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Himba Hairstyles

The Himba women are famous for their coating their bodies and hair with a red paste called otjize.

In Himba culture there is a close tie between marriage and hairstyles.

Women

As children, girls wear two plaits called ozondato, unless they are one of a set of twins.

Once reaching puberty, they are ready to wear their famous red locks of hair.

To create this elaborate hairstyle, their hair must be lengthened by weaving hay, goat hair, or Indian hair extensions. Then the hair is coated with a mixture of clay and red ochre, an earth pigment.

It is important that the the hair is not groomed back, so to let the hair act as a veil, hiding the face from unwanted male attention.

After marriage, the hair can be groomed away revealing the face.

Men

Boys and men wear only a single plait throughout their lives as bachelors. It is when they are finally married that a head-covering is placed. The head-covering is to only be taken off in the even of a death, and/or being windowed. After a death, the men shave their heads.

In the unfortunate event that a man is widowed, his hair returns to being uncovered.

Source: [DailyMail]