Fox does the palm tree hairstyle on client Anisha
Leeana Charles prepares to give one of her male
clients the tattoo back.
After: The finished product of the tattoo back
Brookes gives a male client one of her famous
styles, the two cornrow.
Melona Massey starts the cascado hairstyle on a male client.
from left to right, Malona Massey, Cindy Brookes, Shelly-Ann
Fox, Shelley Charles and sitting owner Leeana Charles.
Photos: Wendy-Ann Duncan
Leeana Charles is more than just an astute businesswoman
who saw the opportunity to explore a growing trendshe
wants to do her part in helping African women to wake
As the growing trend of dreadlocks and natural hair becomes
more and more popular among black women, Charles is determined
to take her profession to another level.
lot of women and men are now adopting the natural look.
are getting more and more into their culture and knowing
fully well that chemically processed hair is not for us,
she said in a telephone interview on August 15.
For the past two and a half years, Charles said her business
has been booming.
clientele has grown by leaps and bounds, I guess because
I have brought something new into the art of dreadlocks,
she said in a telephone interview on August 14.
Charles, 30 who owns Lees Fortress, located at the
corner of Green and Woodford Street, Arima, said for the
past 12 years she has been in the business of styling
and grooming of natural hair.
The mother of three, who resides in Arima, sports rich
black shoulder-length dreadlocks which she has been cultivating
for the past two and half years.
can transform any hair type, and texture into locks which
grow out from the scalp.
Her techniques said Charles, differ from what other hairstylists
were accustomed to.
stay away from using the needles on clients hair,
I palm-roll the locks from the roots. I do not use needles
because they tend to weaken the hair.
Charles has a supportive staff of four workers, including
her sister, Shelley Charles, Shelly Ann Fox, Melona Massy
and Cindy Brookes, all of whom sport dreadlocked hairstyles.
Fox, 26, of La Horquetta who came on board with Charles
from the inception of the business, said since she has
been employed in the salon she has seen an improvement
in her work.
thank Leeana for seeing my dedication and giving me the
opportunity to take my passion to a higher level,
she said in a telephone interview on August 16.
Fox who worked along with Charles six months prior to
her opening Lees Fortress, specialises in lock maintainence,
natural hair, which includes twists, braiding and colouring.
realised that I had a love for grooming natural hair back
in 1999 and then in 2001 I decided to get involved in
see myself going very, very far, trust me, she said,
in a burst of laughter.
Fox now hopes that one day the entire staff would take
their talents to an international level.
want to show our talents and skills to the world one day,
Charles said that her styles varied.
create and name all my styles on the spot, she said.
Some of her most popular styles are Coil, X-up, Tattoo
Back, Infamous, Two Cornrow and Palmtree.
She added that there were secrets to her styles which
she holds very close to her heart.
are just some things that you cannot let out, said
is what sets me apart from other hairdressers.
She said that she does hairstyles for all occasions.
it is for work, a wedding or a formal occasion, you can
be sure that each time you would not look the same,
Among Charles clientele, some who journey from as
far away as Mayaro, Toco and South every three weeks to
get their hair done, are soca lovebirds Bunji Garlin and
Charles boasts, I can twist any type and texture
of hair. You can come with relaxed hair and leave with
She added in an effort to maintain healthy rich hair one
must continually use conditioning steams and oil their
is always important to oil and steam your hair occasionly.
helps in keeping it rich and strong, Charles concluded.