Top 10 Hair Markets for Buying Hair in Congo

From braiding hair and extensions to shea butter and black soap, Congo is home to bustling markets filled with high-quality hair products. Congolese women take pride in their hair, and the country’s hair culture means these markets are stocked with good selections. Whether you’re looking for a new wig or simply some accessories to maintain your natural locks, you’re sure to find it in one of Congo’s popular hair markets.

1. Marché Zando

The Marché Zando in Kinshasa is arguably the largest and most famous spot to purchase hair. As one of the major markets in Congo’s capital and largest city, Marché Zando carries it all. Row after row of vendors sell every kind of hair piece, extension, accessory, and product you could imagine. Given its convenient location and huge selection, Marché Zando attracts buyers not only from around the country but the rest of Central Africa as well. Bargaining is expected here, so shop around and negotiate the best deal. High quality human hair wigs and extensions can be purchased for reasonable prices if you haggle properly.


2. Marché Gambela

Also located in Kinshasa, Marché Gambela rivals Marché Zando as a go-to hair destination. Prices here tend to beat out much of the competition, making Marché Gambela a favorite among locals and travelers seeking bargains. The market’s tight maze of stalls offer up bags of high grade loose braiding hair, natural black wigs shining in the African sun, and rows of hair pieces hanging from every corner. You can also find hair accessories like colorful beads and gold plated pins to jazz up hair styles. Marché Gambela vendors are eager to make a sale, so come ready to negotiate for unbeatable deals.

Marche Gambela
Marche Gambela

3. Marché de la Liberté

Make the trip down to Lubumbashi in the southeastern tip of Congo, and you’ll discover Marché de la Liberté. Known for an abundance of high-end human hair, Marché de la Liberté primarily attracts middle and upper class shoppers looking for only the best. The market’s central location in Congo’s second largest city makes it easily accessible for travelers. Peruse through extra long 24” hair extensions almost indistinguishable from European hair, 100% natural wigs without any synthetic fibers, and soft loose hair ready for braids. Don’t be afraid to still negotiate here, but expect to pay more than Kinshasa rates for this premium hair selection.

4. Marché de Poto-Poto

Cross the river over to Brazzaville, and Marché de Poto-Poto makes for a splendid hair shopping outing. Although the capital’s political climate has negatively impacted markets in recent decades, Marché de Poto-Poto remains aCongolese favorite. The market stretches on for blocks, with hair stalls lining every inch on both sides.

Find gorgeous pre-made wigs in classic African styles, or choose loose bulk hair for styling into trendy looks like faux locs and goddess braids. Unlike Kinshasa across the river, Marché de Poto-Poto deals more in hair care products and accessories versus hair pieces themselves. Stock up on imported shampoos, natural hair oils, and handcrafted combs while still bagging a hair bundle or two.

5. Marché Total

Situated along the Atlantic coast, Pointe-Noire’s Marché Total gives you plenty of options all under one roof. Marché Total buzzes as a marketplace where locals flock daily for fresh produce, clothing materials, and so much more. Nestled between these stalls you’ll discover vendors specializing in hair extensions made from high quality human hair, synthetic wigs mimicking natural black hair textures, and shining accessories like golden hair pins. Given Marché Total’s popularity across goods, expect it to be crowded and a bit hectic – but great prices make it worthwhile!

6. Marché de Moungali

We cross back over into Brazzaville for Marché de Moungali near the Congo River. Known as the place for all things traditionally African beauty, Marché de Moungali caters to naturalistas embracing their roots. Locally harvested shea butter packs nutrients to strengthen hair at its core. Handmade black soap cleanses scalps and locks without harsh chemicals. Herbal hair oil blends contain natural ingredients passed down for generations. If you prefer rocking your natural texture versus wigs or going to the braiding shop, this market Overflowing with plant-based hair treatments rarely found elsewhere.

7. Marché de Bacongo

Also located in Brazzaville, Marché de Bacongo sits east among residential neighborhoods perfect for blending into everyday Congolese life. Residents frequent the shops offering good deals on essentials like produce and baked goods. Nestled between these stalls you can find hair vendors catering to locals’ needs. Synthetic wigs come cheap here for everyday wear, and you find better prices for bulk braiding hair than tourist-heavy markets. Vendors at Marché de Bacongo know their customers well. They source quality hair pieces and extensions at truly affordable prices for neighborhoods they call home themselves.

