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Nairobi women breaking bank for hair weaves

Say Hello to the Sh250,000 hairdo.

For Nairobi’s wealthiest women are now spending up to that amount on weaves to achieve the Western look. They are no longer going for plastic, synthetic weaves, but insist on human hair shipped in from Asia and South America.

Jayne Awino Okoth, a celebrity stylist, who owns the elite Rapunzel Hair Affair Salon in Westlands, says her clients are spending that much without batting an eyelid.The minimum cost of a simple retouch at her salon goes for a cool Sh80,000.

Crazy about weaves

“Nairobi women are crazy about weaves,” she said. “They have upgraded to original human hair. They know what they want, they come to me with photos of celebrities like Beyonce and Rihanna and they are willing to pay whatever it takes to achieve that look.”

And Jayne continued: “I think women don’t mind the cash, because they want quality. I hear this from the consultations I do with them. They say to me, ‘As long as I look like Beyonce, do it, I don’t care about the money.’”

Some of the hair weave models at  Rapunzel Saloon in Westlands.   Photo/ JEFF ANGOTE
Some of the hair weave models at Rapunzel Saloon in Westlands.
Photo/ JEFF ANGOTE

Jayne charges Sh200,000 for an imported weave made from hair brought in from Costa Rica, already treated and packaged for the Nairobi market.

“One bunch of Costa Rican hair is worth Sh36,000. For it to look bouncy and voluminous, we need six batches. Add that to the cost of retouching your hair, washing and fixing it to your natural hair and it amounts to about Sh250,000,” she said.

Other popular hair for weaves comes from Brazil, China India, the Philippines and Ethiopia. The second priciest hair after the Costa Rican is at from the Philippines whose strands are heavier and more pronounced than the rest.

Jayne’s clients include celebrities, politicians and top businesswomen who want a manageable and sophisticated look. Nairobi women have also taken up a new trend where they are given hair by their Indian women friends who have long hair.

“It happens all the time. Women come here with their Indian friends and tell me, ‘Cut her hair and fix it on me.’ It happens even to those who want to get rid of their dreadlocks and want to sell them to somebody else,” she said.

Nairobi women also love colour and extra bounce in their hair, and it is no wonder the ‘ombre’  trend of adding colour to weaves has become a hot cake.

Ombre is a mixture of colour from dark to light shades. Women want a lighter shade at the top of the weave and darker at the root.

The Atlanta-trained stylist said she scouts for the hair herself from Indian and Chinese factories where hair is sold. While many want to resemble celebrities like Beyoncé, some just want a relaxed look that suits their formal professions.

“We then retouch your hair and start the micro bonding process where we take small strands of the hair and attach it to the weave using a special machine. Afterwards, I wash the hair, blow-dry it, style it and you are good to go,” Jayne said.