Black Hair Care Essentials: Tips and Best Practices
Whether your hair is straight, braided, in a fro or curly, it needs to be moisturized regularly. Use a sulfate-free cleanser and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner, such as Maui Moisture’s Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Conditioner.
Black American adults strongly associate their hair styles with personal identity, indicating that products should help them establish and achieve their look.
1. Cleanse Your Hair Regularly
When it comes to black hair care, cleansing is an essential step. Whether your hair is natural or chemically relaxed, it needs to be washed to remove dirt, oil, and product buildup on the scalp and hair strands.
When you wash your hair, it’s important to use a shampoo that is gentle but effective. Try a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo like African Black Soap Reviving Shampoo from Melanin Haircare, which also contains Shea butter and aloe to help hydrate the hair.
Some black women may only need to shampoo their hair once every seven to fourteen days, but that will vary depending on your hair type and protective style. If you do need to wash your hair more frequently, it’s important to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner afterward.
2. Moisturize Your Hair Regularly
Black hair is more prone to dryness than most, so it’s essential to moisturize it regularly. Spritzing your hair with water or drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water each day can help, as can using a moisturizing shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like sulfates.
A great option is SheaMoisture Moringa & Avocado Power Greens Shampoo and Conditioner, which use “power greens” such as moringa and avocado to nourish and soften curls. You can also try SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo, which is specifically made for thick, curly and kinky hair.
Another great option is Design Essentials Moisturizing and Detangling Sulfate Free Shampoo, which helps hydrate and detangles natural or relaxed hair. It’s also very affordable, which is always a plus!
3. Avoid Heat Styling
When you heat style your hair, it sucks the internal moisture out of your strands and leaves them dry, brittle, and more vulnerable to breakage. Heat styling should be avoided whenever possible, but if you must use it, always apply a heat protectant spray to help prevent damage and keep your hair healthy.
Graying is inevitable for everyone, but the best way to keep your hair black and healthy is to use natural dyes, like indigo or henna. These products will preserve the eumelanin in your hair so that it retains its jet black color instead of fading to gray. This will also prevent hair breakage and other issues caused by chemical and heat-based hair dyes.
4. Trim Your Hair Regularly
Getting regular trims is important for black hair care because split ends can cause your hair to look thin and unhealthy. Also, trimming your hair regularly helps prevent those dreaded dead hair balls (aka fairy knots) that make it difficult to detangle your hair.
Many doctors don’t understand the unique needs of textured hair, so it’s important to find a doctor or stylist who is familiar with black hair care. They will be able to give you advice on how to take care of your hair and recommend the right products for your hair type.
Taking care of black hair is a personal journey that is rooted in history, culture, and family values. However, caring for black hair can be challenging because it requires patience and consistency.
5. Get Your Ends Trimmed Regularly
Getting a fresh trim every six to eight weeks will help keep your hair healthy and prevent split ends from traveling up the length of your hair. Having healthy, strong hair is important for Black women and it can be hard to achieve without regular trimmings.
If you are not able to get your hair professionally trimmed, try using a hot oil treatment or co-washing (using conditioner as a wash instead of shampoo) and follow it up with a deep conditioner to restore moisture to your locks.
It is also important to avoid products or treatments that pull on your hair. If you use products that do not allow your textured hair to move freely, they will cause damage to your locks and lead to breakage and thinning.