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African-American hair has many adjectives. Coily, curly and coarse are a few. While the tightly spiraled structure of African-American hair can make it tougher to manage than other hair types, this does not mean that healthy, high-style hair is beyond your reach. Whether you rock your locks relaxed, short and sassy, or prefer to boldly let their natural beauty blaze, a little TLC is all your mane needs to stay looking magnificent.
Clean hair is happy hair, so wash your hair at least once each week. If your hair is oily or if you sweat a lot, bump it up to twice per week. Keep the water temperature warm. Washing African-American hair in hot water will dry it out.
Moisturize that mane. African-American hair needs hydration to stay strong. Its coiled structure makes it difficult for natural oils to reach the end of each strand. Using a daily leave-in moisturizer will help keep your hair hydrated, fight the frizzies and prevent your hair from becoming dry and dull.
While you may be reluctant to relinquish your length, getting regular trims promotes healthy hair growth by removing unsightly split ends that can work their way up the hair shaft. So the next time your stylist tells you "trim time" is here, just remember that you have to give an inch to get an inch.
Heat is one of the biggest threats to the health of African-American hair -- especially if your hair has been weakened by harsh chemical treatments like relaxers. Use heat styling tools only a couple of times each week.
If your night out demands more than just a ponytail, there is a safer way to jazz up your do without using heat. Rather than using a flat iron, curling iron or hot rollers to get the style you want, decorate your hair with some stylish accessories instead.
Don't rock your styles too tight. African-American hair tends to be more fragile than other hair types, so tight, high-stress hairstyles that tug on your roots can cause thinning and breakage around the hairline. While it is OK to wear those beloved braids and cornrows once in a while, don't make it a long-term commitment.
Cover your hair when you sleep. Sleeping with your hair on a cotton pillowcase can leave it looking dry and dull in the morning because cotton sucks out hair's moisture. Wrapping your hair with a satin scarf each night will help keep your hair hydrated, tame and ready to wear when you wake.
If sleeping in a headscarf makes you feel like you are suffocating, switch out that stifling scarf for a smooth satin pillowcase.
Replace hard, plastic rollers with softer, more comfortable pin curls if you prefer high-volume hair but hate having to fall asleep on your face. This way you can get the style you want without sacrificing your beauty sleep.
If your hair seems brittle and damaged, use a protein treatment once per month to help add strength.
Be careful with at-home relaxers. If not applied properly, these products can do some major damage to your hair. Read all instructions carefully before use.