Val Mercado's Hair Transformation Journey | Skin Deep | Refinery29

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Here on Skin Deep, we highlight Afro-Latina influencer, Val Mercado. Val discusses her experience growing up with her Dominican heritage and how it affected her perception of beauty, particularly hair. Watch this episode of Skin Deep to see how far Val has come on her hair transformation journey!
Skin Deep is a docu-style beauty series, where influencers immerse themselves in different cultural epicenters of Los Angeles in order to uncover beauty traditions from around the world. Beauty is deeply personal and, at times, passed on through generations and cultures.
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28-Iyl, 2018

refinery29refinery 29r29r29 videovideorefinery29 videofemaleempowermentskin deepmothers and daughtersval mercadovalinfluencersocial mediainstagram influencerhow to instagramdominicandominican republicnycrepublica dominicanahispaniclatinxlatinaslatinosamerican latinocultureafro latinaafro-latinoblack latinocurly hair routinecrly hair tipshair tutorialnatural curly haircurly girlshair transformationcurly hair cut



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Refinery29 3 oy oldin
Who else can relate to Val's journey of accepting her curls? Share your stories with us here!
Cynthia Greer
Cynthia Greer Oy oldin
Your sooooo lucky !
Kim Taehyung is a whole king
I’ve always loved my curly hair not even once i didn’t accept it
Cynthia Greer
Cynthia Greer Oy oldin
Not me, I've always had to pay a fortune to get hair like that ! I love curly hair ! I would never change it if I was naturally gifted with it !
Ashley Trinidad
Ashley Trinidad 2 oy oldin
Where I live my family are the only Domincans, so seeing this and being able to relate to it so greatly brought tears to my eyes. Learning to love and accept my curls has been a life long journey, seeing someone with the same struggle/ journey is inspiring.
angelia 3 oy oldin
This is like having curly hair in the Cambodian community, it’s taken in as unacceptable while straighten hair are praised
Summer Blue
Summer Blue Kun oldin
Wow this screams my Dominican family
Ana elizaveth
Ana elizaveth Kun oldin
Yessss as a Dominican I agree with a lot of what is said in this video and comment section. I can say I am FINALLY loving my natural hair and regret that I didn't appreciate it earlier. However, I have yet to visit a hair salon (here in the states) since moving 12+ years ago (I don't trust anyone but my mom with my hair lol). But I hop into a salon as soon as I get off the plane in the DR😂❤🇩🇴
Tessy Koshy
Tessy Koshy 4 kun oldin
so she got a blowout and washed it out in the same day? both look good too.
Faduma Warsame
Faduma Warsame 4 kun oldin
For all the people fighting the comments Afro Latina means you are of African descent and have Hispanic heritage
Ruby Gabriel
Ruby Gabriel 6 kun oldin
Okay but she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen
Khristine Abigail Avelino
Brooke B
Brooke B 7 kun oldin
Curly hair is magical af
Earl Cage
Earl Cage 7 kun oldin
Guess where the oldest female bones were found? In Africa! It saddens me when l hear these stories of people trying to hide their Blackness! Beauty comes in all shades and sizes. How boring life would be if everyone looked the same. It's sad when people are brainwashed to hate themselves. Stop falling for the Willie Lynch syndrome.
Chandana Anup
Chandana Anup 9 kun oldin
She looks like Bella Thorne! But with dark curly hair ! Such a beautiful girl , and she wears those curls so well 😍
lexi 707
lexi 707 10 kun oldin
Gorgeous either way 💯😍
lexi 707
lexi 707 10 kun oldin
I wish I had curly hair!!!! It's beautiful 😍 never doubt that
souheyla 10 kun oldin
Your mom is so young omg 😲😍😍😍
chile verde
chile verde 10 kun oldin
She’s sooo gorgeous 💕💕💜💜💜💜
chile verde
chile verde 10 kun oldin
I’m from santiago to🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴🇩🇴
Aishwarya kumar
Aishwarya kumar 11 kun oldin
i liked the curls better and it made her looks stand out too, and now she looks like just another girl :/
kldruh 12 kun oldin
i dont get it,she straightened her curly hair and got it curled again?
