ATWBeauty Hair Braiding Peru

Peru is one of my favorite places in the world. From the dancing, to the textiles, the people and of course the music. The beauty of Peru doesn’t just exist at Machu Picchu but in all the sacred land of Pacha Mama translated as Mother Earth. In Peru Mother Earth is celebrated by the indigenous people of the Andes who use it as a connection to the universe and also all their beauty needs.

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On this weeks beauty adventure I’m uncovering the signigance of hair braiding in the Inca culture.

Throughout Peru, you will see the native women of all ages wearing long braids.  Long, braided hair represents much more than just a hairstyle to the Quechua; the braids signify the marital status of Peruvian women.

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Two braids reveals that a woman in the tribe is married, while one or many braids mean that she is single.

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While in the Andes I visited a Quechua tribe in Patabamba (Sacred Valley) and One of the elders insisted on braiding her own hair for me to observe how its done.

Your hair needs to be wet before you start braiding. Just like a French braid, you start at the crown and work your way down. You then use the rest of the hair to tie a knot at the end. Perfection!!

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The Quechua Challenge is that you need to finish each braid in less than a minute.

Long, virgin hair is considered beautiful in Quechua tribes and is a symbol of health and well-being.

Of course it was my turn to get my hair braided,but I told her I wasnt  married and didnt want to jinx it by getting two braids.They assured me  I would still find the one.

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They also shared with me their natural shampoo that comes from a plant root. They smash it into a rock to get the liquid soap and mix it with water to wash their hair and the Alpaca Wool.

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When women start losing hair due to aging, they incorporate yarn into the braids to lengthen and thicken the hair. Braids among the tribe is a tradition that has been passed down by many generations and continues to grow and evolve as time goes on.

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Beauty & Love,

Stephanie Flor