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.



  • Maria said:

    I’m Mexican I have straight thin mestiza hair. This article was written in a bit of denial. I came here because I don’t understand why all the Dominicans here in the Bronx are obsessed with hair. Why do they straighten it? Well I think it comes down to generations of racism in DR. Just like in Mexico we are trained to hate the indigenous roots and everyone claims they’re pure Spanish. But we are short brown as day. It seems the Spanish made us hate ourselves. I love my brown skin and native mestiza hair. I also want Afro Latinos to love their beautiful African hair.

    août 31, 2022

  • N said:

    This blog post is full of delusion, which is very unfortunate. There was honestly no need for the BS excuses because the way I see it, Dominicans have been able to retain hair length / health despite the ugly truths behind why it is done. That’s something majority of other groups with afro-textured hair around the world have not been able to do. Many African, African Americans, and other Caribbean people seek to straighten their hair for the similar race-fueled reasons, but most rarely have much hair to show for it. Dominicans are definitely doing it based on race issues, and don’t like black hair but found a technique that works. So why not just be honest? Another thing, you know very well that “hair that requires more time and attention to treat” belongs to specific groups of people based on, you guessed it…RACE. I put that whole statement in quotes too because obviously the only thing that makes it require so much time, etc. is because it is being actively changed from its natural state. if you’ve ever seen backstage of a runway, it takes white models HOURS to achieve SOMEWHAT afro-textured hair on their natural texture. Based on your logic, their hair would be bad hair too then. So again, stop with the BS. I personally like my hair both straightened and natural depending on mood, but this article was simply delusional.

    janvier 31, 2022

  • Youre Racist said:

    You spent this entire article telling me that my hair is ugly just because I’m more black than european. You suck.

    décembre 17, 2021

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