Saturday, January 1, 2011


A quick trip home to see my niece and nephew in beautiful Tobago coincided with a huge snowstorm back in New York, resulting in my being stuck for days in the Caribbean (there are worse places to be stranded, right?).
I had given the kids new haircuts and love looking back over these photos of them smiling, happy with their new looks. The one thing that's expected of me during my visit (apart from devouring every local fruit I can get my hands on) is to educate the kids on looking after their hair, since they are on the beach daily and therefore especially prone to sun and salt-water damage. Needless to say, as I hadn’t been to Tobago for almost a full year, I had my job cut out for me.

One factor relevant to my niece and nephew’s hair care is their ethnic background. Their mother and I are of Portuguese, Venezuelan and African descent, while their dad is Swiss. My nephew’s hair was white as a baby, and now at 13 years old it’s medium-brown with blond highlights (from daily surfing in the sun, no doubt). Now, the front of his hair is straight, gradually curling toward the back of his head. He asked that I keep the length of his hair, but said he dislikes the weight he feels at the back of his head. His hair was very uneven from a previous cut—very long at the back and short over the ears and long again at the front. He loves when I cut his dry hair with the razor (he's fascinated by this!), so I didn’t have much of a choice in terms of tools.

Starting at the back of his head, I razored with a scooping effect, starting close to the scalp and moving through to the ends. With this technique I avoid removing unnecessary bulk, while also helping the hair to grow in with increased movement while remaining light in density. As I moved forward I maneuvered the front of the blade closer to the ends (there not being much weight in this area). In other words, I focused primarily on the shape as I moved to the front of his hair. Any fringe responds better to a dry cut than a wet one, so for him, the former is always an advantage anyhow. I also find I have more control when cutting the fringe dry. When it's wet, so much can go wrong, resulting in an undesirable, lifeless fringe. I then just styled it with a little Moroccan oil and he was off to the waves.

My niece—who has the most beautiful long, dark tresses—hadn’t had a cut since my last visit: Now
that's commitment! As you can imagine, her ends were quite dry and the layers were really grown out, leaving her look a little drab and faded out. I had her shampoo, towel-dry, and comb some Moroccan oil through from roots to ends. After assessing the situation, I decided to cut her hair wet with scissors, as this makes it easy to see the weaker, wet ends lying limp. As I continued my cut, the layers around her face began to dry a bit… perfect conditions for me to then apply the razor. I had barely finished the cut and she was running off with her friends.

I recommended that she always add a little Moroccan oil to her ends before entering the ocean, as it helps condition the hair while she’s in the water, protecting it for a long wait until my next trip home! With salt-water contact, the oil helps so much to avoid tangling and maintaining a gorgeous shine, shine, shine!

Antonio Gonzales


newer older