A hairy matter: Popular urban hair trends

Women in Braamfontein love their hair and are not afraid to try daring hairstyles. But living in the city means time is limited and hairstyles have to be easily maintained and look good for any occasion. 

WILD HAIR: A woman's hair is her crowning glory. Photo: Provided

WILD HAIR: A woman’s hair is her crowning glory. Photo: Provided

 

From brightly coloured braids to cute bobs, hairstyles make a personal statement. And the women in Braamfontein make bold ones. Like any cultural expression, hair trends are constantly changing colour, length and texture. Personality, budget and bravery play a role in what kind of hair women choose to wear.

“Young and older women love changing their hair every other week, depending on their budget,” says Tendai Kumbula, a  shop assistant in a popular hair extensions store on Juta street.

With over 15 hair salons in a five minute walk of each other, hair in Braamfontein is a competitive business.

One Wits 1st year student told WitsVuvuzela that she pays at least R450 monthly for the upkeep of her hair.

“I don’t mind spending on my hair because it makes me feel good,” she said.

Some of the most popular hair trends in Johannesburg are cornrows, bright hair colours, short pixies, braided bob and natural hair:

 

Cornrows

CRAZY CORNROWS: Variations with this hairstyle are limitless. Photo: Provided

CRAZY CORNROWS: Variations with this hairstyle are limitless. Photo: Provided

 

Whether done using natural hair or adding extensions, this hairstyle is a timeless classic that is appreciated by both men and women alike. Celebrities like Alicia Keys and D’Angelo and Snoop Dogg have been known to rock this hair do. The beauty of it is that it can be plaited in a simple straight back fashion, or it can be styled with funky patterns, beads and colours. It can cost anything between R150 to R300. The plaits usually last for roughly two weeks but maintenance is really just spraying on moisturizer and brushing up the edges then you are good to go.

 

Bright hair color

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND: Mining Engineering student, Moleseng Mokgosi says she was inspired by Rita Ora to go wild and edgy with her hair. Photo: Michelle Gumede

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND: Daring and bright hair colour is a favorite at the moment . Photo: Michelle Gumede

 

The trend of having brightly coloured hair has grown and transcends across hairstyles, textures and length.

“More and more women are feeling brave enough to experiment with unusual and striking colors like red and blonde” says Kumbula.

You can colour your natural hair with hair dye that goes for about R30 at any supermarket. You can opt to get extensions that are pre-coloured that cost about R200 or even purchase coloured wool to strut your favourite colour. Hot red, ivy green and piercing yellows are popping up on many heads around the city.

Mining Engineering student Moleseng Mokgosi has funky silver braids in her hair. Mokgosi says she was inspired by Rita Ora to go wild and edgy with her hair.

 

Short hair

 

THE HALLE BERRY LOOK: This hair do can turn any plain Jane into a Bond goddess. Photo: Serame Maishoane

THE HALLE BERRY LOOK: This hair do can turn any plain Jane into a Bond goddess. Photo: Serame Maishoane

 

Some people like to wear their hair short. “I believe that a hairstyle makes or completes an outfit,” says socialite and fashionista Serame Maishoane.

Maishoane says “the pixie cut does it for me.”

The pixie, also known as the ‘Halle Berry’, is short on the sides and has more length towards the top of the head.  It’s easy to maintain and works for both a formal and casual look. Because it can be done using your own hair or a weave,  the pixie can be brushed down or worn in a spiky style by adding a splash of gel or mousse.  It is a bit pricey, one can pay any thing from R500 upwards.

 

Natural locks

AU NATURALE: Zimasa Mpenyama's hair is her crown of glory. She leaves it in it's natural state and wears it with pride because that is part of her authentic self. Photo: Rafieka Williams

AU NATURALE: Zimasa Mpenyama’s hair is her crown of glory. She leaves it in it’s natural state and wears it with pride because that is part of her authentic self. Photo: Rafieka Williams

 

Natural hair comes in different textures and lengths. You can dred it, comb it out into a fro, go for the unkempt urban look or add a bit of color to natural hair for some attitude. Natural hair is versatile and requires low maintenance. Cotton Curls is a hair care range that is developed especially for afro hair. “Our focus is on indigenous and locally sourced natural oils, clays and butters.” says co founder of Cotton Curls, Negin Naledi Monkoe. The range is used by many women in Braamfontein with afro textured hair.

