During a recent trip to Kenya, I was captivated by the different hairstyles of the people who roamed the streets. Much like the states, Kenyans express their individual style through their hair. In general, Africa is the mecca of cornrows, box braids, buzzcuts and much more. Braids are heavily ingrained in African culture. Because braids are such a staple, hair salons and braiding huts can be found in every mall and on every street corner.
The history behind each person’s hairstyle is long and diverse. Kenya is made up of 43 tribes. Most tribes have traditions that are tied to how a person manipulates their hair. Chances are if you look at a random person on the street, you could identify their tribe based on their hair, accessories, and facial features. On the other hand, lots of Kenyans aren’t attached to the traditions of their tribe. Because of that, I saw a nice mixture of hairstyles.
Kenya’s strength is found in their natural styles. While I did see wigs and weaves, I was more taken by the artistry of hair braiding, twist-outs, and crochet styles. The weaves and wigs that I came across were less extravagant. Typical to the states, a luxurious weave would cost more money due to the quality of the hair. In Kenya, wigs and weaves are sold in mall booths, beauty supply stores and hair salons.
I experienced black hair on another level during this trip. There is so much history that goes into the way a person does their hair. Whether they’re holding true to the traditions of their culture, or embracing something new, I was excited to capture the hair of 9 people I met in Kenya. Some styles are bold, some are unique, some are simple. Get to know them and their hair stories on the flip.