I am finally back at home in front of my trusty pc, thankful that I don’t have to rely on the occasional wi-fi to post a message. Life is good. So before we move on to the latest trends or whatever else pops up on the radar, I can share with you a few of my experiences from the mother land. Now I know I was supposed to get deep, perhaps change my name and come back in a dashiki, but I got a bit distracted. Being the product junkie that I am, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful all the women were and how their skin just seemed to glow. It didn’t take long for me to realize that they were not wearing any makeup. In fact, I can count on one hand the girls that were all made up.
So I began to ask some of the locals. After all inquiring minds want to know. I wondered if makeup was taboo or violated their culture in any way. It turns out that it comes down to two things: economics and finding the right shade of foundation. Makeup is a luxury and many can’t afford it. Those that can often can’t get the color or quality that they want. Doesn’t that sound familiar? I just got to thinking about how a small tube of lipstick or gloss is such a pick-me-up (and an inexpensive one at that) and not every woman has that option.
What I did notice though, is that they put a lot of emphasis on nail polish and getting the ‘do done. Braids, extensions, straightened, dye, highlights and yes, the weave! Getting your hair braided is quite inexpensive over there. Micro mini braids for the equivalent of $10 US. It seems that women there, like here, prefer options that offer ease and flexibility. As one woman told me, “it is a lot of work, and we need to go.” A younger woman told me that most women wear braids, but in the city many well-to-do women wear wigs and weaves. Yes, our hair can be labor intensive, but then again, aren’t most works of art? What I didn’t get from anyone was a “I’m wearing this because I am unhappy with who I am” vibe. They were also very unique in the styles that they wore. I didn’t see a lot of cookie cutter styles.
Having satisfied my curiosity, I set out for the news stands (magazine junkie to the core) and discovered African Woman. It’s interesting that some of the issues are the same. One cab driver told me that women are becoming more independent now. He said, “they have good jobs, their own cars and some are happy raising their kids without a husband.” I watched his eyes in the rearview mirror, he seemed amazed that women wanted to do this, but admired their success and determination. All I could think was, “Uh-oh. Don’t fall for that one.”