Black hair is beautiful, for sure, and it has some special qualities. Natural black hair presents various textures, from fluffy S-shaped curls type to the corkscrews type. Black hair is so special that even one individual may not have a truly homogeneous set of curls.
Just because your black hair has this special texture combination doesn’t mean you can’t use basic hair-care methods to keep it healthy all the time. The essential thing to keep in mind that you need to have a healthy, strong hair that isn’t difficult to detangle and to moisturize.
How to take care of this fragile hair that tends to shrink when dry, but is more elastic than other type of hair? Scroll down for some rules you need to follow and some common mistakes you should avoid when having black hair.
- The myths about African-American hair
- How to straighten/blow-dry black hair
- How often to wash black hair
- To weave or not to weave black hair?
- Taking care of the weaves
- You wash your hair in hot water
- You don’t wrap your hair in a silk scarf
- You don’t add enough moisture
- You use too many chemical treatments
- You don’t have regular treatments
- You don’t get regular trims
- You blow-dry it and iron it too often
- You don’t use the right hair bands
The myths about African-American hair
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you may over-condition your hair. When you’re using a conditioner for “dried, damaged” hair, chances are it’s going to have a lot of protein. Too much protein is going to make your hair too hard though, especially if you let it in your over throughout the entire night. The risk for your hair to harden and eventually break is quite high. Pay special attention when you’re using leave-in conditioners.
When it comes to African-American hair, there’s no such thing as too much moisturizing and moisture as soft and pliable hair is what you’re aiming for anyway.
Another common myth you may have heard by now is that black hair can’t grow long. As a matter of fact, African-American hair grows at the same rate as other hair types, which is around half an inch per month. As your hair is very dry and fragile, it’s going to break a lot easier than other types of hair. Truth be told, it may break at the same rate that it is growing. You may actually help your hair grow when you moisturize it on regular basics and nourish it with the products it needs.
Our list of recommendations continues with some useful tips to follow when taking care of your African-American hair.
How to straighten/blow-dry black hair
It’s essential to use a comb attachment to the blow dryer when your hair is black. Blow-drying wet hair may include a lot of pulling with a brush and last thing you want to do is to end up with some broke hair. African-American hair is quite fragile so you need to let it air-dry a bit or even sit under a dryer for a couple of minutes before actually blow-drying (or hood-drying) it.
How often to wash black hair
Most professionals out their state that washing your hair once a week is quite enough. Since African-American hair is typically drier, washing it more than once a week is going to over-dry it. Additionally, chances for your black hair to look oily after just one week are quite slim.
As the African-American hair is kinky and so curly, oil doesn’t really have the opportunity to go the whole way down the hair shaft anyway in just a few days.
To weave or not to weave black hair?
As long as you’re taking good care of your weaves and you do a specialist session on a regular basis, there are no reasons for you not to try weaves on your black hair. As a matter of fact, a sewn weave is going to protect your natural hair as you’re not going to straighten it or expose it anymore to the outside elements.
However, you should stay away from the glued-in weaves that may rip out your natural hair when you’re removing them.
Taking care of the weaves
Every two or three weeks you need to go see a stylist so that you check the weaves are staying nice and tight. A loose weave may pull on your hair.
It’s also important that you cleanse the scalp very well to minimize risk for buildup and flaking.
How long to keep the weave and put in a new one? Most experts say that every 1.5 or 3 months is just fine. You may want to leave your hair rest for a couple of weeks after two consecutive “weavings”, though.
You may think that you’re taking good care of your hair and cannot explain why your hair may be still tearing or tangling. You may be doing something wrong, so here are some of the common mistakes that people with black hair often make.
You wash your hair in hot water
When you’re using hot water to wash your hair, you’re actually drying a lot more your hair, stripping away moisture.
Instead, you want to use warm water to cleanse the tresses accordingly. Warm water is also going to seal and be more gentle on the cuticle, giving you the healthier hair that you were looking for.
You don’t wrap your hair in a silk scarf
Wrapping your hair in a silk scarf before you go to sleep is important as you don’t want the pillow to absorb the moisture from your hair. It may be the reason for which your hair looks dry in the morning. You’re going to have to use more products and heat just to put the frizz under control. Wrapping your hair in a silk scarf is the easiest way to help your hair stay moisture.
