The key to properly maintaining African American hair is moisturizing. Black hair feeds on the natural oils of the body as well as any additional oils added as part of a daily regimen (such as jojoba oil, olive oil, and coconut oil). The best way to maintain healthy Type 4a hair is to train it by creating a daily routine and sticking to it.

For natural or relaxed hair, start the morning by stimulating the hair with a co-wash or water spritz. For a co-wash, wet the hair down with warm water and apply a moisturizing conditioner to the hair (not the scalp). Try to stay at least 1-2 inches away from the scalp unless it is dry. Lather conditioner from the root to the tip of the hair. Rinse the conditioner out of the hair completely. Follow rinse with a moisturizing leave-in conditioner. If the hair is only spritzed with water, apply leave-in conditioner from root to tip. Once the hair has been conditioned, apply a tablespoon or two of shea butter mixture to the hair (enough to coat the hair but not completely saturate). Rub the mixture from front to back, left to right – in order to guarantee complete coverage of the hair. The mixture may appear white but will dry clear.

A recommended shea butter mixture recipe is: 1 cup of shea butter, 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of conditioner. Mix well until completely blended. After shea butter is applied, use a preferred styling gel (or coconut oil) to style hair. Styling gel can be used on the edges in order to pull baby hair forward and allow it to be styled. For best practice, apply styling gel along front edges of hair, follow up with a toothbrush – slicking the hair down and towards the front of the face. Use the toothbrush to create “waves” with the baby hair.

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