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Is this east African hairdo the ‘coronavirus hairstyle’? Netizens disagree

The coronavirus hairtstyle has turned out to be able to suit the styling needs of girls at a cheaper price.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Published: May 12, 2020 4:40:29 pm
Coronavirus hairstyle The coronavirus hairstyle is gaining popularity in east Africa. (Source: PowerShftAfrica/Twitter)

An old hairstyle is being revived in east Africa. A makeshift salon in Kiberia, a slum in Nairobi in Kenya, is now braiding young girls’ hair into antennae-like spikes or what is being deemed the “coronavirus hairstyle” by many people.

The braids use threading made of yarn instead of synthetic material. The hairstyle costs about 50 Kenyan shillings (Rs 35.49), as opposed to an average hairdo which costs up to 300-500 Kenyan shillings (Rs 212.95-354.91).

“Some grownups don’t believe that the coronavirus is real, but most young children are keen to sanitise their hands and wear masks. Many adults do not do this, and that is why we came up with the corona hairstyle,” Sharon Refa, a 24-year-old hairdresser at the salon was quoted as saying in an interview.

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Netizens, however, had mixed reactions to the hairstyle. Some pointed out that it was part of their traditional African hairdo called “irun kiko” or “isi owu” and had nothing to do with coronavirus. The hairstyle is said to have been in practice to boost hair growth.

The hairstyle went out of fashion in the recent years after real and synthetic hair began to be imported from India, China and Brazil and flooding markets and leading to increasing demand among local women, according to reports.

Read| Are you washing your hair salon-style?

With the deteriorating economic situation in the wake of the pandemic and little or no savings left with people, this hairstyle, however, has turned out to be able to suit the styling needs of girls at a cheaper price. For mothers like Margaret Andeya, it is an affordable way of styling her kids.

“This hairstyle is much more affordable for people like me who cannot afford to pay for the more expensive hairstyles out there and yet we want our kids to look stylish,” she was quoted as saying.

Covid-19 has destroyed the economy, taken our jobs from us, and now money is scarce. I therefore decided to have my child’s hair done up like this at an affordable 50 shillings, and she looks good,” added another mom Mariam Rashid.

(With inputs from Associated Press in Nairobi)

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