Gregorio Antonio Luciano, President
Sancocho is a hearty Dominican stew made from a variety of meats and vegetables and is a cherished national dish. Gregorio Luciano says, “Everybody knows the ingredients for Sancocho, yet what makes each family’s version unique is the way they prepare the recipe. It is the same for our haircare.” Luciano has taken natural ingredients indigenous to his native Dominican Republic and created a unique haircare formulation that works for a diversity of hair textures. The haircare line provides an effective treatment for dry, damaged, haircolor-treated, processed and thinning hair.
Luciano came to the United States in 1983, running track in high school and attending the University of Albany. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and a Master’s Degree in Organic Chemistry with an MBA from Long Island University. He worked as a chemist and researcher in his early career, winning ‘Chemist of the Year’ in 1998, while working for Wyeth Laboratories, now Pfizer. He went on to work as a service engineer, teaching chemistry as an adjunct professor and to work as an automation chemist. This allowed him to travel the world working as a professional technical support chemist and consultant for companies like Unilever, Procter & Gamble,
Abbot Laboratories and L’Oréal International.
Luciano was still working in the pharmaceutical industry when he began formulating his own haircare line, inspired by his family’s use of natural ingredients like coconut oil, aloe vera and avocado. He made his first formulations in 2001 with his family testing the products. In 2004, they opened a hair salon with the purposes of having a platform to test they formulation against the main salon brands at the time and after much trial and error, they perfected the formulas and in 2006 launched Dominican Magic conditioner cream. Luciano dove in full time in 2009, when the demand for safe hair care line and natural hair straightening services and product continued to grow. “At age 40, I decided to take a chance with this new business; knowing that I didn’t want to be 50 and regret not doing it!” He wanted to elevate products from his native Dominican Republic and to create his brand using the fruits, plants and vegetables grown in their tropic terrains, which have also been used in indigenous hair treatments for over 500 years.
Inspiration also came from native Dominican Oscar de la Renta who showed success was achievable for anyone, as well as Steve Jobs, who showed that “people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the people who do so!” He recites a story that is an anecdote for growth: “Two men are working doing construction for a church. When asked what they are doing one answers they are laying brick for a foundation. The other answers they are building a cathedral! There has to be more than just making money when you are building a business. There has to be something greater that drives you. One day, we would like to go public with Dominican Magic Hair Care and create something of lasting value. Before you build something beautiful, it sometimes needs to get ugly! When you have a vision for a business, it is like construction. You first have to go through the mess and debris, yet at the end, it’s beautiful.”
Luciano also took inspiration from another country. “I most admire innovators like the Japanese founder of Sony, Akio Morita. In the 1950s, people would say if it was made in Japan it wasn’t good quality. He wanted to change the image of Japan. After creating the Walkman, he went on to become honored as the ‘Businessman Of The Century’. I thought if we want to properly offer the Dominican Blowout, why should we be using products from a different country? Most everyone was using Italian and Brazilian haircare products. We have the best ingredients here in the Dominican Republic. So, much like Morita was able to do in Japan; we want to change the image of Dominican haircare products to show we are the best!”
Daily life for Luciano includes every aspect of running a company from talking with manufacturers, sales reps, vendor, educators, hair designers and team members. He personally works with chemists to decide what is in development and keeps up with industry trends with research and trade shows. Because he is a chemist, he is able to keep on top of industry regulations and update formulations and packaging as needed. Attending trade shows on chemistry, business and in the professional beauty industry, Luciano loves to observe customer behavior and watch what people respond to at the shows. “We are very hands on, talking to our customers and listening to their feedback. We like to see how they select products. Spanish women love to smell our products, while Caucasian women read the labels. We are studying how to appeal to a wide variety of customers as our products are meant for a diversity of hair types and people.” Stressing that the Dominican Magic products are really for any hair type and ethnicity, Luciano even met with a Japanese company, knowing that women with straight hair will also benefit from the healthy ingredients and results the line offers.
The biggest successes for Luciano are the fact that he launched his company with no financial assistance, elevated the status of the Dominican community and created national pride. “We didn’t even have a credit card with a $5,000 balance! We were self-financed and able to get off the ground, while we are now on target to sell at least $2.5 million this year. We were able to create a brand where we are recognized as a very high quality professional product. Where before everyone bought haircare products from Italy; now they are saying the best are Dominican, changing the perception about Dominican products. We are now seeing the results and how proud people are when they see our TV commercials. We have combined the American way of doing business with our African, European and indigenous roots to successfully create a global company that our employees, shareholders and community are proud of!”
Dominican Magic Hair Care | 460 South 10th Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY 10550 USA | 914-668-5895 | www.DominicanMagic.com
With constant advancements in the field of health care, annual competitive reports must be done in order to view our competition and to ensure that we maintain a creative and innovative edge. In our recent report an interesting observation was made. It would be reasonable to believe that one who would market to an African American-based audience would most likely be African American owned however, what we found was that many large companies well known in the African American communities were in fact not African American owned. Some were not owned by minorities at all but by International conglomerate corporations such as L’Oreal.
