Feel the Burn

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Anyone who has been to a Dominican owned and operated hair salon knows that Dominican women know how to operate a hair dryer like no other. The legend of the Dominican salon is known from Florida to New York…when you are short on money and need heat hairapy visit your nearest Dominican salon.

Believe it or not, some of the beauticians in the local beauty salons has been bad mouthing the Dominicans. Their complaint is that the Dominican stylists are undercutting the prices at the “black” salons and that they turn over too many heads. In addition they’re open on Sundays when most black owned businesses are closed. To add insult to injury, some Harlem shop owners have accused the Dominican shops of driving their shops out of business.

Has anyone had their hair done styled in a Dominican salon? If so what is your opinion of their technique and their prices?

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26 thoughts on “Feel the Burn

  1. A great Dominican salon is 3 Star Hair design

    Hello! I read your post regarding this Salon, and I
    live in Jersey, and would like your beautician to
    deep condition my hair. Please tell me how long
    you have gone to her, and has your hair grown longer,
    and do you have to wait long for service. Or what
    is the day to go to 3 Star Hair Design for Luisa?

    Thank you =Tweety

  2. A great Dominican salon is 3 Star Hair design. It’s on Amsterdam Ave and 108th.

    Luisa is super sweet and knows hair!

    I’ve been goign to her for awhile and she always takes very good care of my hair. She washes it very well, deep conditions my hair with Silicon Mix, and applies Nexxus Emergencee every 15 days to my hair. my hair is super thick, soft, and strong thanks to her. For a wash, deep condition,and roller set she charges me $22

  3. I LOVE domincan hair salons. The prices are inexpensive, and I always come out with soft silky hair, that has very minimal damage.
    I would definitely reccomend Margaritas and Julys on 145th and Amsterdam. I have long tight curly hair, and they only charge me $13 dollars for a wash and set monday-wednesday, and $18 on any other day of the week. I get charged $25 at every other salon I go to, so this is definitely a big difference! However, since only two stylist work there, sometime there is a bit of a wait. It usuallly takes about two hours for me to get my hair done, but I never leave unsatisfied, and my hair looks good for a week, with no touching up in between.

  4. Can anyone recommend a great hair salon in NYC. I need to find a place to get a wash and set and I’m not looking to pay an arm and a leg for one.

    I went to a Dominican Hair Salon for the first time and loved the way they did my hair. I did sit under the dryer for a long time and my ears were burning. My scalp just felt refreshed not really burning. I would go back there, but it is out of the way for me. I live in Queens, but would rather go uptown to get my hair done.

    Any recommendations???

  5. I have natural short curly hair. Can dominicans do hair like mine. I always hear that they can do relaxed hair, but I really want to straighten my hair. I used a che iron and it made my hair look greasy. Any suggestions?

  6. I’ve been to quite a few Dominican salons, but at the end of the day, I prefer Black salons and stylists. From my experience, Black stylists take better care of the hair. I think it depends on where you go. Not all Black stylists use a whole lot of grease and oil, and not all are scissor happy. I always get compliments on my hair – much more so when I go to black stylists. For the most part, the dryers at Dominican salons are just WAY TOO HOT! In my case, I believe they caused scalp damage. No way do dryers need to be that hot! I do, however, like some of their deep conditioners. I purchased Nacidit’s Aciete de Olivia conditioner and I LOVE it! So to wrap up, I’ve been to a few Dominican salons, but I wouldn’t go there unless I absolutely couldn’t get an appointment with my regualr (a Black man) stylist, and just didn’t feel like doing my own hair.

  7. Thanks,I can’t wait to try it. I will try the dominicans for sure. I really want my hair to grow, so i’ll try them. Plus my mother got her hair done their and it looked wonderful. I can’t wait thanks.I’ll be back later if I have any questions about any other crazy hair styles i decide to try.

  8. I don’t think anyone can give you an absolute yes.

    As you know, women of color hava all different hair types and textures.

    Here’s my suggestion. Try at least 3 different salons. Out of the 3, I’m sure you’ll find someone to give you the look that you want.

