Hair beads are nothing new for most Black women. We have fond memories of wearing the braid accessory from a very early age. Some were kept in place with tiny rubber bands, others with aluminum foil. And depending on how creative your mother or hairdresser wanted to be, you might have even showed up to school with mixed colors, beads at the root of your cornrows, or even varying lengths of beads. And now they’re back.
They’re noisy, they’re heavy, and they’re ridiculously stylish. And every few seasons they re-emerge as a major style trend. This season, many women are wearing wooden and mixed metal beads the way they were worn in the 1970s, when the Black power movement embraced artistic expressions that nodded to our African heritage, including the way one wore their hair.
Today some are also throwing back to the plastic beads they wore as kids, with styles just as creative and rooted in African culture as the aforementioned. They’re also just as painful if you shake them and whip them across your face. So if you’re having a Solange-inspired “Don’t Touch My Hair Moment,” think twice about that.
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Besides your neighborhood beauty supply store, there are many places where you can purchase the braid accessory. Online retailer London Beautii offers small wooden beads that come with gold cuffs. And ManufactureBeauty has fabric beads. They’re a lighter alternative to the traditional plastic and wooden versions.
Chemical engineer turned style influencer Tiffany Battle has been seen around town since the summer rocking her chic ’70s style beads. She even posted a frequently asked questions video to address all of the inquiries she gets from fascinated followers.
In the video she offers an extremely useful tip for sleeping with the bulky baubles. Tie the hair back with a bandana and pull the beads up to the top to bring the weight to the top of the head, and to keep hair off of the neck and shoulders. Then cover it with a bonnet and you don’t have to sleep like Dana from Friday.
And these 12 beauties have obviously mastered it because they’ve rocked their stylish braids and beads like queens. They look regal, and unbothered, and make us want to go out and get this braid accessory immediately.