To weave or not to weave that is not even a question for some women, but a necessity.
Just as they would put money aside every year for a Carnival costume, some women actually put money aside for hair extensions. It may seem hilarious to some people, but there are women who actually have hair on ‘lay-away’.
Hair extensions, or “weave” as they are commonly referred to by many Trinidadians, can be synthetic (man-made hair fibres), human hair, mixed blends (a mixture of human and synthetic hair) and virgin hair.
Costing approximately $40 to $75 a pack for synthetic hair and $250 to $600 a pack for human hair, virgin hair and mixed blends; some women will weave their hair several times throughout the year no matter what the cost. This cost, however, does not include paying a hairdresser for her time and labour.
This can be a ‘touchy’ subject for some women and, in some instances, women may feel the need to hide the fact that they wear hair extensions from friends and even loved ones. Blending it in with their natural hair or completely covering it over, hair extensions comes in a variety of styles, colours and lengths that makes it relatively easy for an individual to wear a straight hairstyle one minute and then a curly hairstyle the next.
While some women may prefer to steer clear of the topic and choose not even to talk about it that does not mean they are not doing it, said hairstylist and founder of DuJour Hair Company, Dalia Denny.
“People want hair and more of it,” Denny said.
“From 18 inches all the way up to 30, long hair is the trend for Carnival,” she added.
She noted that being able to differentiate between the various types of hair and textures can assist individuals in selecting the right hair for their needs.
One of the most common questions Denny gets about hair is what is the difference between human and virgin hair?
She said, “Human hair is real hair donated by a person but the cuticles are not aligned due to the collection process. In order to remove the cuticles, the hair is dipped in an acid bath. Since it is almost impossible to remove all of the cuticles, a silicone is applied to smooth the hair and give it a shiny look. Unfortunately, this silicone is not permanent and is usually washed out within the first or second wash. Once the silicone is washed out, any remaining cuticles snag and create tangling. Human hair is good for those that are on a budget and need a temporary style. Virgin hair is hair that has not been dyed, texturised or chemically treated in any way. Virgin hair is the highest quality hair because it behaves the most like the hair growing out of our heads. If the hair is cut from a single braid, it is more likely to be sold as virgin because the cuticles are all aligned before donation. This hair can be expensive but is good for those who want to reuse the hair for years. If the hair is shaved off, or collected form what is swept up after donation, the cuticles are almost impossible to align and therefore are sold as human hair in local beauty supply stores.”
DuJour Hair has been in existence for the past two years. It is owned by Denny and her business partner and friend, Shevon Glasgow. The salon is located on the fourth floor, Victoria Park Suites, Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain.
Apart for their love for hair, Denny and Glasgow had the same dream — to have their own business. They both admitted that it was not easy but getting the opportunity to put on a smile on a customer’s face is very rewarding.
Denny said, “Carnival is what we call the colour season and many women are not afraid to explore colourful, fun and sassy hairstyles. Loose curls, carefree hairstyles and hair full of body and bounce have a definite appeal for most women.”
“We recently brought down the Manic Panic colour line specifically for the Carnival season because the colours are very vibrant and is able to ‘take’ colour very well especially with “virgin” hair extensions,” she added.
“Many of the Carnival bands this season have themes such as underwater, tribal, God-like, Native American Indian and other themes that surround the aspect of long hair. Even the masqueraders themselves want the long hair to go along with the themes being portrayed by the various mas bands. It does not matter if it is straight or curly, but what we have seen so far this season, people have been coming for straight hair and body wave hair. Body wave hair is hair that does not have much of a curl but a nice wave; more of a bounce. Long hair is the trend this season and when it comes to length, women want nothing shorter than 16 inches,” Glasgow said.
“Oranges and reds are very popular for the Carnival season; however, we wanted to give our customers a few more options with our Manic Panic line. Colours from our new Manic Panic line include Rockability Blue, Atomic Turquoise and Blue Moon,” she said.
“The Manic Panic line is from the US and the reason why we chose it is because some of the local lines do not give that brilliant colour we are looking for. The Manic Panic line does not fade and stays true to its original colour,” Glasgow said.
“I tell my clients if they want colour and are thinking about investing in virgin hair, invest in a bundle of blonde hair since it can grab the colour quicker and those coloured pieces can be incorporated into your own hair or other hair extensions,” Denny said.
Apart from hair, Denny and Glasgow also do make-up. They have been doing hair and make-up for the past seven years and say that, in spite of all the hard work of having their own business, they could not imagine doing anything else.
“I tell people if you want to change up your look, that is fine; but you need to also care for your hair that is underneath. At the end of the day hair extensions are an accessory and should not be a necessity,” Denny said.
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