Did you spend a good part of your early twenties straightening your curly hair because you felt that your natural hair wasn’t beautiful enough? Did you consider dying it a lighter shade because you felt that it was too different from what your peers had?
If the answer to that is a yes, let me first begin by apologizing to you on behalf of the society that made you feel that your beautiful black and curly hair isn’t worth celebrating. Because it is.
For a large part of history, black people have been maligned, and as slaves, they were made to shave their hair, or keep it covered, conditioning them to feel conscious and insecure in what isn’t actually a flaw, but a wonderful gift of nature; big, black and curly hair.
And if you’re someone who’s just starting to love this gift of theirs and want to learn more about how to better care for it, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’ll be sharing with you several tips on how to make your naturally black and curly hair look absolutely luscious and breathtaking. So stick around until the end.
How is Black hair different?
Black people tend to have hair that has a texture that is different from those with light skin. For the most part, it lacks moisture, making it more likely to break or become brittle. This lack of moisture is due to their hair being coiled or curled, preventing the natural oils from moving down along the hair strands. Hair loss as well as dandruff are also common concerns with black hair.
Keeping these main differences in mind allows you to come up with a better hair care regime and in turn promote healthier hair that is less fragile, dry and damaged.
How to care for Black hair?
Wash less frequently
Since black hair lacks moisture to begin with, it is important to ensure that one washes it less frequently to avoid removing and stripping off the natural oils as this could lead to excessive scalp dryness, along with dandruff and itchiness. Once or twice a week works best for people in most cases and the same is also recommended by The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
Avoid harsh products
Many shampoos contain harsh ingredients such as sulphates which dry out the hair, making it more prone to drying and breaking. For black hair, which has a lower moisture content, such products can wreak havoc. Instead, try to stick to gentler hair care products, which not only help to clear out dirt and impurities, but also keep the hair feeling nourished and healthy. You can also pretreat, or ‘pre-poo’ your hair using a mask or oil before going in with a shampoo to detangle hair, prevent stripping and boost the hair’s moisture.
Go deep with conditioning
Restoring moisture by way of deep conditioning works wonders in keeping black hair looking and feeling soft. Once you’ve shampooed your hair, follow up with a deep conditioner and use your fingers to detangle the hair. Rinse off the conditioner and squeeze out the excess water.
Moisturize the hair
Yes, you read that right. Just as your skin needs moisturizing, so does your hair, especially if it’s prone to breakage like most black hair is. Follow the LOC method to keep dryness and frizz at bay. What’s the LOC method? It’s Liquid, Oil and Cream. First use a water-based hair moisturizing product, seal the moisture using an oil, (we recommend the Leovard Oil Fusion), then layer up with a cream to better manage your hair if it tends to get unruly and out of hand.
Go easy on styling
Opt for styles that are known as low-manipulation such as buns, rolls or twists. These help to keep tangles away, and help you look great throughout the week. Many people with black or Afro hair find protective styles to work for them such as braids, twists, dreadlocks, or weaves. You can keep your hair in these styles for up to 8 weeks, after which it’s important to let them loose and deep clean them.
Invest in a silk bonnet
While sleeping, our hair tends to experience lots of friction as we toss and turn about throughout the night. This results in hair breakage and can also lead to frizzy hair. Wearing a silk bonnet while sleeping has become popular because it helps reduce such friction, thereby promoting better hair health. It’s worth a try and the results are mind blowing.
Don’t brush dry hair
You may have heard that brushing wet hair is an absolute no, with black hair, it’s what works best. Wet hair provides slip, helping to remove tangles without all the tugging and pulling. So after your shower, apply a few drops of leave in conditioner while the hair is still slightly wet and detangle the hair using a wide tooth comb.
You might feel that your black hair is too much to handle or too difficult to tame. But you need to ask yourself where that thought came from. Is it really ‘difficult’ hair, or the societal construct that you need to control it? I should think it’s the latter because I believe some people are born with a natural crown of big, curly and bouncy hair because they deserve it.