Hairdressing is natural for a woman as it makes her beautiful and confident.
Braiding has been a major way to dress an African woman’s hair.
In ancient times, braid patterns were indications of one’s wealth, marital status, ethnicity, age, religion, bravery, spirituality, generosity, respect etc.
Ancient African women wore braids to formal events such as weddings and funerals as a style of elegance, class and reality.
Analysts say that, at the moment, braiding is a fashion trend in Africa, especially Nigeria, with many women willing to pay more for it for them to look good, attractive and be confident.
They note that there are many types of braids including, Bob, Cornrow, Strand, Fishtail, Rope twisted, Reverse and Messy.
There are two classes of braids namely: long and short braids.
According to a Lagos-based hairdresser, Mrs Chioma Enwere, a woman embraces long or short braids depending on her taste and some considerations.
She lists the considerations to include the shape of the head, hair texture, hair colour and affordability.
Enwere says texture and colour should be considered to avoid hair damage or loss.
In any of the choices, hair extension known as attachment is, most times, used to support hair to achieve the desired effects, she adds.
Another hairstylist, Mrs Nafisat Adepoju, who resides at Ijegun, Lagos State, observes that more women prefer long braids especially during festive periods.
Adepoju, who owns Nafi Finishing Tells Beauty Salon at Community area of Ijegun, says many women believe that long braids are more durable, attractive and manageable.
She, however, notes that some other women describe long braids as a crazy fashion trend, waste of resources and a safety risk, as it can get entangled.
Adepoju notes that some women extend the length of their braids up to the legs to achieve maximum effect.
“Ladies feel that the longer the braids, the more prestigious they are.
“During the last Sallah (Eid-el Kabir) season, we had more customers plaiting very long braids with coloured attachments. In fact, the demand for coloured attachments was very high.
According to the stylist, long braids cost more.
“I quickly accept proposal to make long braids because I charge higher for plaiting long ones.
“I charge between N2,000 and N5,000 depending on the size and length,” she says, adding that the amounts do not cover the cost of hair extension.
Mrs Mariam Malomo, who teaches Creative Arts at Holy Family School, Ijegun, prefers long braids to short ones.
“ It enables a variety of styles.
“Whenever I make long braids, they give me room to pack my hair in various trending styles unlike short ones.
“The truth is that very long braids attract more attention because they make one to look elegant,” she says.
A university admission seeker, Miss Chinaza Amaechi, prefers longer braids because of her small stature.
“They make me look big,’’ she says, adding that long braids fit long gowns.
Mrs Mary Adeniji, who sells hair extension in Igando Market, Lagos State, observes that ladies like using long hair extensions to make their braids longer.
“We have more demand for long attachments than short ones. We sell the small ones for 1, 200 and big ones for N3,500.
“The coloured ones are more in demand than black ones and cost more with a difference of between N1,000 and N2,000 while the ones with curly ends have a higher cost,’’ she says.
A software developer in Ikeja, Mr Nicholas Anyanwu, believes that hairdressing makes a woman attractive, adding that many men like their wives and girlfriends adorning attractive hairstyles.
He is of the opinion that both long and short braids make a woman beautiful if well maintained.
“The choice should depend on personal choice and affordability.
“It is important for an individual to choose a hairstyle that makes them feel confident and comfortable, but I admire short braids because I feel they are easier to maintain.
Mr Gerald Emejom, an English Language teacher at Prevailer School, Ikotun, cautions that long braids can tangle with another thing and cause injuries.
“I have witnessed that hooked to a motorcycle and dragged the lady down. The incident caused the lady bruises on the face. Her braids rolled on the wheel of the moving motorcycle and forced her down,” he narrates.
Mr Andy Odogwu, Coordinator, Catholic Confraternity of Christian Fathers, Ibah Deanery, Lagos State, describes long braids as a waste of resources, saying they do not add value to a woman’s appearance more that short braids.
“For me, they do not add any value in terms of beauty. I consider long braids a waste of money and time,” he says.
A public health worker, Mrs Christiana Igbuku, believes that long braids can lead to hair weakness, breakage and loss, if too tight.
Igbuku, also the President of Catholic Women Organisation of Saints Joachim and Anne Catholic Church, Ijegun, said: “The dangerous part of it is that they can get entangled and dragged accidentally.