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Hair it is for Carnival
BOBIE-LEE DIXON and ZAHRA GORDON
Carnival is colour, mas, music and creativity. It’s the time of year when people experiment with different styles and fashion but it’s also a time when stuff like mud, paint, dye and even alcohol gets in your hair.
The T&T Guardian took to the streets of Port-of-Spain to eye the latest hair trends and find out the best ways to care for both natural and treated hair during the hectic Carnival season.
We visited hairdressers in Port-of-Spain and spoke with natural hair product retailers to get the best tips and advice for taking care of hair during Carnival.
We visited A&A’s Salon Mall on lower Charlotte Street in addition to speaking to Sharon Martin of Valrosa Ltd and Alisson Goddard of Body Beautiful.
At the Sheik and Sassy Hair Salon Booth No 2 on Charlotte Street, owner Nicole Thomas said it’s all about mohawks, short styles, weaves and colours.
“Around this season people get crazy with hair colouring. I have done red, blonde, pink and even blue hair,” said Thomas.
She said extensions are also very popular around this time.
“People rock the more wavy or curly do as it is more manageable. Another favourite is the ‘all purpose cut’ (a similar style to that worn by actress Halle Berry).
“This is the no hassle look, some of my clients choose it for the season because it’s reasonably less work and it also reduces scalp sweating and odour,” explained Thomas.
Speaking of odour, she said people who have weaves and extensions can use dry shampoos and hair deodorisers.
Two booths down at Buffy’s Beauty Salon, hair dresser Malika Nedd, who was working on singer Karene Asche’s hair at the time of our visit, said colours and hair art are the in thing for Carnival.
“Although people do more braiding around this time, colouring is also a major request,” said Nedd who herself has dyed her hair brilliant red.
Her colleague Isha Douglas, showed off her hair art—a large star, stripes and an abstract design.
“We get a lot of people who request short looks with art work, they tell us what they want and we may seek the help of a barber to get it done,” Douglas said.
Natural hair care
When people think of natural hair, they usually think of women of African descent with untreated hair who are growing an afro, plaiting their hair in canerows or wearing dreadlocks.
But here, our large mixed population means many different hair textures, some of which are difficult to manage.
The first thing Sharon Martin suggests is a hat.
Martin is the co-owner of Valrosa Ltd on Abercromby Street, which specialises in products for natural hair.
“If possible and stylish enough, it would be great for naturals to put on a hat to protect hair from the sun. Hats that are stylish is the best option.
“There are products that have sun screen built into them but once hair is well cared for and moisturised you should be good,” she told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview.
The second item Martin suggests is a leave-in conditioner. In fact, leave-in conditioner is the basis of Martin’s recipe for natural hair care.
“The recipe for really good natural, curly or kinky hair care is always going to be the same—a leave in conditioner and finisher are the first two steps. A finisher is always some sort of gel.”
Martin added that most gels for natural hair are made from aloe vera sap and keep hair from frizzing. The gels also give hair shine. After applying conditioner and gel, Martin says a sealant is a very important and often overlooked step. “Sealing is something that people don’t think about enough. A leave in conditioner is not for long term moisture. Sealing is a very overlooked step and a lot of people that complain about dry hair but don’t realise that by sealing, the hair is completely transformed.”
In addition to moisturising the hair, Allison Goddard owner of beauty supply and salon Body Beautiful on Ariapita Avenue says protective styles are the surest way to keeping hair healthy during the Carnival season.
Protective styles are natural hairstyles that are long-lasting and prevent damage to the hair. When the T&T Guardian spoke with Goddard on Tuesday, she had just finished braiding her hair for the season.
“Protective styles like twists and braids are good options for Carnival because you just want to get up and go and not do much maintenance,” she said.
Goddard added that protective styling was better than washing hair daily—a practice she did not recommend. “Washing your hair every day will dry it out even more and that’s where the protective style comes in.” Goddard said that after the four or five days of intense partying and Carnival Monday and Tuesday, a good quality clarifying shampoo was essential.
Both Martin and Goddard said mud, paint, and glitter did not do any critical damage to the hair and could easily be washed out.
Goddard said the same rules about moisturising applied to people with dreadlocks, however, hair care for dreads tends to focus more on the scalp than the tresses.
What about men?
A&A Salon’s barber Dylan Sandy said the mohawk is the most popular look for men. Lots of guys are also opting for hair art and colours. At High Performance Unisex Salon on Independence Square, barbers Gailon Thomas and Richard Joseph agreed that the mohawk design (like the lizard worn by Chutney star Ravi B), hair art as well as colouring were highly popular among men.
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