Dominican Salon Skips Chemical Services

What comes to your mind when you hear the words Dominican salon?

In the U.S., when we think of going to the Dominican salon we visualize going in with coarse, “hard to manage” bunches of tight curls and kinks and coming out with a mane that is so silky and straight that it flaps every time the wind blows. As a child, anyway, this is what I pictured–before growing and becoming educated and embracing of my true hair texture.

When my mom found out I was skipping my monthly relaxer appointments that she had scheduled for me, there was no other way to restore my hair to a ‘nap-free situation’ without paying a visit to a highly acclaimed Dominican salon. Sure enough, as soon as I walked in, the lady sat me down in her chair and assured me that “we’re going to fix this mess today!” I exited the salon with zero evidence of any kink or curl in my hair, which was praised as a major win back then.

Challenging what’s normal

In spite of the longstanding Dominican salon ideal, Miss Rizos Salon is changing the idea that beautiful hair must be straight and fine.    Located on Calle Isabel La Católica in Santo Domingo, stylists at Miss Rizos Salon have expanded their list of services to include more than just chemical relaxers and flat ironing the hair.  Owner Carolina Contreras, 29, has clientele from all over the world paying her a visit and according to Candace Lai-Fang from Washington, D.C., “Contreras is the real deal.”

How the connection begun

“I had to come here because I wanted my hair done by people who knew what they were doing,” said Lai-Fang. In her district, there’s a Dominican salon on pretty much every block throughout the overly crowded neighborhoods. Ironically, the majority of people who reside there are considered part of a minority race. Upon being asked the inspiration behind her brave decision to stand out from a vanilla saturated, and extremely antiquated portrayal of beauty, Contreras pointed to a blog and kickstarter campaign she started to meet the needs of the Dominican people.

“I would walk down the street and women would stop me and ask how I got my hair like that,” the salon owner says of the reactions she received after chopping off her chemically treated hair. “I was fighting with all my heart something I still could not fully understand or believe…I then realized I was not the only Dominican who felt this way.”

Creating a ‘no boundaries’ hair care industry in Dominican Republic

While rocking a TWA and experimenting with at-home recipes consisting of natural ingredients to maintain the health of your rediscovered, real hair texture, Contreras felt an urge to share with her own community of women and children who might have been afraid to take the leap into the journey of natural hair. A Ten thousand dollar IndieGogo post later, along with other donations from friends and family, Contreras swung open the doors of Miss Rizos Salon.

What does the success of Miss Rizos Salon services, clientele, and hair care blog mean for Contreras? “What began as a space for Dominican girls has become a space that has no boundaries. [I am] forever grateful for this experience [to] keep a link with the island that can not break away.”


6 Foods That Will Make Your Natural Hair Grow Faster

6 Foods That Will Make Your Natural Hair Grow Faster

 

While you might not feel it just yet, the spring season is just a few weeks away. That means warmer weather, blooming flowers, singing birds—and time to create a hair regimen that will keep your tresses as beautiful as ever. Although there are tons of commercial products on the market that will make your curls—pun intended—spring up, there are also some in-season foods during the springtime that you should stock up on. Foods that are delicious, affordable and have a real knack for keeping hair strong and healthy, right into the summer.

1. Strawberries

It’s kind of crazy that, something so sweet, can actually be really good for you. But such is the case with strawberries. This fruit is one that is super high in antioxidants like Vitamin C as well as potassium, folate and manganese. Fiber and protein are in strawberries too. Health-wise, they are the kind of fruit that regulates your blood sugar levels, protects your heart and provides relief from arthritis-related symptoms. Also, the salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid and ellagic acid that’s in strawberries can help to prevent hyperpigmentation in your skin, as its anthocyanins and antioxidant properties will keep free radicals at bay. Although magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and copper are not in super high amounts in this particular fruit, it’s enough to nourish your hair follicles while Vitamin C removes excess sebum from your scalp that could clog your follicles and hinder healthy hair growth.

How to Use Strawberries: If you want to remove excess build-up from your hair without drying it out in the process, all you need to do is mash up five strawberries with two tablespoons of plain yogurt and a teaspoon of honey. Apply the mask to your hair, right after washing it. Let it penetrate your hair shaft for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse and deep condition your tresses.

2. Chayote Squash

Chayote Squash is the kind of squash that is in peak freshness during the spring. It has protein, fiber, vitamins B6, B9, C and K, as well as copper, zinc, magnesium, fiber and manganese in it (for starters). As for overall health benefits go, chayote squash contains antioxidants that reduce body inflammation, folate to keep your pregnancy healthy and nutrients to delay the signs of aging. It’s great for your hair because the combination of the nutrients can delay greying, reduce breakage and strengthen your strands.

How to Use Chayote Squash: Here at Naturally Curly, we’re super fond of squash. So much, in fact, what we wrote an entire feature on winter squash.  Try a recipe for winter squash to accomplish better length retention; equally as interchangeable with chayote squash.

3. Mint

Mint is an herb that is rich in all kinds of nutrients. It contains iron, folate, manganese and Vitamin A, and is able to do everything from improve irritable bowel syndrome and relieve cold symptoms to strengthen your brain function. The reason why you should consider using it on your scalp and hair is because the menthol in mint is great at increasing blood circulation to your hair follicles, plus its antimicrobial and antifungal properties can keep dandruff-causing fungus at bay. Mint is also a great source of carotene and antioxidants; both work together to provide your follicles with the nutrients that they need in order for your hair to stay healthy and strong.

How to Use Mint: Crush 5-10 mint leaves together. Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of melted coconut oil. Apply it to your freshly washed scalp. Let it sit for an hour and then rinse thoroughly. It will invigorate your scalp while removing unnecessary fungi and dandruff flakes too.

