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  1. #1
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    Default Jenny Polanco: Good .... Bad Hair

    Straight hair at all costs

    Dominican women are obsessed with hair. Fact.

    Where I come from (England by the way), the only people who regularly go to a hairdresser are old ladies, while almost everyone else goes for a “trim”, every 8 weeks or so. That’s it. Here however, I have friends who don’t even wash their own hair, but instead go to the salon 2 sometimes 3 times a week to get their hair washed and blow dried. To me it’s madness, to a Dominican woman it’s a way of life, indeed it’s an integral part of the culture.

    And it is exactly this preoccupation with hair and the “salon” that Dominican designer Jenny Polanco is addressing in her most recent art exhibit “Good… Bad Hair”, a collaboration with photographer Yael Duval.

    “This exhibition uses fashion art and design to express how hair impacts social conditioning and image in Dominican society,” explains Jenny. “Yeal and I, like many Dominican women, have experienced prejudice by virtue of not having straight hair, or ‘good hair’. Such terminology attributes negative and ugly qualities to curly hair and positive and beautiful qualities to straight hair. Social acceptance norms, or codes, tend to remove us as far away as possible from our African and mulatto roots shared by a majority of the Dominican population.”

    The resulting exhibit, “Good… Bad Hair” opened last Friday the 15th of August, is in fact, a celebration of Dominican hair in all it’s natural- and unnatural -glory.

    “Hair curlers, ‘tubes’, straighteners, extensions, and even wigs are part of the tortuous rituals to which we were subjected during childhood and adolescence.” Says Jenny, who believes that the Dominican mentality when it comes to hair is “to have straight hair at all costs.”

    “Good… Bad Hair” will be open at The Gallery in Altos de Chavon until September 8th, so if you didn’t get a chance to go see it, go take a look!

    [For full story and lots of photos, go to Casa de Campo Living - Straight hair at all costs ]

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  3. #2
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  5. #3
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    I agree AE it is madness!!

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    That madness is happening at my home at the moment, but both my wife and step-daughter have only wavy hair, but even it must be STRAIGHTENED.

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    I see a lot more Dominican women wearing their hair curly compared to 5 years ago , but at the same time notices a looooot more weaves/extensions

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    Well, I go to the salon once a week, but I have gringa friends who wash their hair and blow dry at home every day. So, who really spends more time on their hair? They don't go to the salon as often as they'd like to because, unlike here, it's very expensive.
    By the way, I once met an American doctor living here temporarily, doing work for an NGO. I took her to the salon for a shampoo and mani pedi, and she couldn't believe how cheap these services were here. She was "hooked" for the rest of her stay.
    Last edited by Aguaita29; 08-25-2014 at 01:21 PM.

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  11. #7
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    Dominican hair stylists are very good at what they do. $200 pesos will get you over an hour of fussing around with your hair in Barahona. Bone straight is the desired style there. I have seen a lot more variety in SD and Juan Dolio.

    Of course, most of the day, the hair is hidden in tubi form and covered by some ghastly net or skullcap thing.

  12. #8
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    There's a small but growing movement
    Miss Rizos | Consejos sobre cabello, salud, estilo de vida y auto-imagen saludable

    In July the JCE was criticised for ordering a woman with "Afro" hair to have it blow-dried straight for the cédula photo
    Discriminación por pelo crespo llega al pleno de la JCE | Noticias SIN

  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aguaita29 View Post
    Well, I go to the salon once a week, but I have gringa friends who wash their hair and blow dry at home every day. So, who really spends more time on their hair? They don't go to the salon as often as they'd like to because, unlike here, it's very expensive.
    By the way, I once met an American doctor living here temporarily, doing work for an NGO. I took her to the salon for a shampoo and mani pedi, and she couldn't believe how cheap these services were here. She was "hooked" for the rest of her stay.
    I don't think it is due to price Agua but cultural. Even dominicans in the US go weekly. It is not that expensive ($25 for a wash and set ) but they still do it. I admit Dominicans are extremely good with hair and that s the reason why their salons took over many neighborhoods in NYC. Black and Latinas spend a lot of time on their appearance and hair is part of it.

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  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aguaita29 View Post
    Well, I go to the salon once a week, but I have gringa friends who wash their hair and blow dry at home every day. So, who really spends more time on their hair? They don't go to the salon as often as they'd like to because, unlike here, it's very expensive.
    By the way, I once met an American doctor living here temporarily, doing work for an NGO. I took her to the salon for a shampoo and mani pedi, and she couldn't believe how cheap these services were here. She was "hooked" for the rest of her stay.
    Well I'm a gringa, and I have washed my hair every day for decades, since I became a teenager. I also blew it dry every day until a few years ago. My in-laws think I'm nuts - but I'm Italian, and a lot of us have oily scalps & skin that require frequent washing.

    I also have naturally wavy/curly hair, and 95% of days I let it dry naturally - in DR they don't understand why I do that. I'd never straighten it, except with a blower and round brush. In DR it's always in a ponytail, jaw clip, or twisted into a bun - too hot for blowers or hair down my back. I don't know how Dominican women walk around all day with their hair down in that heat!!!!

    I've never been to a Dominican salon, and I rarely go to one in the US, I color and cut my own hair [I did have training years ago], but I do LOVE pedicures there. They come to my house. And you're right about the cost, shockingly low. At the same time, important to remember they probably don't have the sterilizers that are used in the US nail salons - I have all my own stuff, from nippers to files to polish, even my own inflatable foot tub.

    I admire the Dominican women who wear their hair naturally - some of the straightened hair look like stiff boards.

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