The African-American hair, also called Black hair, is quite different in texture in comparison to Asian hair or Caucasoid hair. The most common characteristic of this kind of hair is that it is extremely rigid and strong transversally, but is quite flexible in length.
Due to this, the hair often curls up tightly and takes the shape of a spiral. Thus, the African hair looks like a twisted ribbon or a twisted oval.
Another important feature of this kind of black hair is that it does not have a consistent diameter. Both the diameter of the cuticle and the fiber varies through the length of the hair. Due to this structure of the hair and its coiling characteristics, this kind of hair has numerous fragile points.
At various points, the hair cuticles become extremely thin and start flaking quite easily. These stressed areas of the hair are prone to breakage and get damaged easily by chemicals. Even combing the hair vigorously is enough to cause damage to the hair due to flaking.
Another characteristic feature of this black hair is that it contains extremely low levels of moisture in them. This also makes the hair a lot more at risk of weathering. Also, since this kind of hair is extremely curly, it becomes quite difficult to comb it. Thus, it is likely to shed and break even more.
Due to all these features, black hair requires a lot more care than all other kinds of hair. Here are some great tips to help you take care of black hair efficiently, which well help to prevent hair damage to a great extent.
Tips to Care for Black Hair
Massage Scalp Well:
Massage your scalp on a regular basis as it encourages the production of naturally existing oil in the hair.
Comb your hair using an Afro Comb:
Always make sure to use of a wide-toothed comb, called the Afro comb, for combing your hair. Combing also promotes the spreading of natural oil throughout the hair, thus making it appear healthier and shinier.
Use concentrated pre-shampoo treatments:
You can shampoo your hair as many times a week as you want, but make sure not to lather it more than once, and use a little amount of shampoo for the purpose. Make sure to rinse the hair thoroughly after washing.
Towel-blow your hair:
Always dry your hair by towel-blowing your hair. Make sure never to rub the hair with the towel as it can cause damage to the hair.
Hot oil treatment:
Use a hot oil treatment on your hair at least once a month. This is quite important as it helps in lubricating the dry scalp and keeps the black hair well moisturized.
Choose non-greasy hair gel:
Make sure to always purchase non-greasy hair gel formula for your hair in order to maintain the healthy sheen of the hair.
Comb hair properly:
While combing the black hair, begin combing your hair from the tip of the hair and slowly work your way towards the roots. This technique of combing the hair is a lot less damaging.
Trim hair regularly:
Get your hair trimmed regularly to remove split-ends and prevent hair breakage.
Avoid pulling back hair:
Avoid ‘pulled-back’ hairstyles such as buns, braids, or cornrows as much as you can. The additional stress applied on the hair with these hairstyles can weaken them from the edges.
Avoid heat treatments:
Avoid all hair treatments that involve the use of heat on the hair. This means that you should avoid hot hair drying, chemical relaxers, and hair straightners.
Avoid hair care products containing chemicals and alcohol:
Products for Black Hair Care
Besides these tips for taking care of black hair, there are a few black hair products which can be used to care for your hair. Since black hair has completely distinct characteristics and problems, it requires special hair care products that have been designed specifically for the fragile black hair. Some of the important products that you must have to take care of your black hair optimally include:
• Premium hydrating shampoo
• Hot oil treatment
• Deep moisturizing conditioner
• Leave-in conditioner
When buying any of these products for black hair, it is extremely important that you read the labels beforehand. Keep in mind that black hair is usually very dry and you need to buy those products that would provide moisture to the hair, not dry it further. Some products claim to be hydrating or moisturizing, but actually contain certain chemicals that can damage the black hair further. The ingredients that must be avoided completely include:
• Isopropyl alcohol
If you find any of the above mentioned ingredients in your hair care products, make sure to avoid those products completely. A number of good quality black hair care products are available these days. Therefore, there is no need for you to comprise on any inferior products.
Important Hair Care Tools for Black Hair
Black hair needs to be treated differently than other kinds of hair. Keeping this in mind, here are a few special hair care tools that everyone with black hair must possess.
A bonnet dryer, also called hooded dryer, is an extremely important tool for black hair. It protects the hair from the direct heat waves and dries the hair using gentle indirect heat. In fact, it conditions the hair to a great extent. It can be used to lock hairstyles in place after applying hair rollers or styling rods.
If you look closely at your regular plastic comb, you will find a ridge made up of jagged saw-like teeth running in the middle. Every time this comb is used to brush the hair, it shreds up the hair, a bit at a time, leading to breakage and split ends.
Bone combs are actually handmade combs, which are quite smooth on the scalp and do not comprise of ridges which damage the hair and scalp. After using a bone comb for a short while, you can notice a considerable difference in your hair.
Satin or Silk Pillowcase / Scarf
Though cotton is the most common fabric that is used by most people for pillowcases and scarves, but the truth is that, it absorbs a lot of moisture and thus, must not be used for sleeping with the head pressed against it. The friction with cotton fabric while sleeping can lead to breakage of hair.
The only way to avoid this is to use a satin or silk pillowcase or wrap a satin or silk scarf around your hair. The smooth texture of satin and silk do not cause friction with the hair and do not rob the hair off the essential moisture. Try the above mentioned hair care tips for black hair and your hair will surely thank you.
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