By Edeltraud Mokhatu
Depicted as women’s crowning glory, hair has always been women’s search for societal acceptance. Defined by social occasions, beautification of the hair plays an essential role in our beauty-conscious society.
To be socially up to standard where beauty is concerned, women and young girls alike flock to beauty parlours and hair salons to have their hair done in the latest and most fashionable styles. The current craze in Namibian hairstyles are – extensions or weaves, Brazilian bonding and cornrows (aka pushback)
According to Aina Shekupe, a hairdresser and nail technician at ABC Fashion and Beauty Parlour, women do their hair in tune with the season or their wardrobes. They also do their hair in order to protect it from breakage.
“Women like short and light hairstyles in summer to allow their hair to breathe, and long and thick in winter to protect their scalps and ears from the cold.”
With prices ranging from N$120 for fishtail to N$250 for the Brazilian bonding, (excluding retail price of the hair/extensions), women have a variety of choices, even if it doesn’t come cheap.
According to a young woman who gave her name only as Martha, if you can afford it, then why not? Using international superstars like Oprah and Janet Jackson as a yardstick, she stated that she wouldn’t mind paying up to N$5 000 if she would look like them.
“Competition is high, you have to look good to feel good. Your hairstyle should complement your look and vice versa.”
But what do men think about women and their hair. Dezko, a young man from Windhoek says women should have whatever hairstyle they want. “We live in a world where television has a big influence on our lifestyle,” he said.
Although men admire beautiful (synthetic) hair, they seem to have a preference for natural hair. Yet another man said it was okay for women to do their hair the way they wanted if that was necessary, like in the case of women with short hair or unmanageable hair. He added that this did not justify the price.
Even though women do not mind paying, they expect to get their money’s worth. Messing up a woman’s hair will cost you dearly, while doing an excellent job will guarantee you unwavering loyalty and even extra clients.
Professional service and location are essential if you want clients, is the opinion of another hairstylist. “A certain location guarantees a certain type of clientele and a good profit.”
Women though are not the only ones who braid their hair. Men also like to have their hair done, though at more affordable and reasonable prices. Their preferred styles for braiding are pushback and dreadlocks.
Renting space at an up- market complex is not the only way to go to get a good client base though because women are essentially looking for someone who will make them look good.
Hence some hairstylists run their business from home while reaping the same benefits and more as people who own classy outlets. Doing hair at home is also more convenient for housewives and workingwomen because they tend to be more flexible with their time.
As another hair stylist put it, “Hair is an outward expression of culture and heritage. It also represents a sense of personal style and beauty.”