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Beauty enhancers: The rave of the moment

For many young women, having a big butt (Ikebe) is synonymous with being overweight and being unattractive.

But things have changed; curves are being embraced and celebrated. Surely, women with natural big butts, hips and breasts are happier as they can now fit into mass media’s definition of beauty.

The flair for fake butts, hips, breast, and Pink lips seems to increase daily. The acceptance of big butts and hips in this age began with the Western mainstream success of Beyonce and her single, “Bootylicious”.

Other celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian also made large bottoms a beauty asset wanted by all and sundry.

It is similar to the lip injection phenomenon, another artificial process to sexy-up your lips; hence the increase in the usage of artificial materials to enhance beauty is the order of the day as top female celebrities are the greatest users of these ‘Beauty Enhancers’ which range from butt lifter, body magic, waist trainer, hips enhancer, and breast pusher amongst others.

According to history, black men and women have been criticised and ostracised because of their full lips. And suddenly, it became in vogue for women to inject their lips, breasts, hips, butts and other parts with various substances in order to obtain sexier bodies.

Some women are aware of the dangers inherent in plastic surgery, pills and injections for beauty sake. However, producers of these fashion items have now invented a way out for women who desire larger bottoms and hips with the production of hips and butts pad which is now available at virtually every female store.

These artificial butts and hips are believed to create an impression of sexiness just like padded bras create an impression of fuller breasts. Some even go to specialists for butt surgery. These surgeries are somewhat dangerous because substances like cement and Fix-a-Flat tire sealant are being used.

Ladies now make their way to beauty shops to purchase the artificial hips and butts which is safer and affordable.

Artificial hips and butts come as skin-like pads which can be worn underneath any dress or trouser. The common hips and butts are supposed to give that perfect curve much desired by the wearer. They add flesh and muscles at the right places and give an impression of a perfect body. They come in different sizes; can be worn and removed at will, although one of the dealers, Miss Aishat, has the permanent of each at her store at ikeja, Lagos.

During a visit to Miss Aishat, whose store is at Obafemi Awolowo road, Ikeja, Lagos, one of our correspondents saw exhibits of butt pads and breast pads among other artificial accessories like make up and the likes. She puts her stand outside her shop because people look for these pads regularly.

She explained in a chat with our correspondent that these butt pads come in different sizes to serve various purposes and they differ in price as well. There is the small butt pad in different colours for lanky girls and the medium for the average bodied and the large as well.

She explained that women most often purchase the permanent butt with hips at N3,500 while the ordinary which first time users come in for is sold at N2,500.

As part of the curiosity to further know why most top female celebrities are the biggest subscribers to the usage of artificial beautification materials, actress Uche Elendu gave her take on the use of the waist trainer.

She said: ‘’I wear waist trainers to keep my body in shape, to trim down my body because I am a nursing mother and it doesn’t have side effects. If it has side effects, I wouldn’t go for it’’.

For seasoned actress, Faithia Balogun, who describes the usage of waist trainer as part of her own beauty regime to enable to her fit in into her outfits, giving her the curves she so desires.

Her words: “Although waist trainer, body pusher and body magic helps achieve our desired shape, but personally for
me, I only use it when I have an important event to attend because it comes with lots of pain too. The tighter you want it to fit on your body, the length you will fix it.

Mrs. Juliet Arokoyo-Leo, a medical practitioner at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, said “women who are willing to get in shape should take less carbohydrate and ensure balanced diet.

“You should plan your meal and consume plenty of fibre roughages. You should also avoid junk food and too much minerals. You may decide to take minerals when absolutely necessary. There are natural ways of keeping a particular body shape.

“Take natural juice and healthy supplements if you will. It’s better to gain or lose weight naturally. It is healthy to eat your fruits before your meal. Waist trainers and body magic will only keep you in shape in that moment. It will cause you inconvenience and it is advised you remove if you want to take in food.

“Some of these shape aiders are perfectly designed with minimum or no side effect but if you intend maintaining the shape you get when you use these trainers and save up unnecessary cost, you should take a step to get in shape naturally. You wouldn’t use body magic and waist trainers forever you know”.

Unfortunately, the use of these body shapers and slimmer can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Redness is common for quite a few hours along with localised bruising which may get permanent overtime. Furthermore, most people also suffer from local numbness, in some cases, sensation returns after months.

Also on women artificials, we can’t afford to miss out the hair which has become what many would agree is an obsession especially for the Black women who view natural hair as a curse. To some, weaving hair is just innocent.

It’s considered experimenting with various hairs styles, trying out something new, being unique and fabulous.

However, this has really made most people believe that it’s normal to use it in order to look good and fashionable.

A hair weave is human or artificial hair utilised for the integration with one’s natural hair. Weaves can alter one’s appearance for long or short periods of time by adding further hair to one’s natural hair or by covering the natural hair all together with human or synthetic hairpieces. Nigerian women have made the artificial hair a habit that they can’t do without, especially those with poor natural hair. This, however, has got them addicted to it and they probably see it as something they can’t do without. It is said that Hair is the beauty of a woman but most women prefer the artificial hair to their natural hair. Weaving additional human or synthetic pieces can enhance one’s hair by giving it volume, length and adding colour without the damage of chemicals or adopting a different hair texture than that of their own.

Artificial hair makes women look good and classy and when worn brings out the beauty of a woman but this has however made most women forget their natural hair. It has made them pay so much attention on the artificial hair and they forget about their natural hair.

As a woman, when you don’t care for your natural hair, you are likely inviting harm to your body also to your hair. However, hair loss can occur either along the front hairline or above the ears due to the wearing of specific hair styles for a prolonged period of time, such as weaves.