In a survey conducted online, 80% of black women reported using ethnic personal care products over regular mainstream products produced for all types of hair. This being said, many of these same women also expected many of these products to be African American owned due to the fact that they were tailored towards African Americans. Companies that came as a great shock were Affirm, Dark and Lovely, Cantu Shea, Dr. Miracles, African Pride, African Best, Crème of Nature, Mizani, Murray's Hair Pomade, Infusium 23, and DevaCurl just to name a few (if interested in finding all 50 you can visit our facebook page for the link). Companies such as Mizani, Dr. Miracles, and Murray’s Hair Pomade are actually white owned. This is shocking considering these brands are leaders in the hair product market for many African American communities. Many women fall into the trap of purchasing these products thinking that they were tailored for them by people who understand the texture and also to support black entrepreneurs however it is not always the case. Thus, when purchasing products that are tailored towards African Americans be weary of leaning towards a products just because you believe you are supporting an African American business because it may not always be true.
One of the benefits of Dominican Magic is that it is Dominican owned. The beauty in the natives of the island is the diversity of skin tones, hair textures, and overall people. Hair textures vary from straight hair to coarse curly hair. Due to our African, European, and Indigenous ancestry the passed on secrets from our ancestors who have dealt with the variety of textures have helped us provide products that can truly be used for all types of hair making us the experts in the market right now. When we say Dominican Magic Es Para Ti (is for you), we truly mean it because we understand the hair. It is our culture and blood.
Dulce de coco, pescado con coco, y arroz con coco, (coconut sweets, coconut fish and coconut rice) are all parts of Dominican cuisine. In Dominican Republic coconuts are a big part of the culture and its uses are limitless. The coconuts oils, water, and meat have flowed through the bodies of natives for centuries and have restored the moisture, shine, and vigor in not only hair but also skin and overall wellbeing. After years of our ancestors passing down their knowledge on the benefits and uses of coconuts we now present to you the magic behind coconuts in our products. Its purpose is to do the same coconuts have done for us since the beginning when our oldest ancestors were alive. It’s natural source of healthy fatty acids, lauric and capric acid have been shown to contain anti-microbian properities that nourish and enhance the strength and shine of hair strands working the same for skin. Its juice and meat are nutritious and work from the inside to make you beautiful. The importance to our culture is endless but that is for us to share with you. Made from us for us!
With its growing billion dollar market, the weave industry has been deeply woven into the culture and identity of many African women around the world. Annual sales in the United States are estimated at $ 9 billion. At its lowest rate, hair extensions amount to a whopping $ 300! These exorbitant prices may seem to be unreasonable to many. However, this is not the case for African women. To them, added hair serves not only as a confidence booster, but a way of illuminating their inner and outer beauty.
The fact that people of African descent tend to have shorter, thicker and coiler hair is not a new occurrence. Thus, it would be fair for African women to add additional hair to their own to make up for their natural hair length. The act of properly maintaining synthetic hair as well as one’s own natural hair is no easy task. Women with afro textured hair must stay persistent in performing their own personal maintenance of shampooing, conditioning and drying their hair as well as seeking additional assistance at hair salons for adding extensions and removing them when need be. As one may imagine, this process can be very timely and costly.
So why do they do it? Why do most African females willingly endure the process of adding and replacing weaves? For one, adding weave is convenient. Little alteration towards hair is needed when weave is in place. Most importantly, adding and removing weave give African women the option of picking and choosing an array of hair styles that best suite them. Usually, those who are content with their sporting their natural hair do not possess the luxury of fixing their hair in any style they choose. Quite frankly, a person’s hair may grow in a specific way that would not be suitable for certain hair styles.
Although it may seem to be a futile investment to those who embrace their natural hair, weave is an essential commodity with the community of African women. It affords them the opportunity of both convenience and leisure. It also instills within them a sense of self-confidence. So to all women, weave is definitely the way to go!
The emphasis on hair care among people, young and old, has been a major trend in the Dominican Republic as early as the 20th century. Women frequently visit different hair salons for washing, dying and properly maintaining their hair. Some women go as far as spending their entire paycheck on hair care! As for men in the Dominican Republic, having a thick full head of hair is essential to boosting their confidence, helping them to attract the women that they want. Misconceptions have risen among non-Dominicans concerning how native Dominicans conceptualize what is “good” hair and what is “bad” hair. To non-Dominicans, natives view good hair as that of thin and fine texture. Natives with good hair are usually those of mixed race or European descent. Those with bad hair are usually those of mixed race or African descent. These natives tend to have hair that is thick and coyly. Most importantly, it is common for non-Dominicans to believe that the argument of good and bad hair among native Dominicans is fueled by racial underpinnings. However, this is not the case. The answer to what is considered good hair and what is considered bad hair may be simpler than rules and assumptions created by non-natives. Frankly, good hair is hair that is easy to manage while bad hair is hair that requires more time and attention to treat.
