Did you know that there is a HUGE community of braiders on Instagram? Bet you didn’t!
People have asked me about how I’ve gotten so good at braiding and how I started on this journey that I’m now on to share my passion for hair with the world. While I started braiding as a teenager and did hair for dances and weddings even back then, my skills have grown immeasurably since I joined Instagram in June, 2014. Let me tell you about this amazing place and how it made me a better braider…
It’s a big world out there – but it feels so small in the Instagram braiding community. There are braiders from all around the world and we come together in this little bit of cyber space and it feels small and intimate. I have braiding friends in Australia, Scotland, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, England, Egypt, Mexico, all across the United States and Canada and more! I have a braiding friend from Chile who I tag on photos if someone comments in Spanish and she translates for me. In this amazing community, It feels like your braiding friends must live down the street from you because you feel so close to them, but then someone will post the temperature outside in Celsius… or they will post about going to the beach for Christmas… or how they are dressed and ready to go for New Years Eve when it’s still December 30th for you – and then you remember that they are halfway around the earth! Because you forget sometimes. It’s just that close of a community. And it’s a place where differences in politics or religion doesn’t even matter. It’s something really special.
There are thousands of hair accounts on Instagram – and by hair account I mean that people have set up their accounts to share (almost exclusively) photos of hairstyles that they are doing. We follow one another and comment on and like one another’s work. I had no idea that there were so many braids that you could do until I started seeing all these hair accounts! There are not only countless braids, but then you start combining different braid techniques and the possibilities are endless! Braiders are coming up with new techniques and sharing them on IG all the time. Or taking a technique that someone else posts and using it in a new and inventive way. Often braiders will simply see a style they like and recreate it, furthering their own skills. And this is no cutthroat world where you have to come up with the best idea or you get upset if someone else does your work. Braiders support one another, they credit each other for ideas and say who inspired them. If a braider isn’t sure how to do a style or needs help figuring something out, other braiders will chime in and offer advice and help. It’s an incredible place.
Braiders will develop close relationships with their fellow braiders on Instagram. We get each other! Our common interest, or rather common passion binds us together! Many braiders have IG friends that they are closer with than some of their real life friends. There are the hairstylist braiders, the mommy braiders, the teen braiders, and then you have your college or 20 something braiders. There are a couple of dad braiders and other braiders that don’t necessarily fit into those categories, but for the most part everyone fits into one of those groups. While a braider is usually closest with other braiders in her own group, all the groups get along amazingly well and are so supportive of each other! The relationships go even beyond hair – braiders post about things going on in their lives, from a sick kid to a dance competition, and relationships are built.
Many braiders have an IG bestie or a group of close IG friends that they even talk to off of IG via text, FaceTime, calls, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. On a rare and lucky occasion, some even get the chance to meet up in real life! Lifelong friendships are being formed there, over hair! Who would’ve guessed?!
“Twinning” is huge in the IG braiding community. What is twinning? It’s when two or more braiders decide to do the same style and then post it at the same time or same day at least. Some twins are big – we call them a big twin or a mega twin, and some are just two people. Twinners will often pick out a style that another braider has done and then recreate it. Sometimes a big twin is announced and posted on a braiders page and anyone who wants to join is welcome to. Other times a big twin will be organized in secret to surprise the person who’s original hairstyle is being twinned.
In the braiding community, we love having a challenge set before us!
Lately I’ve seen different countries gathering their fellow braiders from their country to do a big twin. 11 braiders from Finland did a #FINtwinning then challenged Sweden to gather their braiders and do a big twin too! Sweden gathered a dozen braiders and did their twin, then challenged Norway. Norway then gathered 9 braiders for their country twin and challenged The Netherlands… I’m excited to see if the Dutch braiders accept the challenge, who will join from their country and what country they might challenge next.
Another challenge that went around was the “36 hour drop and braid” challenge, started by Tamara @ice_braids and Lanie @lanieshairstyles. The rules were that if you were tagged, you had 36 hours to “drop and braid”. The challenge was to take 1 element of the hairstyle from the person who challenged you and to use that element on your own hairstyle but add additional elements to it. Then you had to tag 3 people to participate in the challenge next. This challenge went around for weeks and had about 300 hairstyles posted for it. How fun!
Contests are huge in the IG braiding community. A braider will post on their page that they are having a contest and what the theme is. The general rules are that you have to be following them, you have to tag 3 people who might be interested in entering, and then use the hashtag they give you to enter your photos – usually a max of 3 entries are allowed. The braider that is hosting it will generally pick 4 finalists and post the finalists to their page and ask people to vote, though sometimes the braider that is hosting will just pick a winner. The prize is usually just bragging rights! The winner will give you a shoutout or recreate your style, or put your name in their bio at the top of their page for a designated amount of time. Occasionally there will be an actual prize like hair accessories. The excitement is really just in being picked as a finalist though! We love it! A couple of fellow braiders even set up an Instagram account just so to help braiders keep up with all the contests that are going on.
My Favorite Braiders of Instagram
In my next post, I’ll be sharing with you some of my favorite fellow mommy Instagram braiders. I’ll share with you some of their incredible work and tell you why I love their account. Learn a little about them and tips that they have for parents doing their own little ones’ hair. There are some amazingly talented ladies on there and I’m so excited to share their work with you!
I’ll close with an excerpt of my interview with my fellow braider and friend Shelley @prettylittlebraids
“I appreciate what we all do with our braiding accounts is for the love of it. Whilst very enjoyable, it’s hard work and time consuming. Having to think of different styles daily, create the style, photograph it, uploading the style and respond to everyone’s comments. We are not paid for what we do, our rewards are in the comments people write, the followers we gain and the inspiration we give to others. I appreciate each and every one of my fellow braiders and love admiring the work that they all do.”
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