Relaxed and natural hair have different structures, therefore require different products sometimes.
- Relaxed hair: You will need to wash your relaxed hair at least once a week. Any longer and the buildup of product you use on your hair and sebum on the hair and scalp may cause scalp problems and in the worse case sce
nario, hair loss. Be very gently when you wash and take care not to scratch your scalp, especially if you intend to relax your hair again when the new growth comes in. Use a protein conditioner if your hair is breaking as this will encourage strength in weakened strands. Always use conditioner.
Always use a leave-in heat protectant after washing if you are going to use heat straigteners like flat irons or curling irons.
For all Afro hairtypes, relaxed or natural, it is best to use shampoos that do not contain sulfates, as sulfates are very harsh and increase dryness and over-production and buildup of sebum, which cannot effectively be removed except by more washing. It’s a never-ending cycle you do not want to get into.
- Natural hair: If you have natural Black hair, you have the freedom to allow your hair to get wet as often as you like, without worrying about your hair going back, because it’s already there!
If you have very thick natural Black hair, here is a good technique: Section and braid/twist your hair before you wash, wet your head, take out one section at a time, and wash/put conditioner in, re-braid or twist that section and move on to the next one. When you do the final rinse, take all sections out and rinse the conditioner out.
Relaxed Black hair usually requires heat protectants and gels, sometimes people use “grease”. However you need to steer clear of any product containing petroleum products. These products may create the illusion of shine, but what they do is lock moisture OUT of your hair, causing dryness. Put on your scalp, these products clog your follicles, preventing your scalp from its natural function of breathing and eliminating impurities causing scalp issues such as dandruff and infections.
Natural Black hair has the benefit of being able to use water-based products for styling. Just like relaxed hair, do not use petroleum products on your natural hair or your scalp. Also, you should not use styling products containing too much silicone, which can make your hair look good in the short term, but eventually turn the hair crunchy and prone to breakage, especially if exposed to sunlight for long periods. Steer away from protein leave-ins and conditioners. You don’t need them.
There are many styling products designed for Black hair, both relaxed and natural, from small companies producing quality products without petrochemicals. You need to do your research, check your ingredients and look for testimonials.
For natural haired sisters, the website to go to for products and techniques for your hair is www.nappturality.com.