    Be sure to get the full treatment, including the special deep conditioner. Your first few visits will cost you more than follow up visits.

    I would suggest a deep conditioner and a trim of the ends of your hair. One of the things that I think makes hair more manageable and easier to style is trimming.

    Trimming also tames the frizzies.

  9. Thanks everyone,so just to make sure, Dominican Salons can take care thick, relaxed, coarse hair and it will come out just as well as if you got it relaxed? I’m just making sure i get all my information right before i have someone doing something different to my hair. Thanks again everyone for answering my quetions.

  10. “But i have one more question, How will i tell were the relaxed hair begins from the natural hair?”

    For me, after you don’t perm your hair for awhile your natural texture will show.

    What’s interesting about growing out perms is that the initial new growth will not be your natural hair texture.

    You have to be patient and it will eventually start to show.

    For me, I didn’t like the transation stage. I wore my hair in braids alot. I never kept my braids in for longer than 2 weeks because my hair would start to get dry and break off.

    Also, I stopped using extensions. For me, the fake hair dries out my scalp and makes my hair brittle.

    What I ended up doing was braiding my hair very simply like you see guys do and brought a wig and wore it.

    I joke and say that the wig was the best money I ever spent on my hair. It really looked great.

    Whatever method you use to grow out your perm, I would say that your hair is probably going to need more attention during this time.

    I also found that the hair products that usually worked well on my hair didn’t work as well on my natural hair.

    I’m still on the quest for the perfect product now.

    It’s been a year since I permed my hair. About 8 or 9 months after not perming it, there was a significant difference between the permed and unpermed hair. One day I just cut off the ends. (I had about 6 inches of new growth at that time.)

  11. i understand what the sisters are saying. i used to relax my hair, but i decided to go natural because of the beautiful natural styles i saw other sistahs wear and i just didnt like the chemicals in my hair anymore seeping in the pores of my scalp.my daughter goes to the dominican salona and she is very satisfied. she has very coarse hair and she says the dominicans uses natural relaxing products. and i saw her hair and it was bouncy and beautiful. she also loves her stylist and they have great rapport between each other. but to each her own. maybe some of the unsatisfied sisters should give the natural hair care salons a try. they can make your hair look ravishing and healthy.

  12. Thanks because i’m really thinking about going sometime soon.See, I wanna grow my relaxer out but also keep a length that is right for my face and i wanted to make sure that by getting my hair done at a Dominican Salon with just a wash, set, and a blow out would help. But i have one more question, How will i tell were the relaxed hair begins from the natural hair? Thanks again.

  13. Yes.

    Between technique and hair products, my hair was always extremely healthy and always grew longer.

    I seriously had hair like some woman that you would see in a magazine. Very thick and healthy.

    One of the things that I noticed about going to these salons was that they have more experience with varying hair textures since many Latin woman have have of varying textures.

    My hair was never over processed and I could actually go longer without getting a touch up. I think this also made my hair healther.

    When I decided to not perm my hair anymore, I still went to them and I avoided the breakage/hair damage that can occur when going from permed hair to natural hair.

    So, how ever you decide to do your hair, I would give them a try.

  14. Always remember you get what you PAY for. The Dominicans are good for a wash and set only. I would not dare have them put a relaxer in my hair, first of all because most of the Dominicans working in the salon are not licensed hair stylist (do it at your own risk). 2nd they can not cut hair, well not professionally. 3rd, no matter how cheap it is, I have a hard time spending money in places where communication between client and stylist is an issue. I will however give the Dominicans credit for quick service, washing and roller setting only.

  15. What are we talking about we all are minorities.

    My hair grew with the Dominicans that is the truth. It wasn’t dyed fried and laid to the side they way my AA sisters would do.

    To tell the truth a relaxer isn’t that much different in price once you throw in the dryer, and a cut.

    Hey Dominican in Harlem where is your mother’s shop. I would love to visit a shop where English is spoken.

