From red hair dye inspired by Lil Kim to his grandmother’s perfume, hair stylist Jawara describes the products that shaped him
Beauty Biographies is a weekly column where we ask some of our favourite people to reflect on the beauty items that have influenced their lives and have a sentimental place in their heart. From their grandmother’s perfume to the eyeshadow they wore to their first dance, these are the products that have had a significant impact on them and that instantly transport them back to a particular time, place, or person.
Remember Solange’s hair halo from this year’s Met Gala? Well, that was all thanks to hair stylist and our very own Contributing Beauty Editor Jawara. Inspired by the extravagant hair of 90s divas, from Janet Jackson and Lil Kim to Christina Aguilera, Jawara spent his younger days back in Jamaica and later Queens, New York, practicing looks on his unsuspecting sister.
After years of training with Sam McKnight, Jawara broke out on his own in 2013 and has since styled hair for campaigns for the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Chloé, Calvin Klein SS18 and Gucci x Dapper Dan, multiple covers including Solange for both Teen Vogue and Dazed, and Troye Sivan in his music video for ‘Bloom.’
Jawara has also been busy backstage at this season’s fashion weeks, styling for Peter Pilotto, Gabriele Colangelo, Mugler and Off-White, the latter for which he created slicked-back ponytails inspired by Serena Williams. Here Jawara looks back on the beauty products that played a significant role in his early life.
Lottabody Setting Lotion
I remember this is the first hair product I ever learned to use. When I was about six years old my aunt with use this setting lotion in her salon to do really tight roller sets and taught me how to dilute the lotion with water and saturate the freshly washed hair before setting it with rollers. I was fascinated by how the hair could go from wet and limp to bouncy and dry. I thought Lottabody was magic.... and still use it to prep wigs to this day.
Get it here: Lottabody Setting Lotion
Sportin’ Waves Wave Pomade
I went to high school in Jamaica, Queens NYC, and all the boys in school were obsessed with having waves in their hair! (Waves: when you train your curl pattern to lay in a direction that make the hair look like waves in the sea) I would put Sportin’ Waves in my hair EVERY night and sleep with a DURAG to train my wave pattern!!! It was a HUGE DEAL! If the waves in your haircut looked really nice we would say, “you’re seasick”... I was “seasick” all the time.
Get it here: Sportin’ Waves Pomade
Chanel No 5
My grandmother has been wearing Chanel No 5 perfume since as long as I can remember. I use to look at the bottle on her dresser and smell it all the time. When I was in high school I hated the smell of male perfumes, they all smelled like alcohol to me. I started wearing Chanel No 5 at 15 and the kids at school said I smelled good but smelled like a mature woman... that made my time with Chanel No 5 short lived.
Get it here: Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum
Dark And Lovely Red Hair Dye
By my senior year in high school I was bleaching my hair weekly to have platinum blonde hair. I saw an interview with Lil Kim on MTV and she had RED FIERY HAIR. Immediately, my sister and I said we wanted our hair to be that colour. We went to the drugstore on Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn and we bought Dark and Lovely "Hot Red Mary." At this time Mary J Blige was on the box. By the end of that night we both had fire engine red hair, and a very red bathroom which was all white before we started…
Get it here: Dark and Lovely Red Hot Rhythm
10-in-1 Deep Conditioning Treatment
This conditioner made my hair feel like silk on the regular when I was younger. If I had a day off from school I would literally sit in the house with this in my hair all day. I thought the longer you left it in, the softer your hair would be. A hair stylist that worked in a Dominican salon by my school told me “this treatment is like milk for your hair.” I truly took her word for it and would deep condition my hair two-to-three times a week!
Get it here: Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Hair Masque