Why Do Nigerians Choose To Dye Their Hair? (Feature Article)

in Cross Culture2 years ago (edited)



Hair dying has become a popular trend in Nigeria and has become a sort of beautification from its original purposes and intentions. In the different popular places in Lagos, young people are now joining the trend and this has become "a thing".

It has actually joined a list of societal fashion vogues like cross-dressing and tattooing of which has seriously come to stay, but then, one thing I have personally observed is that the Nigerian society is drunk in love with exotic cultures. I grew up knowing hair dying as a recipe for darkening grey hair but then as I grew older, I began to see it as a certain form of beautification with different variants and different colors.

Unnatural hair colors that are not Nigerian-esque. According to Igbokwe Ibe a practicing psychologist, Hair dying is an act of inferiority, he said that Nigerians are obsessed with the way other races look and hence have taken it as a form of beautification to find or attain a certain kind of superiority.

Howbeit, this idea was contrasting to what
John Olufowobi and Stanley Imoh who are unisex stylists had to say. They said it is an act of expression of which people are free to indulge in and apart from that, they believe it was seasonal as people don't go about dying their hair for no purpose.
For them, more than 70% of their customers are females, and they clearly agreed that it was somewhat acceptable in the female folks more than the males.
It is quite interesting to note that the Nigerian society is susceptible to trends yet the societal norms kinds of juxtaposes this fact. It feels as if the society has no rigid standards for contradictory phenomenon such as hair dying and this is proven by talking to a stylist as well as a psychologist.

This leads to an interesting observation; the male folks are somewhat limited when it comes to outlook and appearances, more than the females. But why is this? This taps its root into religion and norms and a flexible standard set by societal sense of reasoning and acceptance. Femi Ogundeko, a final year national diploma student in mass communication in Lagos state polytechnic reiterated that for males students hair dying is an act of indecency and is punishable but for females, it extends to a mere intent of ordinary beautification.
He went on to say that males are prone to insubordination and due to this, an intent to dye the hair might prove that a male student is tilting towards cultism. This however doesn't feel plausible, but then we have norms in the Nigerian society that does not correlate.

What do I essentially mean by this? A popular American gospel artiste, Travis Greene has been known to rock a signature auburn hair dye color, and he frequents the country as numerous of his listeners are from Nigeria. He ministers in many churches and in fact, speaks in tongue, but there's been argument that a Nigerian pastor wouldn't dare to dye his hair, is this a clash of belief or a misinterpretation of what the scripture truly depicts?

Pastor Michael Itam a clergyman from RCF, Ikorodu chapter feels that ministers like Travis are one of the reasons why hair dying isn't considered a sin or a crime, nevertheless he pointed out that his dying of hair isn't taken from a biblical but cultural source and since hair dying is exotic rather than cultural in the Nigerian setting, it will continuously clash with religious belief and contradicts societal norms as well.

In a nutshell, the reasons why Nigerians dye their hair will always be variable and remain uncertain, trends like, fashion, social media and the globalization of the world will continue to play a major impact. We will always have diversity in perspectives and opinion, and this will of not stop the trend from continuing. However, from an angle of moral conviction, I wouldn't dye my hair and this doesn't and should not diminish people who choose to do so.

I believe that people hold the ability to actually express themselves to a particular extent and since It's not particularly infringing. There are standards that guides the Nigerian society and this can actually act as regulations. Apart from this, the Nigerian society should be free to be exotic to any standard they actually choose to be.

(This is a Research Assignment which I submitted to my college's Department Of Social Science & Liberal Studies)


I don’t Dye my hair and I don’t intend doing so, but I will say that the same fact that says a female can or can not dye their hair also bounds male. I don’t think gender differences should be relevant here

What bothers me is that most Nigerian , in the name of trending fashion, gives themselves the looks that doesn’t fit them, looks that tell negative things about them.

What do I mean ?

I have seen people who dye their hair and it has actually made them attractive, I have also seen people who dye their hair and it has actually made them less attractive, and look crooked. Something that fits you might not fit me, and something that fits me might not fit you

I see fashion as something you wear that actually fits you, your face, status, complexion and so on. It might be simple or shouting, as far as if fits you physically and tells good things about you. Then it is fashionable

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Stunning observation from you there, this is actually a research assignment and I believe that our different perspective is what eventually makes this topic a very controversial one. In here I took it from a religious, psychological and cultural perspective as well. I believe you've analysed it according to an even different perspective.
In reality, I wouldn't dye my hair as you wouldn't. I kind of believe that even if it would fit me if not, there's this sort of hold back that will prevent me from.
Nevertheless like said, it should actually be based k how it makes one look rather than blindly following trend, but we all know mostly it's all about following trend for most people or probably to feel classy to some extent. However it is, i appreciate your feedback.

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Good point. I see some women wearing makeup like this too. It makes some look better but many look worse 🤷‍♂️ It's their face though so I stay silent 🤐

Words like Solomons indeed, I agree.

