African Braids Spiral Increase In Recruitment Of African Hairdressers In China


As African fashion styles make waves across the globe in modern dispensation, so also is there now a considerably high recruitment of China-based African hairdressers who are into the braiding business.

A typical example of the above is the of China-based African hairdressers, Ruth Wanu Waweru.

Ruth is a Chinese immigrant from Kenya. Regardless of geographical location, the African hairdresser is making a living from braiding in China.

The Kenyan hairdresser while still in Africa sent her application to an online recruitment agency. This was where her current employers in China saw her resume and were impressed.

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For over a year, Ruth has worked in a Salon in China’s capital Beijing. She works in an African owned salon, Paulma Afro Hair Care.

Her employers are reported to be an African couple from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They have a  branch in Sanlitun and in 2013 opened up another one in Shanghai.

Logically their customer base has a majority of Africans. However an increasing number of Chinese locals are beginning to patronize their services.

Ruth Wanu Waweru has worked with a whole lot of customers from all around the world in Beijing. She has braided the hairs of women from Africa, China, United States, Russia and Japan; at her work place.

At Paulma, African-style braiding which usually takes up to 8 hours, costs about 100 – 1,500 yuan ($15 – $225). The confident artisan and hairdresser has an 8 years professional experience in braiding.

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She explains the difference in handling the various hair textures of the women, African and otherwise who patronize her:

“The hair texture of African people is different from Asians’. Our hair is very dry, making braiding it a convenient choice.” 

“It is more difficult to braid hair for Chinese clients, as their hair is more smooth, thus more likely to become loose.”

“If I braid African hair, I do it dry. But for Chinese hair, I wet it with some water.”

Xia Fan owns 2 hairdressing shops in Zhengzhou, in Henan Province. 3 years ago the Chinese hairdresser learnt how to make the African braids. This proves the growing demand for African style braiding in China.

“Many Chinese young people are now very into fashion stuff like African braids.”

“Just a few years ago, very few Chinese people knew about braids, but now we have dreadlocks, twisting, two steps and feathers.” -Xia

Ruth makes about 5,000 yuan ($750) in a month, which is much higher than her monthly salary back in Kenya. This explains why the business is lucrative for China-based African hairdressers who can braid.