What Is the Best Product to Slick Down Short African-American Hair?

Rihanna shows off her slick coif at the 2010 ECHO awards in Berlin.

Photo: Florian Seefried/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

A slicked-down, super short coif looks totally hot on African American hair -- as stars including Rihanna, Alek Wex and Kelis know. Whether you rock natural or relaxed hair, the right products help you slick down your hair for a smooth, controlled look. Short hair requires maintenance, but delivers a major dose of sexy in return. Style your hair daily.


Strong-hold gel works well to tamp down short hair, so you can rock a style as sleek as RiRi's. If you use too much gel, you'll end up with those flaky, crusty bits. Try a dime-sized amount of gel. Add more if you think you need it. Once you've styled your coif, don't play with it. This can make your hair frizz up, which is just the opposite of what you want.

Conditioning Gel

If your short hair is dry, condition while you style. Mix leave-in conditioner with strong-hold gel in equal parts. Slick this mixture through your hair to do double duty. You'll get the same hold as you would by just using gel, and you'll hydrate the hair so it stays down.

Shine Serum

If you're rocking a cropped Afro or other short style, try controlling frizziness with an anti-frizz shine serum. This will add gloss to your look without making your hair oily, and will help tamp down the frizz for sleek, defined curls. To use, apply shine serum to dry or lightly damp hair from the roots to the end. You can also get the same effect with an oil sheen conditioning spray, which imparts moisture to your mane as it smoothes down the strands.


Short African-American hair needs moisture to stay down. If you don't give your hair enough moisture, it won't stay slicked down. Use a moisturizing conditioner when you wash your hair. Use a thermal protector spray before you blow-dry or flat-iron your hair to prevent the hair from drying out as you style it.

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