Dominican women love their hair! And Dominican stylists know how to
make it beautiful and healthy.
As a Dominican woman in the USA, I
get a lot questions about Dominican beauty parlors and hair care. Like most
Dominican women, I spend a lot of time at the hair salon, so now let
me tell you why, and why you might want to do the same!
“This Sunday, I was in the House of Beauty Store where I buy my Dominican Hair Products. They had a new sales
associate working there. I told her what I wanted to buy. She thought that
I had hair extensions because my hair is so bouncy. I told her no, it's my
hair and I showed her my scalp. I told her that I get my hair done at a
Dominican Salon and that it is always bouncy and now it is healthy. I
no longer have split ends. She was shocked.
“My hair is very healthy since I have been going to the Dominican
Salon, Lisflor and using their hair care products.
Maintenance is very important and the Silicon
Mix Brillo that I use is very good at keeping my hair looking healthy,
shiny and conditioned. It's not greasy at all. In hot weather, I use the
spray. In cold weather, I use the regular Brillo.
“I have had the most wonderful experience with the Dominican Salons.
My stylist won't even put dye in my hair because it is
healthy and she does not want to damage it. I use a color rinse. ”
—Margot Osorio, Philadelphia, February 2010
“When I lived in Atlanta, I frequented a Dominican Hair Salon every
two weeks and was very pleased with the results as my hair grew like weeds
and was thick and healthy. Now that I've moved to Alabama, there are no
Dominican Salons anywhere in sight! Since I've moved, my hair has never
looked as healthy or grown quite as fast/long as it did when I went to the
Dominicans.” —Nikki, Alabama.
“I loved my Dominican salon in DC. Going there every other week made
my hair healthier than its ever been. I did not have damaged hair until I
stopped going and came to the desert. I used to get a shampoo, deep
condition and rollerset. After that, they blew out my roots leaving my hair
silky and bouncy. For those who don't know much about Dominican salons,
techniques, and products... go to: http://www.aleida.net/salon-en.html”
—Dime, Iraq, 2009.
How do Dominicans know how to do hair so well?
people come in all colors.
Most Dominican women have textured hair (el pelo texturado), which
needs a lot of attention! And therefore almost every Dominicana goes to the
beauty parlor once or twice every week. The beauty parlor is called el
salón de belleza or la peluquería. In the Dominican Republic,
and wherever Dominicans live, the beauty parlor is a big part of our
culture. According to Dominican Times Magazine in 2007 there were
3,250 Dominican beauty salons in the New York metropolitan area!
That's a good thing because for our kind of hair, the Dominican hairdressers
(estilistas or peluqueras dominicanas) are simply the best.
For 500 years, they have been developing techniques of hair care based on
washing, drying, and brushing and on the natural
tropical products of our country like silk, avocado, coconut, and
cinnamon oils; maracuyá [chinola, passion fruit], rosemary, garlic, wheat
germ, and aloe (not to mention sole of shoe and snail slime!)
for keeping our hair beautiful even in the hottest and most
(Read more about Dominican hair-care
More and more North American women, especially African-American women, have
heard about Dominican salons and they want to go there too, because it is
really the same kind of hair – a mixture of European, Indigenous
American, and African, just like we are! Dominican salons don't like to use
hot irons or hot combs or strong chemicals for straightening, they have their
own special techniques that are more gentle for your hair. For example,
because I go to Dominican salons, I never need to have my hair
straightened with chemicals or hot combs!
In the Dominican Republic, people often refer to pelo malo
(“bad hair”) and pelo bueno (“good hair”).
Sometimes Americans are upset when they hear these terms, because it seems
like people who are more Black or African have “bad hair” and
those who are more White or Indian (indigenous) have “good
hair”, and therefore it is bad to be African. But a person's race is
not so important in the Dominican Republic as it is in the United States;
it's just a feature, just part of your look. Most Dominican families have
people of all colors; almost every Dominican is a mixture, and almost every
Dominican has textured hair. To us, “good hair” is hair that is
manageable, because we like to change our look,
and our hair style is a big part of our look. “Bad hair” is
simply harder to manage. But we do it anyway! That's just one
reason Dominican women spend so much time in the salon. Of course some
Dominican women like to have natural hair too — a puffy Afro,
dreadlocks, cornrows, and other styles — but don't kid yourself, that
takes work too!
Who can go to a Dominican salon?
Everybody can go – Black women, White women, and everybody in between;
Asian women, Indian women (both kinds!)... Every Dominican salon will want
your business and will be glad to serve you, no matter who you are or what
your hair is like, or whether you speak Spanish or you don't. But since
Dominican salons specialize in textured hair, and especially textured hair
that is overprocessed or damaged, they are especially popular among African
American women, as you can see if you search
Google search on this topic!
