Remember Claudine’s Henna and Me HairStory? Well here’s Part II of her HairStory as part of our new natural hair interview feature, Naturals Around the World!!
Hi again. My name is Claudine and it is a beautiful, sunny day in Bermuda today! I climbed a ladder to take the pictures … never had done that before *LOL*!
Natural Hair Environment in Bermuda
Prior to about 5 years ago, the majority of the naturals wore locs. Non-loc’d naturals seemed to have picked up momentum in the last two years. I would say that Bermuda is probably at the beginning stages of embracing kinky natural hair.
Transitioning and Product Access Challenges
Nearly three years ago, when I had decided to go natural after transitioning for 1 1/2 years, my former black male hairdresser at an upscale hair salon cut my relaxed hair off. He didn’t have a clue of how to work with 100% naturally kinky hair and all he was talking about was me getting a chemical texturizer (instead of admitting that he doesn’t work with natural kinky hair!!). So, I was disappointed with the results … and never returned.
I had transitioned using the Miss Jessie’s hair products … would you believe that I was paying $80, $75 and $65, respectively, for the Baby Buttercreme, Curly Pudding or Curly Meringue and Rapid Recovery? Our Bermuda dollar is at par with the American dollar. I continued using the Baby Buttercreme when I went natural, keeping my hair in two strand twists and wearing a twist-out the day before I washed my hair. My goal was to grow long natural hair without chemicals and non-loc. At that time, Miss Jessie’s was the only brand sold in Bermuda suitable for kinky hair.
I’ve had to resort to researching online and making purchases online of hair products for kinky hair. I tried the Kinky-Curly, Uncle Funky’s Daughter, Curls and then Qhemet Biologics hair products via online purchases. One of our major pharmacies (Black-owned) now carries some of the popular kinky hair products such as Curls, Kinky-Curly, Uncle Funky’s Daughter and Jane Carter Solutions. They started about 1 1/2 years ago with Curls, a year ago with Kinky-Curly and this Fall 2011 with Uncle Funky’s Daughter and Jane Carter. It was frustrating that the products were flying off the shelves and it would be months before the pharmacy replenished their stock!!
Shelli: Are the prices still very high compared to the costs here or are they comparable?
Yes, the prices are still very high. That’s because Bermuda shopkeepers imports their goods and they have to pay Government customs duty; and then they have to mark-up to make a profit. For the Curls Whipped Cream, I pay $26.95 a jar. I tried to see if it was cheaper for me purchase online and ship it to Bermuda. It cost me more to bring it in myself by the time I pay the shipping fee and the duty. That’s why it makes more sense for me to purchase items online, only if they don’t carry it in Bermuda.
Shelli: Wow, that is just crazy that you have to spend so much more!! Have you tried natural butters and oils as an alternative? Just wondering if you tried oil/butter mixes and they didn’t work or just haven’t gone that route.
I’ve tried 100% jojoba oil and 100% coconut oil. Between the two oils, neither one of them absorbs into my hair, but the coconut oil gives my hair a wonderful glossy sheen. I think I have a heavy hand in applying the oil in my hair as I always have to put a towel on my pillow at night, because the oils always soak through my head scarf or bonnet for the first two days. From my observation, I guess I shouldn’t be using the oils alone as if they are styling products to obtain curl definition … duh! LOL! But I certainly need to look for ways to stretch the Curls Whipped Cream. I’ve just started trying the “Kimmaytube leave-in conditioner” under the Curls Whipped Cream … that result … was not bad at all. My twist-out hair did not stay elongated, it went into a curly afro, but my hair stayed soft and moisturized.
For the Kimmaytube leave-in I use KC Knot Today, fresh aloe leaf which grows wild in some parts of Bermuda (and it is a lot of work to scrape the slime from the inner leaf part … the inner fillet part does not dissolve and the pieces look like gel balls in your hair that you have to pick them out!), 2 tsp Qhemet Biologics Castor & Moringa serum (I must check the Caribbean Market to see if they sell the Jamaican Black Castor Oil) and 2 tsp jojoba oil.
In regard to henna, I wouldn’t be surprised if I am the only natural who has used BAQ henna in Bermuda, but I might have company soon, as I have a cousin who’s hair is natural wants to try it.
Cutting/Trimming and Salons
I trim my own hair on the beneficial days as per the “lunar hair cutting calendar.” I have not had any success with hairdressers here in Bermuda. One female hairdresser (whose hair is chemically texturized), trimmed my hair in 4 large sectioned chunks … girl I am not lying … and then charged me $85 and insisted that I should get my hair chemically texturized!!! After this, I vowed never to set foot in that particular salon again.
Most recently, in Aug 2011 when I got my grays colored, the hair dresser’s assistant tried to untangle my hair in its dry state before washing it … girl, I thought to myself that she’s a little stupid. These hairdressers really don’t know anything about caring for natural hair.
So, I am now a DIYer when it comes to maintaining my hair as I am determined to grow my natural hair long. I like my God-given natural hair and have taken on the challenge in mastering the ultimate care of my hair, with a limited choice of hair products suitable for kinky hair which can be purchased locally. I used relaxers in my hair for 24 years and always wore my hair long, just at the lower part of my shoulder blade.
At present, I co-wash my hair once a week, try to deep-condition every two weeks and clarify shampoo and henna once a month. I am not so creative with my hair … just do two strand wet twists and then twist-outs when dried; every now and then I will do bantu-knot twist outs.
I have been using the Curls line for nearly 2 years and just last month, I began trying out the Qhemet Biologics line. I am not fussy about Qhemet. I prefer the Curls overall.
Shelli: Anything else that you’d like to add?
I like the idea of your site containing global hair perspective! I’ve heard of a group on FB called Thirsty Curlz, which was started for Bermudian naturals. I don’t use Facebook, so I haven’t seen it for myself. LOL … you must be saying who doesn’t have Facebook in this day in age :-)! If you are able to join, you can probably obtain more information on a variety of Bermudian experiences with natural hair.