How to Take Care of Natural Black Hair: The Complete Guide for Beginners
Want to learn how to take care of natural black hair? Look no further - you've come to the right place! Our natural black hair care guide for beginners is a perfect resource for those looking for a refresher on how to keep their locks healthy and looking their best.
Even if you've been taking care of your hair your entire life, things could change along your hair journey - or, maybe you've been missing a key element in your hair care regimen. From using the right shampoo and moisturizing products to understanding how you can potentially increase hair growth, we're going to take a deep dive into everything you need to know. By the end of this guide, you'll be well on your way to looking and feeling your best.
Whether you're dealing with hair loss or you just want to learn how to properly care for your natural hair, you're in the right place. Let's not waste any more time!
The Importance of Learning How to Take Care of Natural Black Hair
Before we share some tips and tricks to keeping your hair looking and feeling its best, we want to discuss the importance of reading our natural black hair care guide.
African American hair differs greatly from Caucasian hair, Asian hair, and any other hair for that matter. You need to be sure that the hair care guide you're reading is tailored specifically to you!
That's what we're here to do today.
African American hair looks and feels very different from your white friends - that's due to differences in essential oil production, the shape of our individual hairs, and the size of our hair follicles.
Because of the coarse, kinky nature of African American hair, it's far more difficult to keep the scalp moisturized. This means that your hair is more prone to breakage, and could result in your hair falling out at a younger age than your white peers. We recently wrote a complete guide on how black hair is different from white hair if you'd like to learn more.
With that said - following proper care guidelines will go a long way in keeping your hair healthy and rooted. So let's not waste any more time! Here is how to take care of natural black hair.
How to Take Care of Natural Black Hair & Transform Your Natural Hair Journey
Ready to learn how to take care of natural black hair? Natural black hair care doesn't have to be a mystery. It's as simple as following these five tips below:
- Take Your Hair Journey Serious
- Determine Your Hair Type
- Limit Your Hair Washing & Use The Right Shampoo
- Moisturize Your Scalp Correctly
- Avoid Using Heat Or Harsh Styling Products
Let's start by talking about taking your hair journey seriously.
Take Your Natural Hair Journey Serious
It's not just enough to wash your hair a few times a week and use any old conditioner. If you really care about your hair health, you need to go above and beyond.
Finding the right resources (you've found the best one in this complete guide - so go ahead and cross that one off your list!) and products will be imperative in properly caring for your hair.
Some things that you can do to go the extra mile in caring for your health are auditing your diet, your pillowcase, and of course, following your regimen to a T - which we'll discuss more in-depth below.
The reason we recommend you examine your diet is to remove any inflammatory foods you consume regularly that could be detrimental to your hair health - these include processed ingredients, gluten, soy, dairy, etc.
The pillowcase you sleep on sounds trivial - but there is actually some legitimacy behind replacing your pillowcase for better hair health. Stick with a silk or satin option, as these won't draw moisture out of your scalp while you sleep as a cotton one would.
But to truly take your hair journey seriously, you first need to spend some time identifying your specific hair type. Let's discuss this before going any further.
Determine Your Specific Hair Type
African American hair is different from any other ethnicity, but there are even varying types of hair within the African American population.
There are four main types, with only two of which you really need to know about:
- Type 1 - very thin and straight, pretty atypical for black people. Asian & European people make up the bulk of this type.
- Type 2 - wavy hair with a bit more volume than type 1, still predominantly Europeans fall under this category.
- Type 3 - curly hair, with S-shaped curls - this is a very common hair type for black people.
- Type 4 - kinky hair, with S or Z-shaped curls. This is an even drier hair type than type 3, and is also very common in the African American gene pool.
Knowing your hair type is a great start in the journey to learning how to care for your hair. You should try to maintain your natural hair as much as possible - altering its texture and shape will likely result in irreparable damage in the long run.
Instead, you just need to learn how to work with your natural hair type! One of the most important factors that go into this is washing your hair - so let's discuss best practices for black women now.
Limit Your Hair Washing & Use The Right Shampoo
While some people need to wash their hair every other day - sometimes back-to-back days, depending on how much you sweat - African Americans should limit how frequently they wash their hair.
It's no secret that African American hair is naturally dry and brittle. This means that if you wash your hair too often, you'll be stripping away the minimal natural oils you do have in your scalp and hair!
To avoid damaging your hair, limit your washes to 1-2 times a week. Of course, this is just a general guideline.
Every scalp is different, and if you couple your dry hair with a dry climate - you may only need to wash your hair twice a month! The opposite applies if you sweat a ton and live in humid climates. You can learn more about frequency in our guide discussing how often to wash African American hair.
In accordance with frequency, you should monitor the temperature of your showers, too.
If the water is too hot when you wash your hair, you could further irritate your already dry, inflamed scalp. Stick to warm water, not overly hot. At least - not when you're rinsing your head.
For bonus points, you should actually do your final rinse with cold water. While the temperature drop may suck for a minute, you'll be rewarded with a glorious, shiny look to your hair.
What Is The Best Shampoo For African American Hair?
Keep in mind that even with the proper frequency and water temperature, your efforts will be for not if you don't find the right hair products for your specific hair.
Using the right shampoo is a non-negotiable when it comes to hair care. You should avoid products with nasty chemicals in them, and instead opt for a light, natural formula.
