Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Keeping your hair healthy when visiting Dominican Salons

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?
  1. Great advice. I started to prepoo but forgot about detangling!

  2. Your post is right on!

    I have gone to my favorite dominican salon with the pre-poo still in my hair. I have also brought my own deep conditioner before too.

  3. We dont have dominican salons in Toronto, which sucks. I would love to experience that smooth, full bouncy hair though! By the way, what is your hair regimen? do you have an email?

  4. Say...what/how/ and why do use the coconut oil.? Why do you recommend it?

  5. @Leela-Coconut oil is basically the oil of a coconut that has been extracted from the white "meat" of the fruit. Because the particles of the oil are small enough to penetrate the hair shaft, the oil can serve dual purposes. You can use it when conditioning or as a hairdress on dry hair.

    Coconut oil is also great for adding shine to your dry hair. Another cool thing about coconut oil is that your hair benefits from the vitamins contianed in the fruit. Manufactured hair products don't have that benefit.

  6. where are you? where have you been I'm checking to see a new post every other day but you seem to be missing in action...

    Also it's been some time now how's your hair growing? new picture posts?

  7. @ On God's time: Sorry for the delay, I just got a new job and they have me traveling like crazy. Today I wrote a list of posts that I will be discussing in future entries.

    I went to the Dominican Salon today so look out for pictures soon. My stylist also told me about a new process to revive health back to relax hair that has definately peaked my interest. I will be doing some research and posting about that shortly.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, much appreciated!

  8. oh ok...ITMT: congrats!!!

  9. I know I'm late w/ this comment, however I've been reading your blog and I find it very informative. I think that I finally made a breakthrough with the products that work best for my hair and for what I want it to do! I didn't realize how much $$ would go into it though. A few yrs back,I went to my Dominican hair stylist every wk for a wash & set and my hair grew significantly. Now that I'm a DIY gal',I decided to take it back to the basics and use exactly what she used in my hair back then. After a wk or researching and purchasing $50-$70 worth of product, I used them last night and my hair came out EXACTLY the way I wanted..FINALLY!! :) I believe I read on your blog that if you have a routine when doing your hair that our hair will benefit from it & react. So tht's what I plan on doing!!!

  10. Hi Ness!
    I'm soooo happy that you were able to recreate healthy hair at home.

    You'll find that your hair will eventually become more healthy over time when you care for it properly at home.

    No longer will your hair have to deal with unloving hands or excessive heat.


  11. i need help with my hair its always breakin and i want it to grow how do find the right products to put in my hair and what are some of the dos and don'ts for your hair

  12. @skcharm-First of all-welocome! Second of all, you've come to the right place. I'd invite you to spend some time here browsing through my posts. Thirdly you should know that I hope to publish a regimen video very soon (stay tuned). If you haven't done so, sign yourself up as a follower so you can get up to the minute updates! Let's grow long healthy hair together!!

  13. yea i wud say skip the straightening part and just have them blow it out because there is a way they can blow it out and it already looks straightened.or perhaps if u like body like me then do pin curls!they only blow dry the roots this way.when u wrap it ur hair will have so much body!

  14. When I go I have my own mixture of Castor oil infusium and a good leave in conditioner...I use these products for protection. Also give ur hair a break..only for 2xs a month

  15. I also use castor oil. It keeps my hair hydrated, soft and prevents breakage. I use it as a pre poo and also to moisturize my hair before protective styles.

    Right now I'm wearing protective styles and will start back at a Dominican salon. When I go, I pre poo the night before with castor oil. The blowout has given me breakage in the past. Then I started getting a doobie wrap. The result for me was just as straight and silky because when they set it, the heat from the hair dryer would hit the roots and straighten it.

    For maintenance, I would roll my hair with the same type rollers they use, let it stay over night then wrap it and tie it up for about 30 minutes while getting ready for work. This would make my hair last for 2 weeks per visit. During summer or if you live in a warm climate like where i'm from, Aveda anti-humectant pomade would keep it from getting frizzy and keep the silky look. Only a small amount is needed once before getting the hair washed again.