When a woman loses her front hairline, it makes her hair scanty and unhealthy, making her look old. Artificial hair comes in different sizes -long, short, and medium. Installing an artificial hair into a natural hair takes a few processes, which involves needle, thread, bonding, weavon oil, weavon gloss, brush, hair nets and comb.

Here are few methods on installing an artificial hair…

The Pinch braid – are individual locks of hair tied into the natural hair with a durable upholstery thread.

The tape in method – are extensions which last from four to eight weeks and the hair can be gently combed and washed while wearing the extensions. In addition, the extensions need to be treated with specialised shampoos, conditioners and styling products to keep them in top condition. The extensions can be easily taken off by applying glue remover.

The clip in hair – most commonly come in as a long strand of one contoured piece that can be cut into multiple layers for creating separate layers on a user’s head. When the hair is purchased from a beauty supply store, it often comes with clips, which are sewn into the hair. If bought from an online store, the clips can be simply sewn on easily by the purchaser of the extensions or by a stylist. Once the clips are sewn in, it is recommended that the user clip in the hair and visit a stylist, to help create a look that is natural.

Bonding – is also a method of weaving that lasts for a shorter period of time in comparison to sew-in weaving. It involves the application of hair glue to a section of wafted hair then onto a person’s natural hair; special hair adhesives are used in bonding to prevent damage to one’s natural hair. This technique is commonly used and does not cause damage to the hair unless taken out without proper directions from a professional. It is advised that weave bonding be installed for up to 3 weeks because the glue begins to loosen up and lessens the attractiveness of the hair. There are 2 types of bonding methods: soft bond and hard bond.

Fusion- This involves a machine similar to a hot glue gun used to attach human hair extensions to individual strands of one’s natural hair of about 1/8 to 1/4-inch squared sections for a truly authentic look. A heat clamp is then used to melt the adhesive to attach the extension hair to the natural hair. Fusion weave allows washing hair frequently and the use of regular hair products such as hair gels.

Netting- is a technique which involves braiding natural tresses under a thin, breathable net that serves as a flat surface onto which stylists can weave extensions. This method requires the use of hair net or cap to be placed over the person’s hair that has been braided.

Some artificial hair is hard to identify from the natural hair due to their color, their texture and their length. Most women often go for their colour especially using the human hair which is one artificial hair that has got most people confusing to the extent of mistaking it for a natural hair.

In order to differentiate an artificial hair from a natural hair, these are things you look out for:
Usually, it’ll be if you can clearly see their longest natural layer in their hair, then a longer bit that doesn’t match the others, or, it’ll be a different colour to the rest. Their hair will just look unnaturally thick and voluminous and so you know that they’ve ‘had help’ in the thickness dept.

If they are clip in, the clips showing are obviously a dead giveaway or bumps in the hair. However, if they are done professionally, they can be really difficult to spot. The texture of artificial hair is quite different from that of a natural hair although original human hair has been made to have exact texture with natural hair.

Most artificials have a side effect. The side effects of the artificial hair and what it does to the natural hair and the body is somewhat harmful. Here are side effects of the artificial hair and the dangers it carries.

Blinding headache: This is caused when an artificial hair is attached to your natural hair and the process which it was installed wasn’t from a professional rather was it installed improperly, so it causes headache, making you tired and sweaty all the time.

Patchy hair loss: When an artificial hair stays more than the days, weeks or months it was supposed to stay, it causes hair loss especially those with weak natural hair and those with soft hair frontline.

Sometimes permanent damage takes place when a fake artificial hair is added to the natural hair. The texture of the fake product mixing with chemicals and installing on the hair brings damage to the scalp. When it stays for a very long period of time and is not taken care of, it brings foul smell and lice.

The risk at artificial hair is death. Most people don’t believe that artificial hair brings death, however most women have died from this and never knew it was the hair until it becomes too late.

When an artificial hair is sown on the natural hair, it covers the natural hair for the period it is to last. A hair stylist who is not a professional and does not know more about the process goes ahead in using an infected needle on the hair along the process he or she infects the person with a disease transportable by objects. These start with itching, then foul smell followed by hair worm sucking the scalp on the hair then headache. Even when the artificial hair is being removed, the worms still continue till they cause death.

Artificial Eyelashes is also an extension of women’s artificials. Eyelash extensions are used to enhance the length, fullness, and thickness of natural eyelashes. False eyelashes also called artificial eyelashes can effortlessly glam up your look and they’re not as tricky as you think once you’ve mastered the technique. They help in giving good looks to people by bringing the beauty on their face.

The eyelash extension comes in different sizes and length. Most first time users go blind at the process of installing the artificial eyelash and some complain while they are on a motorcycle thinking their eye is about to fall off. Some people after fixing it look different from the way they look before.

Eyelash extension looks scary when it is too much and it doesn’t look beautiful at that extent. When installing an eyelash extension, one needs to be very careful both the person installing it and the person receiving it.

Eyelash effect has side effects which are as follow: Itching and redness of the eye, hindrance in blinking constantly, obstruction of sight (if the lashes are much and too long) and damaging of the natural eyelashes.

The eye contacts also fall under attachments as most people, especially women apply them, perhaps, for the sake of fashion or enhanced vision. The contacts if recommended by opticians who fix them by themselves are under control and is monitored but when fixed by non-professionals, you stand a chance of facing risk of blindness and blurry sight.

MUTIAT ALLI, FOLARIN LEONARD & OLIVA OGBONNA

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