Moisturize the right way. You may worry about your hair becoming too sticky from moisturizers, but not moisturizing your hair or doing it infrequently to keep hair residue-free is equivalent to throwing the baby out with the bath water. No moisture equals more dryness and breakage -- period. A better way to prevent dryness, while avoiding icky stickiness, is to hone your moisturizing technique.
Before shampooing, treat your hair with castor oil, which is loaded with moisturizing essential fatty acids. Apply a deep conditioner like cholesterol after washing your hair and rinse two or three times with warm -- not hot -- water. Nourish your hair with light lotions rather than wax-based oils or greasy pomades that leave sticky residue and block pores. If you notice that a particular moisturizer makes your hair too tacky to touch, toss it.
Go under the hood. If you usually blow-dry your hair and style it with a curling iron, you’re more likely to battle breakage. These heat-styling tools get up close and personal with your tender tresses, which may already be weakened through not using proper conditioners or applying chemical relaxers or hair dyes.
Ban those tools and go retro: Curl your hair in metal or plastic rollers -- never the sponge variety -- and sit back and relax under a hood dryer until your hair dries. The hood dryer is suitable for any type of African-American hair and your best bet if you want a style that lasts.
Wrap your hair. Wear a satin scarf when you’re getting your 40 winks. As you sleep your hair rubs against the pillowcase, creating friction that can increase hair breakage. Cotton, wool or polyester pillowcases also suck moisture from your hair -- and dryness is public enemy No. 1 when it comes to African-American hair. An alternative to wrapping your hair with a satin scarf is to sleep on a satin pillowcase.
Avoid roughing up your hair -- tugging and ripping are off-limits. Treat it gently when cleansing and styling.
Don't constantly sport hairstyles that involve tightly braiding or tying your hair or sweeping it backward. They can cause breakage along the hairline and traction alopecia.
If your scalp doesn't produce enough oil, massage it with some moisturizing essential oils such as jojoba and almond.
If you use hair relaxers, do not overprocess your hair. Follow the product directions on how long to keep the relaxer on during application and how often to do touch-ups. Using hair relaxers incorrectly can cause more than breakage; they can contribute to permanent hair loss.
Rx for Brown Skin; Susan C. Taylor, M.D.
Hair Rules: The Ultimate Hair Care Guide for Women with Kinky, Curly or Wavy Hair; A. Dickey