Black hair can be difficult to grow, manage and care for. First black hair tends to be curlier and have more kinks and coils than any other type of hair. This is due to black hair having more of disulfide bonds between hair proteins found in the hair shaft. If there are more disulfide bonds it means a greater number of links causing curlier hair. Another aspect of the challenges of black hair is partly due to previous cultural representation that straighter european style hair was desired and what a majority of both the fashion industry and beauty industry catered too. This made it difficult or expensive to find products to help keep natural black hair strong and cared for. Black hair damage to the hair must be trimmed away or grown out. Info about keeping that damage at bay isn’t always available.
Since there is more and more cultural acceptance and understanding of natural black hair and its needs, there are several aspects of general care you may not find as readily available as you would for straighter hair. While several blogs boast a wealth of information, simple tips and how to’s still fall in between articles on straighter hair styles or how to make changes to your black hair.
Now that you have an brief understanding of black hair let’s provide a list of different things you can do to first care for your hair and follow up and care of your style of what you can do at the salon or at home.
Caring for Your Hair
The first part of what you should do is not wash your hair very often. Since black hair has a higher probability of breakage because of the number of curls and bends. Frequent washing will dry out your hair quite rapidly and the end result will make your hair even more so brittle and cause it easily break especially if you plan any styling at all. If you need to wash your hair often dilute your shampoo with 50% water and 50% shampoo or ensure that the shampoo is geared toward ethnic hair types. Follow up this shampooing with a stronger or deeper conditioner to ensure your hair retains the moisture which will help avoid breakage.
When you have finished the washing and condition phase you should use a moisturizing conditioner with lightweight, essential oils. Use this in between washes to ensure your retain your moisture and oil enough without causes your hair to become heavily greasy. Since everyone has different hair texture you will need to be the judge if you are applying to much oil to keep your hair moisturized. Oils you can use for this process are not limited to but include oils such as grapeseed oil or argan oil, which is more easily absorbed by hair than products like lanolin. Lanolin may only clog and weigh hair down. You want to focus on lightweight to ensure your hair looks it best.
Avoid heavy hair chemicals outside of “relaxed” styles. Heavy treatments will turn your hair more brittle and cause it to break easily. You can lose entire braids or dreads of full hair because the base of the hair shaft or mid simply snaps. Avoiding silicones and sulfates helps mitigate this greatly.
Once you have shampooed, washed, conditioned, oiled and done all the first step care to your hair, you need to look at styling. With natural hair look for getting a wide tooth comb and brush. This way you will ensure that you will not pull hair from the scalp or tangle your hair further in knots outside of of your natural kinks and curls. For “relaxed” hair you can also use a wide tooth comb as it will help to evenly stop the hair from clumping up after a comb through and it also provides volume. Make sure your hair is slightly damp before you detangle. Hair at this point is very prone to damage when wet. So if you just washed it, let it dry a little first or give it a quick towel dry.
Use ceramic combs or irons to press hair: If you would like to press or thermally straighten your hair, use a ceramic comb or iron and only do so once a week. Avoid heat products on day to day use as they will greatly dehydrate all the moisture from your hair and lead to brittle hair that is very easy to break. Ensure any device you use, such as a straightener is not to hot. Use the lowest possible temperature setting that gives you the style you want.
With styles such as weaves or natural styles that are braided ensure that they are not too tight. If you hurts when it's being put by a stylist ask them to loosen or to start again as the pain you are feeling is equal to the damage you are getting on your hair.