Like all other Caribbean nations, what Dominicans eat is central to their way of life. When it comes to beauty, many traditional foods have been as much a staple of Dominican women's beauty regimens as of their diet – for centuries.
With the flourishing of the haircare industry in recent decades, many of these foods, traditionally applied in their raw form, have been expertly blended into high-tech conditioners, creating the unique formulations that are the hallmark of Dominican haircare. Here are some of the tasty treats you are likely to pour out of your bottle of rinse and into your hair:
This ancient superfood of the Americas was consumed by Dominicans' indigenous ancestors, the Taino people – who are also the original people of Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico.
Now eaten in bars mixed with dairy and sugar around the world, chocolate is still ground and brewed in the Caribbean as it originally was, into bitter yet flavoursome infusions.
Originating in the Mediterranean Basin, these fruits were brought to the Dominican Republic by Spanish colonizers hundreds of years ago. Ever since, olives have been cultivated in the cooler, drier regions of Constanza and Los Pinos del Edén. The oil is a key ingredient in traditional Dominican dish Mofongo, as well as recipes influenced by later immigrants from the Mediterranean, whose food traditions have blended into the local cuisine.
Why they're good to eat: Olives, particularly the oil, contain monunsaturated fatty acids which lower cholesterol, and normalise blood clotting and insulin levels. Olive oil is also rich in a wide variety of antioxidants not found in other oils.
Why they're good for your hair: On the surface of your hair, olive oil adds shine and eases friction during combing. Abundant in powerful antioxidants, olive oil has been shown to help correct damage caused by ultraviolet rays, so is great for soothing and repairing the scalp after excessive exposure to sunlight. It's also one of the few oils that have been proven to penetrate the hair shaft, strengthening the hair against protein loss, from the inside out.
Find them in: Nacidit Olive Oil Conditioner and atrActiva Dream Treatment.
While not a traditional element of Dominican cuisine, the oil pressed from the nuts of the macadamia tree is found infused in some Dominican cosmetics.
Macadamia oil has surged in popularity worldwide due to its culinary and health benefits, and the island of Hispaniola has been no exception.
Why it's good to eat: Macadamia oil's high heat capacity and smoke point mean it can stand exposure to high temperatures without breaking down into dangerous free radicals as most oils do under high heat. This makes it a much safer and healthier option in the kitchen. It's also rich in vital nutrients, including Vitamin E, Omega-6 and Omega-3.
Why it's good for your hair: Macadamia oil's stability and high heat capacity help to shield your hair from irons and blowdryers. Its rich Vitamin E content makes it soothing to the scalp and smoothing to strands.
Find it in: La Aplanadora Maintenance Shampoo, Treatment and Leave In.
One of the most widely eaten grains worldwide, wheat is a staple of the Dominican diet. A key ingredient in dishes like quipes and tipili, it's also a favourite in the Dominican haircare arena.
Not a popular item on the menu in the Dominican itself, snail is delicacy in several countries around the world. On the island, however, the use of snail is mostly confined to aesthetic and health purposes.
The slime is a multifunctional beauty remedy, known as baba de caracol, harnessed to condition hair and scalp, aid skin complaints, and combat stretch marks.
DHA Hair Care Experts
Dominican Hair Alliance