4. Kiwi

Kiwi might be tiny, but it makes a really big difference. Thanks to vitamins A, C, B6, B12 and E, along with potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium, kiwi has the ability to boost your immune system, regulate your blood pressure, reduce oxidative stress, protect your vision and even help you to sleep soundly. Something else that kiwi has in it is zinc. Our hair needs lots of that in order to prevent dandruff, hair loss and strengthen our tresses. Eating and applying kiwi can only benefit your hair, long-term.

How to Use Kiwi: One way to use kiwi in order to prevent hair premature greying while strengthening your locks in the process is to combine a tablespoon of fresh kiwi pulp with a teaspoon of Vitamin E and a teaspoon of henna. Apply the solution to your hair and scalp. Put on a plastic bag and let it sit for an hour. Then shampoo, condition and style as usual.

5. Mangoes

If there’s one reason to get hype about spring’s return, it’s because mangoes tend to be at their peak of freshness. Not only do they taste amazing, but they are high in vitamins A, B6, C, E as well as fiber, potassium, folate, calcium and zinc. When it comes to this particular fruit’s health benefits, mangoes are able to lower cholesterol, promote eye and gut health, manage diabetes, treat anemia and delay the physical signs of aging. Mangoes are the perfect “hair fruit” because it contains about 83 percent water; that, along with the E and zinc that is in them, makes mangoes a wonderful ingredient for hair conditioners and moisturizers.

How to Use Mangoes: Are you looking for relief from dry brittle hair, we’ve totally got you. Check out the Naturally Curly article, “DIY Mango Mask and Butter for Dry Hair” for a recipe that will provide your hair with more moisture than ever.

6. Bee Pollen

When you really stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense that bee pollen would be in season during the spring season since bees are back in abundance during that time of year. Bee pollen is high in protein, amino acids, flavonoids, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. Because of this, it’s able to prevent liver toxicity, strengthen immunity, relieve stress, reduce menopausal symptoms and promote overall healing. Something else that’s awesome about bee pollen is it has L‑Cysteine in it; it’s an amino acid that is full of sulfur which is something that our hair needs in order to grow without breaking. The vitamins A and E that’s in the pollen can keep your hair moisturized too.

How to Use Bee Pollen: If you want an all-natural way to treat hair loss, add a tablespoon of bee pollen to your shampoo. You should see results in as little as a month if you do.

Enjoy these foods—and the spring season that is on its way! And share with us if you try them out as well!


10 Curly Hair Terms Every Natural Should Know By Now

Still not quite understanding all the natural hair terminology you read and hear from the community? Here are the 10 curly terms every natural should know!

Visit our glossary below for more terms and definitions that our community uses.

 

Co-washing
Co-washing is using a cleansing conditioner to wash hair instead of a shampoo. These conditioners do not contain silicones, parabens, or sulfates, and many have cleansing agents that are gentler than shampoo. Here is your curly hair guide to co-washing.

Deep Conditioning Treatment
A deep conditioning treatment is used for the purpose of repairing and reconstructing the hair from manipulation and provide more moisture. There are is a difference between deep conditioners. There’re light deep conditioning treatments should be used weekly then there’re heavy –protein based deep conditioning treatments that should be used every 4-6 weeks. Refer to these deep conditioning do’s and don’ts to know what you’re doing wrong.

Dusting
Not as harsh as a trim, dusting is the light trimming of your natural ends. You should dust those old ends to get rid of split ends and prevent unwanted breakage. To keep your ends healthy, dust your hair about every 6-8 weeks.

Elasticity
Elasticity is a term used to describe how a material responds to the application and removal of a specific type of mechanical load–i.e., pulling and/or bending. Elasticity is a huge indicator of healthy hair, and what gives it the ability to withhold stress. When your curls loses elasticity, they lack curl retention and become prone to more breakage. Maintain your hair’s elasticity and moisture by doing regular deep conditioning and protein treatments.

Pre-poo
Pre-poo is an oil treatment applied to the hair prior to shampooing. This helps to combat the drying and tangling from the shampoo stripping the hair’s natural oils. Pre-poo your hair with a light oil such as coconut that gives your hair slip to work through tough strands. Here are some tips for making the most of your pre-poo.

Heat Damage
Heat Damage occurs when direct heat breaks and disrupts your natural curl pattern. Heat damage causes a lost of your hair’s elasticity and prevent it from returning to its natural curl pattern. When heat styling your hair, always use a heat protectant and use a lower heat setting on your straightening iron. Are you in heat damage denial? Find out now.

Over-manipulation
Over-manipulation is the stress and constant pulling on your hair shaft. Daily styling, washing, detangling are other forms of over manipulation. Even protective styles can cause over-manipulation to your hair. Choose styles that protect your hair from over-manipulation such as wash-n-go’s. Look for a guide to low manipulation styles.

Porosity
Porosity is used to determine how your hair absorbs moisture. Hair that losses moisture and constantly dry, is defined as high-porosity. While low porosity hair doesn’t accept moisture or lose moisture so easily. Here’s how to find out your hair porosity level.

Slip
This describes how well or poor a product lubricates the hair for an easier detangling process. Slip is great for those that have a struggle with knots, webbing, and tough tangles. Detanglers and hair milks that provide great slip have ingredients such as water and marshmallow root, flaxseed. View this ingredient list to know how to look for slip.

Shrinkage
A term to describe the loss of inches of our natural hair. All naturals know the struggle and fight shrinkage because it hides our real hair length. However, there are ways we can stretch our hair and elongate the hair strands. Start putting your hair in styles that stretch the curls, such as flat twists and stay away from the wash-n-go.

Photos by Celeste Images