"Boxer braids." "Bobby-pin headbands." "Inside-out plaits." Those are just a few of the phrases people have used to describe what are really cornrows, Doobie wraps, and Dutch braids. No big deal? Well, actually that mislabeling is exactly where cultural appropriation happens. It's not just about taking from other cultures, but taking without giving credit.
While there are many people who blatantly rip off Black hairstyles, I recognize that others are simply uneducated about them. And with more braided hairstyles flooding our feeds than ever, confusion is something that's bound to happen. "Braiding and twisting requires the same manipulation," Devri Velázquez, an editor at Naturally Curly, tells Refinery29. "We are intertwining and weaving hair. They're closely-knit together as far as definitions go, but with the proper amount of education and research beforehand, it eliminates the potential for the stylist and client [to misidentify them]."
So, to help clear things up, Velázquez and I are breaking down the exact differences between cornrows, French braids, and other commonly confused plaits, ahead.