Best Dominican Hair Salons in the U.S.
Dominican stylists are well-known for their dexterity with the brush and dryer as they give some of the best blow-outs. As Grimilda Gonzalez, stylist of Destination Laguna Spa Salon, says,”Nosotras las dominicanas hablamos un buen blower.” (They speak a mean blower). And you could never mistake the look or feel of a Dominican hair salons. Past the often small, hidden doors, you´ll find las peluqueras standing over swivel chairs, wielding blowers like guns aimed directly at the curliest, frizziest hair you´ve ever seen. A bachata or merengue might be playing in the background as they unwind soft curls from bright plastic rolos; the chicas under the dryers shouting out the latest chisme while lunch is ordered family-style for everyone in the house. And, with a little help from conditioning products sometimes flown in from the island, they work hair through rolos, round brushes, flatirons—whatever it takes—until each strand lies straight and shiny. And the price? Let´s just say it´s common to get a blow-out for as cheap as $20. Popular on the East coast, Dominican salons are now popping up across America. So, Latina magazine published a list of the best Dominican hair salons in the U.S.
Elia Hair Salon
850 Amsterdam Ave.
New York City
While the Tiffany-style lamps and rosewood cabinet handles are so Fifth Avenue, it´s the attention you get from owners Josephine and Amy de Leon—who offer you un cafecito or vino tinto upon entering—that´s really first-class. You can get a great blow-out for $20, but here´s a tip: If you´re in a rush, ask for their special 15-minute blow-out, where two stylists go at your hair at the same time! Amy and Josephine will even send you a card on your birthday. Like finding them wasn´t gift enough. Stephanie´s Beauty Salon
579 Myrtle Ave.
Owner Dilcia Jimenez uses conditioners made with natural ingredients, like the aloe-infused AG Fast Food Leave-On Conditioner, to moisturize dry hair (see”Their Favorite Products,” page 110). Also, bring her a picture of any fancy updo or hairstyle and she´ll recreate it!
82 Nagle Ave.
New York City
Always call ahead and ask what the food specials are; these peluqueras like to eat with their clients and will order you a plate. It´s a full-service salon, offering manis, pedis, waxing and facials, so you might get hungry. And prepare yourself: Some clients with super-coarse, even kinky hair have been accused of having relaxed their hair—that´s how sleek the blow-outs are.
Destination Laguna Spa Salon
4965 West Tropicana
Finding this place is half the battle. Stylist Grimilda Gonzalez operates out of a small room inside the Destination Laguna Spa Salon. There´s no sign on the door, so walk in and ask for her by name. Grimilda´s business thrives on word-of-mouth; she knows all of her clients and tailors her treatments to their specific hair needs. And her straightening technique (wrapping hair in rolos, drying them under a hood, then running a flatiron through strands from root to tip) stands up to 115-degree desert heat.FLORIDA
2113 E. Colonial Dr.
When owner Sobeida Sánchez first opened her doors in 2002 with the name Empire Beauty Salon, business was slow.”They thought we were just any old salon,” she says. A year later, she put up a red awning featuring the Dominican flag and changed the name to Salón Dominicano. Now there´s no mistaking what this place is about: Super-soft, gently-waved blow-outs that start at $25. But don´t expect anything fancy. The walls are painted different colors, the TV might be blaring las noticias, but the stylists—who happily accept walk-ins—son tan amables they are more than ready to make you feel at home.TEXAS
Betty´s Beauty Salon
9327 Gulf Freeway
Get past the worn leather couches and the broken cash register in this divey salon and ask for Beatriz. All you need is her first name; Beatriz is the only stylist, and she´s particularly good at recreating haircuts from photographs. Her daughter is a fixture at the salon, and the two gossip and tell jokes to entertain waiting customers. And you will wait. While an appointment might take the better part of an afternoon (Beatriz handles several clients at once), the good news is you can negotiate your price. So bring cash and don´t be afraid to haggle.ILLINOIS
Family Beauty Salon
4108 South Western Ave.
The cheapest blow-out in our roundup comes courtesy of this small salon, based out of a one-floor house. For $15 you´ll get a blow-out that smooths down long, super-frizzy hair in under an hour. Need we say more?CALIFORNIA
Barber & Beauty Salon
9003 Laurel Canyon Blvd.
You won´t even see a blower until owner Catalina Vandusen has first washed your hair three—yes, that´s three—times to rid it of dulling product residue. Hello, shine! And she´ll dry your hair in sections, twirling the brush at the ends to give hair tons of body. But while it´s possible to get a haircut, deep conditioning and blow-out for only $45, Catalina doesn´t list her prices and charges according to individual hair type. Dominican Beauty Salon
8440 Laurel Canyon Blvd.
You want absolutely stick-straight strands that lie flat against your face? Then see Anna Aguilar, who owns this salon. She slathers wet hair with conditioner before using only a blower to dry it completely, from root to tips.
What´d she say?
Here, a few key words you´ll need to know before stepping foot in a Dominican salon.
el doobie: After hair is blow-dried straight, a stylist may wrap and pin your hair around your head and cover it with this scarf to protect strands and keep them flat. Ask for it by name.
rolos: Wet hair is wrapped around rolos—rollers—and then you´re tucked under a hood dryer for about an hour, until hair is dry, before it´s blown straight. This option uses less direct heat on strands, which damages hair less than if you were to use only a blower to straighten.
el flip (pronounced fleep): When your stylist asks you if you want your blow-out con flip, she´s asking if you want a gentle wave toward the ends, which will give your hair more body and bounce.
halar: Remember what Frenchy said: Beauty is pain. So when your stylist takes a blow-drier into one hand and says,”¡Voy a halar!” get ready: She´s gonna pull your hair through that brush, and she´s gonna pull hard.
Their favorite products
Spotted on Dominican salon shelves across the country:
AG Fast Food Leave-On Conditioner: Yes, it?s actually called”fast food,” and it helps moisturize, repair and nourish dry strands.
Aghaircosmetics.com for locations. SaLerm Silk Touch: A repairing treatment, this product gives hair a glossy, silky feel.
Salerm.com or 973/745-0410 for locations.
Alter Ego Nequal Nourishing Color Care Conditioner: This deep, leave-in treatment softens dry, frizzy hair. It?s also said to help prevent dandruff.
Alteregousa.us or 888/577-7900.
Alfaparf Semi Di Lino Illuminating Shine Mask: From an Italian product line, this mask is a favorite treatment for damaged hair.
Alfaparf.com or 877/APCOLOR for locations.