Black Hair Care

Articles and features on black hair care and black hair styles.

Black Hair Care

Black Hair Care
By Locks&

While African American hair may appear to be stronger than that of Caucasians, the opposite is true. Extremely curly hair grows in an irregularly spiraled wave pattern, like a tightly wound coil or spring and forms a wide, voluminous silhouette, reminiscent of the 60s Afro, which can be difficult to manage. Chemical relaxers and thermal pressing change extremely curly wave patterns and produce a more manageable shape, which allows more versatile styling options. However, chemicals and heated styling appliances can damage fragile, extremely curly hair.

To maintain a healthy head of hair between salon visits, handle your delicate hair with care. Avoid wearing tight headbands, scarves, and rubber bands or pulling the hair back away from the face, which cause breakage and receding hairlines. Determine which areas of the scalp contain the weakest and strongest hair and avoid over processing the weak areas. For example: older Black women may suffer from pattern baldness as they age. While some baldness is due to genetics and a scalp condition called alopecia, baldness can also be caused by improper use of chemical relaxers, especially in the crown and temple areas.

Black hair requires regular shampooing, conditioning, careful drying, and styling to avoid excessive breakage and shedding and encourage new growth.

While Caucasian hair thrives with daily washings, African American strands can become severely damaged by acidic shampoos (those with a high pH), blow dryers and styling combs. It is best to limit washing Black hair to once weekly. Detangle the hair using a wide tooth comb before wetting it thoroughly with warm water. Apply a low pH shampoo liberally with smooth downward strokes, taking care not to tangle the hair. Gently massage the shampoo into the hair until product buildup, oils and grease have been removed. Rinse in warm water and gently towel dry. Hair is most fragile when it is wet, so be careful not to vigorously rub the scalp, especially prior to a chemical service.

Since Black hair tends to be dry and brittle, select a deep penetrating conditioner which will replace moisture and add elasticity to the hair. A leave-in conditioner will help seal the cuticle and rebuild the hair shaft, protecting it from heated styling combs and blow dryers. Porous, chemically treated, or colored hair will benefit from deep conditioning treatments.

Take care to set blow dryers and hooded dryers at the proper time and temperature to avoid over drying delicate Black hair. Air drying is best for natural hair. Simply towel dry wet natural hair and braid it loosely.

Following shampooing and conditioning treatments, hair styling depends on whether the hair has been chemically treated, thermal pressed, or natural. Trim ragged ends and lightly apply balms, or creams to add moisture back into the hair and help seal the cuticle. Avoid using heavy sprays and gels, and frequent use of hot styling combs and curling irons, which also cause Black hair to become brittle, burned and break off.

Return to your stylist at least every two weeks to ensure continued maintenance of your healthy head of hair!
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