Ethnic hair care does not get equal coverage in mainstream magazines. African American hair texture differs significantly from those showcased within the pages. We tend to have unique issues regarding the health, maintenance, and styling of our hair. If your hair is relaxed, natural, or colored you can still keep it manageable and healthy. You just have to know some basic principles.
Typically, women of color have slower hair growth. Despite this, regular trims are still a must. Our hair can be more prone to breakage. In an effort to grow out my current style, I once decided to forgo a couple of trims. By the time I went back for a trim, my hair was seriously damaged. I had to have more cut off than what I would have if I had just got my regular trims. These are necessary to keep your hair healthy, even if your goal isn’t length. See your stylist for a trim at least every six weeks, it is key to prevent and/or control split ends and breakage.
African Americans may also have more difficulty keeping hair moisturized. Washing the hair on a daily basis is generally not needed. Every other day, sometimes less, is usually sufficient depending on your personal needs. Obviously, if you sweat it up at the gym frequently, hair will have to be washed accordingly. A conditioner should always be used after shampooing. Shampoos that contain conditioners are available but I don’t recommend these unless you regularly apply hot oil or another type of deep moisturizing treatment fairly often. However, if you use the 2 in 1 and it’s working well, then I wouldn’t discontinue.
Blow drying hair is not only time consuming but it can be bad for your hair. Use a low heat setting or if possible, use no heat at all. Before you begin, towel blot hair and wrap with a turban to soak up any excess water. This not only speeds up drying but reduces the amount of exposure to the heat. Put your hair into four to six sections before you you blow dry. Start with the bottom section at the nape of the neck and work to the higher sections. After hair is thoroughly dried, apply leave in conditioner or moisturizer.
There is a tendency to use a heavy moisturizer, but I prefer light based ones that are less greasy. You want something that isn’t going to weigh down the hair or leave it oily. It is just as important to moisturize the scalp as the hair itself. With this, I start at the back portion of the hair at the tips and work my way up to the front. Use a small amount, begin with a dime or quarter size amount. Add more if not satisfied with the outcome. If you anticipate styling the hair with heat, try to use a moisturizer specifically formulated for heat styling. Heat styling should be minimized as much as possible if the hair is chemically relaxed or colored.
Ethnic hair is just as beautiful as other hair types. The main thing is to keep it healthy. For those who like the natural look, the same tips apply. Remember to get regular trims, minimize heat styling, and to moisturize to maintain the optimum look, feel, and health of your hair.