Hair Growth Lessons from Mbalantu Women

Hair Growth Lessons from Mbalantu Women

I was surfing the web on the Himba tribe of Kenya when I stumbled upon a photo of some African women with floor-length hair. Their hair was touching the floor. I could not close my mouth for several seconds. I am usually fascinated by stories of African tribes. I went ahead to find out how the women of the Mbalantu tribe of Namibia were able to grow such long hair. I found some exciting things I believe we all can learn from. We can adapt some of these hair growth lessons.

Protective Styling: By the time the Mbalantu girls become teenagers, they cover their hair with a thick layer of finely ground tree back of Omutyuula tree. This was usually mixed with oil. After a couple of years, the thick fat will be loosened so that the hair becomes visible.

By the time these young girls reach the age of sixteen, their fruit pip headdress is discarded and replaced with one of sinews. The style is again changed once the girls reach their Ohango Initiation ceremony. The hair is then styled in 4 long thick eembuvi braids.

hair growth lessons from Mbalantu women - long Nigerian hair
Source: The eembuvi-plaits of Mbalantu women. Photo: CHL Hahn, Collection Antje Otto

This means that their hair is protected for a period of time before being loosened. This is one of the hair growth lessons we can all learn from. Manipulating your hair too much in the name of styling it can cause hair breakage. You can do protective styles like Senegalese twists, braids, and even wear wigs. These are styles you can carry for 3 weeks or more.

hair growth lessons from Mbalantu women - long Nigerian hair

Applying oil to your Hair: Research done did not reveal to us the kind of oils the Mbalantu women applied to their hair. However, we know that there a lot of natural oils that improve the growth of our hair.

For example, coconut oil prevents hair breakage and split ends. It also adds luster, shine and softness to the hair. Olive oil is can be used to prevent and even cure hair loss. Shea butter restores hair follicles ad the scalp giving birth to healthy and fast growing hair.


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