Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I can not tell you how elated I was when I first heard talk of Dominican salons. These salons were described as a wonderful place for those of us who were disheartened by the not-so-positive experiences of many traditional African American salons. Not only were these salons less expensive and delivered faster service, the stylists also seemed to possess
magical powers that could transform our dull lifeless hair to silky strands unlike anything we have ever known before.

Then reality set in. We soon learned that too many visits to these salons could eventually led to thin, lifeless, and even damaged hair. I have personally experienced damaged hair from doing the Dominican salons the "wrong" way. I also have met some wonderful people who understand the Dominican salon experience and how to do it the "right" way.

I want to share with you the best practices of three ladies I came across at my favorite salon. These ladies served as examples of how to frequent Dominican salons the right way. Lets talk about them and what they did to protect their hair along the way.

**The experiences I am about to share with you are real, names have been changed to protect the innocent.**

Example #1: Nikki
Nikki was already about to receive her blowout when I walked into the salon. She sat in her seat with her rollers neatly in place. The stylist removed the magnetic rollers one by one and began to blow out Nikki's hair. Nikki had extremely thick hair that reached her shoulders. The length and "eveness" of her hair led me to believe that she sported a cute bob not so long ago. I sat amazed at how thick and healthy her hair looked. No thin ends for her.

At the foot of Nikki's styling chair sat a large bag. Bringing a bag to the salon was not unusual. My bag was the place for my books, water, snacks and whatnot. Nikki's bag, on the other hand, had within it her hair product stash. The stash consisted all of the products that worked well with her hair. Nikki even brought her own relaxer with her. Nikki knew what worked well for her hair and made sure that her hair was receiving the same benefits whether she was doing her own hair at home or at the salon.

That, my friend, is the first lesson of doing Dominican Salons the right way. Bring your most effective products with you.

Example #2 Dominique
Dominique was next to me as we sat under our hooded dryers.
I immediately was intrigued by her large jar of garlic conditioner. I opened our conversation by asking her if the product was worth the price. One thing led to another and she began to detail her weekly routine of coming to the salon for a wash,set, and wrap.

No blow out for her, Dominique came in only to receive weekly deep conditioning treatments from her favorite stylist. Week after week of maintaining this ritual allowed Dominique's relaxed hair to regain its strength and length.

The lesson I learned from Dominique was to look at the salon in a new light. The Dominican salon was not just the place to go for blow outs, you can also go visit your local Dominican salon for deep treatments to help bring your damaged hair back to life. When doing so, you should avoid the blow dryer and opt for wraps instead.

Example #3: Anya

Anya walked into the salon and had every one's attention immediately. She had the most beautiful mid-back, thick hair that I've ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on. After seeing her on several other occasions, I just had to ask her how she could come week after week and still maintain the health of her hair. Anya told me that she was unable to do her hair herself and came to the salon every wash day. I became even more intrigued and asked she give up her secrets.

Here they are:
1. Anya only allowed certain individuals to wash her her hair. With her hair being so long, she knew of the likelihood of experiencing tangles. Tangles are the one of the worse culprits of damaged hair at Dominican salons. Most of the stylists run a comb small tooth comb through your hair with little concern about how much hair is lost in the process. She would literally make requests for certain individuals not to wash her hair. She knew who could handle her hair the right way and she made sure that only those individuals could touch her beautiful hair.

2. Anya made special requests to have her only her roots blown out. She admitted to me that her hair would not turn out as straight as others in the salon but she preferred having more body to straight lifeless hair. Anya also required her stylist roll her hair in a different direction than others in the salon. Client after client would have her hair rolled "under." Anya's hair, on the other hand, was rolled in the opposite direction so that her final blow out would result in full fabulous hair.

I remember one visit when Anya and I were finished with our style at around the same (I actually stayed and waited for her to get done so I could see the finished product). Anya's hair was full, healthy looking, and fabulous(think Kimora Lee's hair when its done up). My hair was super straight and limp. I envied Anya and her luscious hair. What's more amazing is that Anya have type 4 hair just like I did. The difference between our visit is that she took the initiative to modify her Dominican salon experience to fit her hair's needs.