You don’t add enough moisture
The Afro and mixed-race hair needs constant moisture, especially during the colder weather. You should moisturize your skin with an effective hydrating product every day is going to minimize risk for your hair drying. You shouldn’t overdo it, though. Simply use a bit more than you’d use during the summer.
Every couple of days use a night treatment and wrap your hair in silk scarf before going to bed so that you enjoy the results of added hydration.
You use too many chemical treatments
Taking care of your hair and using too many chemical treatments isn’t good for your hair either. You should go to a professional for applying relaxers and colors. You don’t want to have 7 relaxers in a year, so 3 or 4 should be more enough. Don’t forget to have some steam treatments in between.
A professional treatment is going to help your hair grow easier, stronger and healthier too.
You don’t have regular treatments
This is the opposite side of the previous mistake. Afro and curly texture are having a rough time during the cold months. You need to apply a treatment every two weeks to protect, rehydrate and strengthen your hair, keeping it healthy for a longer period.
When you’re not going to an in-salon treatment, you may very well apply a moisturizing masque and add a heat-treat thermal hair conditioning cap for a couple of minutes. Using the right products is going to turn the frizzy hair into shiny, healthier tresses.
You don’t get regular trims
No matter how much you like your hair long, this may damage your hair. The ends of your hair are old and they’re exposed to heat and brushing a lot more. Therefore, you need to trim them on regular basics so they style better. The moment the ends start to split; the effect goes up to mid-lengths so the damage is spread throughout the entire length of your hair.
The solution is to have trims every six weeks so that you enjoy the fresh and healthier looks of your hair, once the damaged hair is trimmed.
You blow-dry it and iron it too often
If you’re flat-ironing and blow-drying your hair very often, you may damage cuticles, dry out the hair and split the strands altogether.
You may want to try roller setting instead of blow-drying your hair. The heat involved is a lot less so this is a gentler way to smooth out your hair.
No matter the method you’re using for heat-styling your hair, you should always start with applying a protective style serum that is going to minimize damage on your hair.
You don’t use the right hair bands
The easiest way to face the wind and rain is to tie your hair back away. An elastic or plastic band is going to pull on your hair, causing damaged cuticles, stress and cuticles.
You should use bands covered in satin or silk instead as the smooth surface is going to protect your hair from damage and breakage, maintaining your hair healthier no matter the weather.
The discussion about the proper care of black hair continues with some easy steps you should consider for having a healthy, stronger and shiny hair the whole time. There are two main problems that you should cover: detangling and moisturizing.
Here’s the kit you need:
- Spray bottle
- Wide-tooth comb
- Hair clips
- Detangling spray/lotion
- Seamless styling brush
- Seamless detangling brush
- Step 1
Put some warm water in a bottle and spray it from root to tip until you feel your hair fully saturated.
- Step 2
Apply the detangling lotion or spray throughout the entire length of your hair. As the detangle is setting, you should start separate your hair with your hands, clip it into 4 or even more than 4 sections. You also need to twist each section so that you minimize shrinkage that is a common problem with African-American hair.
- Step 3
Take one section at a time and untwist it, holding it away from your head. Get a wide tooth comb for detangling the ends of your hair.
- Step 4
Keep on detangling your hair by moving upward to the roots. You don’t want to pull on your scalp, so try your best to hold your hair directly above the area you’re detangling.
- Step 5
Go through the 4 steps once again for each section. Use a seamless detangling brush for brushing your hair as it’s going to help you get rid of the loose hair.
- Step 1
Make again 4 sections or so with your hands and clip them. Don’t forget to twist each of them for minimizing shrinkage.
- Step 2
Continue by untwisting one section of your hair and applying a good amount of moisturizer to your hair from root to tip. Give a good thought about how much moisturizer you need according to the length and thickness of your hair.
- Step 3
Work from root to tip when applying oil to a section. Use a seamless styling brush so that you apply the moisturizer and oil evenly throughout the entire hair.
- Step 4
Go through the steps 2 and 3 for each section and finish by styling your hair the way you typically do.