Alana O' Regan
Alana O' Regan 14 kun oldin
She reminds me so much of Cleo Patra she's so beautiful xoxo
jiminahs 14 kun oldin
She looks 30+ without her curly hair. I thought she looked stunning with her curly hair but after the blow-out she s like... Average? Lately i believe curly hair is sooo gorgeous, hope she ll get to love it properly
Mercedes Quintana
Mercedes Quintana 22 kun oldin
up until the age of 19 I always either streightened my hair or had it in a ponytail or braid it because my curls were called "dirty" , "ugly" "frizzy" and "sloppy". Since I am the only one in my family who has curly hair no one ever taught me how to work with the curls and not against them. They looked bushy and Hermoine-like. But then thanks to UZvid and curly youtubers I learned that my curls are amazing and I also learned how to do my curls the right way. Now im 22 , the last time I straighten my hair was 1 year ago and it felt SO unlike me. My bushy hair used to be my least favourite part of my body and now I cant imagine myself without my curls.
Unsweetened Black Tea
Carlie Gamez
Carlie Gamez 27 kun oldin
i want those curls... can i get those curls with straight hair??
Ivana Morris
Ivana Morris 27 kun oldin
I love her with curls so much thoo😭💕🌀
superjules21 Oy oldin
wow she looks sooo so beautiful curly and streight unbelievable
I never knew that in the Dominican it was more frequent to straighten than embrace curls, it's so interesting. Sweet that her Mom has come to love her curls too and she can straighten her hair when she wants to instead of when she feels like she needs to, both styles looks so great on her.
Vane Y.
Vane Y. Oy oldin
What are the names of the two products she used at oidad?
Pink Heart
Pink Heart Oy oldin
Ok I don't get it. Black women have curly hair too So they would know how to straighten curly hair so why not a black woman stylist than a Dominican stylist? 🤷‍♀️ I'm sure there are many such black stylist salons where she lives😅 Whats the difference?🤔 Also doing only a blowout won't last long. I have wavy hair which i blow dried to straight. Didn't even last a day🤦‍♀️ But whats weird is she straightened her hair and hours later curled it again ! Why do that🤦‍♀️ Seeing her curls i thought her hair would be longer😅
Susan Murphy
Susan Murphy Oy oldin
Val, you are beautiful and perfect the way you are. Especially your hair. 👍
Layla Hernández
Im also dominican and i get youuu guurlll!!!
Jiwon Kim
Jiwon Kim Oy oldin
Im obsessed with her hair she’s gorgeous 💕💕💕
Shikhar Bal
Shikhar Bal Oy oldin
NGXX92 Oy oldin
I can relate to her In a way, I’m Mexican with black thick hair and I live in Alabama and all around me around hair salons for either African Americans or white Americans and no “good” hair salons tht know how to color hair like mine, when I see girls with hair like mine tht get a balayage , or highlights it looks brassy or it’s not very well blended, but I have a cousin in California who is a hairdresser for Lux Aveda and her work is done on mostly Latina women who have had like mine and their highlights look amazing! Bc she knows how to color hair like mine, I just wish I could go to Cali to get my hair done, I don’t trust the girls here lol
Jesus Rojas
Jesus Rojas Oy oldin
Napilly ever after in real life
Ashley Dones
Ashley Dones Oy oldin
I relate to this video on so many levels. The struggle to accept your curls. I love my curls
al muminah
al muminah Oy oldin
she is gorgeous
Elizabeth Gonzalez
I would like to add that... many old school Dominicans perceive curly hair as a “Broke” look because it doesn’t require a beauty stylist. Since a blowout is costly, time consuming and down right painful (heat), it’s considered a more upscale “beautiful “ look.
Elizabeth Gonzalez
Dominicans are a mix of the following: (Spanish, African, Caucasian, French, Lebanese & Taino Indian). We are a mixed, multi-cultured people. 500 years ago, prior to Christopher Columbus’ invasion, Hispaniola was inhabited by Taino Indians.
No one has this picture of V dO tHeY??
