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African style week, himba women red clay treatment

• Feb 19, 2009

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!

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

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


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?


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!


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

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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