Traditional Yoruba Hairstyles

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Traditional Yoruba Hairstyles
Updated on May 23, 2017 femi moreI am only a simple hardworking webmaster who loves to put in writing. Interests include traditional cultures, small business ideas and movies

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Yoruba hairstyle Yoruba Hairstyles
The Yoruba persons are one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. They’re predominantly scholars, farmers and traders.

The women are very creative on the subject of style, beauty, fashion and hair. It’s amazing the different types of hair styles in Yoruba land.

This shouldn’t be surprising based on their history and enviable folklore as the cradle of civilization. Yoruba traditional hair styles are generally grouped by styling methodology.

The 2 basic styles are hand made plaited hair( irun didi) and tied with thread/braided (irun kiko). The plaited hair is created based on the dexterity of the stylist using the client’s natural hair.

The braided type relies on different extensions usually plastic plating threads. The hair styles had other significant functions than mere beauty.

It also carried social commentary such as landmark occasions and festivals. Some hair styles depicted marriage status, royalty or religious dispensation.

Yoruba hairstyle
eko Yoruba Traditional Hair Style Names
Another interesting fact is that every Yoruba hair style has significant names that celebrate an occasion, historical event or fun. Some depicts social status, marriage, sophistication, youth, grieving and even social commentary.

Some hair styles translated to English are ‘boys follow me’, ‘the kings crown’, ‘money brings social acceptance’. Common Yoruba hair styles are Eko Bridge, alhaja, ogun pari, ikoto, ade-oba, and face-to-face.

Gong Listed below are names of Yoruba hair styles translated to English.

The kings crown

Money is pride

Pile up


The squatting Dog

Rain don’t beat the ears

End of the war

John Kennedy

Face-to face


Yoruba Comb
Yoruba Comb Traditions Yoruba hair styling implements
The amazing fact is that the over 100 hair styles are created using simple tools. The stylist uses a wooden comb called the Oya.

The Oya may vary in size however they feature a wooden comb with three teeth. Traditional stylists also use local hair creams and plastic plating threads for braided styles.

If the client opts for plaiting they use only the natural hair. There are also variation using both braiding and weaving.

Plastic plating threads

Local cream

Native comb

Shuku Hairstyle
Shuku Notable Yoruba Hair Styles- SHUKU
The shuku hair style has a major place in Yoruba hair styling. There are numerous variations to this popular style that involves braiding to form a rump on top of the head.

Sometimes referred to as suku the simple style is sometimes complemented with side plaiting. This hairstyle was formerly a reserve for wives of royalty. The style is now common to young ladies, school girls and married women.

The simplicity makes it easy execute and fewer time consuming. Different types of suku are suku Elegbe,suku Na Poi, Suku Onididi and Suku Sesema.

Others are Sinero Kiko, suku fula, shuku ologede, twin suku. They even have ceremonial suku plaited with braids attached to the rump cascading on all sides. Modern types of suku involves intricate plaiting to form flowers and sections.

Yoruba Female Hairstyles
Yoruba Styles

Status hairstyles Contemporary styles implementI

Religious Boys follow me Native Comb

Marriage Two steps Local Creams

Royalty Scissors Local Thread
Click thumbnail to view full-sizeYoruba hairstyleYoruba hairstyleYoruba hairstyleYoruba hairstyleYoruba hairstyleYoruba hairstyle Yoruba Hair Styles that Depict Monuments
Eko Bridge

The Eko bridge hair style represents a bridge in Lagos Nigeria. Much like the bridge the stylist divides the hair into ten or eleven sections. The thin braids are then twists to form a bridge at a focal point above the pinnacle.

The hair is made to look like a road round about. The stylist divides the natural hair from the middle of the top into small triangular sections.

The partition stops midway leaving natural hair untouched at the back. They then plait with native thread (plastic plating threads) from middle of the small triangle. The long strands are then intricately woven into a circular design.

National Theatre

This hair style is to commemorate the building of the national theater in Lagos Nigeria. Fashioned to look like the monument it also features a depression in the center.

Different hairstyles
Yoruba hairstyles Yoruba Hair Style for Special Occasions

Ogun pari literarily means end of the war. The hair style was created to commemorate the tip of the Nigerian civil war.

The natural hair is divided into large sections and plastic plating thread used to make long thin braids. The braids are then bent into large arch’s connecting the thin tops to the bottom of adjacent braids.

Modern Hairstyle
Modern Hairstyle Yoruba Hair Style Identifying Religious Beliefs

The Ere hair style identifies worshipers of Esu a deity. The deity is believed to guard travelers and has powers over fortunes and misfortunes.

The style involves a single lone growth of hair at front or center of the top. The only strand identifies with a pig tail has certain religious significance to that faith.


The male hair style identifies member of Aragberi clan. They are noted for ancient knowledge of magic and herbs. It also identifies members of Mesa royal family of the old Oyo.


A repeated cycle of birth, death and rebirth of young children to a family are called abiku. Abiku children have hair shaved on either side every two weeks.

This ritual honors a deity Osanyin, the god of medicine. Court messengers and faithful wear similar hairstyles.

The dada hair style depicts the person’s spirituality. Some Yoruba’s believe that natural dense hair has religious significance.

The hair is left to grow into dreadlocks from a young age. The hair style is popular with priests and faithful of Olokun deity. The parents of such kids believe if they cut the hair it may cause sickness or death.

Ethnic hair
hairstyle A Comprehensive List of Yoruba Hair Styles

Patewo-( meaning clap your hands


Panumo-(meaning Shut Up

Pakunpo-(knock knee

Police cap

Remo carpet


Two steps

Second all African games


Telephone wire

Three jolly friends

Three star



Onile gogoro


Ogun pari

Eko bridge

Nigeria drive right

National thearther



Ipako elede (pigs nape

Half parting

Face cap




Back parting

Coiling penny penny

Brush kiko

Beri beri

Boys follow me


Aro meta

Agogo (gong

Abeti aja (dog ears

Banana leaf

© 2017 femi

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