From natural braids like ‘calabar’ or ‘shuku’ hairstyles of our grandmothers, to weaves, attachments and wigs or caps, the hair industry has gone through massive growth and an entire revolution over the years. Just when we think we have seen it all, a new trend evolves. The hair, they say, is the glory of a woman; little wonder why so much effort is made to keep that industry ever-thriving.

Back in the day, the most common hairstyles were natural braids and then later weave-ons that looked like the ‘Mary J Blige’ signature hairstyle and the puffy bob or curly wigs. Short cropped weave-ons and skull caps were very common as well. There was also the introduction of attachments and hair stylists showed prowess and creativity by braiding different styles for customers. Charts of different plaited hairstyles, box braids and twists graced the walls and doors of every salon; and with time, people tried to give the illusion that the weave-ons were actually the real hair of the customer. This they did by leaving a little portion of the natural hair over the final closure.

Moving further into the twenty-first century, the natural hair craze swept through most women in different parts of the world especially in Nigeria and having even non-blacks, trying to imitate the kinky look and fullness of the African hair which helped in raising the self appreciation of African beauty. Many even cut their very long hair, which they had groomed and permed for many years, to start over and pull off the natural-hair look not caring about how expensive and difficult maintenance could be. This became the ‘in-thing’ and even some brides pulled it off on their big day!

Then came the reintroduction of braids in many forms including crochet, taking women ‘back to the roots’ and recreating hairstyles of our grandmothers, but in a chic and modern way; with beads and other ornaments adding a unique touch to the general outlook of the hair. Common among them are the Fulani hairstyle, shuku and cornrows, just to mention a few. Braiding with beads made major waves with even celebrities such as Kim Kardashian gracing the red carpet with such hairstyle.

Trending now are the famous wigs and caps! These have become a major part of every woman’s accessories. The braided wigs came and swept the market in a storm. They were rare and all so expensive. Notwithstanding, people purchased, and it is now so common. As if this sort of wigs were not enough, weave caps also became a thing and furthermore came with lace frontals and closure. Every woman’s dream–to wear a wig that blends with her scalp and pull it off as though it were real!

The evolution of the hair industry has also extended to men as well having micro-scalp treatments and hair growth serums selling at a rapid rate. With all these and more, one can only wonder what next the hair industry throws at us.


This article was written by Ayanbimpe Gloria; connect with her on IG here