  16. Take a look at this article done at Clutch this is one reason why we should try to support black business. If we don’t who will. I understand what was said and I have been to one salon that was domican and because I had natural african american hair I felt as if everyone was watching me and the stylist doing my hair, Like my God what can you do with that type of hair?? The curls the girl put in didn’t stay and I didn’t feel that welcomed. I did not go back. Other salons I visited looked at me as if I was crazy to ask if there was anyone that curl hair instead of sitting me under a dryer. I would get a nasty no and they wouldn’t give me the time of day after that. I have since moved from NY and live in Oakland where I go to a black salon that doesn’t over price and does an excellent job. I know in NY I had big problems trying to find someone to do my hair I found one person but she was soooo expensive but she did an excellent job. I just tried not to go to her to often and learned how to work with my own hair in between times. But check out the article.


  17. My mother is one of the Dominican hairdressers mentioned, she has been doing hair for all my 38 years and she owes her own salon. SHE PREFERS AFRICAN AMERICAN PATRONS! some of her customers have come to her for over 20 years.

    Once i swayed and went to a black salon, and have to agree that it was way overpriced, but on the other hand, the Dominican salons are so cheap, they have to work too hard to make a profit. My mother is at an advantage because she speaks English and is able communicate with her customers and understand their preferences (e.g. no more than one person touching ones head) finally, the products are not cheap, they are mostly natural products from the Dominican Republic that work very well with our hair.

  18. I agree with ciy sista. I used to patronize a dominican salon near my house. I was a student at the time and $13 (yes, you heard me) was a great price to get a wash and wrap. I was between regular hairdressers at the time, not finding one I quite clicked with. I was in and out if I went there first thing in the morning. On the bad side, I could only get a wash and wrap because that was the extent of their haircare repertoire. One time I asked for a straw set and I was told that they don’t do that, even though it was on the list of services. Plus the use of small toothed combs and way too much heat prompted me to give it a break. It would be 40 minutes under the dryer and a blow dry to round out the curls and then a once-over with the flat iron to make it sleek. In my new salon, which is black owned, they are adamant about deep conditioners using as little heat as possible and giving me maintenance tips for in-between visits. Plus the client relations have been kicked up a notch compared to days of yore (when i was a youngin’) when I would be there ALL day and have to listen to a bunch of cackling, gossiping women. I don’t think its a question of black vs. non-black. I am hapy to give my money to any women of color who owns her own business. If price and speediness are your main concern, the dominican salons are the way to go. I chose to spend a little more and stay an extra few minutes to enjoy my experience and relax and not be rushed.

  19. Well this is a tricky issue for me. After moving to NYC from down south, I was just recently introduced to the Dominican salon. While they are cheaper to go to and have you in and out rather quickly, I still can’t get comfortable with going to them exculsively. I have a problem with the attitudes I encounter at many of the Dominican salons and the way 5 people have to touch your head before its over. By the time I pay for the service and tip everyone who touched my hair, I could have paid for the black woman around the corner. Dominican salons are cheaper b/c they use cheaper products and they have a multitude of cheap labor at their disposal.

    Also, I found that there they don’t provide as much diversity in the types of hair styles they are able to do. In the past three years I have worn my hair down to my shoulders (which the standard roller wrap would be just fine) and I’ve cut it short (for which I find Dominican salons ill equiped to handle). A black stylist, in my opinion, provides a larger variation of techniques.

    As far as Dominican salons making your hair grow, I find that’s a function of the customer. No matter who I go to I never have a problem with my hair growing.

    I think it also comes down to an experience I liken to a dinner out: I could go to McDonalds and have a cheap fast meal or I can go to Phillipe’s and sit and enjoy my experience understanding that it is more than simply a service. Black stylist used to cultivate relationships with their clients to ensure they would want to come back. Maybe that isn’t so important to folks anymore.

  20. Listen, every black hairdresser I ever went to made me damm near bald and I was broke.

    Dominican Hair Salons Rock! I live uptown (Inwood to be exact). I lived here 36 years, and it has been a dominican neighborhood since 1981. I have been going on and off between Dominican hair salons and black hair salons since 1985.

