|The trininista hair trifecta - |
shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner
When I did my first degree in Jamaica, it was the norm for Trinidadian students to have 2 suitcases - one with clothes and books, the other with food - the story was that food was too expensive in Jamaica, so we "imported" via suitcase our own foodstuff. Now while London is not cheap, I was surely not about to forego warm clothes for a box of Cheerios. Besides, there are enough bargains around to ensure survival.
However, there was a mandatory shopping stop before getting on that British Airways flight. Pennywise, or as I call it, the Trini Boots. Being a black woman/nubian queen is a unique experience in many ways, but coming to London without products was not an option. White people seem to think we can all use the same things and be happy and beautiful. We cannot. Black hair alone is something totally different to white hair, so packing my stuff was not vanity, but necessity. As for London, I had been here before and experienced the nashiness of some of the black women here and did not aspire to look like any of them. So I can attest that half of one suitcase was filled with lotions, hair products, makeup etc.
Seven months later, I am still pretty good for beauty stuff but I realised last week that I was on the last of my post-shampoo leave-in conditioner, which can mean the difference between crackly and dry hair and shiny, healthy looking hair. Not wanting to wash my hair this weekend without it, I prepared myself for the wild adventure that is Lewisham. Now, I go to Leiwsham pretty regularly but I generally hit the shopping centre and Tesco, and that's it. Nothing against Lewisham mind you, cause my mother can attest that even in Trinidad, I avoid the high streets and prefer to get what I need within the confines of a mall - be it Gulf City Mall, Price Plaza, Grand Bazaar or West Mall. So nothing against Lewisham...
However, Lewisham is no Oxford Street either (which I also avoid 90% of the time in favour of Westfield Mall) and the characters I spot on the streets are cringe-worthy to say the least. I saw one white girl, with about 30lbs too much around her midsection in a bra top and low rise jeans, and I cringed.
In any event, my hair needed salvation so I traipsed through the streets in search of a hair products store. Even despite the fact that I knew they would not have anything, I escaped into a Super Drug hoping against hope that they would have what I needed. Nada. So on I went.
After 5 minutes of cat calls from Africans and Jamaicans, and some really odd looking white girls, I found a store - Shabba Hair & Cosmetics - and as I entered, the harps started playing. There it was - a plethora of black skin and hair products, a virtual Pennywise at my fingertips. It was great. Made me wonder then, why if such a store exists, do some of these girls look so pop-down! Nah man. I had expected to get something close to what I normally use but I got EXACTLY what I needed. And more...
Like the two cross-dressers looking at wigs. It was a scary sight let me tell you. Here were two black men - not men who could possibly pass as women - but two big, black, ashy elbowed black men, in lace front wigs, lipstick and heels. To say I was amused would be an understatement. The Indian dude showing them the wigs did not seem too aghast. This seemed like a normal thing for him - to show two black men the best he had to offer in wigs and weaves, and hair sheen. Very polite they were though as I said "excuse me" in an effort to pass. Not to mention complimentary, commenting on how lovely my eyebrows were and asking me whether I waxed or threaded. Too funny.
But at least I head to Cardiff with shiny hair on Monday, cause I am not quite sure how many black people I will find there, but at least I can well represent the sistas (and wannabe sistas)!