The lesson that I learned from Anya is not to just sit in the chair like I am just another client. I need to make special requests (if necessary) to obtain the results I want without sacraficing the health of my hair.

Are Dominican salons the answer to our prayer for silky beautiful hair? Perhaps. But we must make certain to learn from those who have cracked the Dominican salon code. Those lucky few can endure the harsh styling methods and still maintain healthy hair.

Oh, before I go, I want to include some of my tips of how to help protect my hair when I go to the salon.

Tip #1: Pre-poo. We always make sure to pre-poo when we are at home doing our own hair but do we take the same precautions when we get our hair done? Before every appointment, I make sure to saturate my hair with as much conditioner and oil as I can.

Tip #2: Detangle before you go. I have suffered greatly from not taking the time to prepare for my salon visit. When I take the time to comb out the hair that shed the previous week, the person roller setting my hair does not have to battle with a bunch of tangles.

What tips do you have that help protect your hair from damaging blow outs?

Monday, June 9, 2008

This week while browsing through some of my favorite hair blogs, I found yet another recommendation for including coconut milk into my hair routine. The milk would serve as a nice source of protein for my pampered tresses. I love coconut oil for numerous reasons so I immediately knew that adding this step would be a good move.

Much to my dismay, some of the various websites who covered the subject detailed the drippy, potentially messy, experience of having milk run down your back. Not only was I turned off by that visual, I was also weary of having to throw half a can of coco-milk away because of not having used all of it in one sitting.

A few days later, while gingerly strolling down the aisles of my local Asian supermarket, I stumbled upon the answer to my dilemma. There before me was a tuna sized can of coconut milk powder.

A myriad of thoughts began to run through my mind.

"Coconut powder will probably last forever."
"In powder form it'll be easy for me to use as little or as much as I need without having to throw the rest away."
"I can use the powder in my green smoothies."
"I'll mix this powder with my moisturizing conditioners to add a kick of protein."

Before long the can of coco-powder had found itself a new home. Last night I cracked it open the can and gazed upon the fine white powder. Everything in me wanted to taste it soooo badly. Without the help of a spoon, I immediately stuck my tongue into it and scooped as much as my tongue would allow. The powder immediately melted down my throat leaving a slight hint of coconut flavoring. After the episode repeated itself a few times, I decided it was now time to actually use it. I separated the powder in two zip lock bags, one to be used for hair purposes and one for consuming.

The powder is so fine that I had absolutely no problems mixing it in with my conditioner. I experienced wonderful results and would highly recommend that you try powdered coconut milk as an alternative to the runny sticky milk. You also have the option of adding water to you powder and creating your own coconut milk if you chose to do so.

(Maybe next time I will mix with coconut oil and create some sort of coconut-milk-oil-concoction Free smiley Face Courtesy of

Coconut Milk Powder-Try it, you might like it!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I'm feeling a bit lighthearted today so I decided to list my top ten ways to know if you are spending too much on hair products.

Here we go.....

#10. Every time you go to the grocery store, your first and last stop is the hair product aisle.

#9. You researched all the non-traditional holidays to see if there are any more that involve buying of gifts. If necessary, you will convert and participate in whatever rituals just to have another opportunity of receiving new hair products as gifts.

#8. You have all of the email addresses of major hair product manufacturers in your contact list.

#7. When you receive a credit card offer for 0% intrest on purchases, your very first thought about is about placing your hair product wish list order.

#6. The guy who owns the beauty supply store knows you by first and last name.

The number five way to know that you are spending too much money on hair products...

#5. Your carpel tunnel starts acting up again when you post your long list of hits and misses on LHCF for the last month.

#4. You start to exhibit crack head like behaviors when purchasing new products.
First you ask the girl in the counter "you got dat new.... Then you proceed to clasp the product with both hands before sniffing it for potency. You quickly put the money on the counter and run out of the store without a bag or the receipt.

#3. You are now to the point where you have to hide your hair product purchases because at first everyone thought you were doing good things to your hair, but now everyone thinks you're crazy.

#2. Every time someone on the forum lists the new product you get all excited only to find out that you have it already.

The number one way to know that you are spending too much money on hair products.

#1. You spent all of your grocery money on hair products so you reason with yourself that you and your family can consume some of them because they contain natural ingredients.
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