Kinky, curly, straight, coarse, fine, thick – the differences are endless when it comes to African-American hair. Combine a few of these conditions and you might be dealing with a daily headache. It’s no mystery that African-American hair not only looks and feels different, but did you know it’s also structurally different?
Ethnic hair actually grows in a spiral, which makes it more susceptible to breakage. Researchers have confirmed that the tight kinks actually contribute to a weakened structure that makes it hard to retain moisture. Harsh chemicals, heat and even some hair styles only make matters worse because they increase the stress on hair follicles.
Most women don’t think about their hair being fragile, but if you don’t take care of it properly the result could be premature hair loss. Because there are so many types of ethnic hair, finding the right way to care for yours starts with equipping yourself with the right tools.
To manage hair on a daily basis, you should use wide tooth combs and brushes. It’s tempting to use fine tooth combs for areas along the neck and temple, but they actually overwork the area and keep it from growing properly.
Choosing the right hairstyle is also important to maintaining healthy hair. Continuous strains on the hair can cause “traction alopecia,” a form of hair loss. Fortunately, there are products that can correct and even reverse balding spots. If you’ve experienced some of this, research products that are created specifically for black women’s hair loss. The best will include an FDA approved ingredient called minoxidil that has been clinically proven to regrow hair.
If you’re not looking at the ingredient lists when you’re shopping for hair products, it’s important to develop that habit now. Just because it smells good and is made by a reputable brand doesn’t mean that it will have positive effects on your hair. Some shampoos and conditioners can actually strip your hair of the nutrients it needs. Consider the texture of your hair and make sure the product you’re considering is designed to fit the style you want.
When women with ethnic hair try to find a solution for brittle hair, they often do so without knowing why it’s that way in the first place. The reason is actually chemical. The body doesn’t produce the same amount of sebum (natural oil for hair) as it would for a Caucasian or Asian woman. Products that seal in moisture within the scalp and hair strands provide the best solutions. It’s easy to get confused when trying to decide what product is designed for what purpose. As a general rule, avoid those that are made for limp hair, like volumizers.
Just because African-American hair is different, that doesn’t necessarily mean it must be weaker. In reality, it just has to be cared for differently. For decades, false promises have been made about home remedies for hair loss and breakage. Thankfully, the market has evolved to meet the growing needs of ethnic women. And, there is a host of information available to make sure you love your hair – no matter how different it is.