"To perm or not to perm": A case of natural hair in Accra, Ghana.

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This study investigates the reasons behind some Ghanaian women‘s switch from chemically altered or relaxed hair to wearing their hair ―natural. The black hair care industry in the USA is worth an estimated 3billion dollars yearly and is dominated by products such as hair relaxers and hair extensions. A majority of women in Ghana chemically relax their hair for various reasons. However, a growing number of Ghanaian women are beginning to switch from chemically treated hair to natural hair, a practice that is perhaps a deviation from the norm. The objective of this study is to reveal the reasons behind some Ghanaian women opting for natural hair instead of relaxed hair and the potential effect these reasons have on the local black hair care industry in the area considered under study. The paper also delves into the history behind black women wanting straighter hair and how hair straightening begun in America and Ghana. This study is useful in understanding the factors that inform hairstyling choices among women, particularly Ghanaian women. It is also a ground breaking research in terms of literature regarding Ghanaian anthropology information for stakeholders in the black hair care industry in Ghana (i.e. salons, retailers of hair care products) by providing insight into a gradual change in preference by consumers.
Thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University College, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, April 2011
Ghana, natural hair, Accra, women, hair care industry, Osu