8. Marché de Talangaï

In the Talangaï neighborhood further north, Marché de Talangaï opens daily for Brazzaville shoppers’ convenience. The covered stalls protect marketgoers and vendors alike from harsh midday sun as they mingle about. Talangaï is one of Brazzaville’s beloved markets where everyone knows each other, making for lively buyer-seller interactions. Have fun chatting up hair product purveyors as you sort through their offerings. Higher grade human hair gets imported through Talangaï frequently for competitive prices worth checking regularly.

9. Marché de Mikalou

Also located in Brazzaville, Marché de Mikalou provides all the traditional African beauty supplies natural hair enthusiasts could dream of. Known as the best spot for artisanal hair products, Marché de Mikalou stocks shea butter, black soap, herbal hair oils, and more. Well-known among locals for these prized all-natural goods, Marché de Mikalou vendors source many ingredients straight from the lush Congolese interior themselves. While also selling items like wigs and extensions, Mikalou’s plant-based hair treatments steal the spotlight.

10. Marché de Madibou

Lastly, we have Marché de Madibou situated near Congo’s industrial coastal region in Pointe-Noire. Imports flowing out of Pointe-Noire’s busy port means vendors have access to hair products from around Africa and beyond. Combine this global selection with prices beaten down by the high supply, and Marché de Madibou gives you affordable one-stop shopping without sacrificing. The market’s roofed structure means you can comfortably walk through aisles even on rainy days. Pick up trusted brands or experiment with new foreign ones. From brushes imported from Morocco to hair de frizzer from South Africa, let browsing Marché de Madibou spark hair inspiration from across the continent!

Do’s While Shopping for Hair in Congo Markets

1. Do Your Homework

Before stepping foot in the market, spend some time educating yourself on the basics of hair types, textures, and accessories. Learn the differences between human, synthetic and blended varieties so you know what to expect in terms of manageability, longevity, and pricing. Figure out which length and density best suits your style aspirations. And familiarize yourself with common terms and tools like lace closures, hair combs, and elastic bands so interactions with vendors are productive. Even minimal research will make navigating your options far less intimidating.

2. Do Carry Sufficient Cash

Stall vendors in markets prefer to transact business in cash, so be sure to hit the ATM before embarking on your shopping adventure. Prices can range wildly based on hair quality and style, with a simple pack of kanekalon braiding hair going for a couple dollars while a long, lustrous virgin lace frontal can cost upwards of $100. As a rule of thumb, take at least double your anticipated budget to allow for irresistible impulse purchases.

3. Do Expect to Negotiate

Haggling is not seen as rude or taboo in market shopping culture – rather, it’s an accepted and expected part of the purchasing process. Don’t be shy about bargaining as it shows you know the drill. When a vendor names the first price, counter with an offer around half. Let negotiations flow from there until you settle on a price or opt to walk away. Keep the back-and-forth friendly and polite, not argumentative. And be willing to compromise or sweeten the deal by purchasing multiple items.

4. Do Check Quality Thoroughly

Appearances can be deceiving, so don’t judge hair products solely on looks alone. Before money changes hands, conduct a thorough inspection by holding it up to the light, rubbing your fingers along the strands, smelling it, and even giving it a gentle tug. Check for shedding, uneven lengths, discoloration and strange odors which could indicate overprocessing or poor storage conditions. Please don’t hesitate to contact the merchant with any queries or worries.

5. Do Inquire About Origins

If transparency around hair sourcing matters to you, don’t be timid about asking questions! Many reputable sellers will happily share details on origin, production methods, ethical farming initiatives and the like. This will also provide helpful insight on hair quality. Virgin hair retains the cuticle layer, making it very durable and justifying a higher price point. In contrast, over processed hair stripped of cuticles won’t last. Where and how tresses are procured really does impact product value.

