If you’ve got African American hair or black hair, you probably already know that it takes a little more effort to take proper care of your hair compared to women who have silky, normal hair. You may have been told that you shouldn’t wash your hair too often. While it’s true that washing it daily could lead to your hair drying out, regular usage of shampoo and conditioner is not detrimental for your hair. On the contrary, it’s healthy and necessary to keep your hair and scalp clean! Your hair needs constant moisture so it’s important that you give your hair what it needs and when it needs it.
Washing it Right
One fact you may not know is that water is what moisturizes your hair. All the different hair products such as oils, serums and conditioners that are intended to moisturize your hair simply lock in the moisture that water has put in, they do not moisturize on their own.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to washing black hair is that you must be gentle.
Follow the following rules to wash your black hair right:
- Using a wide toothcomb, detangle your hair starting with the ends, all the way up to the roots.
- Wet your hair in order to soften it.
- Apply your preferred shampoo to damp hair. Take a dime or quarter sized amount of shampoo and form it into a lather. Use as much water as necessary to get a proper lather.
- Massage the shampoo all over your head to ensure the shampoo gets on your roots and scalp.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly until all of the shampoo has been properly washed off. Part your hair and if you feel all of the shampoo is not washed off properly, rinse again, or until you feel content.
- Gently squeeze the water out of your hair.
The next step in how to wash black hair is using a good conditioner that you know works well with your hair. Shampoo helps to clean your hair but conditioner is what helps it look and feel healthy. Try to avoid missing conditioner after shampooing your hair. This is because once the natural oils have been taken out of the hair, moisture needs to be put back in.
As for applying the conditioner, you will need to apply a substantial amount of conditioner starting from your roots to the ends. Apply the conditioner to your ends and throughout your hair strands. It’s best not to apply the conditioner on your scalp, especially if you have a dry scalp and dandruff.
Once you’ve applied the conditioner all over your hair, let it sit according to the instructions on the conditioner, or an average for 2-3 minutes. If you would like deep penetration of the conditioner, use a plastic cap and heat.
Rinse the conditioner from your hair, without over rinsing. This is because you want to leave a thin coating of conditioner in your hair in order to retain moisture.
Once you have rinsed properly, gently squeeze out the water from your hair.
Applying Leave-in Conditioner for Black Hair
Once you have completed shampooing and conditioning your hair, you can opt to use a leave-in conditioner product for your hair. Coat your hair completely with the leave-in conditioner and leave on according to the directions provided on the product.
Leave-in conditioners can help your hair in the following ways:
- Moisturizes and detangles your hair
- Helps control frizzy hair
- Makes your hair softer and easier to manage
- Acts as a cooler and heat barrier, whether from direct or indirect hair drying
Wash off the leave-in conditioner and rinse your hair once more. Use a blow dryer that you are comfortable with to dry your afro hair. Never rub with a towel as this causes damage and breakage to hair.
Keep in mind that not all blow dryers are meant for African American hair. It’s always a good idea to find out before purchasing if the blow dryer is a good pick for your hair and the features that the blow dryer contains.
If you prefer natural products, you can always choose natural hair oils or hair butter to apply on your hair. There are also great hair oils like olive oil, jojaba oil or coconut oil, which can be applied on your hair for routine care. These products will help keep your hair healthier and more easily manageable.
It’s always a good idea to speak to a hair professional to get personalized suggestions for your hair. As every individual’s hair is different, some things work better on others. But for an overall great hair wash, don’t hesitate to go through the aforementioned steps.
- Wikipedia, Afro-textured hair
- Rumeana Jahangir, How does black hair reflect black history?, 31 May 2015
- Matrix, 6 Co-Washing Tips for Natural and Relaxed African American Hair
- Avalon, The Best African American Hair Care Tips, August 10, 2013