What Hair Care Means to Women Around the World

By: By Loren Savini,  Allure.com
February 15, 2018


“Ethiopian women love butter,” says model and activist Gelila Bekele, who was born in Addis Ababa. For centuries, women in Ethiopia have relied on raw, unsalted butter to nourish dry hair. “Moisture for black hair has taken myriad forms depending on availability and location,” says Noliwe Rooks, an associate professor of Africana and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies at Cornell University. “Coconut oil, ghee, and Vaseline were all key depending on where one was in the African diaspora. In some cultures, mud and clay are used to lock in moisture.” Bekele still uses raw butter in her hair today. “I apply it directly to my scalp once a week, massaging until the butter melts, and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. And the benefits are beyond hair care — it moisturizes skin."

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Culture of hair in Ethiopia