I would love to have curly hair👏
Drip Gloss
Drip Gloss Oy oldin
She claims she is Afro Latino but she is only Dominican not black and Dominican
me myself
me myself Oy oldin
lol richard camacho should do this 😂💙#cncowner
Ariane Guido
Ariane Guido Oy oldin
Her curly hair is bomb
Elizabeth Armenteros
I’m Cuban and I related to this so much😂 Especially the looking good when going to the grocery store
SUPER MAN Oy oldin
shes so gorgeous in curly hair and in straight hair
Nazha Elhakour
She s so gorgeous
Stephanie Pulongbarit
You're so gorgeous. 😍😍
Badabum Oy oldin
Screw your hair! Your fudging beautiful!
مدري عن شيء
i want this cut
Ocean lights
Ocean lights Oy oldin
She reminds me of Bella Hadid with straight hair!
Emily Landen
Emily Landen Oy oldin
Damn I want marissa to do my hair. I didn’t see one piece of frizz, she did a great job!
Lorena Arocha
Lorena Arocha Oy oldin
I am also from Santiago.
MOON mia
MOON mia Oy oldin
She looks older with straight hair JUST SAYIIIN
Adya Anwesha
Adya Anwesha Oy oldin
She's drop dead gorgeous!
Happy Pixie
Happy Pixie Oy oldin
I have always wanted that hair type
Jana Roos
Jana Roos Oy oldin
Her hair is gorgeous I'm jealous
sad satan
sad satan Oy oldin
she looks like marilyn monroe
Emma D
Emma D Oy oldin
She and her friend are such beautiful girls! They are really the definition of beauty
Social Media by Dezine with Dani Egypt
That hair style makes her look older. And basic. And she’s too fly for it. Them curls are poppin mama. Keep em.
Selena Gomes
Selena Gomes Oy oldin
Omg I also have curly hair and I go to a hairstylist in Portugal and she always used that technique to straighten my hair I didn't know that not everyone does it that way
Jamie Cline
Jamie Cline Oy oldin
What a beautiful person.... inside and out. You rock girl!
Luisa R.
Luisa R. Oy oldin
Wow you are beautiful
Pete P
Pete P Oy oldin
She is FONEeeeeeee😍🙌🏽❤️
Rosa Quinones
Rosa Quinones Oy oldin
She blocked me on IG when i posted a baby picture and pointed out that she had fillers
Natalie Villarreal
Both of y’alls hair is beautiful!!!
L E 2 oy oldin
When I hear the word "afro-Latina" I think of Amara La Negra, not Val Mercado... I thought afro-Latina is someone who is black but a part of the Latin community? I don't see black in her... maybe her mother.
L E Oy oldin
Ashley I understand but wouldn’t that make all Dominicans Afro-Latino then?. I know Hispanics are a genetic combination of Native American, European, African and even Asian, I just thought the term Afro-Latino was made to distinguish the black Latinos from the white Latinos. This is why I’m confused that she considers herself Afro-Latina, maybe because her mother is partly black but Val is not black-passing at all.
Ashley Oy oldin
L E “Afro Latina” isn’t only about the color of your skin. There’s many different shades of Dominicans, but in the end all Dominicans have some African roots to them. Those who came out a little more on the pale side just also have some European roots as well :)
Lila Frascation
Lila Frascation 2 oy oldin
James 2 oy oldin
OMG!!! That was a dramatic change 😫
Ashley Trinidad
Ashley Trinidad 2 oy oldin
All these people saying she isn't afrolatina is mad disrespect. Latinos come in all shades, my grandfather is 100% Dominican but is pale and has light hair, just because she is a fairer skin latino doesn't mean she isn't afrolatino, just look at her hair texture
Lizard Queen
Lizard Queen 2 oy oldin
I have the biggest crush on this gal 😍😍😍 she’s so beautiful
John Johnson
John Johnson 2 oy oldin
she is so beautiful !
melo lby
melo lby 2 oy oldin
I noticed that she felt more comfortable with her curly hair and plus she looks amazing woth her curls
Noora Queen
Noora Queen 2 oy oldin
She looks better with curly hair
AJ forever
AJ forever 2 oy oldin
Kendra Mason
Kendra Mason 2 oy oldin
Is it just me or does she look like Bella Thorne
Khawla's Show
Khawla's Show 2 oy oldin
she looks so good in both hairstyles
ThatGirl 2 oy oldin
She is sooo rude thooo. Looks so nice but in reality...damn b
alysha ramos
alysha ramos 2 oy oldin
i needed this.. i have naturally curly hair that i don’t know how to look after so i just straighten it all the time
Jula Gomez
Jula Gomez 2 oy oldin
Yes girl ouidad is my shit
Баян Ибраева
Omggggg, she’s so beautiful. Like really, she looks just gorgeous
faerielaire 2 oy oldin
Why does she look completely different in her photos and even her own UZvid videos? She’s adorable here but I don’t get the difference.
