For every lady you come across on the way, the hair says something- age range, social status and personality. The hair is the crown of a woman’s beauty and every woman wants to be beautiful. It’s almost like a social demand or construct to think and be that way. From antiquity the African woman has always been particular about her hair, it’s all part of the package. From childhood, mothers are very keen on making their daughter’s hairs presentable. Some go as far as using local Shea butter on their tender hairs to ensure that they have a somewhat long hair as they grow. An underlining mindset will be to have the kind “white people have”.
A long hair craze is gradually registered in the minds of the growing generation. It has never been known in African history that a hair style evolution summed up a whooping $7 billion. In 2014, Euromonitor International estimated a $1.1 billion of hair care products sold in South Africa, Nigeria and Cameroon. The hair business in Africa has become a gold mine, a marveling lucrative business. The introduction of weaves and hair extensions- clip in extension, bands, wigs, hair products- relaxers, conditioners, oils, has turned the lifestyle of the African woman around and equally set an unbelievable economical record. We love occasions not just because there’s a purpose for it but because ladies can’t wait to show off their latest fashion acquisition; in this case, the human hair. The product is sourced from all parts of the world, Peru, Brazil, India, Puerto Rico, China and others.
Hair weaves and extensions are believed to be processed natural hair from female citizens of these countries. For a voluminous human hair look, you will be ready to pay the rates of $35- thousands of dollars (depending on the grade of the product), to purchase the weaves and then settle the stylist. With the latest multi billion dollar discovery, Africa can be seen as guilty of consumerism, we are more consumers and less producers. Today we see ladies with hair extensions that are expensive enough to power a business centre for a month or even feed a community for a day or more. This situation says a lot about the psychological state of African citizens in this modern dispensation
Africans are typically known for the braids which helps in managing and protecting the hair. Braiding was done with so much skill and creativity. It sure did make a confident statement. From plaiting of the natural hair, the African woman upgraded to perming of the hair. The word perm was obtained from “permanent waves” which is a resultant end point of stretching the hair with chemicals(relaxers) and using heated rods/rollers on it. From there, dyes came into the picture. The idea that you could have a red hair like the “whites have” was a dream come true. The fantasy couldn’t be more real when the synthetic hair extensions erupted, and finally to the present day diverse human hair extensions.
You can call it the effect of globalization but hair styles have always had a cultural undertone. The cultural level of a people plays a visible role in the general lifestyle of the people. Acculturation is one appropriate explanation for the adoption of hair styles that are not peculiar to our origin. When two cultures meet, they clash and finally get to the yielding point where each culture takes something home from the opposite culture. The African situation with the imperialist was no different story. Their domination over the African continent left a supremacy tag anytime they are mentioned, they influenced our lives in many ways. The $7 billion dollar hair dazzler is not far from the after effects of acculturation. The modern-day woman wants a definition, variety and a certain level of glamour which only used to be possible in movies.
With a growing media presence in the continent and the world at large why would the business of hair not flourish? From the earliest time of cultural transformation, the media- print, audio, audio-visual- have influenced the trending lifestyles of the people. The media rave for hair extensions also escalated the hair consciousness in the continent through hair blogs/vlogs. With affordable internet space, you could promote your product and advertise them. Chances of tripling your fortune comes up when a public figure or celebrity shows any form of affiliation to the hair product.
Attaching popular foreign names to hair styles is a business strategy that is rooted in that influence, thus we have hairs like Bob Marley, Anita Baker, Toni Braxton, Rihanna. As a matter of fact, popularity sky rockets the prices of services from the simplest to the complicated ones. No one wants to be left out from the happening beauty routine of the moment, a style that associates you to a global phenomenon. The media has the potential of influencing people as seen in recent times, everyone wants to be like the characters on TV and the models in a catalog. And if it costs a fortune, so be it.
Entrepreneurship has become the way forward in most African countries. The incessant instability in our economy has made unemployment the order of the day. As you cannot continuously wait for what your nation will do for you, acquiring skills just like our mothers and fathers did becomes an option. Hair styling/business ranks a top 3 consideration in that regard. Plenty young ladies and lads have ventured into this field, learning the art of braiding, perming, fixing of hair extensions and most importantly the buying and selling of human hair extensions. Though some persons settle for the business, it is hard to see any hair weave outlet that has no attached salon. Salons are found everywhere; from the roadside salons to the sophisticated salons in exotic locations. Every salon is now a quasi hair school and consultancy firm. In some areas, the quality of your hair extension determines your bill.
Business Of Hair Extensions
Entrepreneurship meets demand and you are smiling to the bank. In the spirit of business competition, most hair stylists now equip their salons with leading international hair products. So, they just don’t order for the hair extensions alone, they come with accessories and other hair styling products- to maintain the hair style or rather increase the repute of the salon, which financially translates into a fatter bank account. The African Woman has been an ornament of beauty and the flourishing hair business only deepens the veracity of the assertion.
It’s almost as if the secondary school class on hair didn’t make sense till the volcanic hair business and blogs sprung up. The success of the Hair business in Africa has definitely provided a means of livelihood for people, taking them up the social ladder, but on the other hand, the economic interpretation might sound rather frivolous and funny for a continent where a large percentage of people live below poverty line. We spend billions on hair extensions and turn to the international community for foreign aids.