Before I moved to Uganda, I didn’t know that most of the women’s hair was not all theirs … let me explain. For some reason, it seems that Ugandan women’s hair (as a general rule, certainly not everyone) doesn’t grow very long like mine does. Because of this, it limits the hairstyles available to the ladies. Therefore, hair style changes are usually due to varying extensions that are plaited into their existing hair. Sometimes they are even attractive wigs. They look just like the real thing and are beautiful!!! They are worn for something like up to a month or two at a time and then removed or changed after a brief break.
The different looks though can fool you if you aren’t paying close attention! After all, you don’t want to not greet your friend just because you didn’t recognize her … (not that I have ever done that before …. tongue in cheek … oops!). Actually, it has been rather embarrassing when someone I have known in one context shows up in another context with a new hair-do. I must admit that there has been more than once that I didn’t recognize them in their new hair-do! Even driving down the road, I may pass someone before I realize it is someone I know …
It may seem like a simple thing to add extensions to your hair, but wait! It can take as much as eight hours for someone to plait in all of the extensions into your own hair!!! In fact, I read online that it takes an average of 5-8 hours to complete a new look. Imagine the commitment. But, oh, they are ever so beautiful! It’s no wonder they leave a particular style in as long as possible even though the average is only between 4-6 weeks at a time.
Not only is it an art and fashion statement on the part of the recipient, not just anyone can plait hair extensions well! While this has been done for centuries now in Africa, the hours it takes to transform a woman’s short hair into long braids is short of a miracle. Once the braid or weave is done, the braids can then be styled into a further fashion that literally transforms the look! For the look to be perfected, it requires some skill on the part of the beautician. While some hand down this skill from mother to daughter, most attend beauty school in Uganda to learn it well. The braids are tightly woven purposefully in order for the style to last.
No matter the budget, women seem to have a deep need to look good and this is one innovative way that is relatively inexpensive in Uganda to obtain it. From corn rows to extensions braided to perfection to wigs, It seems Uganda has again demonstrated its ingenuity to do well with what is available!
Now just think of the possibilities and versatility of adding extensions or wearing wigs that one can have. It could offer you similar options like changing your wardrobe! You don’t need to cut your hair into a new style. Just try a new one every month or two! Settle into one of your favorites or go back to a preferred one now and then. Have some fun! I can’t believe I haven’t already tried it myself! Ingenious.