Loose, braided or pulled into a particular hairstyle, black natural hair is beautiful and versatile. To keep your locks soft and healthy, you need to know the right way to care for black hair. We’re here to give you some tips and advice on how to keep your natural curls shining.
It’s worth adding that this article talks about all things black natural hair care for tresses that have not been chemically treated.
What are the Different Types of Hair Curls?
While it’s impossible to strictly categorise curl types as every individual’s hair is different, a number and letter system is often used as a guide and a starting point.
Type 1: Straight hair.
Type 2: Wavy hair. This type is divided into three – 2a, 2b and 2c depending on the intensity of the wave – 2a being least reminiscent of the letter S, and 2c the most.
Type 3: Curly Hair. This type of hair is also divided into three – 3a, 3b and 3c. 3a being the loosest curl and 3c the tightest, sometimes described as a corkscrew shape.
Type 4: Very tight curls. Once again, this hair type is divided into three – 4a, 4b and 4c. 4a curls look like tight S shapes, while 4b are often defined as tight looking Z shapes, and finally 4c is even more tightly coiled and generally does not have a defined curl pattern.
Of course, it’s very common to have a mix of hair types. This means, you might spot that your hair looks like type 4a at the roots, but goes into 4b or 4c at the ends. There can be a variety of mixes, so don’t feel that your hair needs to fall into a certain category. Use the number and letter system only as a starting guide.
How To Care For Black Natural Hair?
The Right Shampoo And Conditioner
When washing your hair, always go for both shampoo and conditioner. Don’t be tempted to wash your locks too often as this causes hair to dry out. Another thing to be mindful of is the temperature. If it’s too hot, you might notice your hair becoming frizzy, dry and hard to manage. Always opt for warm water and follow up with a cold rinse. Doing so will make your hair look shinier and healthier.
When choosing your shampoo and conditioner, opt for a light formula, preferably packed with oils such as argan, grape seed or jojoba. After you shampoo your hair, condition only the lengths and ends avoiding the roots. After washing your hair, add a tiny bit of hair oil to the ends while your tresses are still damp. If possible, avoid using heat stylers, or use them on low temperature with heat protecting spray.
Do You Have the Right Pillowcase?
Cotton pillowcases are known to draw out the moisture, so if you have black natural hair, go for a satin or silk pillow case. An added benefit of going for a silk or satin pillow case is that it is also much kinder to your skin. If you simply can’t say no to your favourite collection of cotton pillowcases, use a silk scarf to wrap your hair before you sleep.
Moisturising is Key
While you should moisturise and condition your hair whatever your hair type, black natural hair is the most susceptible to dryness, so it requires extra care. Go for a moisturising serum, leave-in conditioner, hair masks, hair oils such as coconut oil, almond oil or olive oil. Keeping your ends well moisturised will prevent them from splitting in the future.
Trim Those Split Ends
Unfortunately split ends can be masked temporarily but not mended. This is why it’s important to trim your hair as soon as you feel you have split ends to prevent those from causing further damage to hair lengths.
Top Tip: When brushing your hair, always opt for a wide toothed comb and gently brush from the ends going up to prevent the hair from getting damaged.
Cold Oils, Hot Oils
If you have black natural hair, going for a hot oil treatment once or twice a month can be a great way of adding moisture and shine to your hair as well as improving elasticity. Doing a hot oil treatment is easy, simply warm up one of your favourite hair oils (argan, avocado, coconut, olive or almond among others) in a jar thrown into hot water. Once warm, section hair and apply to the scalp and ends, gently massaging it in. Leave it on for 30 minutes and wrap a silk scarf around your head to lock in the moisture. Wash off with shampoo as normal.
While hot oil treatments should be done less frequently, cold oils can be used daily – especially on hair ends. Add a pea-sized amount of oil to your hands, rub and apply to the ends. This will help add shine and ease manageability.