked under the top layer of hair, creating a look that’s both elegant and casual.


Crochet braids are a type of braiding that is done with hair extensions. 

This method of braiding was invented by African people in the 16th century, who used it to make their hair look fuller and thicker.

The name “crochet” comes from the fact that the braids are made up of short, tight braids with spaces between them. 

These spaces can be filled in with other hair extensions, such as beads or feathers. 

Crochet braids can also be made with more than one color of hair extension and also with hair extensions that change colors as they’re braided into place.


You will need to start with straight or curly hair for this style. Then you should part your hair into two sections – one on each side of your head. 

After that, you should take a strand from one side and cross it over to the other side so that it sticks out from underneath the rest of the hair.

Then repeat this process until all strands are woven together into one long braid (or cornrows). 

This hairstyle works best with medium-length hair but can also be used on shorter styles if they have enough volume at their roots!

Where Did Braids Originate From?

history of braids

Braids have been around for a long time. 

You might think that braids originated in the United States or Europe, but actually, they originated in Namibia in 3500 BC. 

The braids that were found are not the same kind of braids we have today, but they were used by many different tribes throughout Africa.

Braids are also found in other parts of the world, such as Asia and Europe. 

These braids were often made out of animal hair or human hair and then decorated with beads or shells.

According to historians, the first braids were created by ancient Africans. 

When were braids invented, they were made up of three strands of hair, with one strand being wrapped around two other strands. 

The final product was then tied off with a piece of string or animal fur.

Over time, people experimented with different types of braiding techniques, including cornrows and box braids.

These styles eventually became popular across Africa and Europe, where they remain popular today.

These days, braids are used for many different purposes.

They can be worn in a variety of styles and colors, and they are often worn for special occasions or as an everyday fashion accessory. 

In the U.S., braids became popular in the 1960s and ’70s as African Americans started wearing their hair in its natural state, which was often worn in cornrows or box braids.

What Braids Are Not Cultural Appropriation?

Did you ever think about braid cultural appropriation? 

For example, a white woman who has never braided her hair in her life and decides to start braiding her hair just because she saw some African women wearing braids is committing cultural appropriation.

However, a person who has been braiding their hair for a long time and has some knowledge about the origins of braids can do so without committing cultural appropriation.

The issue with cultural appropriation is that it often leads to the misrepresentation of a culture. 

For example, a white woman who decides to learn how to braid hair and wear braids does not have the same perspective as an African woman who has been wearing them for years. 

This can lead people to think that they are “more” African than those who actually are from Africa.

History of Braids

Braids are one of the most iconic hairstyles in history. Braid hair’s history traces back to Africa and was brought to Europe by colonial explorers. 

Their popularity in Western culture has spread around the world and is now worn by men, women, and children alike.

Braids are a great way to add style and personality to your look. You can wear them long or short, casual or formal.

You can even wear braided hair extensions if you want to switch up your look but don’t have time for a new haircut!

There are many different types of braids, each with its own history and meaning. 

The most common type of braid is the three-strand braid, which is said to represent faith, hope, and love. Braids have been worn by people from all walks of life for centuries. 

They can be worn as part of a formal or casual outfit and can be used to spice up any hairstyle.

In Europe

Braids have been a part of European culture for centuries, but they developed as colonialism spread across Africa.

In the late 1700s, many British colonists were traveling to Africa to explore and trade with the locals. 

They brought back many new ideas and technologies, including a fascination with African braid styles. 

The braids were particularly popular among women who lived on plantations in the Caribbean.

The style began to spread across Europe during this time. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that braids became fashionable in most countries.

German Braids

In Europe, braids are often associated with German culture—and for good reason! 

The Germans have long been known for their intricate braiding skills and their unique designs. 

In fact, it’s said that some of the earliest known braids in Europe were created by German women.

The German braids are some of the most intricate, beautiful braids that you’ll find. They’re often worn by women in Germany and Austria—and they look great on anyone!

The German braid is a very popular hairstyle in Europe, especially among young girls. It’s easy to do at home and can be dressed up or down depending on your outfit.

Celtic Braids

Celtic braids were popular among Celtic warriors. They were used to holding their hair back and keeping it from getting in their eyes. 

In addition, they were also used as a way to show off their skill with a sword.

Braid styles have changed over the years, but one thing remains the same: people still love to wear them!

They’ve become a style staple and are often worn by both men and women alike. Celtic braids are easy to make and can be worn on their own or combined with other types of braids.

The best part about Celtic braids is that they are easy to make and can be worn on their own or combined with other types of braids.

Viking Braids History

Viking braids were popular among Viking warriors, who would often wear their hair in a particular style to promote their strength and prowess.

Some historians believe that this style of braiding may have been inspired by the Vikings’ love of ships and the sea since it looks like a rope or cord.

It was believed that these braids would protect the heads of warriors as they sailed into battle. 

The braids could be dyed in different colors, which would indicate the social status of the wearer.

In Africa

The history of braids in Africa starts with the Himba and Zulu tribes. These groups were made up of people who lived in Namibia and Southern Africa. 

The Himbas and Zulus used to wear their hair in different styles including cornrows and dreadlocks, but they also wore braids that were twisted into different shapes.

The name for the hairstyle comes from the word “braid”, which means “to plait”. 

This refers to how the hair is gathered together before it is twisted into different shapes.

Egyptian Long Tribal Braids

Egyptian long tribal braids are some of the most beautiful braids in the world. 

They have been around for decades and have been popularized by many celebrities over the years. 

The Egyptian long tribal braids are long, thick, and voluminous making them perfect for African American hair.

The Egyptian long tribal braids were first worn by Nubian women in ancient Egypt. 

These women were known to wear these braids while they worked in their fields or while they were performing other duties. 

In Slavery

Braids are a staple in African culture, and they have been since the beginning. In Africa, braiding is a form of communication. 

Braids can be used to convey messages and ideas, as well as to identify people.

In the United States, we have seen the evolution of braids from a purely functional form of hair care to one that is also symbolic of an individual’s identity.

Slaves used braids to identify themselves so that if they were separated from their families or communities they could still recognize each other.

This also helped them keep their cultural traditions alive while they were being held as slaves in America.


Here’s a list of frequently asked questions about who invented braids and their fascinating history.

What culture wore braids first?

The first culture to wear braids was the Namibian tribe in Africa. They are an ethnic group of Southern Africa who are known for their long, thick hair.

What do braids mean in black culture?

Braids are much more than a hairstyle. It’s the way African people identify themselves. It’s a way of life.

Are braids part of Mexican culture?

Yes, braids have been a part of Mexican culture since the time when the Mayans and Aztecs ruled. Starting from ancient tribes, braids are still an important part of Mexican culture.

Is Dutch braid over or under?

Dutch braids are a classic, classy hairstyle that can be worn in so many different ways. To get the best look, you’ll want to make sure your Dutch braid is over the ear.

Do box braids damage Caucasian hair?

Box braids damage Caucasian hair the same way they damage any other hair. The only difference is that it’s easier to see the damage because Caucasian hair is so light and thin.


It is true that different cultures created different styles of braids such as the African culture creating their own unique hairstyle and that we can’t precisely tell who invented braids. 

But what I can tell you is that they became an inevitable part of our culture.

If you’re still interested in this topic, I have plenty of other interesting information about braids, so feel free to leave a comment and I’ll respond quickly.