How to Do Jamaican Braids

braid image by Allyson Ricketts from

If you’ve ever gone on vacation to a southern paradise like Jamaica or the Caribbean, you’ve likely seen both locals and tourists sporting braided hairstyles. To braid hair like a Jamaican, you need to learn and master the art of cornrows—small braids that stay very close to the scalp. Put beads on the end of the braids for a more authentic look.

Section off the hair so the front and back portions are divided by an even part. The part should run from one ear, up over the head to the other ear in a straight line. Use a clip to hold the back part of the hair while you work on the front.

Use a pick comb to part a small section of hair above your right ear. Draw the part straight back, so you have a very thin section of hair. Brush the hair on the other side of the part to the left side of your head.

Grab a very small section of the hair near the front hairline and part the hair into three sections as you would for a regular braid. Hold the hair between your middle and index finger moving the strands over the middle piece from left to right.

Continue braiding, grabbing a very small piece of hair from underneath as you bring each section over the center. Every time you twist, you should be adding more hair from the sectioned off area. When you get to the end of the front section of hair, put a small elastic around the end of your cornrow to secure it in place.

Keep sectioning off rows of hair at the front of the head, using the same technique as above to braid until your entire head is covered in cornrows from the front of the hair to your ears, securing each with an elastic.

Cut a very small piece of tinfoil and wrap it around the end of the cornrow. String on three beads, pushing them to the top of the braid. Loop the end of the tinfoil up through the last bead and push the beads down to secure. Repeat this for the rest of the cornrows.