How to Wear and Care for Natural African Descent Hair Styles

This is a cool article on natural hair maintenance for African Americans.  I don’t agree with everything the sista says about locs, but leave a comment and let me know what you think.  She claims you can’t walk into a salon and leave with locs, which isn’t true. because you can walk in with a fro and leave with locs these days. It may take them 6 months to a year to mature, but you can definitely walk out with a fresh head of locs.  Also I don’t like the way she says that locs are “the most “do-nothing” hair style you will ever wear” . It’s true that locs are low maintenance, but i hate when people try to attach a lazy tone to the style of locs or people who wear them.

Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs

Nyesha Samuel, Publisher & Master loctician.

How to Wear and Care for Natural African Descent Hair Styles

Natural African descent hair is full bodied, full textured and full of possibilities. Men and women of African descent are choosing to wear their hair without the use of chemicals or heat. During the revival of African traditions and culture in the 1960s, natural hairstyles were embraced by people of African descent regardless of age, sex or profession. Afros, cornrows, braids, dreadlocks, sister locks and twists are easy to care for and highly expressive hair styles. Weaves and perms will cost you far more time and money to maintain. Prolonged chemical use may cost you your hair growth and your health. Embracing a chemical-free approach to styling will reward you with thicker, longer hair.


Things You’ll Need:

  • Shampoo for people of color
  • Cream conditioner
  • Hair and scalp moisturizer
  1. Step 1

    Shampoo your hair an average of once a week. More frequent shampooing strips your hair and scalp of vital oils; less frequent shampooing allows a buildup of oils and dirt. Avoid clear or translucent shampoos. These shampoos do not supply the oils needed to restore the oil balance to your hair. Look for a creamy shampoo rich in proteins and vitamins. Condition your hair for at least 30 minutes. Natural conditioners such as mayonnaise or whipped raw eggs are inexpensive and veru effective for this. If you choose to condition with eggs, apply two eggs 30 minutes before you shampoo. If you choose mayonnaise, use enough to thoroughly cover your hair from the scalp to the ends. Always rinse well. Avoid excessive use of hair dryers. Towel drying is best, although exceptions can be made if you are in a hurry or you have to dash out into the cold right away.

  2. Step 2

    Apply a hair and scalp moisturizer. Avoid pomades or products containing petroleum jelly. These products do not penetrate the scalp: They only serve as a water or moisture retardant. Wearing your hair naturally frees you of that worry. Look for products that are rich in herbs and vitamins.

  3. Step 3

    Afros or naturals: This can be stylish at any length. Use a rubber tipped rake. The rubber on the tips helps to reduce breakage. Use a softener or braid at night to reduce tangles. Avoid using water in a squirt bottle for this purpose; the rapid evaporation only dries your hair and scalp.

    Cornrows: A good choice for transitional periods. Corn rows are similar to French braids, except for size. Cornrows are always braided close to the scalp. Traditional cornrows are small to medium in the size of the rows. If you are stopping the use of relaxers and perms, you may choose to cut off the chemically treated hair. Cornrowing allows fast growth during this period. Section your hair into a desired pattern. Do not braid too tightly.

    Braids: Can be worn in various sizes. Small braids give a fuller appearance. Adorn your braids with beads, shells, or other ornaments. As with cornrows, be careful not to braid too tightly. Always take your braids down to be shampooed. The extra step is worth it.

    Dreadlocks: This is the most “do-nothing” hair style you will ever wear. Just follow steps 1 and 2. Do not use a comb or a brush and over time the locks will form. This takes patience. You cannot go into a salon and walk out with dreads. The secret is in eliminating the combing, brushing, or cutting of your hair. You may encourage the lock size by separating large locks as they form. Use your hands to stimulate your hair and scalp. If you have the patience to stick to it you will be rewarded in time.

    Sister Locks: These are very similar to the classic dreadlock, although they are smaller and you can begin them in a salon. The hair is sectioned according to a desired pattern. Part your hair into a lock size that will achieve the desired density. Create small lock sizes around your face. Use traditional braiding to form the lock. Do not twist because it will eventually come apart, and create a weak point in the lock. Over time the start of the lock will decrease in size and be vulnerable to breakage. Do not overcompensate with large beginnings that will expose the scalp.

    Twists: A temporary styling which is normally worn short. Part your hair into small sections for small twists. Twist each section. Form is best kept when done while wet and allowed to dry. Wrapping your hair in a towel or scarf at night also helps to preserve the form.

By Deborah Mazon

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6 thoughts on “How to Wear and Care for Natural African Descent Hair Styles

  1. I’ve had my locs for a year now. I began with “comb twists” and as my hair grew out, progressed to palm rolling. I wouldn’t say my style is ” do nothing”. I keep my scalp and hair moisturized with essential oils and go to my professional natural stylist once a month for maintenance (shampoo, conditioning, etc).

  2. I, like the ladies above, disagree with her comment regarding locs. They require moisture, maintenance and care like any other type of hair. I still have to tie them up at night and go through the process of washing, conditioning and hot oil treatments. I have had my locs professionally maintained in a salon for 4 years….no complaints.

  3. I think that’s more wording than anything….that person who walked into a salon and came out with a loc style can go home…change their mine and wash what was done out of their hair. The locking process hasn’t started yet. It can take 6 month to a year for the locs to actually LOC. So…just because you have the style doesn’t mean you have locs. Locs take commitment for sure…but I’m riding this journey out…going natural was a change I wish I done earlier!!!!!!

  4. I have locs I started in Feb 2010 I thought this would be a easy style.Dont get me wrong it is most days. But you have to find the right products , retwist and wash your hair just the same. An if you go to get it done it can be very expensive I pay more for my locs then I did when my hair was permed. But I love them and would not change anything.

  5. I disagree that locs are the most “do-nothing” hair style. You have to take special care of your locs like any other natural hair type. It takes alot of work with loc maintance, time, money, and finding the proper products that work for you.

  6. I agree with you she is not correct in stating that a person can’t go into a salon and come out with loc’s on the same day. I did.

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