i did a bit of web research, and found that him­ba wom­en coat their hair with red clay as a pro­tec­tive treat­ment. i don’t know what the clay is, i don’t know how long they keep it in. if any­one can elab­o­rate, feel free!

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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6 Comments on "African style week, himba women red clay treatment"

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Margaret

I’m lov­ing the­se African styles! They’re mak­ing me fall even more in love with my nat­u­ral hair:)

Deola

I went hound-dog­gin for ya:
- cov­er their hair and bod­ies in a clay-like sub­stance: otjize
- otjize = ochre pow­der + but­ter fat + herbs
- ochre pow­der can only be found in a sole moun­tain in Namib­ia where the wom­en goe 1x per year to mine for their vil­lage
–otjize pro­tects skin from sun & bugs and is a sign of beau­ty

Now the hair:
- intri­cate hair styles cov­ered in red clay
- hair rep­re­sents what stage in life a wom­an is (child, fer­tile, mar­ried, chil­dren,…)
- hair may be inte­grate ani­mal hair or hair from oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers

Cool huh?

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

@ deo­la… thanks girl! and it is cool. but what do you mean by inte­grate hair from ani­mals or oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers? is it like, they make a weave from fam­i­ly members/animals’ hair?

Deola

Yeah! Have you seen those yaks with real­ly long hair? I think it’s some­thing like that. Or you could go with “human hair” weaves.

I guess their trip to the moun­tain is the ulti­mate search for per­fect hair care pro­duct!

Samalie

I’m not sure what clay they use, But they put braid their hair with exten­tions first, and then put it on their hair. They use the same clay on their skin. They nev­er wash it off

Etuna
Hey, I’m from Namib­ia and though I’m not a Him­ba, I can sec­ond what Deo­la said. A long time ago before west­ern civil­i­sa­tion, Our cul­tures used (and some still use) hair, beads and the way we dress as a way to tell social sta­tus or age or mar­i­tal sta­tus. The Ovahim­ba peo­ple are just one of the few that stuck with that part of their cul­ture to this very day. I’m of the Wambo tribe and we basi­cal­ly don’t use our hair like that any­more, but we still wear beads around our waists. I am very pleased to see the… Read more »
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