How to maintain ethnic hair

Question

Hi Brian,
Can you have more articles on how to maintain our ethnic hair rather than weave maintenance?

Submitted by Stella Kibuuka on 23 March 2015

Answer

Good day,

What you need to understand about maintaining Ethnic hair, whether it is in its natural, curly or relaxed state, is that it will ALWAYS require moisture. Please don’t get moisture confused with oil. Many people believe that applying oil to the hair will solve their dryness problem, but this is not the case. The hair is comprised of up to 85% protein, up to 15% moisture and only 1-1.5% oil, and a few other things. Protein is for strength and moisture provides the flexibility. So when your hair is thirsty you give it moisture, not oil. I find that many women simply need to understand more about their hair in order for them to make better choices regarding the products they use. But how can you be sure if a product is good or not? I always advise clients to try this little test; take a little bit of the product in question, put it on the back of your hand and rub it in. If the product absorbs into your skin and makes it soft with no shiny residue, then chances are it will be suitable to put on your hair. And ladies, throw away your hair food!! I know that for years you have bought into the notion that hair food is good for your hair, but it is simply not true. I used to work for a company whose number one selling product was their hair food. It was also the product they received the most complaints about! The complaint was that the people using it were expecting their hair to be moisturized but instead it dried their hair out. That’s what hair food does, it dries the hair out by clogging it up and preventing moisture from getting into the hair shaft, or to the scalp.

If you have a fine texture of hair then you don’t want to put too much product on it or products that are heavy, as this will weigh it down. Women with fine, relaxed hair can use protein treatments but they must always remember to follow them up with a moisturizing conditioner to make the hair soft. If the hair is natural then your focus will be on moisture as there is very little need for protein. If you have a medium texture of hair that is relaxed, then you need protein and moisture treatments, but your regular conditioner would be a moisturizing one. If the hair is natural then again, your focus would be on adding moisture. For coarse hair that is relaxed, you would use a light protein treatment, followed by a moisturizing conditioner and your regular conditioner would also be one that adds moisture, preferably one that contains a higher level of moisture than the one used for medium hair. if the hair is natural, then you need extra amounts of moisture in order to get it as soft as possible.

Try and keep the usage of oils limited to providing shine, and even then use only as much as you need. Overloading your hair with oil will not solve your dryness issue, as I stated earlier, and will actually attract dirt and potentially cause build-up.

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