The Ultimate Truth about Real African Braids | Ants in Pants

The Ultimate Truth about Real African Braids

Русская версия Being in Africa and not braiding hair equals to not being in Africa – as Nastya thought. Being awe-struck by the beautiful African women, carrying loads on their heads so gracefully, she also admired their hairdos. That is how Nastya’s didactic story of the beauty and its price started.
african braidsThe countries of East Africa call for the braids with their multiple beauty salons offering hairdos for African thick hair at every corner. Here one may strengthen, curl, and of course braid the hair.
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In some places, you can also follow certain trends: for instance, in Uganda the short flat top haircut was in fashion when we were visiting it. Still, many African women prefer simple short hair cuts which allow them caring of their hair less.
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At first, Nastya tried to braid her hair in one of the hair salons of Rwanda. After some bargaining, she and a hairdresser agreed to meet in the evening and braid Nastya’s hair (without additional fake hair) for an approximate sum of 7 euros. Nevertheless, when she came at the agreed time, the hairdresser disappeared. Only braiding her hair later, in Nairobi, Nastya understood why.
In Nairobi we stayed with a couchsurfer Sanora and spend a lot of good time together walking in the city.
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After long talks about African braids (Sanora herself had an interesting hairdo), she kindly offered Nastya to braid her hair. Sanora instructed us about buying artificial hair and elastics, and in the evening they sat to braid the hair. Only at that moment Nastya realized, why the hairdresser from Rwanda disappeared after the deal of doing it for 7 euros. As Sanora, who had lived with her sister in Sweden for some time and braided a lot of European hair explained, compared to African hair, braiding European hair is a torture. African hair is like clay, you do not even have to fix the braid with the elastic at the end – a piece of own hair is enough. Meanwhile, European hair is too soft and slippery, and braiding it is very difficult. Despite the fact that Sanora was so experienced and Nastya was braiding the ends, we spend about four hours. It is needless to say how painful this was for the hands and back of both girls.
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And, after 4 hours, the hairdo was ready.
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Sanora advised to buy a special spray, which gives a relief to the strained skull. The thing is that the hair is braided in a very tight way to wear them for a month or more than that.
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It is needless to say that it was difficult to sleep at the first night, in spite of a lot of special spray applied. But the beauty demands sacrifice, and Nastya decided that she can make it. Still, the tension was not the only problem – after several days pimples covered Nastya’s skull either because of the strained skin or artificial synthetic hair. In addition, we were going for snorkeling and even the thoughts of the poor skull and the hair in the braids being salted in the ocean was painful. At that time we were in Zanzibar, and Nastya already became so local due to her braids, that Africans started to call her rastawoman  After some moral and physical torments we decided collectively to unbraids the hair, and spend together with courageous Vitya four hours again. It is needless to say how bad own hair went after the braiding. What is good for an African is no good for a Belarusian. But the dream was worth that, since Nastya had real African braids!
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See other stories about us trying to experience local life:
Children in Africa
Pamir: the first impressions
Vietnamese Coffee