I haven’t been home for it in an astonishing number of years, but there’s absolutely no doubt — this week right here is THE busiest week for tourism in my homeland of Trinidad.
It’s (almost) Carnival and people from around the world are heading to sweet T&T for a dose of sun, mas, and steelpan. While you’re there, you may want to pick up some souvenirs! When I go back home, I always do my best to buy and try the local beauty and hair products. I’ve blogged on this topic before — click here to read my 2012 post on beauty in Trinidad! But for an up to date look at not just where to shop but what local brands to check out, I reached out to a local expert and friend.
Tshenelle ‘Nelly B.’ Bethel is a Trinidadian blogger and local beauty and natural hair expert who knows who’s who and what’s what. Nelly is intimately familiar with the best places to shop in Trinidad as a whole (and not just Port of Spain)! Her post will take you through the stores to visit if you need makeup or natural hair goodies in Trinidad (whether it’s Carnival season or not). There is so much to do, see and BUY in Trinidad and Tobago, so many local artisanal brands, designers and entrepreneurs to support. Enjoy your time in our homeland! Take it away, Nelly!
So you’ve touched down on the beautiful shores of Trinidad, ready to take in all the sights and sounds. It is Carnival time! And whether you plan to visit the Calypso tents, party all night long in a fete, ‘play ah mas’ on Carnival Monday and Tuesday or just relax on Maracas Beach, you want to make sure that you look your best, including your hair and skin. Now you can go to the large beauty supply chain stores like Pennywise, Superpharm or even Starlite Pharmacy, but if you’re into smaller natural hair and skin care stores where you can get individual attention and demo products, then here is a list of boutique stores that won’t leave you disappointed.
BB on D’Ave, located on Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook (west Port of Spain), is a one stop shop. Not only can you purchase your haircare and skincare products there, but you can also have your hair done by of their in-house stylists. They also carry popular lines such as SheaMoisture, Taliah Waajid, and Kinky Curly to name a few. What is noteworthy of BB on D’Ave is that they carry the widest assortment of locally handmade hair and skin care products.
Located on Upper Abercromby Street in the heart of Port of Spain, Valrosa’s product offering is one of a kind. They carry brands such as SDot Beauty, Uncle Funky’s Daughter and Darcy’s Botanicals, and a few local brands as well. Not sure what works for your hair? No problem! Head on in and let them consult with you and demo products to help you determine what works for your hair.
If you’re staying in south Trinidad, or plan to visit the southland during your stay, then the Beauty Bag is the ideal pit stop for all your natural hair care needs. Located on the Southern Main Road/Pointe-a-Pierre Road in Vistabella, some of TBB’s product As I Am, TGIN and Curls. Their staff is very efficient and more than ready to assist you with your purchase.
A stalwart in the local skin care industry, Cher-Mere, unlike the others, has a very wide range of their own brand of locally made products. They have special lines for different skin types, for men, for kids and have recently launched their natural hair care line. An added bonus is that Cher-Mere also offers spa services, so in addition to going to purchase products, you can also indulge in a facial or massage. They have 5 locations island wide.
Located in Point Lisas, Couva, Eco T is a must visit if you will be staying or passing through Central Trinidad. This brand functions similarly to Cher Mere, as they retails their own line of hair and skin care products that range from hair and skin butters to natural deodorants and colognes. They also offer unique Eco-spa treatments for hair and skin face and nails.
Looking to try some locally made handcrafted products? Then here’s a list of some of my favourite hair and skin care brands that are retailed in some of the aforementioned stores:
I want to make special mention of two locally made handcrafted make up brands that are taking the local beauty scene by storm!
Caribbean Queen Cosmetics by Mo is a newly launched line of highlighters that help you get your glow on! Their unique steelpan shaped highlighters add the finishing touch to any make up look. We’re hearing that an eyeshadow palette is in the works, so follow them on Instagram @cqc_bymo to stay updated.
Xiora makeup is another indie brand that is making its presence known. They offer a wide assortment of eyeshadows, blushes and highlighters, all inspired by elements native to Trinidad. You can follow them on Instagram at @xioramakeup.
Welcome to Trinidad! I hope you have a wonderful stay.
Tshenelle aka Nelly B.
Tshenelle ‘Nelly B.’ Bethel, is a Trinidad born and bred natural hair, beauty and lifestyle blogger. She is the creative mind behind the ‘Nelly B.: A day in the life of a plus sized naturalista’ blog and is an avid supporter of locally made hand crafted goods. With her background in Communications and Social Media Management, she functions as the PR personnel for the 6 Degrees of Napp (The Nappy Roots) Collective and also operates as an Administrator for the Caribbean Ppl With Natural Hair online community.
Twitter & IG @blessednelly