Ona Diaz-Santin Celebrity Stylist at 5 Hair Salon

Ona Diaz-Santin celebrity stylist talks hair for professional women (video)

Ona Diaz-Santin Celebrity Stylist at 5 Salon & Spa

Ona Diaz-Santin Celebrity Stylist at 5 Salon & Spa

By Ona Diaz -Santin

Being a hair professional for 20 years you get to understand that texture, density, porosity and elasticity are important words to put into consideration when cutting. Let’s not forget to mention face shapes are a “must know” when working with multiple beautiful faces a day.

In my opinion there is much beauty in simplicity and one of the hardest things to achieve. A great mentor of mine once shared that being creative meant knowing your basics inside and out. This holds truth in cutting!! Take a “bob” for instance, if executed correctly it is simple yet very creative.

There are a large number of women asking for cuts that are versatile and can provide a polished and fresh look when at work yet a fun and sassy alternative when at play!

Hair trends are all about ‘less is more mid length cuts’ with the interior shapes varying depending on the fab six words above. I am loving the direction is taking and to insure you love it as well, read my tips below!

Let’s talk two techniques that are trending right now

Ona Diaz-Santin 2015 Hair Styles

Ona Diaz-Santin doing 2015 Hair Styles

Layers: eliminates bulk from the hair

Great for thick unruly hair, wavy/curly hair


Graduation: creates weight in the hair

Great for fine lifeless hair, straight/wavy hair

These two techniques have been around forever and it’s all about reinventing…


Let’s talk dry styling your mid length cut: 

  •  Health of hair is everything so always use a thermal protectant when applying heat. I am a fan of creams versus spray-in ones.
  • Over directions when styling are your best friend.
  • Think up when on top of head and out when on the sides and back of head (away from the scalp)
  • Section of hair must be the same diameter as the two ceramic round brushes you are utilizing.
  • As you finish one section leave one brush in the hair to cool down as you work on the next section with the other brush.
  • Follow the same process throughout the entire head.
  • If your hair is soft and brushes slip out easily, use large butterfly clips.
  • Your head is round so sections should always be on a diagonal. Doing this eliminates visible lines and helps hair fall into place nicely.
  • Great for all hair textures.


You can read:  Dominican hair salons a love for natural beauty Hair salons protect investment


Wavy/curly styling:

  • I happen to love cream based products for this type of styling.
  • Section your hair from bottom and work your way to the top.
  • Be generous with the product.
  • Finger comb product into the hair and be thorough.
  • Once you’ve done this flip your head over finger comb away from scalp and use a towel to scrunch the product and hair together to set the curl in.
  • Flip back and shake curls into place.
  •  Once completely dried flip your head again and “clap” your hands with the hair in between. This will bounce your lovely locks.

Ona Diaz-Santin, Celebrity Stylist and Creative Director at 5 Salon & Spa in Fort Lee, NJ, is one of our LIBizus. Let Ona know what you think about her suggestions! If you like her tips, feel free to share this feature in social media.

Follow Ona @onadiazsantin


Hair salons small business week

How beauty professionals protect their business investment

The battle to protect their business investment has become a serious concern for small business owners in the present world. From natural disasters to terrorist attacks, and from recessions to epidemics, we live in a world where risk has to be constantly managed.

Ona Diaz-Santin Celebrity Stylist at 5 Hair Salon

Ona Diaz-Santin Celebrity Stylist at 5 Hair Salon

Beauty professionals and salon business owners are not an exception. Even if you think most of these terrible events might not affect your business, as a small business owner –and I know this from my own experience–, you have to be constantly on your feet. If you do not show up, money does not show up!

Protecting their investment as well as their source of income is essential for small businesses whose families depend on them. Although beauty salons and spas are a relatively low risk business, there are always opportunities for something going wrong. A cut in an ear caused an infection or someone tripped in the salon with a hair blower cord? From these small events to major fires, flood or storm damage, they can cause great distress and also interrupt the income their family is counting on.

Ona Diaz-Santin and Luis O De la Hoz at the SHCCNJ event

Ona Diaz-Santin and Luis O De la Hoz at the SHCCNJ event

“Data shows that 92 percent of the businesses in the USA are micro-business. The importance of the beauty salon industry dominated by people from Dominican descend relies in the fact that they have created a space of opportunity for thousands of hires by these salons,” said Luis O De la Hoz, SVP Lending Team at The Intersect Fund at the event Lunch & Learn for Beauty Business Professionals organized by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCCNJ) and held at Lola’s Latin Bistro in Metuchen NJ.  “If one of every three small businesses in the nation would hire one more employee, the US would face full employment,” he said.

Carlos Medina, President of the SHCCNJ also made opening remarks, “We are more than 70,000 Latino small businesses in the state of New Jersey and we contribute more than 10 billion dollars to the state economy every year in every industry. Beauty salons and spas are just one of these industries. The SHCCNJ recently got a grant to provide technical assistance to small businesses in central New Jersey,” he said. “So keeping this wealth and opportunity coming in is essential to the prosperity of our communities.”

Present at the event was Ona Diaz-Santin, Celebrity Stylist and Creative Director at 5 Salon & Spa in Fort Lee, NJ. “As our industry grows, we have to become more aware that protecting our business is essential. Everybody at the event was eager to listen to the information and although not everybody shared about their own needs or situation, you could tell people found it informative,” she said.

Protection for this type of business is not cost-prohibiting according to Carlos J. Capellan, Agent at State Farm Insurance, the company sponsoring the event. “Dealing with chemicals or hurting someone unintentionally might be part of the picture but other unforeseen events could also happen. We also offer coverage from workers’ compensation to retirement and income replacement plans for the small business owner,” he said.

