The Meaning of Good and Bad Hair In Dominican Republic



 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.