Brazilians: How YOU are being robbed
Namibian women’s obsession with so-called Brazilian weaves are leaving them in a debt cycle, with hairstylists saying that bank cards are being left as a promise of payment, when clients can’t afford to fork out thousands of dollars.
And local suppliers are cashing in on this massive enrichment opportunity, by nearly tripling the amount they actually import the hair for.
A Namibian Sun investigation has revealed that Namibian women are paying nearly three times the price for Brazilian weaves, which are often Chinese rip-offs and not the real thing.
According to information gathered from international suppliers, their Namibian counterparts are marking up their prices substantially.
The international suppliers are based in China and Malaysia.
Although 200g of 24 inches of Brazilian hair can cost Namibian women over N$3 000, depending on the colour and type of weave, the same hair is being sold to Namibian suppliers at N$1 130, which includes transport and other fees when buying in bulk from either China or Malaysia.
Both international wholesalers revealed that when bigger orders are placed, the cost of buying weaves from abroad is even lower.
This means that local sellers almost triple the price they are charging Namibian women.
Namibian Sun spoke to local hairstylists, who revealed that the Brazilian weave industry has become “a dirty one”, of endless debt.
One hairstylist, works for an upmarket Windhoek hair salon and who spoke under condition of anonymity out of fear of losing her job, said: “My dear, our shop functions like a cash loan. Some of the women leave their ATM cards and identity cards here. They buy hair and don’t have money, and then we go withdraw the money at the end of the month.”
Another hairstylist said other women are “lucky”, because they “come with their boyfriends who will just pay”.
Asked why Brazilian hair is so expensive, the hairstylist revealed there are different types of weaves that come in different colours, with the straight weave being the most sought after. “It’s that expensive because those who buy the hair don’t really know how much it costs from the wholesalers. Also, these girls think the hair comes from Brazil, but most of the hair sold in Namibia comes from China. They don’t even know if it’s actual Brazilian hair,” she said. Charlin Lesch, a lecturer at Shadonai Beauty School, said human hair extensions are categorised as Brazilian, Malaysian and Peruvian, with Brazilian extensions the most well-known and definitely a major beauty trend within the Namibian market.
She explained that Brazilian hair comes in different lengths and natural colours.
“Brazilian hair is one of the most beautiful types of hair around. It is known for its full body, beautiful bounce, texture and versatility. This hair has a shiny appearance and feel. It is available in wavy, straight or curly textures,” she said.
She, however, warned that 99% of the time Brazilian, Peruvian or Malaysian hair is actually hair from India or China that has been processed.
“Many times curly Indian hair is processed with steam to deliver tighter curls and remarketed as Brazilian hair, with a premium price tag put on it. Malaysian hair is often Chinese hair blended with Indian hair, for a sleeker and shinier appearance.”
Gordon Joseph: Namibian Sun