How is Black Hair Different from White Hair - or Other Types, for that Matter?
How is black hair different from white hair? As you've grown up, you've no doubt noticed that your natural hair is vastly different compared to your Caucasian or Asian friends. But exactly how is black hair different from other ethnicities?
The hair texture is different, and so too are the best practices when it comes to caring for your hair. That's why in this complete guide, we're going to take a deep dive into the differences between black hair and other hair types.
We'll cover what the differences in African American hair are compared to Caucasian hair, and why exactly these differences exist in the first place. Then, we'll discuss how we recommend you care for your hair naturally - and how it differs from protocols for white people.
Why You Need to Understand the Key Differences Between Black & White Hair
Before we get started, we want to start by explaining the importance of knowing how black hair differs from white hair - or Asian hair, or any other ethnic groups' hair. The fact of the matter is that your African hair texture is different - and thus, the way in which you care for your hair should differ, too.
Most hair products are designed for white women - but black women's hair is so different, and that means you'll want to use different products.
In order for you to understand how best to take care of your hair type, you need to know these differences.
And while you're here to learn about how black hair differs from white hair, there are actually a few different types of black hair - and they're very different. Let's take a look at these now.
The Four Types of Hair Explained
Moving away from race or ethnicity and just talking about hair, there are four different types. While African hair is typically type 3 or 4, we are going to discuss all four below so you can understand what your exact hair type is. This will help us move forward to the next point - explaining key differences between black hair and other types.
Type 1 hair: straight, and very easy to care for. This is the least common hair type of African Americans
Type 2 hair: wavy, and still pretty easy to care for compared to the next two types
Type 3 hair: curly, with S-shaped bouncy curls. They're well-defined and rough.
Type 4 hair: kinky, and with a more rigid z-shaped pattern. Characterized by tightly wound corkscrews, this is the toughest to manage.
Because types 1 and 2 are pretty easy to manage, we aren't going to spend much time on these today. We want to go a bit deeper into the other two, though.
Caring for hair types 3 and 4 will require a bit more knowledge of these specific types. Curly hair in general is harder to manage, but these two types aren't your everyday curls.
If you don't already have one in your arsenal, a wide-toothed wooden comb is going to be your best friend in detangling and combing your hair. Wooden combs make it far easier to work through the hair than plastic counterparts.
Styling these types of hair will also require more intensive products than types 1 or 2, as you'll need a thick mousse to tame the corks.
So - How is Black Hair Different from White Hair, or Other Ethnic Groups for that Matter?
Now - it's time to get into the main topic at hand. How is black hair different from white hair or other ethnic groups for that matter?
Just from a visual standpoint, it's clear that black hair is very different from white hair - we just described the four types, and you can see that the textures of these types vary greatly. But what exactly makes them different? Why does black hair curl more, and form these tight corkscrews that can seem impossible to manage? There are a few reasons for this. In order to adequately answer the question, we'll need to rely on some biology.
Biological Differences With Black Hair Texture Compared to White Hair
When you compare, European hair to African American hair, there are some key biological differences that result in the physical, visual differences you can touch and see.
Black hair has higher concentrations of lipids (fats) - you would think that these fats contribute to oily, thinner hair - but that's not the case. Instead, this hair type is known for being notoriously dry, why is that?
It's because the lipids in black hair don't bond as well.
At the same time, the hair follicle of a black woman is going to be thicker with a flattened elliptical cross-section - this leads to the traditional curly hair look you see black women display prominently.
How These Biological Differences Contribute To Easier Breakage
While it's true that all hair breaks and detaches from the scalp, black hair does this at a substantially higher rate than white hair.
This is due to those biological differences we just described. Because the hair is dryer, it's easier to break. Part of this is due to the tightly bound curls, too.
Our hair serves as a medium for moving moisture from the tip of the hair down into the follicle and into our scalp.
But because kinky hair is so tightly bound, it doesn't allow for moisture to move through it as easily - the moisture ends up getting lost in the hair itself, and eventually evaporates. You're then left with a dry scalp prone to breakage.
That isn't to say that black women are left to woefully watch their hair fall out and deal with itchy, flakey scalps - there are things you can do to maintain the minimal moisture you do have in your hair. Let's talk about best practices for caring for these hair types.
How Caring for Black Women's Hair is Different From White Hair
As you can probably already tell, caring for your unique African hair is incredibly important. Like it or not, African hair is typically tougher to manage and care for than straight hair. But, your tight curls are worth the extra effort - when you keep your hair healthy, it looks stunning. So, we're going to talk about how you can go about caring for African hair correctly - keeping those tight curls looking gorgeous.
If your natural hair is kinky or curly, you've grown up with different hair-care techniques than your friends with straight hair. But we've found that many women are still misinformed in how they should be taking care of their hair. Let's start with washing techniques.
Washing Black Hair
For one, you do not want to wash your hair daily - or more than 2-3 times a week at that. Keep in mind that your scalp needs all the essential oils and moisture it can get.
And every time you shampoo, you are stripping away those oils from your natural hair - and using a conditioner will only do so much to restore them.
Not sure which shampoo is best for your natural hair? We recommend one with a pH of 6.5 - this will help reduce sebum loss (a natural moisturizing agent in the scalp) along with sealing off moisture within the follicle, preventing it from escaping.
Using Heat Protectant & Avoiding Straightening
Straightening your hair is really out of the option for most black women with hair types 3 and 4. That's because this heat can contribute to substantial breakage and damage. If you have this hair texture, you should just work with what you've got - tight curls!
But even if you aren't straightening your hair, you've likely gotten used to using a heat protectant. This will help maintain your curl pattern and prevent heat damage causing you to lose any more hair than you should naturally.
Is There Anything Else You Can Do To Help Prevent Breakage & Encourage Healthy Growth?
Black women particularly struggle with hair growth - but that's not to say there is nothing you can do besides cutting back on your washes and eliminating heat sources to your hair. You just need the best hair growth products for black women!
If you want to do everything you can to keep your hair healthy and prevent or eliminate bald spots, invisible edges, and overall thin hair - you need the Allurium Hair Growth Serum.
This serum is specifically formulated for women of color and has helped thousands of women regain their confidence and feel better than ever before.
Formulated with natural herbs and vitamins that stimulate your hair follicle while adding the moisture you need to prevent breakage, this serum contains everything you need, nothing you don't. And today, you can try it risk-free.
Don't love it? Send it back within 90 days for a full refund. You've got nothing to lose.
How is Black Hair Different from White Hair? Wrapping Things Up
Now you know all the differences that make black hair so special - and you should have a good understanding of your specific hair type.
All that's left to do now is find the products that work best with your natural hair, and protect it to the best of your ability.
If you're finding that your hair fall is higher than you'd like, or you're tired of seeing that high hairline in the mirror - give Allurium Beauty's African hair growth serum a try today