Africa has a variety of hairstyles that originated from different parts of the continent. In the past, it was used to identify women of different tribes or parts of Africa and it also tells a lot about a woman’s background, marital status, and religion. Hair is seen as the pride of a woman and the nature of a woman’s hair could tell her fertility rate as one with a thick and long hair was seen to be very fertile. African hairstyles is very unique because of its originality, creativity, and significance in the African culture. Hairstyles in Nigeria differ across the various tribes. The popular ones are the patewo, all back (kolese), shuku, isi owu (thread), didi (inverted cornrows) etc. So many people make braids of different kinds and some also fix their hairs.
Natural hair is any hair that is thick, dark, and has not been denatured by heat or chemicals like relaxers, straighteners, texturizers etc. They usually have tighter and smaller curls and they are of different textures. Natural hair can be maintained by applying natural hair products (either those gotten naturally or those made from natural ingredients), by washing your hair once every week or once in two weeks, by eating healthy foods that are rich in protein, biotin, fat, vitamins, and antioxidants, and by moisturizing it regularly. There are different types of natural hair which is defined by the curl patterns as seen in the picture below:
There are a variety of hairstyles that can be made with natural hair, some of which are:
• Natural braids like cornrows (popularly called All back)
• Bantu nuts
• Natural twists which comes in different styles and patterns
• Protective styles: This involves using hair extensions to weave your hair.
• Wash n go
Natural Hair Products to Use
There are so many natural hair products that can be used to grow and maintain natural hair. Some like shea butter (popularly known as Ori or Okume), coconut oil, aloe Vera etc. are nature’s gifts to us while others are made from natural ingredients of which shea butter and coconut oil are usually active ingredients. Some of these products are listed below:
• Hair wonder cream, shampoo, and oil.
• Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream
• Dark and lovely leave-in conditioner
• Olive oil leave-in conditioner
• Olive oil organics hair mayonnaise
Products to keep or maintain hair curls are listed below:
• Kera Care Defining Custard
• Agadir Argan Oil Styling & Sculpting Gel
• Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
• OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream
• Eco Styler Styling Gel
• Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse
• Queen Helene Royal Curl Shaping Crème
Hair Styles in Nigeria
• Weavon Styles: This hairstyle is done by plaiting cornrows and fixing the hair extension on it. To make this hairstyle, one has to consider things like the style, whether there will be a part on the hair, the length etc. this will determine how the foundation will look like before fixing starts.
• Nigerian Braided Hairstyles: There are different kinds of braided hairstyles in Nigeria like patewo (clap) which is done by plaiting the hair to form a clap at the middle of the head, all back (kolese) which is done by just weaving the hair from front to the back of the scalp, shuku which is made by weaving the hair upwards to a meeting point at the center of the head, didi (inverted cornrows) which is done by weaving the hair backwards but in an opposite direction or in an inverted way.
• Nigerian Children Hairstyles: Children in Nigeria wear hairdo that makes them look their age. Most of them make cornrows with their hair while others add wool or thread and in most cases they beautify with beads of different colours and shapes as seen below;
• Hairstyles with attachments: There are so many hairstyles in which attachments are added to it. They are usually used to do box braids, Ghana weaving, twists, pick and drop, feathers etc. some illustrations are shown below;
• Afro Hairstyles: This kind of hairstyle sometimes called ‘fro is mostly carried by people that keep short, thick natural hair. There are somethings to apply on your afro to keep it shiny and look beautiful. There are also different ways to style it to suit you and some artificial afro extensions are available that can be fixed on your hair.
• Cornrow Hairstyles: As the name implies, they are hairstyles that look like cornrows. It is done by dividing the hair into sections depending on the style you want to achieve, taking one section and dividing the hair into 3 then tuck in the hair into each other.
• Short weaves: These are weave extension that are short and it is done the same way as normal fixing of weavon but it is cut afterwards to any desired style.
• Curly Weaves: These kind of weaves are curly in nature. They are usually weave extensions that are fixed on the hair and they have different types of curls. There are curl keepers that can be used to maintain the curls and make the weaves look beautiful.
• Ghana Weaving: These are braids that are done with attachments (kanekalon hair) or other hair extensions used for braiding. It is done like normal cornrow braids but with extra kanekalon hair (like 10-15 tiny strands of hair per cornrow) which turns out really beautiful as shown below;