A new era has seemingly dawned on most African women who are now discarding their Brazilian weaves and going the natural way.
By Phyllis Mbanje
While some will do it because it is the current tide sweeping across all fashion ramps, there are others who are making a statement through their hairstyle.
It is commonly believed that women communicate their feelings with their hair. A recently divorced woman will cut her mane as a sign of emancipation or the beginning of another chapter of her life.
Celebrities are the worst at communicating their crises through their hair.
When Rihanna stormed onto the music scene with a Madonna innocent look, she had a long flowing mane but as her videos and lyrics got dirtier, her dresses skimpier, she chopped off her hair and released Good Girl Gone Bad.
Her dramatic short crop and the various shades that she painted it with, announced a new person, on a different mission.
Lately most women have ditched their artificial hair and gone the natural way. Even the styles are more African and less of the Barbie Doll imitations which come in their “interesting” colours of the rainbow.
Popular in most salons is the natural locks, either short or long. There are even hairpieces that imitate the natural locks.
“Most of my clients now prefer locks. It is not only the single out going ladies but also the married women. Actually the married women are preferring the locks more,” said Sylvia from Ebony hair saloon along Rezende.
While the natural look might be cheaper, it is often difficult to maintain.
“When one decides to cut their hair, a lot of attention is needed to keep it in good shape. Our natural hair is often kinky and very coarse,” said Mildred from Panache’ hair parlor.
Celebrities too have fanned this new fashion statement and notable ones include Solange Knowles, and of late actress Lupita Nyong’o.
Across the border, songstress Lira has maintained her afro and many young women have copied her natural look.
Locally the female politicians have also adopted the natural look with First Lady Grace Mugabe leading the pack. Harare West MP Jessie Majome is well known for her short locks which she wears with pride. Activist Nyaradzai Gumbotsvanda is among the women who have gone the natural way.
The late mbira sensation Chiwoniso Maraire was famed for her natural locks which set her apart from the other young female artistes.
But research has shown that for most women they communicate different things with their hair.
“Often when client asks for a dramatic colour for her hair or for a complete shave I always ask why. Many will either say their spouse is dating someone with a similar hairstyle or that he has cheated and they are taking it out on their hair,” said Chichi from Ebony.
The natural look has not been bound by age although the older more mature ones are chopping off their hair more.
“I feel and look younger with my new short hair. As one gets older you miss compliments like “Oh but you look so young!” said bank teller with Stanbic.