When I was brainstorming my birthday hairstyle, I wanted to do something that was elegant and clearly African, incorporating both braids and curls. Lontia suggested I draw inspiration from the signature braided hairstyles popular amongst Habesha women from Ethiopia and Eritrea. Known for their healthy hair and intricate braid designs, a habesha inspired hairstyle was perfect for my birthday! Here’s how I pulled the whole look together.
A Synthetic Curly Wig
I’ve already chatted about this wig on YouTube, but I got it on Amazon! I wore it for a week before my trip, and decided it would work just as well as a half wig, so I incorporated it into my style with a few extra bobby pins. At just $70, this wig perfectly matched my hair color and gave me the length and volume I wanted for this style, without compromising my own hair.
I can’t cornrow my hair – sadly – so I went to Amadiva salon in Nairobi for some braids by Catherine. Catherine took one look at my scalp and was like no ma’am, you need a wash; and I did, it had been three weeks. I was nervous about getting my hair washed, shampooed, and blow dried on the continent because previous times I’ve gotten my hair braided while in Africa (although usually while in the village in Nigeria), I always have to bring my own wide tooth comb and detangle my own hair. So I was both nervous and unprepared, but I had THE BEST hair salon experience of my entire life! I’m not sure of the woman who shampooed my hair, but her hands were gentle yet efficient, and I was in and out of that chair in 15 minutes. Back in Catherine’s chair, she blow dried my hair – again, so gently! – and finished my cornrows so quickly with absolutely NO pull. She even helped me affix my wig back on. And then charged me $20 for the whole thing! I was in and out in an hour. Let’s just say Catherine is now my go to hairdresser whenever I’m in Kenya.
I knew I didn’t want braids and beads, but I still wanted some accessories in my hair. I found these gold jewelry braid accessories on Amazon, but I’m sure they’re in most beauty supply stores as well. I’m just too lazy and free next day shipping is too good to pass up! I saw that Lontia had some gold elastic thread that she used for this look, so I asked her to bring me some to wrap around a prebraided crochet braid that we used as a headband/to hide the lace from the wig!
All in all, my habesha inspired hairstyle came out to under $100! Not bad for a birthday queen huh? At night, I slept with an extra large bonnet, but took the wig off after a few days since I had nowhere to go. Once the cornrow started to get a bit fuzzy, I applied this mousse all over them and tied them down with a scarf overnight – they looked close to brand new! Super low maintenance, but high impact look, definitely one of my favorite hairstyles I’ve ever done!