If you’re like most people with curly or kinky hair, your hair journey has probably been complicated.
For most people of color, knowing how to take care of black hair can be a bit of a struggle, especially when many common hair myths and popular products are designed for people dealing with straighter (and much less complex!) hair.
Whether you’ve been maintaining your hair’s curly appearance for years or you’re just transitioning to your natural style, a few simple black hair care tips can make all the difference. Here’s a complete guide to everything you should know about caring for black hair.
Know-How to Take Care of Black Hair by Hair Type
Before we dive into black hair care ideas, it’s important to start with the basics. Do you know your hair type? Black hair comes in a spectrum, and understanding what kind of curl pattern you have can help you figure out the products and strategies that work best for your locks.
Check your hair against hair charts and pictures online to get a better sense of where you stand.
Work to Prevent or Reduce Hair Shedding
This is one of the most important black hair care tips, and it’s also an endless battle. Our hair is actually dead, meaning that it naturally tends to wear down and fall off. As a result, it’s normal to lose up to 100 strands a day, and that’s without getting into hair breakage.
However, there are a few things you can do for healthier hair in the long run. Excessive shedding often happens due to poor health, especially bad sleeping or eating habits. To make sure you’re shedding less, you must in turn take good care of your body!
Get plenty of sleep, and eat food that encourages proper hair growth. This includes foods with calcium, iron, and protein. If you haven’t already looked into supplemental vitamins for hair health, you might want to take a peek at the SugarBear Hair before and after photos and reviews: one simple change makes a big difference on your hair!
Take Steps to Prevent or Reduce Hair Breakage
The biggest tip here is to moisturize.
Black hair tends to be curly and kinky, which makes it harder for our scalp to distribute sebum, the natural oil it produces. This can make the ends of your hair especially dry, as the oil has the least chance of reaching further away. And when your hair isn’t properly moisturized, it tends to dry out and break away.
Make sure to use a daily moisturizer with natural oils that seal in moisture. Popular options are brands that use coconut, avocado, jojoba, and Jamaican black castor oil.
You’ll also want to deep condition your hair regularly, about every 2-3 weeks. Deep conditioning can help replenish your hair’s nutrients and make it a little more elastic and less brittle.
Don’t forget to be cautious when straightening or relaxing your hair, as heat damage can cause breakage in the long term. Only use intensive techniques like these when you need to.
Finally, depending on your hair type, you may want to wash your hair a little less often, as this keeps your shampoo from stripping your scalp of its sebum. You can also avoid shampoo entirely if you prefer. Some people use a strategy called “co-washing,” or washing with conditioner only, and others use alternatives to shampoo, so play around to figure out what works best with your hair.
Use Protective Styles to Keep Hair Healthy
Protective styles can be a great option if you’re wondering how to take care of hair for black women or men alike—as long as the hair in question is long enough!
With protective styles, the weaker and more fragile ends of your hair are tucked away. They also help ensure you aren’t manipulating and combing your hair as often (which can cause additional breakage).
Protective styles vary greatly, meaning you can find black hairstyling ideas no matter what look you’re going for. Plus, finding the right style means hassle-free haircare and a style you can wear in the workplace as well as a night out.
Opt for braids, twists, or weaves, but make sure that you keep the style for only 6-8 weeks at a time. Make sure that your protective style isn’t too tight, as this can damage your hair further. You’ll also need to keep your hair moisturized regularly as well.
Wrap up Your Hair to Trap Moisture
Wrapping up your hair overnight can be a huge benefit for several reasons, and it helps with some of the points above.
Sleeping on a normal pillowcase, especially a cotton one, will only drain the moisture you’ve worked so hard to keep in your hair! Some people recommend sleeping with a silk pillowcase if you can find one, as this can help keep that moisture where it belongs. However, this option may not work well if you have acne-prone skin, as it can cause additional facial breakouts and irritation.
Instead, try using a silk wrap or bonnet for just your hair. This traps moisture in, protects your style, and even encourages hair growth.
Take Care of Your Ends for Healthier Hair
No matter what kind of hair you have, split ends are a concern—but those frayed or dead ends can be a special concern for those with naturally curly hair. As mentioned above, it’s hard for the scalp’s natural oil to reach the ends when your locks come in kinks and curls.
Even if you’re tempted to hang onto those split ends for longer hair, it’s a good idea to cut them off instead. With fraying or dead ends, the ends of your hair will continue breaking over time, making it look like you’ve had no hair growth at all. Often, cleaning up your hair routine and snipping dead ends can help you get healthier hair faster than you might have by ignoring them.
Don’t forget to also use products that seal and bind your split ends, as these can help you hold your long hair together longer. Paired with other split-end strategies, this gives you a better chance at healthier, longer locks.
Love Your Natural Hair
No matter what kind of hair type you have, it pays to experiment to find the products and styles that work best. Knowing how to take care of black hair is a process, not a single item to check off your to-do list—but the final reward is stunning hair that’s as beautiful as it is natural.
Looking for more of the beauty and style tips you need? Check out our other blog posts for more helpful insights!