Effects of female hair braiding on selected facial Anthropometrics

Sunday G. Obaje(1), James G. Ihotu(2), Orji E. Bernard(3), Finbarrs-Bello Elizabeth(4),

(1) Alex Ekwueme Federal University
(2) Alex Ekwueme Federal University
(3) Alex Ekwueme Federal University
(4) Dave Umahi Federal University of Health Sciences
Corresponding Author


Objective: Effects of heavy hair braiding on facial anthropometrics have raised concerns in recent times. These concerns arise from the potential impact on cultural practices and the implications for physical appearance and self-perception. This study aimed to investigate the effects of braiding on the soft anthropometrics in face and head among students in Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike, Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

Materials and methods: A total of 503 healthy participants, aged 19 to 25 years, were randomly recruited from an institution. Measurements of total facial length and face width were taken. A structured questionnaire was used, that contain anatomical, theatrical, and socio-psychological questions to evaluate the effects of braiding on the face and head. Participants responded using a Likert scale.

Results: Mesocephalic shape was the commonest classification of the skulls based on cephalic indices. Relationship between age and facial parameters of the study population showed significant positive correlation (r = 0.17, p<0.05). Majority of respondents agreed that face type/facial structure determines the type of braid (n = 138) and braid can pull the forehead backward (n = 102).

Conclusion: This study will contribute to understanding the influence of braiding on facial and head anthropometrics among Nigerian students. This information can inform discussions on cultural practices and their implications for physical appearance and self-perception.


braiding, anthropometrics, facial measurements, hair treatment


Agrawal S, Daruwalla SB, & Dhurat RS (2020). The flambeau sign: A new dermoscopy finding in a case of marginal traction alopecia. Australas J Dermatol, 61(1), 49–50.

Ayanlowo OO & Otrofanowei E (2023). A community-based study of hair care practices, scalp disorders and psychological effects on women in a Suburban town in Southwest Nigeria. Nigerian Postgraduate Medical Journal, 30(1), 53–60.

Bianco FB, Ivezić Ž, Jones RL, Graham ML, Marshall P, Saha A, Strauss MA, Yoachim P, Ribeiro T, & Anguita T (2021). Optimization of the Observing Cadence for the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time: A pioneering process of community-focused experimental design. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 258(1), 1.

Defabianis P, Mussa A, Ninivaggi R, Carli D, & Romano F (2022). Maxillo-facial morphology in Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome: A preliminary study on (epi) genotype-phenotype association in caucasians. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(4), 2448.

Dixon M (2005). Hair braiding: Working the boundaries of methodology in globalisation research.

Dixon M & Ratliff C (2011). Hair braids as a risk factor for occipital pressure ulcer development: A case study. Ostomy-Wound Management, 57(9), 48.

Dogru S, Deniz M, & Uslu AI (2020). Anthropometric analysis of nasolabial region and age-related changes in adult women. Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, 31(4), 1161–1165.

El Zein S, Tabaja H, Kanj A, Richmond D, & Veltman J (2019). Alopecia after switch to tenofovir alafenamide in 6 african american women. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 6(7), ofz278.

Flament F, Abric A, & Adam AS (2021). Evaluating the respective weights of some facial signs on perceived ages in differently aged women of five ethnic origins. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 20(3), 842–853.

Flament F, Abric A, Amar D, Ye C, Caron J, & Negre C (2020). Changes in facial signs due to age and their respective weights on the perception of age, on a tired-look or a healthy glow among differently aged Chinese men. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 42(5), 452–461.

Franklin JMM, Wohltmann WE, & Wong EB (2021). From buns to braids and ponytails: Entering a new era of female military hair-grooming standards. Cutis, 108(1), 31–35.

Gomes AF, Moreira DD, Zanon MF, Groppo FC, Haiter-Neto F, & Freitas DQ (2020). Soft tissue thickness in Brazilian adults of different skeletal classes and facial types: A cone beam CT–Study. Legal Medicine, 47, 101743.

Grunzweig K & Keys KA (2015). Full-thickness scalp injury due to hair braiding and weave. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 3(8).

Gupta S, Narwal A, Kamboj M, Sharma P, Makkar V, & Raman RK (2019). Baseline data of facial parameters in the population of Haryana: An anthropometric study. Journal of Forensic Dental Sciences, 11(1), 28.

Holden NM (2022). A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Client and Stylist Interaction as A Culturally Specific Form of Coping With Stress For Black Women in the United States.

Jenkins ND (2019). Contested identities: African diaspora and identity making in a hair braiding salon. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 48(6), 806–835.

Jilani SK, Ugail H, & Logan A (2018). Inter-Ethnic and Demic-Group variations in craniofacial anthropometry: A review. PSM Biological Research, 4(1), 6–16.

Karl K, Peluchette JV, & Dawson G (2022). Why So Much Ado About a Hairdo? Examining How the Hair Choices of Black Women Vary by Occupation. Journal of Business Diversity, 22(1).

