How to Care for Natural Black Hair

Whether you're a professional hairstylist, have decided to do away with your relaxer and wear your natural curls, or you're caring for your child's hair, it's essential to know how to take care of natural Black hair.

Tips on How to Care for Natural Black Hair

Of course, there are several factors to consider when it comes to Black hair care. One of the most important things to remember is that Black people have a variety of hair textures and curl patterns. Some Black people even have two or three hair textures in their heads at one time. Assessing the hair to determine which products and styling methods are best will keep the hair healthy and looking its best.

Hair is generally divided into four types, so learning which hair type you have can help you come up with a hair care routine. Type 1 hair is straight hair, Type 2 hair is wavy hair. Type 2 hair is divided into three sections — a, b, and c. A is a very loose wave, C is a more defined wave. Type 3 hair is curly hair, and this type of hair is divided into three sections as well, based on the tightness of the curl. Type 4 hair is hair that is tightly coiled. Type 4 hair is divided into A,B and C subgroups as well. However, 4C hair is so coil-y that it may not have a visible curl pattern.

When learning how to care for natural Black hair, you should find both shampoos and conditions that thoroughly clean the hair without stripping the hair of moisture. Washing the hair too often can take away its natural oils. Depending on the hair type and style, washing once every week or two is best. You can also refresh natural hair with co-washing in between washes. This is using conditioner as a shampoo to cleanse the hair without drying it.

Keep in mind that Black natural hair needs lots of moisture. Kinky or coil-y textures tend to “drink up” moisture faster than hair that has a looser curl. Moisturizers that condition the hair and lock in moisture are essential to feed the hair and scalp with nutrients and antioxidants. Leave-in conditioners and hair pomades that contain ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil and vitamins A and E are often included in natural hair products and significantly contribute to hair health.

It's also important to keep Black hair care in mind when preparing for bed. Since natural hair can become dry and is especially fragile, use a silk or satin pillowcase to avoid brittle hair and split ends. You can also wrap your hair with a silk or satin scarf at night to keep it from becoming too dry.

Talk to a stylist about protective styles as well. Wearing your hair in twists or braids can help with moisture retention and allows you to avoid heat styling. Since natural hair comes in several different varieties, experimenting with products and styles is best. This will help you find the regimen and styling items that fit your personal style and preserve the health of your hair.