This hairstyle can cost anything between R200 for a treatment at the hair salon or nothing by maintaining at home with regular washes.

 

Bobbed braids

CUTE BOB: This hairstyle looks good on most face shapes. Photo: Anelisa Thuswa

CUTE BOB: This hairstyle looks good on most face shapes.           Photo: Anelisa Thuswa

 

The bob braid is making a comeback. This medium length chunky braid can be worn with a side path or with a fringe. Maishoane says this is a look for young and funky peeps.

“The arty farties,” she says.

At R300 for both labor and hairpiece this look is cute and works with most face frames.

Whether male, female or any gender in between, our hair is an important part of your identity. No matter how much or how little hair you have, the way you wear it says a lot about your personality and character.

Even the flavored beer brand ‘Flying Fish’ picked up on how much people in Braamfontein love their hair and want to have fun with it. ‘Flying fish’ turned the bus stop on Jorrissen into a pop up barbershop. Professional barbers, high chairs, clippers and all.

Students were treated to a free haircut of their choice and a voucher for free six-pack of beer that they can redeem at any Shoprite Checkers liquor outlet. The event brought flavour to the ordinary and mundane.

“Not everyone is into beer but anyone can agree that a fresh new hairdo can do wonders to boost confidence” said Noxolo Ntsaba, a brand representative of Flying Fish.

 

 

Hair is the one thing that is constantly changing and so is the brand. “ We wanted people to bring more flavor to their hairstyles,” says  Ntshaba

The down side of overtreating your hair with chemicals is they can stress the skull, which can lead to dryness and dandruff.

Kumbula recommends that ladies moisturize their hair daily and keep it clean with regular washes.

“Every once in a while, the hair needs a break and no chemicals or stress,” he said.

Cool kid on Campus: Karabo Mokoena

Karabo Mokoena is a 21 year Environmental Science student at Wits who is trying to change perceptions about black women’s natural hair and empower Africa at the same time. She is the CEO of a company called Nalane ea Afrika (African heritage) which produces natural hair care products for anyone who wants to manage their hair better.

EMPOWERING AFRICA: Karabo Mokoena is a Wits student making waves with her hair product Nalane ea Afrika. Photo: Lwazi Mazibuko

EMPOWERING AFRICA: Karabo Mokoena is a Wits student making waves with her hair product Nalane ea Afrika. Photo: Lwazi Mazibuko

Why did you start Nalane ea Afrika?

“It was that thing of, I’ve never seen MY hair. Having my hair natural means that, it’s my hair in its natural state, in its unique state… When we were little we would be forced to relax our hair and in those days, it was so painful. You would always burn from the relaxer and we want to prevent a lot of parents from having doing that to their kids because now we have the resources to change that.”

What is different about your product?

“One of the things that we strive for in the company is to only use African products. Everything that we use must be African. Even if we buy our oils, all our raw materials must be African. We even want the people who are giving us the raw materials to process them in Africa. So we want to empower Africa as a whole.”

How do you juggle the management of Nalane ea Afrika with your studies?

“My role right now is basically running the company, it’s still very small. The company I dedicate to during weekends. When I’m at school, I’m at school. I have my school time and then in between, even in between lectures, I’ll look at my e-mails to see what we need to do. I haven’t neglected my studies, I’m doing very well.”

How has your degree help you create the product?

“It helped in the sense that I did chemistry first year level, so that helped me understand when I was doing the research behind which products to use, which raw materials to use and if they would mix. I had a bit of background in that, so does my sister.”

Do you think that black girls at Wits are becoming more comfortable with their hair?

“I think so, I don’t think I could say yes or no. I only come on campus to do school and then I leave. So the people that I see – I see a lot of people with natural hair.”

What is the most important thing you want to achieve with your product?

“We’re going through a time where people are so conscious especially black women and I think the thing about having natural hair is seeing your true self. So I would like to achieve changing the mentality that – you being your natural self – is not right. That you can’t manage your hair because it looks unruly or it looks untidy. There’s so many hair styles you can do with your natural hair and I just want people to love themselves the way that they are.”