A young lady in Georgia, USA went to do her natural hair at Lucy’s Dominican Hair Salon in Marietta, She just requested for a blow out which consists of three very simple straightforward steps: shampooing, conditioning, and blow drying. Basically if you have the patience you could do it yourself at home. But she did a very bad mistake, she trusted this hairstylist!
She didn’t know about the mishap awaiting for her a few days later and left the salon very happy with the results. After washing her hair she realised something was wrong with her hair it wouldn’t curl and that it looked far more different than just heat damage which is extremely unlikely with just a blow out… So she decided to call the hair salon and clarify what exactly was used on her hair and for her surprise they had a policy in which the stylists add a small amount chemical relaxer to the shampoo without the customer’s knowledge and that she shouldn’t be worried.
Any natural kinky, curly or coiled haired that does their research will clearly know that you cannot just add any amount of relaxer no matter how small to no one’s head without their consent. These are strong alkaline creams with pH range of 10-14 like pure bleach you use to clean your house which will burn your skin. Some people even have allergies, skin irritations and permanent hair loss if left for too long or if they have a sensitive scalp. You just can’t do such without a warning you are putting your client at risk.
After the woman posted photos of her now processed hair as a warning to women with natural hair who might patronize the salon, the natural hair community quickly came to the consensus that the woman would be well justified if she decided to sue the salon.
“This is one of the NO-GO’s for my naturalistas,” Yelp user Tosha W. wrote in a critical review of the salon prompted by the screenshot. “Mixing a perm in with the shampoo without consent is just as tacky as a hair salon can get.”
In Tosha’s opinion, the salon’s policy of mixing relaxer in with its shampoo had a lot to do with the the Dominican Republic’s complicated and often uneasy relationship with blackness especially when it comes to black hair. Dominican salons are renowned in many black communities for their ability to straighten curly hair for long stretches of time.
Back in the DR itself, straight hair is often seen as one of the markers of social and racial superiority that Dominicans of Spanish descent use to differentiate themselves from Dominicans of African descent and people from neighbouring Haiti.
“In a country of complex racial dynamics, where straightened hair is a social currency and billboards depict curly-haired women with the headline ‘your hair deserves better,’” writer Morgan Miller said of her time living in the DR. “Natural or curly hair, colloquially referred to as pelo malo (bad hair—also a term used in the black American community), is sometimes viewed as a marker of Haitian identity.”