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If you're like many African-American gals, you probably put your hair through a lot. Between heat styling, relaxing or even just wearing your hair natural, your hair is likely to suffer from a lack of moisture and general styling damage. Don't worry, though, the right conditioner can really bring your locks to life. However, conditioner can't do it alone. You'll need to implement a healthy styling regimen to keep your mane in tip-top shape.
What a Mane Needs
African-American hair is often less porous than other hair types and needs a healthy dose of moisture pretty often. So, when choosing a conditioner for your hair, you'll want to be sure that your products aren't removing moisture and are instead infusing moisture into your locks. As such, avoid products that contain harsh detergents called sulfates, which will strip your hair of moisture and cause it to be dry and lifeless. You should also avoid products with alcohol, since this can be drying as well. Your hair may also need protein to help strengthen it, so check your beauty supply store for a moisturizing conditioner that contains protein as well. While you're at it, skip the products that contain tons of ingredients that you can't pronounce and pick one up that's packed with natural ingredients to make sure that your hair is getting what it needs, rather than a bunch of harsh ingredients.
Getting in Good Condition
There are three ways that you can condition your hair. The first way is the most common way and that's to just condition your hair after washing it, which you should always do to replenish moisture lost during the cleansing process. If your hair is on the dry side, though, you'll probably want to deep condition it every other week. To do this, apply your deep conditioner, cover your head with a plastic cap and sit underneath a hooded dryer for 20 minutes. Or, you can co-wash your hair weekly, which is the process of skipping the shampoo and "washing" your hair with conditioner only. Many gals swear by this process as a means of cleansing their hair and avoiding shampoo, which may dry your hair out.
Moisture and You
Many African-American women are advised not to wash their hair more than twice a month to prevent over-drying their hair. However, your hair needs the moisture it gets from water and a good condition. Shampooing your hair also prevents dirt, dandruff and oil from building up in your hair. Essentially, you should think of your hair and scalp as you do your body. Your hair and scalp are exposed to the same amounts of dirt and debris as your body and should be cleansed and conditioned weekly to stay healthy.
If you find that your hair just isn't responding to conditioner, you may need to take further steps to bringing it back to life. Try a weekly or bi-monthly hot oil treatment to really get your hair the moisture it needs. Alternately, your hair may need a heavy-duty protein treatment for added strength, so ask your stylist to recommend one for you or to apply one in the shop. Lastly, always pay attention to how your hair looks when it is wet. If you find that it just doesn't curl and just shrinks into an Afro, it may be lacking moisture from your shampoo and conditioner, so switch products until your hair responds better.