Q:

How do you take care of natural black hair?

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Quick Answer

Taking care of naturally black hair requires using a good leave-in conditioner to combat the hair's natural dryness. People with this hair type should also use products that moisturize and strengthen their hair. Some good options are shea butter, cocoa butter and olive oil. They should also make sure to wear protective hair styles to protect the ends of their hair from breakage.

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How do you take care of natural black hair?
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Full Answer

Natural black hair is often dry because natural oils don't travel as easily along the length of curly hair strands. Using harsh, sulfate shampoos isn't a good choice for this hair type. This hair texture shouldn't be shampooed too often. Weekly shampooing with a cleanser designed for dry hair cleans the scalp and hair without drying it out. Regular conditioning is important. This includes using a rinse-out conditioner after every shampoo and using a moisturizing deep conditioner two to three times per month.

Wide-tooth combs and boar bristle brushes are preferable grooming tools over fine-tooth combs and plastic brushes. To detangle black hair, start from the ends and slowly work toward the roots; this prevents raking through tangles and causing breakage. A moisturizer is helpful. Water-based products add moisture, and natural oils seal in moisture.

Sleeping in a satin or silk bonnet helps preserve moisture in black hair. Alternately, a satin or silk pillowcase can be used. Avoid direct heat as much as possible because heat robs hair of moisture. Wet sets, including twists and braids, are preferable to blow drying, flat ironing or using a curling iron.

People with natural hair may notice that they experience a great deal of breakage as their hair grows longer, especially when it becomes shoulder length. This is because as the hair brushes across their shoulders, it creates friction against their clothing, which causes hair breakage.

One option to combat this problem is to add extensions to the hair so that it lays past the shoulders. Braided styles work well for this, although braids with sewn-in extensions will work as well. Another option is to wear the hair in an "updo." The hair can be pinned up, braided or twisted into a variety of styles to keep it from rubbing against clothing.

Any style that is worn should place the least amount of stress on the hair as possible. Styles that require excessive heat also need to be avoided.

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