Knigge RP, McNulty KP, Oh H, Hardin AM, Leary EV, Duren DL, Valiathan M, & Sherwood RJ (2021). Geometric morphometric analysis of growth patterns among facial types. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 160(3), 430–441.

Larsson E (2020). Feeling the past: An emotional reflection on an archive. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 12(1), 1810476.

Lewis ML, Dunjwa M, & Cohen C (2021). Guidelines to Identify Child-Endangering Hair Styling Practices: Medical, Legal, and Psychosocial Perspectives. Therapeutic Cultural Routines to Build Family Relationships: Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Haircopyright, 225–243.

Lukate JM (2022). Space, race and identity: An ethnographic study of the Black hair care and beauty landscape and Black women’s racial identity constructions in England. Journal of Social Issues, 78(1), 107–125.

Ma H, Chen Y, Cai X, Tang Z, Nie C, & Lu R (2019). Effect of aging in periocular appearances by comparison of anthropometry between early and middle adulthoods in Chinese Han population. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, 72(12), 2002–2008.

Mbilishaka AM (2021). PsychoHairapy through beauticians and barbershops: The healing relational triad of Black hair care professionals, mothers, and daughters. Therapeutic Cultural Routines to Build Family Relationships: Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Haircopyright, 173–181.

Mitchell KN, Tay YK, Heath CR, Trachtman R, & Silverberg NB (2021). Emerging issues in pediatric skin of color, part 1. Pediatric Dermatology, 38, 20–29.

Ngandu-Kalenga Greensword S (2022). Historicizing black hair politics: A framework for contextualizing race politics. Sociology Compass, 16(8), e13015.

Nguyen VM (2020). The Hair Salon Business in Ho Chi Minh City: Case of a US Hair Style Franchise [PhD Thesis]. University of Charleston-Beckley.

Nyela OI (2021). Braided Archives: Black hair as a site of diasporic transindividuation.

O’Brien-Richardson P (2019). Hair harassment in urban schools and how it shapes the physical activity of Black adolescent girls. The Urban Review, 51(3), 523–534.

Ogodescu E, Popa M, Luca M, Igna A, Miron M, Martha K, Tudor A, & Todea C (2021). Updating standards of facial growth in romanian children and adolescents using the anthropometric method—A pilot study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(10), 5288.

Omotoso DR, Olanrewaju AJ, Okwuonu UC, Adagboyin O, & Bienonwu EO (2019). Retracted: Morphometric study of cephalo-facial indices among Bini children in southern Nigeria. Anatomy Journal of Africa, 8(2), 1552–1557.

Palmer C (2020). The Art of Identification [PhD Thesis]. UNSW Sydney.

Rajan-Rankin S (2021). Material intimacies and Black hair practice: Touch, texture, resistance. NORA-Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 29(3), 152–164.

Ramirez JI, Thomas DM, Neal DJ, & Maguina P (2018). A new injury prevention target: Summer hair braids. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 39(6), 911–914.

Shakir A, O’Connor A, Teele M, Gottlieb LJ, & Vrouwe SQ (2022). Burn injuries associated with at-home hair braiding. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 43(3), 530–533.

Shakir MT (2021). Tracing the Aspects of Beauty, Segregation, and Racial Identity in Quicksand and Passing Novels by Nella Larsen. Journal of Language Studies, 5(1), 223–233.

Shkarin VV, Ivanov SY, Dmitrienko SV, Domenyuk DA, Lepilin AV, & Domenyuk SD (2019). Morphological specifics of craniofacial complex in people with various types of facial skeleton growth in case of transversal occlusion anomalie. Archiv EuroMedica, 9(2), 5–16.

Stansberry-Brusnahan LL & Collet-Klingenberg LL (2010). Evidence-based practices for young children with autism spectrum disorders: Guidelines and recommendations from the National Resource Council and National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders. International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education, 2(1), 45–56.

Sun C, Ramachandran S, Paquette E, & Lee WS (2021). Single-view procedural braided hair modeling through braid unit identification. Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, 32(3–4), e2007.

Vargas MA, de O, & Mancia JR (2019). The importance and earnest of the researcher in pointing out the study limitations. In Revista brasileira de enfermagem (Vol. 72, pp. 832–833).

Vlahaki M (2021). Braiding Worlds: Disharmonious Encounters in Mariama’s African Hair Salon in Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Research in African Literatures, 52(1), 108–126.

Wang JM (2008). When" I" was born: Women’s autobiography in modern China. Univ of Wisconsin Press.

Windhager S, Mitteroecker P, Rupić I, Lauc T, Polašek O, & Schaefer K (2019). Facial aging trajectories: A common shape pattern in male and female faces is disrupted after menopause. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 169(4), 678–688.

Zhang J, Iftikhar H, Shah P, & Luximon Y (2022). Age and sex factors integrated 3D statistical models of adults’ heads. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 90, 103321.

Full Text: PDF

Article Metrics

Abstract View : 739 times
PDF Download : 22 times

DOI: 10.57046/KKLK4135


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2024 Proceedings of the Nigerian Academy of Science

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.