I am absolutely obsessed with my current braids, well really twists. I never want to take them out! So here’s all the details on my hair braiding experience in Ghana, from a very American perspective.
I got my hair braided three times over the course of seven weeks that I was in Ghana. The first time I did it the very local way, when our host family called their braiding girl to the house to braid my hair. I wanted to get the same style that I had done in Johannesburg, South Africa and so I made sure to bring more than enough of my favorite purple ombre marley hair in the jumbo packs, packing twelve packs of washed Femi marley hair in my luggage. I was left at the house by myself with the house lady, Atta, and the young woman who braided my hair. Neither of them were very comfortable speaking English and Atta insisted on brushing out the marley hair. NEVER brush out marley hair, it is a total waste of the hair. The most you can and should do is pull it slightly apart from the lock it’s formed in so it’s easier to manipulate and braid/twist into form. I lost over a whole pack of $10 hair with Atta’s brushing and then didn’t have enough hair to complete the style correctly, so it ended up being thin. I was ready to swear off Ghana braiders cause the Zimbabwean ladies in JoBurg did 200x better. But let’s not get xenophobic over braids.
I keep those twists in for about two weeks. I wasn’t happy with the style and I wanted to save the marley hair I had left to repurpose it for something better. I’m not letting them waste my coins like that. Fortunately I only paid 65cedi, which is about $18USD. So meh on that and thank you to Amma for then putting me on to Aunty Alice Braiding School!
Located in the Tse Addo neighborhood of Accra, by Trade Fair and behind Zenith College, Aunty Alice is a godsend. She employs a lot of young woman and teaches them a trade that they can take on for themselves and establish their own businesses. I got my hair braided here twice and loved the experience both times.
First go around, I decided to try a style I would never get done in the States, because I don’t have money to blow if I don’t like the style but that cedi to dollar conversion had me feeling myself. So I opted for the two double cornrows look. I have no clue what the official name of this style is called, and I had to Google a good bit to find two different looks that I wanted combined to get this and the girls at Aunty Alice’s nailed it!
I would HIGHLY recommend to bring your own hair care products whenever you travel outside of the States. I brought my moisturizer but totally forgot my fav deep conditioner and I had them co-wash my hair at the shop. Hot water is a luxury (because dumsor is a constant) so my hair was washed with cold water. Took a minute to get use to but the girl did such a great job massaging my scalp that it was quite a pleasurable experience. I detangled and blow dried my hair, cause I luh my edges and the natural hair scene in Ghana is a nope (more on that later). And then they styled my hair meticulously. Aunty Alice comes by and checks everyone’s hair, setting the price upon review and correcting them if she sees any flaws. All together with buying my hair through them, the wash and braiding was $65 cedi, again about $18usd.
I kept that style in for about three weeks, then rocked my real hair for another week or so and I plotted to go back right before I returned to the states. This go round I washed my hair at a friend’s house cause the US Embassy houses are all praises to Jah, hot running water and trash collection. Plus she had the products that I needed to wash my hair. I don’t think I would have been able to get my braids in for as long as I have if I had to use the products at the salon, which dried out my hair. We arrived at the shop by 7am on a Monday and they were already busy. I got the twists that I currently have in my hair and it took about 7 hours to complete, but they were precise in their braiding all the way down to the tip. Even as I was getting my hair done, women were stopping in amazement promising to get my style the next time they come in. I simply showed them a picture of Tupo1 and they blessed my hair with this style I never want to let go of.
The quick run down
- 5 packs of hair, purchased at Aunty Alice Salon
- All dark purple, but they use so little that my hair shows thru at the root giving it an ombre effect.
- 7 hours to complete
- Hair + Style was 145cedi or about $40usd (Sure it’s cheaper for locals)
- Upkeep with Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Clarifying Treatment & Jane Carter’s Seal & Shine
- Styled on January 4th, 2016
You can contact Aunty Alice’s Salon at +233 27-741-5396 or +233 24-360-1675. Her shop does show up on Google Maps as “Alice Skills Training and Braiding Centre” on 2nd Oshie Rd in Osu but that location is CLOSED though the phone number still works.