Don’ts When Shopping for Hair in Congo Markets

1. Don’t Rush Your Decision

I get it—the mountains of braiding hair and rows of wigs in every texture at the market stalls are beyond tempting. The vibrant colors, soft textures, and intricate braiding patterns are gorgeous eye candy when you’ve been living that natural hair life for too long.  And at just a couple bucks a pack, the urge to impulsively grab armfuls of hair is real.

But hold up. Take a breath. The array of options is huge so you’ll have better luck if you avoid an impulse buy. Take the time to thoroughly browse different vendors first before deciding. Compare quality, texture, softness and make sure the hair truly suits your style and needs. Feel free to nicely ask questions too. Once you’ve got a solid handle on the options, you can zero in on a choice you won’t regret.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Some of the vendors can be a tad…overzealous in their sales tactics. If you get approached by someone especially high-pressure or sketchy, don’t feel bad about walking away, no matter how good the deal seems. There’s hundreds of vendors working those stalls so you won’t have an issue finding someone else less stressful to buy from.

If you do start bargaining with a vendor but their final offer still doesn’t sit right with you, again, feel free to bounce. Say “no thank you” firmly but politely and move it along. Don’t cave in and buy hair you’re not feeling just to avoid uncomfortable negotiations. The right wig at the right price is waiting for you somewhere else in that market sea of hair.

3. Don’t Neglect Hygiene Concerns

Between wrestling through crowds and handling piles of human hair strands, shopping Congo’s markets involves getting up close and personal—sometimes a little too close for hygiene comfort. While most vendors aim to keep their inventory and stalls clean for customers, it’s not a bad idea to slip a mini bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag in case sanitation seems questionable.

Whether you’re touching hair samples, trying on wigs, or handing money to sellers, a quick sanitizer swig before and after minimizes health risks. And for sure don’t forget to wash any hair purchases ASAP once you get home for maximum freshness.

4. Don’t Disregard Ethical Considerations

For the gorgeously low market prices, it’s tempting to not question where the endless selection of braiding hair originates. But if possible, try to buy from vendors who source hair ethically from donors and offer transparency about origins. Supporting sellers who exploit financially vulnerable women or lack consent practices only perpetuates the issue.

If ethics are a priority for you, kindly asking vendors about their specific hair sources can help guide your decision. And while scoring an extremely cheap wig may be nice for your wallet, unfairly low prices often mean low quality and ethical issues. Find the balance between affordability and ethical reassurance.

5. Don’t Forget Cultural Sensitivity

Navigating a foreign market in itself can be socially tricky—doubly so in Congo’s conservative culture. Make things smoother for yourself by researching local customs on dress and haggling etiquette before heading out. Conservative dress is key, so leave the mini skirts or deep necklines behind.

Also brush up on appropriate greetings and polite bargaining style so not to accidentally offend sellers. And never just yank hair samples off heads! Ask politely before touching. With some cultural awareness and basic lingala phrases, connecting with sellers and avoiding awkward moments is a breeze.


Congo is home to a thriving hair culture, with bustling markets across the country catering to Congolese women who take great pride in their hair. From Kinshasa to Lubumbashi, Brazzaville to Pointe-Noire, these hair markets offer an abundance of quality human hair pieces, extensions, accessories, and hair care products.

Key markets like Marché Zando and Marché Gambela in Kinshasa as well as Marché de Poto-Poto in Brazzaville provide rows upon rows of high grade wigs, weaves, and loose braiding hair, while also being great spots to haggle for unbeatable deals. Marché de la Liberté in Lubumbashi and coastal markets like Marché Total and Marché de Madibou deal in premium imported hair worthy of middle and upper class shoppers.

Beyond hair extensions and wigs, markets like Marché de Moungali and Marché de Mikalou emphasize locally made, all-natural hair treatments like shea butter, black soap, and herbal blends that keep hair healthy from root to tip. Neighborhood markets in Brazzaville additionally cater to locals with quality hair essentials for affordable prices.

With abundant selections, competitive pricing, and cultural significance, Congo’s bustling hair markets make for can’t miss shopping for hair enthusiasts and everyday Congolese women alike. Those looking to embrace African hair in its full glory need look no further.