Change can be good, even if it’s a hairstyle, but with so many hair treatments out there, some with irreparably damaging chemicals, it’s easy to be dissuaded from switching things up and trying something different. Dominican blowouts are great for keeping your hair manageable and feeling fresh. So let’s see what the technique is all about and whether it’s right for you and if you will be inspired to try this airy and stylish option.
What is a Dominican Blowout?
While originating in the Dominican Republic, you can get this popular treatment in most large cities in the United States. Like the process of any blowout, the Dominican blowout involves washing and blow-drying the hair, straightening, and adding optional curlers, as well. Though it isn’t permanent, a Dominican blowout is versatile, leaving the hair easy to style pinned up, pulled back into a pony-tail, or worn down.
When the Dominican blowout is done without curlers, the stylist blow-dries the hair as straight as possible and straightens it further through the use of a flat iron. The hair is then wrapped in a scarf or “Doobie” to protect the hair and let it set. This results in a straighter and swept-back style.
Dominican blowouts for relaxed hair tend to have more flow, but the blowout is not a good option for those who want to alter their permed hair, particularly if the hair has been recently treated or has extensions. Dominican blowouts are specifically for natural hair. It’s great for all hair types, but strong and healthy hair is a must.
Dominican Blowout Products
You will need a number of tools when styling Dominican blowouts. These Dominican blowout products are easily available and this gives you the advantage or ability to style your hair at home either by yourself or with someone helping you.
Dominican blowouts require the use of a round brush, a blow dryer with a nozzle attachment, a hooded hairdryer, and butterfly clamps, which have rounded edges that won’t tear the hair, and flat iron. You also have the option of using magnetic rollers to roll your hair before drying it in a hooded hair dryer or using a blow dryer. These curlers have ventilation holes surrounding the cylinders and, due to the hair’s ability to stick to the rollers when wet, avoids the need for styling products altogether.
See a brief review of some of these tools below:
1. Blow Out Dryers for Dominican Blowouts
Most blow dryers have good hair drying capability, hair damage protection, and most of them generally produce great results. It is easy to use this tool with multiple heat settings which make styling your blowouts to be a less stressful task. Many of them also come with other accessories that make it easy for using the dryer for other hairstyling needs.
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2. Hooded Hair Dryers for Dominican Blowouts
There are essentially two types of hooded hair dryers: the simple bonnet style hooded hair dryer (see below) that you can easily have and use at home and the professional standing hooded hair dryer that is mostly used in hair salons. It comes in a simple but elegant design and it is easy to use at home.
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3. Flat Hair Iron
This is useful for straightening the hair after drying. It is often used when styling hair during the blowout process. It is easy to use and you can have it at home and even use it for other hair styling needs. Most of them usually have varying temperature control or regulating settings and it is safe to use without damaging your hair.
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4. Magnetic Rollers
They are available in different three basic sizes: small, medium, and large sizes to make it easy to create the kind of curls you want. Most of them also come with clips that make it easy to fix and remove them when the hair is dry. You can also see how to use it in one of the videos below.
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Dominican vs. Brazilian Blowouts
Dominican blowouts are often confused with Brazillian blowouts, so let’s clarify. Brazilian blowouts are also done in a manner that alters the curl patterns (reducing frizz and increasing manageability.) However, they differ in the process. Brazilian blowouts use a keratin solution that bonds with the hair to form a protective layer around each follicle, guarding against external damage.
A more extreme version of this is the Goldwell Keratin Treatment. Kerasilk, as it’s called, is customizable, stretching or retaining the curl pattern as desired. However, the process involves careful care. Oftentimes, mistakes are made in the application of chemical and heat, with not enough saturation and too little or too much heat.
The process for Kerasilk involves shampooing the hair twice to clarify, then blow-drying until the hair is 80% dry. After, a customized solution (customized to fit the desired effect, as well as appropriate for the hair type) is applied in small sections. The hair will sit for 20 minutes and is then blow-dried again and flat ironed at a high temperature. The solution is then washed out completely and the hair is left to dry.
The post-treatment for Kerasilk can take up to five months, so it is less popular than both the Brazilian and the Dominican.
Dominican Blowout vs Silk Press
Additionally, the “silk press” is another treatment, perhaps most similar to the Dominican, that straightens hair and gives a natural bounce. Both treatments are known to treat natural black hair, the end result being a springy and natural style. The silk press technique is a recent creation that in some cases is nearly identical to the Dominican blowout, but the technique heavily relies on the flat iron tool to straighten.
This style originally referred to the variety of silk products used, especially the silk wrap that covered the head at the end of the treatment. However, the name is mostly synonymous with the glossy end result of the hair. The main difference between the two is the use of direct heat on the hair. With the silk press technique, a flat iron is applied straight onto wet hair, a no-no in Dominican hairstyling culture, and it can result in intense breakage and brittleness if done incorrectly. This is why for the most part, the Dominican blowout is thought of as the safer option.
How to do a Dominican Blowout on Black Hair
Traditionally, a blow out is a technique used to straighten natural, black hair. Dominican salons do treat natural, black hair, for blowouts. However. it is recommended that those with natural hair find a natural hair salon that specializes in the proper treatment of natural hair that offers Dominican blowouts, as to avoid damage and gentle care.
