For generations, African American women typically frequented black salons to get their hair styled because non-black hairstylists were not familiar styling afro-textured hair textures in a pleasing fashion. Lately, there has been a rapidly increasing trend for African American women to go to a Dominican hair salon.
What is it about the Dominican salons that are so appealing to many African American women?
Many wonders if the end of the traditional black is near because of the popularity of this trend. What is it about the Dominican salons that are so appealing to many African American women?
Saonny of Judith’s Dominican Style in Washington, DC stated that African American women come there “because of the technique.” The Dominican hair technique, known as the Dominican blowout, has become popular for getting curly to kinky textured hair straight as a chemical relaxer without the chemicals, and with much more volume. To do this technique the stylist roller sets the hair, then blows it out using a round brush and blow dryer.
“We have all types of hair in our culture,” Saonny said, “there are many Dominicans that look white or look black that you wouldn’t know to speak Spanish.” According to the Washington Post, “Perhaps it’s not that big of a mystery. In the Dominican Republic, where it is estimated that 90 percent of the population has at least some African ancestry, straight hair is revered as a symbol of beauty. Over the years, Dominicanas developed techniques to manage curly hair in a tropical climate, mastering the art of the roller set and concocting conditioners in the kitchen.”
Many contemplate if the recession aided in the market shifting from black salons to Dominican salons.
With the economy still struggling to regain stability after the recession, many contemplate if the recession aided in the market shifting from black salons to Dominican salons. The Wall Street Journal reports “U.S. salon services generated $50.3 billion in 2009 revenue, mostly from small, independently owned shops, according to industry research firm Professional Consultants & Resources. Most black salons are independently owned, with self-employed stylists who rent booths from shop owners. Black women overwhelmingly outnumber other consumers of ‘ethnic’ hair products, which recorded a 3.2% sales increase in 2009, to $1.5 billion, despite a decline in sales of hair-care products overall, according to consumer research group Packaged Facts. U.S. sales of all hair-care products totaled $9.7 billion last year, says market research outfit Kline & Co.”
Salon pricing is also a notable difference between the 2 salons.
Salon pricing is also a notable difference between the 2 salons. The Dominican salons are cheaper. In New York City the average Dominican salon will give you a wash and set for under $20. Essence Magazine reports “Dominican blowouts can cost anywhere from $15 to $30.“ Furthermore, many of which have coupons and discounts that you can use to reduce the price, which is already low. Ami Ruffin frequents her Dominican salon on Mondays because “it’s $5 off.”
With wallets being stretched wide, women like the Dominican salons because the pricing is “reasonable, “ Soanny told me. “It’s not all the way up there, but you are comfortable.”
Another difference between the 2 salons is fast service and convenience.
The Dominican salons allow walk-in customers; no appointment necessary. This is usually not the case in the black salon. Furthermore, the fast service is unlike any seen at a black salon.
Getting in and out of a black salon can be a time-consuming event. Many times one can spend an average of 4 hours in the salon. Most of this time is spent just waiting on their stylist to finish-up other women. This is with having an appointment.
At the Dominican salons “it’s like an assembly line,“ Ami Ruffin says. “All of the stylists have the same technique so you don’t have to wait on one stylist. Their time management is good and I’m done in less than 2 hours.”
Ami also went on to point out another difference between the 2 salons is she has not noticed anyone with “short hair” at the Dominican salons. This may be a plus for the black salon owners to know their niche market, since styling an African American women’s hair is no longer a guaranteed market.
Dominican Salons Gives The Look You Need Without Hair Being Weighed Down
Moreover, Ami said her decision to leave the black salon for good was because the Dominican salons “give me the look I need without my hair being weighed down. I never got that result at the black salons.” She believes the black salons do not know how to effectively handle naturally curly hair without adding unnecessary amounts of grease to her hair.
Glen Jackson told Natalie Hopkinson of The Root, “I see in the future that African-American stylists will have to change.” He went on to say, “they will have to make some adjustments. There is no question that African-American stylists are among the most creative people on the planet. But they will have to do what I do—reinvent themselves.”