African American hair is fragile and difficult to control and it needs special care and pampering if it’s to look its best …
Caring for Your Gorgeous Black African American Hair …
African-American hair is almost always curly, although the degree of wave varies enormously, and as a general rule your hair will be brittle and have a tendency to split and break.
Your hair’s vulnerability is normally due to your sebaceous glands inability to produce sufficient sebum to moisturize your hair.
In addition, because your hair may be tightly curled, the sebum is unable to travel to the ends of your hair to condition it naturally.
If your curls form kinks this will make your hair thinner and weaker at each bend. If not curly and difficult, your hair may be very fine, making it difficult to style or hold a set.
To treat excessive dryness choose a specialist conditioner that replaces the natural oils lacking in black hair. Massage it in daily and your hair will become more manageable with improved condition and shine.
It’s very important to deep condition your African-American hair regularly.
Straightening African American hair…
Straightening or relaxing your hair is actually perming in reverse. A hair straightener, or chemical relaxer, is combed through your hair and worked through to change the structure and straighten it. The result is permanent, only disappearing once your hair grows.
Chemical relaxers, come in different strengths to suit different hair textures and styles.
Your hair needs to be strong and healthy to take any kind of chemical treatment, so check its strength and elasticity by plucking a hair and holding it firmly between the fingers of both hands; pull gently. If the hair breaks quickly it is weak and in poor condition. If it feels stretchy and strong it’s fine.
Chemical relaxers work best on longer styles as the weight of your hair helps to maintain the straightened look. If you try this at home get advice first, and only use top quality branded products.
Demi-Perming African American Hair …
Very curly African-American hair can be tamed by demi–perming. This allows tight curls to be replaced by larger, loose curls. Demi-perms are good for short hair, it gives a more controlled, manageable shape. On long hair it produces a softer, bouncier look.
More advanced perms involve softening the hair by weaving it on to rollers and then neutralizing it so that the curls are permanently set into their new shape.
To stop frizziness and maintain the definition, special lotions called curl-activators and moisturizing sprays can be used to revive and preserve the curl formation.
Hot Combing Your Hair…
Hot Combs were the most popular straightening method before chemical relaxers became generally available.
The method was know as ‘hot-pressing’ and involved putting a hot iron comb through your hair to loosen the curls.
Up-to-date versions are called ‘thermal texturizers’ and work in a similar way.
Coloring African American Hair…
Color Options are limited due to the natural dryness and porocity of African American hair and it should be colored with caution and always by a professional hairdresser.
If your hair has been relaxed or permed it may be too weak to color successfully.
Techniques such as highlighting, low-lighting or tipping the ends are best.
Some special problems can occur with African American Hair…
Traction hair loss is caused by braiding or weaving too forcibly and too often. This will disrupt your hair follicles, cause scar tissue to form and ultimately, hair loss.
To prevent this, avoid braiding or pulling your hair into tight braids.
Similar problems can result from the misuse of perming or relaxing chemicals.
Ten Top Tips for Caring for African American Hair…
- Always use a wide toothed Afro comb for curly hair and a natural bristle brush for relaxed hair. Combing helps spread the natural oils through your hair, making it look shinier and healthier
- Use Intensive pre-shampoo treatments
- Massage your scalp regularly to encourage oil production
- Shampoo as often as you feel is necessary but only lather once, using a small amount of shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and towel blot dry, don’t rub your hair.
- Try a hot oil treatment once a month. It’ll lubricate dry scalp conditions and moisturize brittle hair.
- If you have a delicate fringe or very fine hair around your hairline, use a tiny round brush and a hairdryer to blend
- Gels are excellent for moulding black hair into shapes. Use a non-greasy formula that gives your hair a healthy sheen
- If you use hot combs or curling tongs, make sure you shield your hair with a protective product
- Use a finishing spray for extra hold and added shine
- Use a softening shampoo for braided hair, it will maintain your moisture balance and eliminate a dry scalp