Carlos Capellan, Luis O De la Hoz, Juan Zaldivar and Carlos Medina at Lola Latin Bistro

Carlos Capellan, Luis O De la Hoz, Juan Zaldivar and Carlos Medina at Lola’s Latin Bistro

Ona was also thrilled about meeting the other 50 or 60 beauty salon owners and professionals in attendance. “This is an unusual opportunity to see them all, and I wanted to announce our beloved project, ‘Pelo! Pelo! The Film’, a documentary about Dominican-owned salons’ stories, their owners and clients,” she said.

“With our wonderful producer and director Tracy Grant, winner of the Harlem International Film Festival Mira Nair Rising Female Filmmaker Award, we are collecting interviews with celebrities and friends regarding Pelo! Pelo! The Film and their personal stories about hair, Latinas in business and Dominican salons,” she explained. “We are producing a film that reflects not only the struggles and origins of this industry but also, the success stories of those who made it with little resources, hard work and a lot of creativity. We also want to become ambassadors of our Latino culture through the world, for it is so exciting and engaging!” she concluded.

Pelo! Pelo! The Film crew conducting interviews (photo courtesy |

Pelo! Pelo! The Film crew conducting interviews (photo courtesy |

About Pelo! Pelo! The Film:

Documentarian Tracy Grant, director of “I Remain” and celebrity hair stylist Ona Diaz-Santin, create a stylish, progressive documentary film that places the spotlight squarely on the Latina female entrepreneur and immigrant.

Dominican hair salons are big business and Pelo! Pelo! (Hair! Hair!) tells the compelling stories of diverse stylists who own, work in or manage lively salons in the United States and the Dominican Republic. Narrowed down from over fifty interviews in NY, DC, MD, GA and FL, the film traces their roots and travels to the colorful, culturally rich Dominican Republic – the backdrop of the film.

La documentalista Tracy Grant, directora de “I Remain” y la estilista de celebridades Ona Diaz-Santin, crean un documental progresista que pone en el foco la mujer empresaria latina e inmigrante.

Los salones de belleza dominicanos son un gran negocio y Pelo! Pelo! narra las increíbles historias de diversos estilistas que poseen, trabajan o administran salones en los Estados Unidos y la República Dominicana. Reducido de más de cincuenta entrevistas en NY, DC, MD, Georgia y Florida, la película traza sus raíces y se desplaza a la colorida y culturalmente rica República Dominicana – el telón de fondo de la película.



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Belkyis Hair Salon and Spa

Women walking the streets of Washington Heights and the Bronx in New York or Providence in Rhode Island will find a variety of options to take themselves to a real treat:  Dominican hair salons.

Dominican hair salons

What is the mystery surrounding the attraction of Latinas as well as Anglo and African-American women to these natural beauty and relationship building sanctuaries?

I have a friend, Carmen, who travels one hour at least once a month to treat her hair at Belkyis Hair Salon and Spa in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She is from Chile and has curly long hair; and nobody other than one of Belkyis’ hair stylists –Paola, Yokaira or Sonia –would touch her hair. “They know how to cut my hair and keep the curls manageable,” Carmen said.

I have never been to one of these beauty parlors myself but Dominican salons have gained an excellent reputation for using non-traditional styling methods, natural products and healthy treatments that leave women craving for more. Well, non-traditional here, in the USA!

Dominican salons promote natural products commonly used in their country of origin such as avocado, coconut or almond oils, milk, honey or other vegetable source such as maracuya (passion fruit), rosemary or wheat germ that replace harsh chemical conditioning treatments. Straightening methods are also usually kinder to the hair than flat ironing or chemical relaxers.

Washing, drying and brushing might include huge curlers as part of the scenery, and so might be “wraps” –wrapping your long hair around your head to make it straight, sometimes overnight; all are methods to keep hair beautiful even in the hottest and most humid conditions.

Belkyis Salon and Spa-New-Brunswick

Belkyis Salon and Spa-New-Brunswick

The secret is that Dominicans know hair just because they descend from a mix of races –European, Indigenous, and African– that produces all kinds of hairs –curly, kinky, or textured–and treating those different hairs takes more than technique, it also takes patience and working with the clients until they are happy!

Knowing my friend Carmen, I know she also goes for the social fun of the salon. La “peluquería” o “salón de belleza” is a big part of the culture, where relationships are built, chitchatting is mandatory and bilingualism is optional. At Dominican hair salons, familiarity is part of the service and getting to know a client and her preferences only increases good business. A client is never a one-time deal. If treatment is needed, they are encouraged to come back once the hair has recovered its natural health and energy. Then it is colored, permed or whatever needs to be done.

There are over 3,500 Dominican beauty salons in the New York metropolitan area, while there are increasing numbers in New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida –including South Florida (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach) and Central Florida (greater Orlando) with one of the largest Dominican populations in the state. Providence, RI boasts the largest Dominican population in the country and beauty salons are also following this ever growing population.

Pelo!Pelo!, by filmmaker Tracy Grant and Ona Diaz-Santin, hair stylist and co-producer, is a new documentary focusing on Dominican hair salons featuring their owners in different parts of the country. The film profiles Dominican immigrant women opening beauty salons, and digs into their stories in the Dominican Republic: why they left their country of origin and what inspired them to open a business once in the USA, defying all economic odds and creating jobs and security for themselves, their families and for the community to which they belong.