By Serfronya Wallace
Caring for natural hair requires knowledge. That’s because despite its looks, natural hair is fragile and requires precautions to prevent breakage. Also, it is common for more than one hair texture to grow from the same scalp. So finding products that work for all the textures can be tricky. However, taking the following steps will make hair care more manageable.
1. Keep hair and scalp hydrated. Although water hydrates the hair, the frequency that the hair needs to be washed varies. Some wash their African textured hair anywhere from daily to once every two weeks. Wash as often as necessary to keep tresses healthy. And drink plenty of water daily to hydrate the scalp and hair roots.
2. Find a good shampoo. Steer clear of ingredients that can damage hair, such as alcohol. Experimentation with different shampoos will eventually lead to ones that work well. Purchase a few good products and then alternate them from time to time. This way hair will not build up a resistance to the ingredients in one particular shampoo.
3. Always use a conditioner. Once washed, natural hair tends to tangle. So a conditioner that acts as a detangler is a must. Also, don’t use conditioners that leave the hair feeling straw-like. Choose ones that give hair a soft feel after being rinsed out. Also, deep condition at least once a month to revitalize tresses.
4. Comb and brush hair with care. Often, African textured hair contains many coils or kinks. And each of these twists or bends in the hair is a fragile point susceptible to breakage. So it is imperative not to force a comb or brush through the hair. Trying to comb out knots causes the hair to snap off where the knot begins. Instead, use the fingers to work tangles out of the hair. Then comb through with a wide toothed comb. Choose brushes with boar bristles because they are gentler on the hair than synthetic bristles. Also, natural hair is stressed less when combed while wet. But brushing dampened hair is not advisable.
5. Avoid using damaging items in the hair. Do not wear the hair in tight braids or cornrows. Stay away from abrasive head coverings. They rub against the hair and cause friction, which can lead to breakage. And avoid elastic hair holders and rubber bands when possible. Or choose to use non-break rubber bands. And cut – don’t pull – them out of the hair when removing them. Also, heat damages natural hair. So blow dry or press the hair sparingly.
6. Protect hair while sleeping. Silk does not cause friction with natural hair. So sleep on a silk pillowcase. Silk scarves tend to slip off during slumber. So opt for a silk or satin cap instead. They can be purchased at beauty supply shops or even at mass retail stores. Also, prolong styles such as braids and cornrows by wearing a stocking cap while you sleep.
Keeping African textured hair natural can be challenging. It requires patience and flexibility. Also, some trial and error with products and styling methods is necessary. But by utilizing the above pointers, in time, black hair care will become easier.