Head-turning hairstyles | Daily News


Head-turning hairstyles

The coronavirus has revived a hairstyle in east Africa, one with braided spikes that echo the virus’s distinctive shape.

The style’s growing popularity is in part due to economic hardships linked to virus restrictions – it is cheap, parents say – and to the goal of spreading awareness about the coronavirus.

The hairstyle had gone out of fashion in recent years as imported real and synthetic hair from India, China and Brazil began to flood the market and demand by local women increased. Pictures of the flowing or braided imported styles are tacked up in beauty salons across much of Africa. But now, in a makeshift salon beside a busy road in Kibera, a slum in the heart of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Sharon Refa, a 24-year-old hairdresser, braids young girls’ hair into the antennae-like spikes that people call the “coronavirus hairstyle”. Girls shift in the plastic chairs as she tugs at their scalps. “Some grownups don’t believe that the coronavirus is real, but most young children are keen to sanitize their hands and wear masks. Many adults do not do this, and that is why we came up with the corona hairstyle,” Refa says, her face mask tucked under her chin.

Margaret Andeya, who is struggling to make ends meet, said the coronavirus hairstyle suited her daughters’ styling needs and her pocket. Virus-related restrictions have stifled daily work for millions of people with little or no savings.

“This hairstyle is much more affordable for people like me who cannot afford to pay for the more expensive hairstyles out there yet still want our kids to look stylish,” Andeya says.

It costs 50 shillings, or about 40p, to get the braids, while the average hairdo costs 300 to 500 shillings). That is money most people in Kibera cannot afford at the moment.

The technique used in braiding the coronavirus hairstyle is threading, which uses yarn instead of synthetic hair braids. This is the secret to making it affordable, residents say.

“Covid-19 has destroyed the economy, taken our jobs from us, and now money is scarce. I therefore decided to have my child’s hair done up like this at an affordable 50 shillings, and she looks good,” says 26-year-old Mariam Rashid.

“The hairstyle also helps in communicating with the public about the virus.” The Guardian

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