The Term “Pelo Malo” or Bad Hair in the Dominican Republic


Growing up as a little girl in a Dominican household in america who associated beauty with straight hair was not easy. My dad never really was for relaxers, but my mom talked to him about how difficult I was to style due to screaming when the comb went through my hair. Thus, I was given a relaxer due to my “pelo malo” or bad hair being too difficult to get a comb through (ha, it glides through now and it’s natural). I decided to write about the term “pelo malo”, or bad hair in the Dominican Republic.



For one, I’ve had a lot of good and bad feedback on my hair from my country, the Dominican Republic. I’ve had uncles and aunts ask me why I haven’t relaxed my hair when I first began transitioning 2 years ago. This was difficult for me to explain what being natural meant to me considering beauty standards over there is silky and straight is the right way (not everywhere over there though). My boyfriend loves my hair and is the main reason I got became enough to go natural! He gave me strength, believed in me and loves my hair 100% whether it’s styled or not, just natural!



The good news…


After 2 years of being natural and saying goodbye to my relaxed locks for good, my families beginning to accept my hair (not that their opinion will change my mind on being natural NEVER) but don’t feel to fond of my fro unless my natural hair is styled. Which…again…I wear my hair as I please lol, I don’t have to style it all the time! My means of styling it is to protect my hair, but they don’t understand that.



The term pelo malo:

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first blowout for my 24th bday done by me:)

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My fro as of today!:) HUGE!


Bad hair or “pelo malo” is a term long used in my country for nappy hair as they call it. Women, in mends to appear beautiful to society hide their African roots with relaxers. Although, I must defend the ones that don’t hate on natural hair too! Relaxers are often given to little girls around age 7 and up to make hair more manageable to style and to make hair combing less painful (which is what my mom did to my sister and I as little girls).


Linda’s inspiring family!!

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I actually have a few cousins over there who I inspired to go natural, as well as my sister who’s been natural near a year and a half! Whoo! They love my hair and said they cant wait to sport there fro’s and curly locks too!

Not only my family though, but it appears more naturals are coming out in the Dominican Republic according to my research, and that’s great! Below is Carolina, another Dominican native who loves her natural hair!

Beautiful Carolina wearing an I love my fro "puff" shirt!

Beautiful Carolina wearing an I love my fro “puff” shirt!


But I digress…


Collage I made to honor My dad when I was 18♥

Pelo malo does not exist, and that is what I explained to my mom. In fact, my sister and I constantly (playfully) argue with her whenever she starts talking about good hair and bad hair to us in Spanish (which she isn’t doing too much now that were both implanting into her head that our hair is not bad)! We always joke with her and say, “Well, what kind of tresses did you expect us to have making us with daddy, straight hair down our back?!” We usually burst out laughing she just stares at us lol, not that I have any issue with relaxed or straight hair AT ALL, but she’s too funny and despite her “pelo malo” comments, we love our mom. She likes the different styles I’ve done to my hair and loves my creativity. I straighten her hair a few times a month though but lately, even she’s letting her natural curls fro free on her way to work.


There is even a movie about teh subject pelo malo. In PELO MALO, Junior is a nine-year-old boy who has stubbornly curly hair, or “bad hair.” Check out the link

to find out more!

What do you think about the term bad hair, how did you grow up? Have you had negative remarks after going natural? I have by elderly Spanish ladies that grew up around me, but I just do like Taylor Swift and SHAK IT OFF! LOL comment below thank you!

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