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Waist Beads History and Tips

Waist beads come from Africa. They can be traced all the way back to the 15th century from the Yoruba tribe. Typically, young girls begin wearing them when they are children, and a village elder ties them on them. It is seen as a rites of passage ceremony or status symbol. 

Common materials in waist beads are string, seed beads, glass, crystals, bone, wood, and metal. The traditional way to wear them is as a permanent tie on, but removable options can be created also. Each color (see chart below) used has a significant spiritual meaning and purpose. 

Traditionally, they are worn underneath the clothing, but now can be worn as the wearer sees fit. The wearer can use it as a personal connection for the intentions they wish to set for it. Some use it to empower themselves, encourage self love, sensuality and pleasure, femininity, weight loss tracking, or adornment accessory. Partners may also enjoy them, but they must be mindful because the waist beads can break when pulled too hard.


Waist beads are meant to be enjoyed by all women of all sizes and ages. They are worn from the waist line to the top of the hips. You can enjoy them for as long as you like. Some waist beads stay with the wearer for a long time; others may not last long as they have served their purpose and may break off.

Color chart
  • Please be careful when removing clothing too quickly as your waist beads can break if they are caught in your clothing.

  • Waist beads are an extension of you, so treat them like a piece of fine jewelry.

  • You can sleep, shower/bathe, swim, exercise and do normal activities with them.

  • The beads will rise and fall with normal weight fluctuations.

  • If your intention is to lose weight, the beads may fall off completely as they have served their purpose. They may be repurposed as a necklace, bracelet, anklet or however you see fit.

  • They will not come off unless they break off or you cut them off. Beads may also break off when they have fulfilled their intention or purpose of being in your life.

  • You may add as many or as less waist beads on your body. There is no set amount.


Traditionally, they are worn under the clothing, but you may wear them as you wish.

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