I get a lot of questions from Black women about whether they should go to a
Dominican salon, or use Dominican hair products.
The answer is Yes and Yes! Most people in the Dominican Republic –
about 85% of us – are Black or part Black, mixed mainly with European
Spanish and Indigenous Taíno people. Most of us have the same kinds of hair as
African Americans (such as 3b, 4a, 4b, etc, in the Andre Walker
system), so Dominican hair care techniques and products are just as good
for African American women as they are for Dominicanas.
The only thing to be aware of is that Dominican women like their hair to be
long, and some Dominican salons don't know what to do with short hair.
Also, most Dominican salons don't know a lot about styles that aren't
Dominican; for example, corn rows. But you never know. Just ask first!
(See my hair and makeup gallery to see typical Dominican
What is a Dominican hair salon?
Dominican round-brush technique
When you go to a Dominican Salon like Yani
Vanet in New York, plan to spend a good part of the day. It's first
come first serve (orden de llegada), no appointments (citas).
On the busy days – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, or any day before a
holiday – you can wait 2, 3, even 4 hours for your turn. But don't
let that stop you, it's fun! A Dominican salon is a very special place for
women to gather and “let their hair down”. You will make a lot
of friends there! Dominican music – Merengue, Bachata, Reggaetón – is playing, everybody is
talking and laughing... and eating! If you have a long wait, you can go to
the restaurant and bring back a delicious Dominican
meal to enjoy (and share) while you wait; it's the
best food there is, and it tastes best in the beauty parlor!
In the salon they use the Dominican or Italian or Spanish
hair products – shampoos, rinses, treatments, and conditioners –
that are the very best for our kind of hair, and also for brittle or damaged
hair (you can see some on the wall in the picture: Alter Ego, RR
Line, UNA...). Healthy hair is the first
priority of the Dominican stylist! She won't put anything in your hair, or
do anything to it, that is not going to make it more healthy.
Hint:If your stylist uses some product that does wonders for your
hair, be sure to ask her what it is so you can keep using it in case you move
away, or your salon does!
The basic Dominican wash and dry –
El levado y secado
This is the "Dominican Blowout" that you have
heard so much about! We don't call it that, for us it's just the regular
lavado y secado (wash-and-dry or roller set).
What I describe here is how they do my hair in the salon once or twice every
week. It leaves my hair smooth, full, wavy, and bouncy, the way I like it,
without strong chemicals. Different types of hair and different styles have
different requirements and can take more or less time.
When your turn comes up (cuando te toque a ti), first you have a
shampoo (lavado), from a shampooer or from the stylist herself if she
is not too busy. The shampoo might begin with a hot oil treatment.
Then when the shampoo is rinsed out, you have 10 minutes in the dryer
(el secador) without rollers to warm up your head, and then you
have a wonderful scalp massage (un masaje) to stimulate the
roots (estimular las raíces), that might be done with some product
like a rinse
(un rinse). At this point your hair is still wet.
After the massage, a leave-in conditioner (un acondicionador para
dejar sobre el cabello) is applied and (if you need it) a special hair
treatment (tratamiento, suero, ampollas, gotas) from
Alter Ego or
RR Line or
And then they put in the curlers (los rolos). Big ones (los
grandes) if you have long hair, smaller ones (los chiquitos) if
you have short hair (el pelo corto) or you want your hair more curly
(rizado) or wavy (ondulado). We like to use BIG
rolos and the dryers are extra big so our heads will fit!
And then you sit under the big dryer (secador) for an hour! While
your hair is drying, you can sleep, or read, or
eat, or talk on the cell phone, or chat with the other women, or have a manicure or pedicure, or all of those at the same time!
THEN, when you come out of the dryer, they take out the rollers, they spray
your hair with a special product for blow-drying like Salerm
Brushing Termo Activo, Agua
Bomba, or sometimes just the stylist's own mixture of water,
leave-in, and treatment in a spray bottle.
Then they divide your hair into sections,
which they brush (cepillar, and sometimes they pull –
jalar – hard), and blow-dry (secar a mano) for half an
hour, using a big round brush (cepillo redondo) or other kind of
brush, depending on the length of your hair and style you want, and whether
you want it to fall inward (hacia adentro) or outward (hacia
afuera, “con flip”). And that's it!
The "Doobie" and other services
For women who want their hair to hang perfectly straight without waves,
without using harsh chemicals or hot irons or combs, the Dominican stylists
have perfected a technique called the doobie or “wrap” or “dry wrap”
(envoltura), which is an additional step after the wash-and-dry, in
which your hair is brushed and wrapped tightly around hour head, held in
place with hairpins or clips and a head scarf, preferably silk. It's like
using your head for a curler! The longer you leave your hair wrapped, the
better it works, so normally we keep the wrap overnight – it's more
comfortable than sleeping in curlers, and less stressful for your hair and
scalp. You can re-wrap your hair every night before sleep to make that
salon look last! (You can't do this if your hair is too short.)
