How To Look After Black Hair

Here’s an article I found that was not written by an African American on Black Hair Care. I say that based on the way the wording is in the article.  In general it’s a good read although of course there are some words that they should have done more research on before using them. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs

Nyesha Samuel, Publisher/Master Loctician for healthylocsblog.com

How To Look After Black Hair

The typical hair and hair follicles of those of African descent are tightly curled, thus producing hair that spirals. Black hair also typically has a larger diameter than Caucasian hair and retains less water, thus its relative “kinkiness.” The many styling methods utilized on Black hair cause concern with hair loss. Black hair is very strong, fortunately so because Black hair styles cause a great deal of Stress on the hair and scalp.

For example, using a hair pick to pick the hair up to a bushy style is a very damaging process due to the constant pulling causing stress on the hair shaft as well as the follicle. In fact, combing Black hair in general can create high stress on Black hair and cause breakage, which perpetuates dryness. Cornrowing and braiding are methods of hairstyling that pull the hair tight, and this can cause a great deal of stress on the hair and scalp resulting in hair loss. Braiding that results in the hair being pulled very tight can cause traumatic alopecia, a hair loss that is caused by trauma to the hair and scalp. Traumatic alopecia is usually reversible with proper hair care.

Hot combs and relaxers used to straighten hair can cause a great deal of heat and chemical damage to hair and scalp, which can also cause traumatic alopecia, and over time can cause permanent hair loss. This becomes especially true when the heat or chemically processed hair is pulled tight by rollers or a hot curling iron.

Hot oil conditioners are excellent for Black hair, as hot oil treatments contain proteins and polymers vital to repairing the hair cuticles. Hot oil treatments involve heating the oil and putting it into the hair and scalp, then covering the hair with a plastic cap to allow the oil to soak in. Follow the recommendations on the treatment you are using for the amount of time you should leave the treatment on the hair. This process can heal breakages and shinier stronger hair will be the result.

Consider that hair relaxers commonly used on Black hair contain lye or similar chemicals that break down the hair shaft. Left on beyond the recommended time, these chemicals would eat right through the hair and cause it to fall out in clumps. This is why these same products are used in products like Drano® to clean clogged drains which often are clogged by hair. No-lye relaxers are very popular today, mainly because it leads people to believe that the product is not caustic. This is far from the truth. The combination of calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate are combined to form guanidine hydroxide, which could just as easily clean a sink. Repeated use of such products can cause some degree of hair loss, and if scarring occurs while using these chemicals, the hair loss can be permanent in that area of the scalp. One must ask themselves is it wise to place such caustic chemicals in the hair on a regular basis for the sake of desired appearance? The question must be answered by each individual, however the facts should be known.

Of course the bottom line is once again, if you can leave your hair in its natural state then you will experience less stress and damage to the hair and thus prevent at least one cause of hair loss. There is a growing segment of the Black population that is becoming comfortable with wearing their hair in natural styles. One such style is dreadlocks. There are many rumors and myths concerning dreadlocks, as there is little proper information available concerning this style, and as with anything that is misunderstood many myths arise around it. Dreadlocks can and must be washed; otherwise they will smell badly like any other dirty hair. The best process to use to wash dreadlocks is to use a residue-free shampoo. Most commercially made shampoos leave residue and can cause hair not to lock, lending fuel to the rumor that hair had to be dirty to form dreadlocks. Clean hair actually locks much better than dirty hair, as dirt is a residue in itself that will inhibit hair from locking. For best results one should use a fragrance free, conditioner free shampoo. Dreadlocks do not react well to oily and greasy substances, yet there are many good substances that are on the market today that will assist you in forming dreadlocks.

Dreadlocks are formed through a process, not simply by not combing or brushing the hair. Generally, one should start with hair about two inches in length, and the hair should be separated into even squares of hair and twisted gently together using a gel substance or hair butter. Once the hair is separated and twisted into small locks, it is important that they are left alone and allowed to bond naturally. The length of time it will take to lock will depend on the coarseness of your hair, but one can normally expect to wait several months before locks begin to form. While the hair is locking, it will need to be washed. Here is where washing should be extended for a while if possible, so that the hair can be allowed to lock for two weeks to about a month without manipulation. When you do wash your hair, use a stocking cap or “do-rag”, and low-pressure water to make sure that the newly forming locks do not come loose. It will be necessary to rinse for a much longer time than you normally do, because of the lower pressure of the water and the lack of direct manipulation of your hair with your hands. The water is good for your hair and locking process, so this is not a problem. It is also imperative as indicated before that you use a shampoo that does not contain a conditioner and leaves as little residue as possible. A little research on your part will be necessary here; your health food store should contain a variety of natural shampoos. Have a skilled professional or a friend re-twist the hair gently, reapplying the twist gel or hair butter that you used previously. Repeat this process every two weeks to a month, the longer you are able to wait the better, and within a few months your hair will begin to lock.

Again, if you have a fine grade of hair rather than a kinky grade of hair, a beautician skilled at forming locks (“locktitian”) or a friend who is very familiar with the hairstyle should be consulted. Even though dreadlocks are mainly a hairstyle for Blacks, there are other races that have people that enjoy the hairstyle. In general, it tends to be a style of hair that in the long run will give the hair and scalp needed rest from the rigors of chemical and heat treatments and rigorous combing and brushing, and therefore can contribute to longer life for your hair.

by http://www.hair-2009.com

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3 thoughts on “How To Look After Black Hair

  1. Didn’t see anything wrong with it. It always amuses me when white folk use “black terminology”. It could be construed as offensive, but in reality, the writer was simply writing the facts; the same facts you will find in a similar article written by a black person.

  2. I like the article. The wording seemed a little awkward but in total it was very informative. Most of the information was stuff I already knew. The article could have been written by an african american. Hopefully it was with all of the information about the chemicals and locing process….

  3. the title of the piece struck me ~how to look after? a very interesting choice of words… sounded grandparently ~although, not said in reference to hair. that phrasing always referred to looking after a person as in “look after your little brother”. then again, perhaps that’s what the author was banking on. @ any rate, there is some good info in the article. i particularly like the analogy of the chemicals in relaxers being the equivalent of the chemicals in Drano. and even the info on starting locs was informative. but again, the wording ~the use of dreadlocks interchangeably with locKs (with a K) ~there should’ve been more research. question: are you certain it was written by a non-Afrikan American? because it kinda does sound like it could’ve been written by an older person of color…….

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