Black hair is beautiful, whether it is natural, relaxed, or braided. The key to healthy, beautiful hair is moisture and gentle treatment. Without these, black hair can become dry and brittle. Caring for black hair takes a little bit of extra effort, but the soft, silky, and healthy results are worth it.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent years trying to figure out what your natural hair wants and needs. When I was younger, my mom took care of my hair, which typically involved natural hairstyles like twist-outs, the occasional hot comb, or a day off from school to head to the salon for cornrows or braids (a rite of passage for any black girl at the time). When I hit high school, I begged her for a perm or perm rod set on my natural hair, which led to a continuous cycle of dyeing, frying, and chopping my extra-thick 4c hair on numerous occasions before I fully committed to it in its natural state.
Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase to prevent frizz, breakage, and dryness. This way, your hair can stay healthy and won't break or tear. Cotton pillowcases tend to snag hair and create tiny rips and tears. They also tend to suck the moisture out of your hair, which can make it even more frizzy and brittle.
Satin or silk pillowcases are also great for skin, as they don't draw out moisture the way cotton pillowcases do. See feed-in braids and stich braids here...
The first thing you must know: African American hair is SUPER curly and gets REALLY dry. If it is not properly moisturized, the strands of hair that shed can attach to the healthy hair, creating knots in the most fragile parts of the healthy hair strands—the bends. This is what causes the “tangles.” The shed hair creates almost a web with the healthy hair, and when those tangles/webs/knots are not properly removed, they can cause the hair to break in those fragile parts of the strands.
The most important thing for you to do when washing and styling her hair is to make sure, first, that you get all the shed hair and those knots out—that her hair is properly detangled. The only way you can do that is to make sure that there is enough “slip” for the hair so that the knots can “slip” out without damaging the healthy strands. To do this, you must have the proper tools:
A good detangling comb can make some dope Black hairstyles.
Apply some oil to natural hair every day and straightened/relaxed hair twice a week. Look for products that contain natural oils, such as almond, Argan, coconut, and jojoba. You can also just use natural oils straight from the bottle on Goddess braids instead. Skip products with petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oils. They will only dry your hair out and stop moisture from penetrating the shaft.
A little bit of oil goes a long way. Start with a small amount, about the size of a dime, and add more as necessary.
After washing your hair, apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner, then add the oil of your choice. This seal in moisture and ensure that your hair stays healthy.
A good conditioner (I use Herbal Essences Hello Hydration or Long Term Relationship; it’s at any grocery store)
A spray bottle
Olive oil or coconut oil
Wash the silk pillowcases once a week. You can do it by hand or using a washing machine. Check the label before washing them.
If you can't get a satin or silk pillowcase, consider tying your hair up at night with a satin or silk scarf instead.
Take the one section into your hand and spray it down with the water and oil mixture. Then apply a generous amount of the conditioner directly onto her hair, from root to tip. Go nuts with it.
The idea is to get the hair as moist as you can with the product, so that it creates that slip I was telling you about. Once the hair is saturated, use your fingers to feel for the knots and GENTLY separate the hair from the knots, working them out with your fingers. Once you can pull your fingers through her hair without feeling any knots, then you can use the detangling come to make sure you can comb through it. See articles about short hairstyles for Black women.
Over the past 10 years, relaxers have been deprioritized in the black community. Other presumed less-harmful chemicals began to take their place, such as the keratin treatments. It was not until we learned about formaldehyde that clients and stylists began to back off from the keratin treatments.
Use a hot oil treatment twice a month to add moisture and elasticity to your hair. Heat ½ to 1 cup (120 to 240 milliliters) of oil in a double-boiler or a jar in a pot of hot water. Part your hair into several sections, then use an applicator bottle to apply the oil. Massage the oil into your hair and scalp, then cover your hair with a shower cap for 30 minutes. Once the time is up, wash your hair as usual with shampoo. [ See article about sisterlocks on natural hair here ]
If you don't want to warm up the oil in advance, you can apply it then sit under a hooded hair dryer for 30 minutes while wearing a shower cap.
Don't use a microwave to heat the oil, or it will lose its nutrients.
If you don't have a shower cap, you can wrap a damp, warm towel around your hair instead.
You can use any of the following oils: Argan, avocado, castor, coconut, jojoba, olive, sesame, and sweet almond.
That signaled the start of the chemical-free craze. Everybody wanted to be natural but still get their hair straightened. The problem was that most people’s hair would not last through humidity or exercising, so try using a satin-lined cap for locs. When they had to shampoo it naturally, they did not know what to do in terms of lemonade braids styling. Their hair had uneven textures and was just difficult to manage. From there began the “big chop” phase, removing all compromised ends that were not natural in texture.
Put that section into a loose two strand twist hairstyles, or just clip it back up, and then move on to the next section until her whole head of hair is detangled.