Hair Weeds Are China’s Latest Beauty Accessory

What is at the root of this Chinese hair trend that's seen garden vegetables sprouting atop young people's heads?

china sprout

by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Across China, women and girls are adorning their hair not with the blue weaves made popular by K-Pop artists and, um, Kylie Jenner, or the flower garlands that have festooned the UK festival scene for the past three years. No, they’re doing something much greener and much more out there and affixing vegetables to their heads.

‘Heads are bristling with clover, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, lavender, mushrooms, chilies, cherries, gourds and pine trees,’ reports the New York Times.

With sprouts apparently the most popular head accessories Where did this trend come from? Well, despite many Chinese people partaking in it, its origins (or roots, haha) are hard to find.

‘This shows that in China now we’ll try almost anything that we see on the Internet,’ said Wang Hao, a student with a sprig of clover in their hair: ‘Nobody knows what it means, but we do it anyway.’

Chinese press have thanked the country’s ancient bond with nature for this trend – FYI, much of the head-foliage is plastic and churned out in factories – but others have posited the influence of everything from the Teletubbies’ headgear, Japanese emoticons popular in China, or plain old ‘meng meng da’, which means ‘cute’.

Qiu Chaunhuan, a student in southern China with bean sprouts and a gourd affixed to his head, suggested that the trend started in the west: ‘I think this comes from Western culture’

Now that’s not to say that we all over in the UK like to stroll about with plants on our heads – flower garlands notwithstanding – but simply that the west’s youth are encouraged to be individuals, and by creating their own personalized gardens on their heads, Chinese youth have got a green-fingered way of expressing themselves: ‘Chinese people usually aren’t so comfortable standing out as individuals, but now we’re more open and willing to stand out.’

One seller, 50-year-old Mao Wenli, said that, ‘It’s fun, but I guess it’s also about protecting the environment, to show that you care about nature,’ perhaps not aware of that irony that these head accessories are plastic imitations of the real world that gets bulldozed down every time the country builds a new factory.

As China becomes one of the top international producers of pollutants via its mines and factories and processing plants and all the rest, it’s not got the best reputation for eco-safety. Nor are its citizens known for really enjoying nature these days.And while this trend could encourage legions of China’s youth to see the value in nature, something tells us the faddishness of the trend will be its downfall. But maybe, after the fall of the hair-garden, there’ll be a space in young people’s hearts for IRL plants?

Watch this grassy space…

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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