    With the exception of a sister I used to visit in Brooklyn, (as well as a hairdresser who pressed my hair as a child), I have had bad experiences with black hair salons. This is not an easy thing to say, as I prefer to patronize black businesses, but I have to call it as I see it. The prices number one ($65 – $75 a relaxer, $40 – $50 for a shampoo) are ridiculous. I even went natural in 2002 and was charged $100 for a wash, condition and cut…I had a afro!

    I know and have heard from other people that the dominicans can be sometimes prejudiced (who isn’t?), but I have always treated my various stylist with respect and have never had any problems. And I tip her and the shampoo girl well, and give bonus tip ($50, cost of relaxer an tip) during xmas. Previously,if I found one that did not do my hair correctly, I just found another one (usually based on the recommendation of another sister). I currently go to Diva Hair Salon here on Dyckman Street (right across the street from my house). I was natural for about 3 years, go tired of it and went to Magda to get my hair relaxed. I was pleased (I also brought my own relaxer, since I have a sensitive scalp). Every woman in my bldg who goes to her has had their hair grow (either to their chin or shoulder). And they are not shy about letting you know (if you have an interpreter) as to what products are good for your hair. I just get a relaxer, deep conditioner and cut for $45, add the tip and I pay $55/60. I’m sorry, Dominican salons kick ass! And the prices can’t be beat.

  21. Growing up I went to traditional Black hair dressers. I only went every six or eight weeks for touch ups. I didn’t do curls often because I didn’t like sleeping in rollers.

    After I grew up and moved out on my own I would go to visit my mother. At some point her hair always looked really, really nice. She told me where she went and I decided to give her salon a try.

    I was hooked. The woman who did my hair didn’t speak english and hardly anyone else did either. I had to look through one of the hair books to show her the style that I wanted.

    I loved what she did. My hair looked so good that men and women would compliment my fresh out of the salon look on a regular basis.

    The prices were so great that I ended up going twice a week on a regular basis. Since I don’t like to sleep in rollers, after 2 or 3 days when my hair started to look bad, I would just go and have her redo it.

    I went to this woman for several years. I continued to go because I could just walk in on any day after work to get my hair done and be out in about 2 hours. I only went on a Saturday for a special occasion or hot date……LOL.

    The salon was open seven days a week and the only time in about 7 years, that I know of, that it was closed was for Labor Day weekend one year. I got up early on Saturday morning to get my hair done for a wedding. I was devistated when I found out the salon was closed. After thinking about it for a minute or two, I couldn’t get upset because the owner never took a vacation.

    One day I went to get my hair done and the salon was under new management. My favorite stylist had sold her business.

    The salon is now closed. It was located on Broadway between 125th and 126th streets.

    I wonder if their closing has anything to do with the Columbia expansion.

  22. I had a black hairdresser for most of my life until she had a stroke. I love the Dominicans because…THEY DON’T KEEP YOU THERE ALL DAY!!

    I mean that is great enough for me. LOL Oh, and I can’t forget the fact that Monday-Wednesday they have a good special. Who can beat that?

    One more thing, black stylist have OUT PRICED themselves. I mean when you can go to the Dominicans and get a wash and set for $20 and that is with tip, why would I pay $35 and up for the same thing which also includes staying in the shop all day? Oh please.

  23. i dont see what the complaint is. i always went to a Dominican shop simply because as the previous comment noted, they were available when i needed them to be and they did not charge me a kings ransom.

    and i had to laugh about the blow dryer because there were times when i almost jumped out of my seat, the bloody things were so hot!!

    but all of the clients had healthy beautiful hair. there were even men at my salon who had hair down their back!

  24. I am half Dominican and half black. While growing up in Harlem, we teenagers quickly learned that the Dominican hairdressers were better for the following reasons:

    1. They were not as apt to cut all your hair off.
    2. They gave you a more bouncy look because instead of using hot combs and curlers, they sit u under a dryer with rollers and as a result, your hair had more body and shine.
    3. They got you in and out quicker!

    There were only about 2 black shops in a 20 block radius and as you know…there is about one on every block from 145-170th streets on Broadway…

    just my 2 centavos

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