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Lots of African-American ladies have tresses that tend to dry out easily. Hair relaxers, straighteners and perms can intensify the problem, including those with added conditioning ingredients. Even ladies with shorter hairstyles can benefit from moisturizers made specifically for black hair. Keep your style shiny and drive the dryness away with a protein moisturizer formulated with your hair type in mind.
Why Protein Works
Many hair-care products geared toward black ladies contain or are made with oil, but simply slicking oil over your hair won't give your locks the conditioning moisture they need. Oil coats the hair strands but does not penetrate. The oil actually creates a barrier that keeps water and moisture out of the hair shaft, sealing in the dryness. Protein products, on the other hand, contain the substance -- keratin protein -- that makes up about 70 percent of hair's structure. The protein binds to the hair and actually helps rebuild and strengthen individual hair shafts.
Types of Moisturizers
You may have heard of ladies back in the day applying egg or mayonnaise treatments to their hair, and protein was the reason for these hair salad concoctions. These days, it's easier to find hair-care products that contain protein without having to look through your refrigerator. Hair-care companies that make African-American beauty products sell conditioners for everyday use made specifically for black hair. They also sell a range of leave-in conditioners, including some that still contain mayonnaise, and intensive protein conditioners for occasional use.
When to Use
You can use regular conditioner with protein every time you wash your hair. However, after a relaxing, straightening or wave-perming treatment, your hair has gone through a lot and might be suffering from more dryness than usual. This is the time for an intensive protein treatment or hair masque. If your hair remains dry after an intensive treatment, try the leave-in protein conditioner for a week or so, but don't use it unless you need it. You don't want to over-condition either.
As with other everyday conditioners, you leave protein conditioner in for a few minutes, or according to the package directions, and then rinse it out. Some of the intensive-conditioning protein treatments come with their own application kits, including brushes and plastic caps. Follow the instructions carefully, because some of these treatments also require heating your hair under a hair dryer. Don't use heat if it's not called for, though, because you can end up doing additional damage.