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If your hair could chant a mantra, it would be, "moisture, moisture, moisture." That's because while African-American hair can be really lovely, it tends to be dry and coarse. The problem is worsened if you get your hair relaxed or color treated. But by deep conditioning your hair at least once per month, you can help it stay shiny and healthy. So go ahead ... listen to your hair. Give it the hydration it needs.
Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo. Find one that is free of chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate. These chemicals strip your hair of its natural oils more than necessary, leaving your hair even drier and duller.
Towel dry your hair until it's just damp, then squeeze some deep conditioner into the palm of your hand. Just because this stuff is like liquid gold, especially for African-American hair, that doesn't mean more is better. You just want enough to coat your hair.
Apply the conditioner onto your hair, starting at the ends, scrunching hair to apply the product rather than rubbing it on moving back and forth over your hair with your hands. This prevents hair shaft breakage and tangles and frizz. Scrunching with your fingers allows you to apply the product gently and evenly to your hair.
Place a plastic shower cap over your head -- if you have longer hair you may want to wrap it up in a bun first so it's easier to fit the cap on -- and let the conditioner soak into your hair for 15 to 20 minutes. Refer to the instructions on your conditioning product for the manufacturer's recommendations. Sit under a hooded dryer, if possible, during your wait.
Once time's up, rinse your hair. Cool water works better than hot water; it smooths the cuticle and traps the moisture inside your hair, leaving your hair feeling smooth and soft.
If your hair is damaged, repeat this routine once per week until you start to notice an improvement, then once-per-month deep conditioning is all that is necessary to keep your hair healthy and fortified.
Visit a local salon to inquire about hot oil treatments and conditioning massages, which also nourish and replenish your hair and leave it looking healthy and shiny.