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HAIR (my hair, my identity)

HAIR (my hair, my identity)


HAIR (my hair, my identity)

By Chidinma Prisca Elebe ([email protected])


A person’s hair is an extension of who they are. It represents personality, tribe, religion, beliefs, ideals and profession. Possessing hair or the lack of it is still a form of identity. There is a distinctive quality to our hairstyles that can be used to characterize a particular person. For example, you cannot compare the strong, kinky, coily black hair of a black man or woman with the curly/straight, soft, sometimes red/blonde/brunette shiny hair of a white man or woman (Caucasian). It can be used as a form of racial classification just like skin colour. African hair has fascinated other races because of its unique oily texture yet it becomes dry at the tips when oil is not applied. You might be surprised that African hair is not the strongest hair. Yes! Asians have the strongest hair type.

You might be wondering why the fuss about hair but it doesn’t hurt to garner new knowledge about something so random like the hair. This can help do away with misconceptions, myths and abuse related to hair especially as Africans. The Nazarites for instance are required to wear their hair long without cutting. In the Holy book, Samson the Nazarite was consencrated by God and his hair was not to be cut short for any reason, we know the rest of that story. Hair signifies strength and fertility in many cultures while baldness might be associated with sterility.



I remember getting a haircut at some point when I was much younger because a relaxer had badly damaged my scalp because of its tenderness; it was just heartbreaking seeing my once long beautiful hair was lying right there on the floor. This is not to say that our whole confidence and beauty should be attached to our hair or a part of our body, it should also come from the inside. This is just to show that our hair can affect our self esteem, pride and self-respect as individuals. Shaving your hair can symbolize a lot of things from being a hairstyle of choice to it symbolizing mourning/ punishment, rite of passage in some cultures. In some sports like swimming and track athletes, it’s advisable to keep the hair short. People can also be bald intentionally to improve performance. Similarly, in the military, it is required you wear short hair as a matter of discipline and practicality.

Have you ever seen an aged man or woman with intermixed grey and black hair? Is it the same with a youngster that dyed his or her hair? I don’t think so. Your hair invariably shows how you want people to see you and think of you and essentially who you are. Have you ever seen a banker with dreadlocks? In this part of this world, people judge a person based on their looks. As a matter of fact, prejudice can arise because of a particular hairstyle. Hair can show your values and moral standing. Certain religions are required to carry certain hairstyles for various reasons.

The manner in which you wear your hair can show your level of confidence. I know people that can never cut their hair because they feel the shape of their head is not so nice or they have difficulty growing their hair back as they think while some people do not even want stress and prefer to carry theirs short. Thus, the saying different strokes for different folks.



People in the arts have been observed to wear certain hairstyles which could be a signature. It is not surprising to see musical artists, actors and visual artists carrying uncommon hairstyles. This could be a form of expression just like ART. Footballers and tech guys are not left out from these unusual hairstyles. Our hairstyle is a way we express ourselves, our ideals and beliefs. Chimamanda Adichie and Lupita Nyongo as a case study have successfully spear headed African natural hair movement, propagating that a black woman’s hair is rich and beautiful even with its diverse texture. It is obvious black people lost their identity somewhere down the line over the years. The use of various harsh chemicals, heat application (hot combing and stretching) to the hair regularly have made us believe we can be anything but ourselves. I want to categorically say that there is nothing like bad hair. There can be a bad hairstyle or haircut but not a bad hair. I have heard people say my hair is just too strong or stubborn which they equate to being less desirable, this doesn’t still make a person’s hair bad.


Hair like our height or complexion is part of our genetical make up. Below are a few tips to improve your hair health and choice of style.


  • Eat healthy by incorporating vegetables, fruits and drink lots of water for healthy hair growth. Even with the use of good hair care products, this goes a long way to help your hair look and feel great. Note that healthy hair is not just measured in hair length but in the texture, colour and fullness.
  • Use less heat and harsh chemicals on your hair.
  • Use essential oils on your hair.
  • Use a suitable comb or hair brush (preferably, wide tooth comb).
  • Wash your hair as often.
  • Take your own hair kit along with you to the salon (combs, brushes, clippers etc)
  • Do not copy another person’s hairstyle because you might not know the idea and belief behind their hair style and it may not be suitable for your personality or person as well.
  • Before making certain hairstyles, consider your career and profession. Is it permissible, appropriate or suitable?
  • Do not judge people solely based on their hairstyle because a person represents much more than their hair and wearing certain hairstyle does not make one incompetent or useless. Also, a person’s hairstyle does not reflect their worth.
  • Some cultures can be identified by their hairstyle; for example Himba women from Namibia or Fulani women.


Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.

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