Many African Americans have very textured, curly hair that can be difficult to style if it isn't cared for properly.
Here are some hair care tips to keep your African American hair healthy and looking great so that you can showcase its beauty every day:
- Use the appropriate products. Look for shampoos and other hair care products that will replenish the natural oils in your hair. And opt for brands formulated for black or very curly hair types. Always condition your hair after cleansing. Use a hair treatment that involves a leave-in conditioner to seal your hair. Also, you should use a thermal styling spray before you curl your hair. When styling you can use mousse, gel, or hair sprays at the root of your hair to give it a lift. When using these products make sure that you don't overdo it. Hair that is hard and does not move is dry and will break.
- Permed and color treated African American hair needs special treatment. For chemically processed hair, very gently shampoo your hair and rinse well. If you must brush your hair, be extra gentle, as chemically treated hair can break easily. If you decide to have your hair colored and permed, always perm first before coloring to help avoid over drying your hair. If you are re-perming hair, make sure the chemicals are compatible with what is already in your hair or you could end up with serious damage. If you color your hair, realize that the lighter you go the drier your hair may look. So take care to deep condition regularly.
- Use appliances and combs that are designed for African American hair. Use a wide tooth comb because they won't damage your hair. Look for one with rounded edges at the bottom of the teeth. These will be the most gentle. And purchase a curling iron with different temperature settings. That way you can adjust the heat so it doesn't scorch your hair. Always use the curling iron on clean (not dirty) hair.
- Keep your hair maintained. Maintenance is key for healthy hair. Get your hair cut regularly. Always let your stylist trim split ends so they don't worsen.
- Handle the hair when it is damp. After you wash your hair, first press your hair dry, rather than rubbing it. This will be gentler. Next you can blow dry it until it is slightly damp, then curl. This will save the amount of time you spend styling and the amount of heat your hair will have to endure. Or if your hair is dry, spray lightly before curling.
- Use products that are made for curly hair. Creamy shampoos and thick conditioners are the optimal products for those with curly hair. This helps to enhance the curls and combat the frizz. Once you are out of the shower, apply a mixture that is 2 parts soothing cream and 1 part hair gel. This will lock in the moisture. Once dry, style your hair using sprays and gels geared towards those with curly hair.
- Bedtime hair care. Stay away from rollers when you sleep. If you move around a lot in bed you could damage your hair. Steer clear from elastic bands that can pull and break your hair. Try using a satin pillow when you sleep, which can help keep your hair from matting. Another method of protecting your hair when you sleep is to wrap it in a soft silk scarf. When you wrap the hair make sure the knot is on your forehead and not pressing into your hair.
- Relaxing your hair. When relaxing hair that has already been relaxed before, don't put the chemicals on the already-relaxed area. Place it only on new growth so that you don't over process it. If you relax your hair at home make sure you wash it carefully to remove all of the chemical residue. If the chemical is not completely removed it will continue to work and can injure your hair over time. If you have extensions or braids, wait several days before relaxing your hair after removal.
- Be careful with braids and extensions. Make sure that your braids are not too tight. This can cause hair loss in later years. Extensions can damage hair as well. This is due to the fact that heat and glue are employed to keep the hair in place. Opt for weaves that must be sewn into the hair. While it is more expensive to have your weave done this way, it is better for the health of your hair.
- Do not grease or oil your scalp. Oil and grease that is made to moisturize your head will also clog the pores on your scalp. This can lead to a variety of complications including hair loss and boils. Use products that can be applied to the hair only when moisturizing dry and damaged African American hair.
African American hair often suffers from drying and breakage. However, using the right hair care products and establishing routines that will bring the moisture and life back to your hair can help you avoid this cycle of styling and damage. These tips for healthy hair should help you with your day-to-day African American hair care routine.