I get asked a lot questions, but the big one has to be about my hair. I’m typically asked about my routine as well tips for hair care, growth and shine – From both men and women.
Many are usually surprised by my very uneventful treatment for it, as I don’t have a magical one-stop-shop answer. It’s a combination of life-long grooming habits that I’ve picked up along the way, and genes passed down from my parents. My answer is usually vague because, really, who wants to hear a whole cultural and biological explanation to hair care?
If you do, you’re in luck. I share all of that here along with a few links and several products that I love to help you get started on your hair care journey.
My hair texture is full body, loose curls … but the strands are very thin (I recently wrote a post about my curly hair). It easily breaks, frizzes at the hint of humidity and goes flat quickly. Therefore, I learned how to use a blow dryer to give me a more polished look with bounce and shine. Basically the goal was to perfect the Wella Balsam look, pretty much. Totally just aged myself, but you get the point (if you were born before 1980). Blowing out my hair has been a weekly ritual since about the age of, I’d say, 13 or 14. I learned much of my technique from the Dominican beauty salons that graced my hometown, the Bronx. You were guaranteed to leave there with flawlessly shiny, silky and straight hair every-single-time.
I grew up in the Northeast section of the Bronx, which is a very diverse community (because my hood is awesome like that) surrounded by family owned beauty salons (Indian, Dominican, Jamaican). Hair culture was prominent. Like the Indian women in my neighborhood, I moisturized my hair with a lot of coconut butter and avocado masks for growth and shine. My mother, who is actually pretty good with the scissors, often trimmed and styled my hair. I rarely went to the salon for hair cuts. I lived a very DIY hair kind of life.
As I got older, I started using the tips and tricks from the Dominican hair stylists in my area in addition to what I was already doing. In fact, I wrote an article about the 5 things I learned from Dominican Hair Salons for Babble about a year ago. Before blowing out my hair, I used fruit-based shampoos and conditioners to give it shine. I can’t remember the names, but they were organic/natural products that the salon ordered for me. In between washes, I would drench (and I mean drench) my hair in coconut butter or oil and just left it natural. I did that on days that I didn’t have much planned, and could sit at home with oily hair. Unless a friend (or boy) called with a better option, of course. But I was pretty much obsessed with all things scalp and hair, so it was sort of my pass time if I wasn’t engulfed in an art project. I also went through a horse mane shampoo/conditioner phase. Not the store bought one for women. I ordered mine from an equestrian store. Oh, I was in deep, my friends. No doubt about it.
I never did a roller-set or at-home dryers that cover your entire head like the ones used at the Dominican salons at home. I did OK with just a good old fashion (high wattage) blower and a round (power) brush. But my technique is the same. I section my hair, starting from the back and work my hair up. Here’s a great Dominican blowout video and here’s a post that goes over the technique.
When it comes to products, I’m currently obsessing over the MoroccanOil hair line for washing, conditioning and moisturizing these days. If you want something less expensive, I just tried Suave’s Moroccan Infusion hair products, and they’re actually really good. In between washes, I still lather up the locks with coconut oil. My hair really loves, and I strongly it’s my hair has been able to withstand so much heat and dye. I picked out a few favorites for you to check out or you can peruse this site for Dominican hair care.