Why Is Black And African American Hair So Dry?
Many African Americans complain of having dry hair, resulting in numerous hair care products formulated especially for black and African American hair. The reason that black and African American hair is so dry is because it is curled. The oils naturally produced in the hair follicles have a harder time reaching the ends of curled hair, causing dryness. In straight hair, it is easy for the oil to travel down the hair shaft, coating the strand with protection. The curlier a strand of hair is, the more difficult it is for the oil to travel down the hair shaft, which leaves the strands less protected and more prone to damage.
The curl factor of hair is what decides how much oil gets through the entire strand. This means it isnít only African American hair that is dry, but anyone who has tight curls will have to battle to keep them hydrated. The curl in hair is made from the follicle opening and shape.
For those with a flat follicle opening their hair will be curly, the flatter-the curlier. The more circular the follicle the straighter the hair will be. In addition, the higher amount of bonds that are disulfide the higher the curl will be. These disulfide bonds are made of proteins and it stands to reason the higher amount of bonds (curls) the more protein the hair will need to retain its luster.
In addition, to get different styles when hair is extremely curly such as with black and African American hair extreme styling techniques must be used. This means dryers, straighteners, relaxers and heavy products. All of these styling methods can cause hair to become dry and brittle. Finally, the black color soaks up more heat and therefore can soak up more damage from the heat. Because of all this, extra measures must be taken to prevent curly hair from drying out.
Cut, Color, And Style
To repair dry and damaged hair takes several steps, beginning with a good haircut. Cutting off the damaged, dry ends will significantly improve the look of your hair. Get your hair cut regularly to eliminate split ends. Once the damage is gone, you can focus on keeping your hair hydrated and healthy. When choosing a style for curly hair, select one that does not rely on heat styling products.
Choose a style that works with the natural tendencies of your hair rather than one that will require blow drying or straightening. Avoid using chemical relaxers on hair as well. Dyeing and highlighting hair also strips hair of its natural oils and moisture, so avoid putting any harsh chemicals on your hair.
Keep your hair hydrated on a daily basis to keep it from drying out. Choose shampoos and silk hair products
that are mild and donít contain surfactants, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, a common ingredient in many shampoos. Surfactants give shampoo their lathering ability, and they are deep cleaning as well. The problem is that they clean too well, stripping hair of its protecting oils.
Use a mild shampoo that is formulated for dry and damaged hair instead. You should also condition daily with a product for dry hair; many conditioners contain special ingredients, such as shea butter, that have hydrating properties.
After bathing, use only a wide toothed comb on your hair that will not get caught in tangles. Its important to use natural hair products for African Americans
to gain adequate levels of hydration without stripping natural oils. Use a detangling product or leave in conditioner to make the combing process easier. When possible, allow hair to dry naturally rather than blow drying. If you must use a blow dryer, use the lower and cooler settings, and use a diffuser as well.
Before drying, apply a pomade, gel, or other moisturizing hair product to your hair that will help you style it while also offering protection from dirt and the elements, such as sun and wind. For extra protection, try a protein treatment, a deep conditioner, or a hot oil treatment at least once a month. These treatments help seal moisture into the hair shafts so that moisture is retained and damage is prevented.