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African-American hair has a coarser texture than other hair types, making it more prone to breakage and outbreaks of frizz. Whether your hair is relaxed or natural, harsh chemical or heat processes, along with daily wear and tear, can easily take their toll on your vulnerable locks. So it should come as no surprise that African-American hair needs a little extra TLC to protect it against damage and keep it looking its silky, shiny best.
Wash hair no more than once per week using a moisturizing shampoo unless it gets particularly dirty or oily. Exactly how often you need to wash your hair depends on factors such as how much oil your scalp produces, the climate you live in and whether you like to work up a sweat in the gym. But as a general rule, less is more. Over-washing strips your mane of its natural oils. Follow with a leave-in conditioner to nourish and tame frizz.
Detangle with care. For minimal breakage and snagging, comb your damp hair through with a wide-toothed comb or with your fingers after applying conditioner, working from tips to roots. Avoid frizz-forming bristle brushes like the plague!
Moisturize your scalp daily or every other day with a natural oil or balm, such as argan, rosemary or avocado oil. Avoid products containing petroleum or mineral oil, which tend to clog pores and are poorly absorbed. Take this opportunity to treat yourself to a scalp massage. Besides being luxuriantly relaxing, your finger work will boost circulation and oil production.
Protect your hair at night. Cotton might seem harmless enough, but a cotton pillowcase can wreak havoc on African-American locks by absorbing valuable moisture from hair and creating friction. To avoid a frizzy rude awakening in the morning, wear a satin scarf or sleep cap to bed, or invest in a satin pillowcase.
Nourish your hair from within. Hair needs proteins and a range of nutrients to stay strong and healthy. Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet with plenty of water, and your mane will reap the silky benefits.
If you use a water-based styling product -- such as a spray or a cream -- apply after conditioning but before applying oil. The oil will help to seal in moisture.
Avoid alcohol-based hair care products, which can be too drying for African-American hair.