First time adding hair to my hair. Rasta style.
Fake hair is a part of the culture I didn’t fully understand until I physically attached it to my head. Once I did, I realized there is so much more to it than a change in hairstyle.
First, the price. It cost me N$ 210 ($13 USD) to buy the hair, and normally would cost another N$ 200 to have it braided, but Marcelina did it for free because she’s my friend. Time was about five hours of braiding.
In the U.S. these prices are much, much higher. The Chris Rock documentary “Good Hair” does an amazing look into the industry, and found that women can spend up to $5,000 USD per visit to the salon, and that the industry is worth $9 billion a year in America alone. I can’t imagine how big it is once you factor in Africa.
Second, the reactions:
- Is that a wig? Do you take it off at night? (Dan)
- Pssst hey YOU! YOU A REAL AFRICAN WOMAN NOW. (Nurse at hospital)
- Wow you look beautiful up close. (Creepy man)
- Real African rasta lady. (Doctor at hospital)
- I’m sorry I came late to work, I can’t sleep at night. (Me)
Third, the problem. I have a new sleep dependence on Ibuprofen. All these giant things sticking out of my head make me want to either dip my scalp in cold lotion or remove it all together.
Once I felt the constant soreness, I had trouble understanding something I had just accepted before, that 90% of women here do this every month. For their entire life! It’s a whole new version of “Beauty is Pain”.
At the end of the day though I really like the look, and feel like I fit in more. Unfortunately fake hair isn’t calculated into our living allowance, so I will only return to it once I’ve forgotten how painful it is.