A very fun topic for a research paper.

Thank you, inasmuch as it looks simple, these topics can be really stressful.

I am one of the rare Americans that does not have tattoos or piercings. Overall it has not been appealing. But its such a western thing to do. When I see it happening in other countries I shake my head in disappointment as the people usually are not aware of the tactics of corporations and how they manipulate societies for a profit.

Well I think it somehow feels cultural and normal for a lot of Americans, it's a western thing, just like you put it.

in Nigeria it's an exotic practice that has a lot of root and taps into so many aspect of the Society. Sometimes I feel that it boils down to personal choices at the end of the day. So many find it classic, others fashionable, other trendy.

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Its boils down to an individuals path of self discovery of who they are and how they fit into the reality around them. But is the reality around us manipulated?


But is the reality around us manipulated?

In all honesty I do believe that originality is something you wouldn't really find nowadays. It feels as if being original isn't authentic and this is basically how tainted the reality we envisage and live in, is. I should talk more on this in my next blog

I am not sure exactly about your age and point of reference. I am just barely old enough to remember when punk rock in they 80s-early 90s represented standing up to authority, being tough/rugged and having free thought. They were the rebels in the western world, before that the beatniks. But now those movements and the people representing them are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Being punk rock now in western world mean submitting to authoritarian organizations/governments. Anacaps demand government control as well. Its just weird to me as an old fart at 36 year old.

I don't like to colour my hair but I like the look of it on others

You're right, sometimes we just won't do it but love it when others does

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A few years ago, I have dyed my hairs to light brown, dark brown, purple and brown, maroon. Lol.

Usually, I would do it to feel different from the culture, from the crowd. To have my unique identity.

I never thought whether I would look better or worse with it. Just wanted to try something different while I was still young, and would be okay to look foolish once or twice😂 😅

Now, I die my hairs twice a year, dark brown. Just because I feel that I look better in that shade. And you can only notice its shade in sunlight.

Well those are really nice colours you've mentioned. I feel I love my default colour, plus I'm not one to express myself beyond my personality. Maybe when I'm grey and old, I might consider applying black to grey.

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black to grey.

Or red for support of hive😅

I might do it someday, with a hive logo haircut😅

Sounds like a good idea for the crazy ones out there to try it.😜

I appreciate it. Most of my friends in high school had pink or blue or green hair 😂. I’ve always been against making an extra effort to create an imagine. Something about being the way I was born feels right to me, but I have to admit sometimes piercings or tattoos look cool.

It's definitely why I believe so many people would have different opinion about hair dying. I absolutely wouldn't not because I don't want to... but because I totally feel indifferent about it. But it's always good looking when you get to it on some people

Fun fact: when African check what's trendy in Nigeria to know the incoming trends.

I think there are many countries too who are somewhat into western trends. South Africa for one.

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Is there a big deal in hair dyeing? Well I think it's about personal interest. lots of trends in fashion has come and gone this won't be any different . What's important is figuring whatever fashion is best suitable to you and rock it in decency. After all it's the 21st century.

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It's not really a big deal, Its just that it's a dicey issue especially when we see that it's root it's exotic and not Nigerian, hence the debates and the arguments, for and against it.

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It's actually rampant among celebrities, and most Nigerians do things because some other people do it

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Exactly, following up that trend makes a lot of people do it.

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The tainting of the hair is something I would love to do as it looks really cool on some people but unfortunately I lack the hair the do this things even if I wish to :-)

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Loool unfortunately you'll need hair for it.

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Hair coloring seems rather harmless to me. It's less permanent than tattoos and piercings. It eventually grows out. I don't see it as having to do with inferiority. Mrs. TWM colors her hair every summer. She has had red, blue, and purple, which no other people grow naturally.

Yeah I don't think it has to do with inferiority too, but then, it's a research topic and that was the perspective of someone who spoke there. Thanks for your input.

Hair dying should not be corelate with any races since its a kind of trending fashion which is adoptable by any one of us.i have few Nigerian friends and they like to go classic without hair dye. a person will be surely looking good even without hair dye . anyways the post is good and remarkable and hope your asignment had good ratings.

Yeah, thank you so much, hopefully it turns out well

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You are right, this dying of hairs has come across the whole world. People spraying different colors on their hair which to me it doesn't look attractive to me. Instead it will cause damages to hairs. It causes breakage and all of that which should be avoided. It doesn't give healthy glow of your hair.

A lot of people whose culture seems exotic finds it rather trendy, appealing and stylish as well. In my opinion, its something we can never come to agree upon because it appeals to a lot of people rather differently.

Seriously it has become a must do attitude in lagos, when I was younger, I do dye my hair tobMake it look darker because I was noticing my hair turning brown and it was the only reason then..

But recently guy dye their hair from the black to blue, green, red etc and I will always ask myself, why is it that way and I couldn't really get answers..

I just think most guys see it as the recent trend and they really want to feel among..

I don't want to even think of tattoos, its even the worst in lagos🤦

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