Natural hair movement: 10 Jan.

Natural hair movement in globalized contexts: a comparative study between France and Kenya

Christella KWIZERA

@IFRA 10.01.2019, 4pm

According to the medias, the natural hair movement appeared in the USA through black women social media networks by sharing their natural journeys thanks to their multiple visuals (videos and photos). The movement went viral across Europe and Africa; it revealed not only an African influence but a Caribbean and African-American hair cultures related to slave trade histories.

By focusing on braiding art, this presentation will underline the social, cosmetic and economic aspects highlighted by this natural hair movement, notably:

  • The interest for the natural African ecosystem by the cosmetic industry, in terms of raw materials like oils and butters;
  • Local and international cosmetic brand strategies (in France : African-American brands vs French brands (not to forget those run by black women); and in Kenya: L’Oreal and Marini Naturals);
  • The ambivalence of gender issues regarding the interest for natural hair ingredients and products from diasporic black women when sub-Saharian African women are the main labour force in farms which provide raw materials.

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