Of course the Dominican salons have a lot of other services too: trimming
the ends (cortar las puntas, I do that every 2 or 3 months), relaxing
or straightening (alisado), hair cutting (corte de pelo) and
styling (peinado), coloring
(tinte), streaks (mechas, rayitos), highlights (reflejos),
extensions (extensiones)... they like to work with you to create what
you want, as long as it is not something that will damage your hair. When
the stylist and the customer work together to create something new, they
both get excited!
How much does it cost? – ¿Cuánto cuesta?
For me, the basic Wash and Set is usually $18-20. If I have a hair
treatment (tratamiento capilar), it's another $5.00. If they need to
apply special oils (ampollas, these are very good for my hair!),
another $5.00. To trim the ends, also $5.00. To do the eyebrows
(cejas) is $6.00. Cutting and styling and coloring, of course, those
To save money, many customers buy the hair products they prefer directly
from the salon or from my website and bring them
each time they have their hair done, and that way the salon visit costs
Prices vary from
salon to salon, and can change from time to time, and also depend on your
type of hair and how long it is. But for now, at least, the Dominican salon
is a Great Bargain!
In the Dominican salons in the USA, they speak Spanish of course, but they
know the English hair terminology. If you know some Spanish, it will be
helpful, and for Spanish hair terms you can consult my ENGLISH-SPANISH HAIR SALON GLOSSARY. But anyway,
if you show them a picture of what you want in their sample book
(muestrario) or a magazine (revista), they will know how
to take care of you, and they will do a very good job because they want you
to come back again and again, and you will, and soon it will feel like
family. Communication comes naturally because for us women, hair is the
The table was moved to a separate page
so it would not make this page (that you are reading) too wide for cell
phones. Click on the image just below to see the table.
Click to see table.
I started by recommending the salons where I have my own hair or nails
done in New York City and Connecticut, because I know personally
that they do a very good job and if you visit them, you will not be
disappointed (tell them
Aleida sent you!) But then I started to
receive enthusiastic recommendations for other salons from visitors to this
page. If you would like to send in a recommendation for a Dominican salon
that you like, CLICK HERE. Salons that I go
to myself are marked in the table with “***”.
I have been going to Miguelina ever since I came to this country.
She is near the 167th
and Grand Concourse subway stop. It's like a second home to me, where I
can relax and laugh and be myself among friends. The stylists are friendly
and nice and they are VERY good to my hair! In fact, they care about my
hair as much as I do, and that is a lot! Every week we work together to
create new and different and exciting looks for me, and every time I go
Miguelina, or Yenni's, or other salons on the list, I know that I am going
to feel Very Good when they finish with my hair. And every time I leave
those salons, I feel happy. And
beautiful!Take a look!
How to find a Dominican salon
in your area
Dominican women have a special relationship with their beauty salons, so
Dominican salons are usually found in places where a lot of Dominicans live.
In the United States, the biggest Dominican populations are in New York, New
Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
Here are some maps that show you exactly where to find all the Dominicans,
from the 2004 Migration Policy Institute report, The
Dominican Population in the United States: Growth and Distribution
(click to enlarge):
Hint: If you are planning to move and you want to be near a Dominican
salon in your new location, you should check these maps first! Good choices
would be New York City (West Bronx or Upper Manhattan); Boston or Lawrence MA;
Providence RI; Miami FL; Northeastern New Jersey (Bergen, Passaic,
Paterson, Union City, Newark); Sleepy Hollow or Haverstraw NY; Philadelphia PA.
To search for a Dominican salon near you, enter the location
into one or both of the search boxes below. The Google box asks Google
to search for any pages about Dominican salons that also mention the
location tht you enter. You can put the city or town and state
(you can use the 2-letter abbreviation, for example “bronx ny”
or “new haven ct” or “marietta ga”), or a zipcode,
or anything else to identify the location. The results will probably
include a lot of questions like "Does anybody know where to find a Dominican
salon in Bismarck, North Dakota?" but if you look at all the results maybe
you will also find some answers.
Then to get a different set of results, do another search in Superpages.com (telephone book
business listings); this search finds all the salons in or near the
location that you give that have "dominican" in their name. Put the city
and state (for example "union nj") and/or a Zip code.:
Good luck! If you find a Dominican salon that you like, please
let me know so I can
add it to my list.
P.S. You might also get some different results if you search in Spanish,
Click here to try it.
New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut
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