In full, the process takes several hours and involves cleansing and conditioning the hair. Having the hair free of any excess oil and dirt makes it more cooperative. The hair is shampooed with a Dominican-based product and deeply conditioned before going under the hooded dryer for at least 15 minutes. If necessary, a Dominican-based scalp oil is applied, to further nourish the hair and avoid breakage along the way.
The next step uses the magnetic rollers to stretch the hair, setting the stretch under the dryer for up to two hours. When the hair is fully dry, the rollers are removed and the hair is blow-dried with a nozzle attachment close in on the scalp, and a round brush to comb through and brush out all the impurities.
Sections of hair are then rolled again and secured to the scalp with clips until fully cooled. Once the curls are let down, the result is a bouncy style, with a smooth and silky finish. For a finishing touch, the stylist uses a shine serum (different from hair oil in that shine serum stays on the surface of the follicles for more shine and definition).
Although it is common to flat iron the hair before the serum if needed, it is not mandatory and some salons choose not to do it. The hairstyle is not complete without wrapping the hair in a “Doobie” or wrap to smooth the hair even further and saturate the product more deeply into the hair.
Often, salons choose a natural route for the styling process. However, some salons do use chemical products to maximize the results, such as heat protectant sprays, blowout creams, relaxers, and blow dry perfection products, which reduce potential future frizzing.
How Long Does a Dominican Blowout Last?
Keep in mind that like any styling treatment, it is temporary and will typically last 1 to 4 weeks, but the longevity is entirely dependent on the porosity or absorbency of your hair and upon how well you take care of your hair. For someone with higher levels of hair porosity, the blowout will usually last up to two weeks. Dominican blowouts on low porosity hair can last up to one month or more.
In between blowouts, you should be keeping your hair wrapped and pinned back during workouts, as well as staying away from moisture as much as possible, like rain, steam from the shower, and sweat from exercise. For showering, a shower cap should be worn and butters and water-based moisturizers should be avoided, as they can weigh down the hair and ruin blowouts.
The best way to take care of a blowout is by applying a small amount of light oil to the ends of the hair, such as olive or castor oil. At night, a satin wrap or silk bonnet is worn to preserve the sheen and bounce of the hair.
Does Dominican Blowouts Hurt?
Like all hair treatments, there is always some risk going into it. While the process of getting a blowout doesn’t necessarily hurt, it depends on how gentle the stylist is on your hair, as well as how your hair takes the three rounds of heat when you include flat ironing. Even without the flat iron, temperatures at which the hair is exposed to are incredibly high and if the hair is already damaged, can cause immediate breakage.
Although Dominican blowouts are for the most part, considered to be a natural process (thus, why there is so much heat treatment involved), as we’ve learned previously, some Dominican salons use chemicals in their treatment. While these chemicals can enhance the effects of the style, they are considered to be high-risk products that can have more negative effects on some hair than positive. Consequently, it’s always recommended that one bring their own products when going to a Dominican salon and be very specific about your needs.
Additionally, though these luscious straightened locks can be a nice style change, some clients of Dominican salons, specifically those with pre-existing curls, have had immense difficulty after their blowout treatment transitioning back to their hair’s original state. Getting blowouts on a consistent basis can be dangerous, as the amount of times the hair is exposed to heat can cause the hair to lose its natural curl pattern and have difficulty growing.
While these unfortunate occurrences are certainly not the case for all salons, it further emphasizes the point that before making the choice to try this style, it is important to do your research and prepare your hair beforehand with conditioning treatments.
To avoid heat damage, some women choose to do at home blowouts. Not only do you have control over the products you use, but you can control the amount of heat being applied and how gentle you are treating the hair.
Can you do a Dominican Blowout on Short Natural Hair?
Dominican blowouts on short hair involve virtually the same process, with the exception of the rollers.With short hair that cannot fit around a roller, stylists will usually do a partial Dominican blowout, which is slicked back without the full curl.
The only main difference is the straightening and styling of the hair. Rather than fully curling it, stylists use a roller barrel styling tool for longer parts of hair, straightening the hair in an inward motion and using a basic straightening tool for smaller sections. With short hair, you can even choose to do an optional bang for an airy style or keep it slicked back for a chic look, without sacrificing the style’s natural bounce.
The Controversy around Dominican Blowouts
Throughout the 60’s and 70’s blowouts became incredibly popular. However, over the years, as the acceptance of natural hair and natural curls has become more well known, a controversy around the need to have stereotypically “European” hair types has followed. Overall, blowouts are still a widely used style amongst many women to this day and the treatment has morphed more into a question of the client’s own style, rather than a need to conform.
In conclusion, a Dominican blowout can be a great choice, depending on the level of manageability you desire and how healthy your hair is prior to getting the treatment. It allows for easier styling and a lighter, breezy feeling. At the end of the day, your style is what you choose, but keep in mind that every treatment has its benefits in moderation. As long as you do the research and communicate, a Dominican blowout can leave you with a spring in your step and your hair.