Marina Dominicana Pérez
faerielaire me too
Desi Martinez
Desi Martinez 2 oy oldin
So prettyyyyyy!!!
princess.john 2 oy oldin
when people say like in every sentence i assume they are stupid
Crystal L. Glenn
Crystal L. Glenn 2 oy oldin
I have Rosa's hair texture. I want to go to LA and get my hair done by her 😍😍😍😍 I love her hair!
Crystal L. Glenn
Crystal L. Glenn 2 oy oldin
Freaking Gorgeous hair! Represent NYC. I love my natural hair.
Alejandra Mac Naught
Que mujer tan hermosa 😍
julia 2 oy oldin
so i'm a bit confused...does she like her curly hair or not?? lol
sally kashala
sally kashala 2 oy oldin
Did she get a blowout and a curl treatment on the same day
Kimberly Vera
Kimberly Vera 2 oy oldin
I keep seeing in the comments that people keep saying she's not fully afro-latino cuz her skin isn't dark. People keep saying that she can't claim to be afro-latino because of that. But now if she didn't claim that she was afro-latino then people would say she is and that why isn't she embracing the little African she has. So what do people want? Either way there's going to be a problem if she does claim or doesn't claim that she has African descents. At the end of the day we are all mixed we all have more than one race in us if it's 1% or 70% we all are mixed and if us trying to connect to our bloodline is wrong than thats crazy. So many races feel offended when they do or don't claim them so what do they want from people? I understand that she can't relate to a dark skin afro-latino because she is of lighter skin but still y'all should appreciate that she is trying to represent y'all in some way.
Livvy Maher
Livvy Maher 2 oy oldin
Sooooo beautiful!!!
L.D.M 2 oy oldin
What would you call her curls? I like them, not to tight and not to loose.
père lu
père lu 2 oy oldin
Wait so she's AfroLatina cause she got curls? Lol what
Kiki Suarez
Kiki Suarez 2 oy oldin
she's afrolatina cuz she's dominican
kaira Mishri
kaira Mishri 2 oy oldin
It should be a crime to be that gorgeous with curly or straight hair.. Girl ur killing me😍
Purple Rain
Purple Rain 2 oy oldin
I get told I look loco 😜 but little do they know curly hair is crazy 😜💦🦋💕
The End
The End 2 oy oldin
Honestly i think Dominican hair looks real dry and stiff on some when they have a blow out. Idk what it is but i dont like their curl patern at all.. not 1 bitt. I feel other Afro latinos have way more beautiful hair..and im not at all saying good hair in the way ppl normally use it. Because kinky curls can be beautiful and allso nappy roots can be cute. As long as the hair is healthy and not dry and stiff like a helmet. Im sorry but i just feel that way.
ruby W.
ruby W. 2 oy oldin
Arch 2 oy oldin
Is her dad lightskinned?
Thanh Ngo
Thanh Ngo 2 oy oldin
I love her curls so much😍😍it’s sad to see her straighten it to fit in;(
Jaena Tolliday Year 11
stick with the curly hair yeah
Paola Saldívar
Paola Saldívar 2 oy oldin
I live in the DR and i can say I'm so happy that this perception of beauty is changing so fast in the Dominican Republic. Now there's not a place that you go (at least in the capital) that you don't see dozens of girls with their natural hair, curls, afro. Now we even have experts, hair salons and even amazing organic products just for curly hair. I love that this is changing in my country, it's amazing how much girls are embracing and being so so proud of their natural hair. Hope more and more people start leaving that stigma behind. I'm currently in the process of getting my curls back after years of heat damage. Loved the video.
Anita Abage
Anita Abage 2 oy oldin
She kept saying "domenican blowout" and all i could think about was how this is a brazillian blowout too, ha. Latinos united
Sammmy Lara
Sammmy Lara 2 oy oldin
She’s gorgeous