For those who are not Dominican or do not have much knowledge on the history of its people, it is easy to believe the misconceptions concerning hair from a racial point of view. Typically, when thinking of good hair, people usually refer to models seen in advertisements pertaining to hair care and cosmetics. These advertisements are dominated by men and women who usually have thin, smooth hair that may be easily combed and washed. The men and women in these advertisements are usually Caucasian. Their natural genetic makeup have afforded them the opportunity of standing atop in the line of hair care. Likewise, it is important to recognize the clear unbalance between those with fine textured hair and those with thick coyly hair in this field. Men and women who possess the latter traits are not “ideal” in demonstrating the long-lasting results of whatever product is being displayed. With this, the idea of good and bad hair has been misinterpreted by many due to social norms and barriers.
However, it is important to look past these social norms and assess the situation at face value. Something that is good is viewed as beneficial or of value. Something that is bad is viewed as detrimental; something that must be averted. Although it may not be easily noticed, this concept can be applied to the idea of what is good and bad hair. As stated, good hair is hair that is easy to manage while bad hair is hair that is not easy to manage. Proof has shown that those with fine textured hair often have an easier time managing and caring for it. For instance, women whose hair is fine textured may be easily washed, conditioned, dyed, and dried. In addition, these women may not have to spend money on additional hair care augmentation. Men with good hair also experience the luxury of their female counterparts. A quick wash and dry will have their hair looking healthy and moisturized. Often, people with this hair texture are of European heritage.
“Good” and “Bad” hair should not be assessed through a racial point of view. Rather, it should be assessed for what it actually is. Although there may be some level of social divide between Caucasian Dominicans and dark skinned Dominicans, their meaning of good and bad hair should not be misconstrued. Thus, no hair is inherently good or bad. There is no hierarchical classification of dominance among different hair textures. Just as different ethnic groups have their own specific traits and qualities that make them unique, different hair textures should be viewed as having the same unique and distinct qualities as the people they are affiliated with.
Recently, the use of Silicon based oils has been discouraged in the line of hair care. When applied, the oil only covers the coating of hair strands, not effectively reaching the scalp and providing the nutrients needed for proper maintenance. In addition, the coating of the hair may emit a temporary luster, fostering a false sense of vitality. Most silicon oils are not water soluble, thus unable to dissolve in water. With the oil acting as a “water barrier,” hair may become dry and lifeless, even susceptible to breakage. Those with curly hair are strongly averted from using silicon oil. Due to the structure of the coils, the silicon’s slippery texture cannot attach onto each coil.
With these properties, it may seem as if there are no lasting benefits to this product. However, there may be more to this lubricating oil that meets the eye-and the mirror. For one, silicon based products such as avocado oil, coconut oil and jojoba oil work in conjunction with natural oils produced by the scalp. The silicon’s protective coating over the hair reduces the surface area of the natural oils and functions as a conduit for the oils to penetrate the hair shaft and scalp cell membrane. Another significant benefit of this ingredient is its aptitude for strong thermal protection. Thus, silicon based products may withstand the heat of accessories such as blow-dryers and curling irons. Some silicon oil products are also water soluble. Like all hair care products, there is a time period in which the silicon is suitable to stay within a head of hair. Since water soluble silicon oil dissolves in water quickly, there are no constraints in cleansing the scalp after the oil has served its purpose. Using a decent clarifying shampoo once a month will help to maximize the strength of hair, giving one the beauty and strength to tackle the day.
Now that both the negative and positive aspects of this lubricant have been discussed, common questions that may arise are, “How may I recognize a silicon oil based product?” “Where can I find silicon oil that will offer meaningful results to my hair?” The answer is in the “co”. Most silicon oil products are composed of chemicals containing “conol” and “col” in their names. Dimenthiconol, Cyclotetrasiloxane and Cyclopentasiloxane are three commonly used chemicals in silicon oil products. Dimenthiconol is used in hair care products, lotions and bath soap. It is particularly useful in protecting the skin, the body’s largest organ, and preserving the body’s natural water. Cyclotetrasiloxane and Cyclopentasiloxane are chemicals typically found in hair spray and conditioners. Not only do these chemicals add moisture to dry and damaged hair, but their thick layers protect the skin from harmful particles and substances in the environment. In addition, the lubricating properties of the two chemicals create a “wet” or silky feeling to hair.Our product line contains several of these silicon based chemicals essential in providing a strong and healthy hair strands. Our Revitalizing hair mask, rich in Rosemary and Aloe Vera extracts, moisturizes and restores severely damaged hair. Our Moisture Lock Conditioner and thermal protector hair spray provides softness and luster to the hair while protecting hair from the harmful heat generated by different cosmetic appliances.