Recruiting African Hairdressers To Braid Hair In China

Recruiting African Hairdressers To Braid Hair In China

From China.org. Story by Xinhua.

Unlike her peers in Beijing, hairdresser Ruth Wanu Waweru from Kenya tends not to cut, dye or perm hair.

Instead, she braids her clients’ locks.

Waweru has been working for a hair salon in Beijing for just over a year. Her bosses, a couple from the Democratic Republic of Congo, opened Paulma Afro Hair Care in the city’s bustling Sanlitun area in 2012 and another branch in Shanghai in 2013.

They primarily cater to the African community, but are getting more and more local customers, as Chinese discover more diversified fashions. Waweru has braided the hair of women from Africa, China, the U.S., Russia and Japan in Beijing.

At Paulma, African-style braiding is priced between 100 yuan ($15 US) and 1,500 yuan ($224).


Xia Fan owns two hairdressing shops in Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan Province.

“Many Chinese young people are now very into fashion stuff like African braids,” Xia said.

Xia Fan started to learn African braiding three years ago. He sees big market potential for such hairstyles in China.

“Just a few years ago, very few Chinese people knew about braids, but now we have dreadlocks, twisting, two steps and feathers,” Xia said.

Waweru got her job in Beijing through a recruitment website. Her boss found her resume online and contacted her when she was still in Kenya. She did not hesitate, setting out as soon as she had her working visa.

“If you find a good job in a country far away, will you accept it?” Waweru asked with a laugh. “Of course you do! It’s a chance!”

Waweru’s braiding skills earn her about 5,000 yuan a month ($747 US), much higher than her salary in Kenya.

She has about 150 regular customers in China.

Leo Li, secretary-general of Tsinghua-BMGF China Africa Project, believes the popularity of African hairstyles in China is a result of more exchanges between China and Africa, combined with the influence of American pop culture.

Read more at China.org.