Natural black hair is often assumed to be thick and course, but some of it is the most fine and delicate hair of all. It’s so delicate in fact that breakage and dryness is almost impossible to avoid from time to time, especially if you’re not sure about how to properly care for your locks and keep them from becoming over stressed through treatments, styling and products. Many people with natural African American hair have trouble with growing it out because it can be damaged so easily and takes such a long time to gain any real length. Knowing how to care for your hair properly and keep it from breaking and becoming damaged is one way to give it a fighting chance against the elements and your straight iron. Read on for a few tips you might be able to use throughout your day to day hair care to keep breakage to a minimum.
Believe it or not sometimes you’ve got to trim your hair to get it to grow; this may seem a little backwards, but it’s kind of like pruning a rose bed, if you want your flowers to flourish you’ve got to clear out the dead ones so that the fresh ones can come in stronger. Blackgirllonghair.com writes:
Split ends and knots can compromise the strength of the strands in which they occur. Cut just about the knot or split with sharp scissors.
This might not be something that you want to do all by yourself unless you’ve got some education in hair care and aesthetics. Otherwise, it’s really best to have your stylist go over your hair for you and pick out the pieces that need to be trimmed. Going in for a cut at least twice a year is best to keep your ends healthy and in good condition. There’s no point trying to grow it out if it looks like it’s fried crispy at the tips from too much stylish with heat or acidic products.
Wrap Your Hair
One way that you can take a lot of extra stress off of your hair is to cut out some of the friction it receives throughout the day. If you plan on spending the day inside where you can get pampered away from prying eyes, find yourself a tasteful silk scarf and wrap your hair back in it. This is a great method to try when you’re going to be out in the sun for long hours as well, like lying on the beach, or swimming in the ocean. The scarf will keep your hair from rubbing on things, flying away or getting overheated and fried by the UV rays of the sun. You can use this trick at night when you go to bed as well to keep your hair from rubbing against the pillow all night long which can cause some serious split ends and breakage. This happens due to the friction from tossing and turning and is especially a problem if you’ve got overly curly hair. You can guarantee yourself a little less frizz by trying this out as well, which is another way to maintain good hair health.
This is referring to combs and hair elastics because a lot of brushes, combs and hair ties these days have rough seams that stick out and can get tangled in the strands of your hair. G.G. Renee Hill of TransitioningMovement.com explains:
If you look closely at your combs, you may notice that the seams are uneven or jagged. These seams could be guilty of snagging and damaging your hair.
Similarly on hair ties you’ve probably noticed little metal bindings holding the band together so that it stays in a loop. You can buy “ouchless” bands from most hair care retailers now that have no seam at all and easily slide in and out of your hair. Be careful about using anything that’s rubber as well; a plain rubber band might be cheap, but the sticky, stretchy material will pull your hair right out of your head while you’re putting it in and taking it out. It’s best to use something covered in soft material that can’t snag your hair when you’re styling it.
Protective hair styles like braids keep your hair from becoming overly distressed throughout the day and keeps it tucked in and safe from harmful environmental factors. It also means less of a hassle with styling tools like dryers, curling irons and straightening wands, which gives your hair a break from heat and allows it to maintain its natural oils which usually dry out over time when it’s exposed to the elements. Faith Ritter of adoptionhelp.org suggests:
Braiding and cornrowing are styling options that are ideal for our hair texture and it helps keep the shaft and ends protected from the cold temperatures and the damaging sun.
Braiding is also a huge trend right now, meaning that weather you go with tight cornrows or a loose mermaid tail you’ll be fitting in with celebrities and locals alike.
The most important part of natural black hair care will always be the moisturizing factor and what products you’re using in it to keep it from drying out. Suite101.com expresses that:
Make moisturizing your hair a part of your daily routine so that it becomes a habit. A great oil that can be used to moisturize your hair is coconut oil. Not only will this oil keep your hair soft, but also it will improve elasticity.
Whether you go with coconut oil, or you try something more easily found like olive oil, your hair will thank you when it doesn’t wind up broken and damaged at the end of each day. If you’ve got long or even medium length hair you can try combing the oil through it at night before bed. Once your hair is coated lightly and your scalp has been massaged so that the oil can properly penetrate it, braid your hair into one, two, or a few different snug braids to hold the oil in, and sleep on it. When you wake up, your hair will feel soft and much easier to work with.