There are so many amazing black-owned brands that offer shampoo designed specifically for black women. But, just look for the following ingredients on the label when shopping around:
- Jojoba oil
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Avocado oil
- Castor oil
- Olive oil
- Aloe vera
- Natural Soap
You don't need to see all of these on the label in order for it to be a worthy hair product in your arsenal. But, we want to mention some ingredients you absolutely need to avoid in any hair products:
These are nasty ingredients that could harm not just your hair, but your overall wellbeing. If any product you use boasts these ingredients, toss it in the can! Learn more about stuff in shampoo that causes hair loss in our blog.
Moisturize Your Scalp Correctly
Washing your hair correctly is one thing, but how do you restore the moisture you've just stripped away?
For black women, this isn't always as simple as applying a rinse-out conditioner - you'll need to combat your dry hair with a more natural, deep conditioning treatment every so often.
There are so many awesome ways you can do this, and they feel amazing - the ultimate self-care! We'll discuss just general conditioning best practices, and then discuss other options to moisturize - such as a hot oil treatment.
Take A Multi-Step Approach To Conditioning
Using conditioner is great and we highly recommend it, but it's not really what we're talking about when we discuss moisturizing the scalp.
Sure - use a natural, quality conditioner after you shampoo to immediately restore moisture to your hair and help detangle. But to really help prevent hair loss, split ends, and breakage - you need a means of locking in this moisture.
Proper moisturizing comes after the shower when your hair is just about dry. There will be three steps:
- Start by applying a water-based moisturizer liquid - generally, these consist of essential oils, along with aloe vera juice, grape seed oil, etc.
- Then, seal in this liquid using a second product - this time, an oil like olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, etc.
- The final step is adding a cream - our favorite is shea butter. This will lock in all the moisture you just added, and disperse it evenly throughout your scalp.
Avoid Using Heat Or Harsh Products To Style Your Hair
The ends of your hair are typically the first to break, leading to hair loss. One of the most common causes of splitting at the ends of the hair is applying heat - typically using a hair straightener.
If you have black, natural hair - don't try and straighten it, especially if you're type 3-4. You're going to end up damaging your hair, and likely still won't end up with the look you're after.
That's perfectly fine - because your natural hair is beautiful the way it is! You don't need to mess with your natural beauty and go for a look that just isn't feasible for tightly corked hair.
If you can eliminate harsh heat to your scalp, you'll find far fewer splits at the ends of your hair. The same goes for harsh styling products. Anything with any of the chemicals we've mentioned above is off-limits when it comes to styling.
Frequently Asked Questions About Natural Black Hair Care
If you have black, natural hair, there are a few issues you may experience at some point in your life that you need to be prepared for - particularly dandruff and hair loss.
Why Do I Have Dandruff?
Dandruff is a symptom of a dry scalp - if you find you're flaking, it means something is off in your scalp in terms of moisture.
Ask yourself how good of a job you've been doing with moisturizing - are you following our three-step process? Are you getting routine hot oil treatments?
You can then look at other suspects like your pillowcase - is it cotton? Replace it with satin or silk. Then, evaluate how frequently you're shampooing - is it too often? Not often enough?
Making an appointment with a dermatologist is a great option if you're out of answers, but we feel confident that sticking to our moisturizing regimen for a period of time should clear up any dandruff and flakiness.
Why Do Black Women Struggle With Hair Loss
Another unfortunate reality of African American hair is that it tends to be a bit weak. Brittle hair strands are just part of life for many black women.
This, coupled with the wide follicles we have, means we are at an increased risk of hair loss. But it doesn't have to be this way - there are some options you have if you're tired of dealing with hair breakage, and you're ready to begin your hair growth journey now.
Start by making sure you're following each and every piece of advice we've laid out above - audit your diet for any likely culprits, and then take a look at the hair products you use - are any of them detrimental to hair growth?
Aside from that, there is one thing you can do to help eliminate bald spots you have throughout your head or repair your hairline. Learn all about how fast African American hair grows in our complete guide.
Is There a Good Hair Growth Serum for Black Hair in Particular?
As we discussed throughout our guide to natural black hair care, you need to be laser focused on caring for your specific hair type. That includes using products specifically formulated for you. This may have you wondering - is there a good hair growth serum for black hair in particular? Fortunately, there is.
The Allurium Beauty's Hair Growth Serum is specifically formulated with the ingredients to improve hair growth for black women - and keep it rooted.
By adding this to the regimen we've outlined above, hair loss is history - and if you aren't currently dealing with it, you'd be well advised to add it anyway to prevent it in the future!
It's perfect for those with type 3 and 4 hair and has helped women everywhere. These women were under the impression that nothing could reverse their hair loss - until they found Allurium's Serum. Some of these ladies started seeing results as quickly as 2 weeks after introducing it!
With a 90-day money-back guarantee, you literally have nothing to lose. Don't feel like it's helping restore your hair to what it once was? You'll get a full refund. Learn more in our review of the best hair growth serum for black hair.
Final Thoughts on How to Take Care of Natural Black Hair Types & Styles
Armed with the regimen and tips we've outlined above, you are now well equipped to properly care for black, natural hair. You should feel confident on how to take care of natural black hair at this point - whether you have curly or straight hair.
If you're going to embark on this hair journey, take it seriously. Make sure you're using the right hair products for your hair type. By doing this - and following our protocol exactly as we've intended - you'll find that healthy hair starts growing more rapidly. Your hair will thank you!