Where Did Hair Braiding Originate?

Raíssa Ruschel/CC-BY 2.0

While it’s difficult to know for certain where braiding originated, it has been found in all cultures of the world, including Asia, Africa, Egypt, Europe and the Americas. Braiding in Africa can be traced back to 3500 B.C., but there is evidence that the practice began much earlier.

The earliest evidence of hair braiding is found on various ancient pieces of art. For example, The Venus of Brassempouy, a bust that’s nearly 25,000 years old, sports a braided hairstyle. Braids were also commonly depicted in Egyptian drawings. The types of braids used varied from culture to culture and even among social classes.